Cover photo for Mary L. Stevenson's Obituary
Mary L. Stevenson Profile Photo
1930 Mary 2021

Mary L. Stevenson

June 14, 1930 — March 8, 2021

Mary Stevenson Obituary

Mary Stermitz Stevenson passed away on March 8, 2021, age 90.

Mary was born on June 14, 1930 to Vince Stermitz and Mary Neithammer Stermitz in Thermopolis, Wyoming, living most of her life in Montana.

Mary, along with her brothers Bob and Frank and their parents lived mainly in Helena, though spent time in Laurel and West Yellowstone as well, and enjoyed Montana’s fishing, camping, and the outdoors as they grew up. Mary graduated from Helena High School and then attended the University of Montana in Missoula where she met Jack Stevenson.

They were married in Helena in 1951 and started their lives together in Lincoln, Montana soon moving to Missoula. Jack’s job took them to Salmon, Idaho for about six years, until 1962, after which they returned to Missoula to settle and raise their family of five children.

Mary learned to fly in Salmon shortly after Jack did, and they shared their love of flying together and with friends for many years. She taught all five of their children and one son-in-law to fly and also became a commercial charter pilot.

Jack and Mary flew their private airplanes to Mexico, Canada, Alaska, and Central and South America. Mary also flew in a cross-country race called the Powder Puff Derby with friend Pat Roemer, flying from Canada to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Mary served on the Airport Board at the Missoula Airport. In recent years Mary was thought to have a kinship with the grizzly bear, due to an incident she had with one that roamed through their yard and met her and their dog, Maggie.

Mary was an avid skier, hiker, and traveler. She instilled those loves in all of her children and grandchildren. Her greatest love was Jack, with whom she shared 70 years of her happy life. They were true partners, loving and supporting each other always, and sweethearts forever.

Mary is survived by her husband Jack, her brother Frank (Pat) Stermitz, children Mike (Karen Aspevig) of Miles City, Gwen (Dennis) Schneiter of Florence, Jim (Lee Barkmann) of Silesia, Judy (Hal) Hay of Helena, and Laurie of Wanaka, New Zealand, grandchildren Alika (Rick) Skaggs, Matt (Kerrie) Schneiter, Chad (Karen) Schneiter, Greta (Javier) de la Pedraja, Ann (Nathan Zavalny) Stevenson, Vince Stevenson, Max Hay, Blakely (Chris Edgington) Hay, Ramsay (Jonathan) Ballew, Callum Scurr, and Hayley Scurr, Luke (Morgan) Stevenson, Rita Stevenson, and 10 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

As her remembrance,

Mary wanted to share the poem by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. that connects with her love of flying.


High Flight
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds ... and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of ... wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God]

No services per Mary’s request.

The family plans a memorial gathering in the summer.

Memorials can be made in Mary’s name to the Missoula Youth Homes.


“She had a Bluebird on Her Shoulder”

A poem inspired by Grandma Mary
By Greta

She had a bluebird on her shoulder She had eyes with a noticeable sheen She had a love that lasted 70 years
It was more than you've ever seen.

She had a bluebird on her shoulder She had a wild streak in her hair
She didn't dress all fancy
Yet everyone knew when she was there.

She had a bluebird on her shoulder She didn't own a cat
She didn't have a vegetable garden And she was okay with that.

She had a bluebird on her shoulder She always traveled light
She loved to have other travelers over And talk deep into the night.

She had a bluebird on her shoulder
Off the dock she'd go on one ski
This inspired and thrilled spectators
As she continued until she was nearly seventy.

She had a bluebird on her shoulder She'd say she never knew a bad day
Oh, sure there was sadness and trouble She just didn't see it that way.

She had a bluebird on her shoulder
She loved to see snowflakes float down
Then when spring began to shine through
She'd find Bitterroot growing low to the ground.

She had a bluebird on her shoulder Single Engine Cessna she flew strong With Jack by her side loyal and true These were the days that sang her song.

She had a bluebird on her shoulder
She had a bluebird singing her to the Light She paved the way for Grandpa Jack
To bring his landing in with clear sight.

She had a bluebird on her shoulder
She did have a stubborn streak
Her ashes will go straight into a cardboard box These, her wishes, she did speak.

She had a bluebird on her shoulder She had family in her heart
It wasn't that they were perfect She just loved them from the start
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary L. Stevenson, please visit our flower store.

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