TONYA LYNN BROWN
Tonya Lynn Brown, 56, of Missoula passed away on Monday December 26, 2022, at home following a long and valiant struggle with pancreatic cancer.
She was born on July 25, 1966, in Kellogg, Idaho to Ken and Betty Jo Brown. Her brother Jerry Creager welcomed her as his beloved (sometimes annoying) little sister. A born adventurer, she spent her first birthday in Nome, Alaska and her first Christmas in Anchorage. Upon returning to the Lower 48, the family took up residence in Ken’s hometown of Rosalia, Washington. While in Rosalia, Tonya filled her days with tree climbing, hopping freight trains and falling through the ice on the city swimming pool. Her parents divorced when Tonya was seven. She, Betty Jo and Jerry remained in Rosalia until Betty married John Blomenkamp in 1979.
Shortly thereafter, Tonya, Betty and John moved to Lolo, Montana. Tonya attended eighth grade at Lolo School and then moved on to Big Sky High School. She graduated from Big Sky in 1984, as a member of the first class to attend all four years at the new school.
In 1985, Tonya married Jodey Richards in Missoula. They then moved to Aurora, Colorado where Tonya tried to start a career in the travel industry. While in Aurora, Alicia (1987) and Brittney (1989) were added to the family. They left Aurora after several years and after spending a short stint in Idaho Falls, they returned to Missoula where Courtney (1991) joined the family. Tonya and Jodey later divorced.
In the early 2000’s, while attending several black powder rendezvous’ Tonya met Jonathan Hansen. In 2005, while at the Pacific Primitive Rendezvous in Winchester, Idaho, a spark was ignited, and they became a couple. Tonya and Jonathan were married in Coeur d’Alene Idaho on December 10, 2005. From this union, Tonya acquired a stepdaughter, Jessica Hansen.
After several years working in the retail industry, Tonya began her career in banking in the mid 1990’s. She served as a proof operator and loan processor before becoming a Financial Services Officer for the Missoula Federal Credit Union in May of 2005. After several years doing consumer loans, Tonya was able to achieve her dream of becoming a Mortgage Lender at MFCU. In 2012, Tonya left the Credit Union to pursue an opportunity with Eagle Home Mortgage in Missoula. When Eagle left the Missoula market, Tonya secured a position as a Mortgage Lender with US Bank. Nothing gave her more professional satisfaction than helping people, particularly first-time buyers, acquire the home of their dreams. Tonya continued as a mortgage lender until her cancer prevented her from continuing in the fall of 2021. She was also a dedicated member of the Missoula Red Coats, including a term as president and a graduate of Leadership Missoula.
Throughout her life, Tonya was always up for an adventure or trying a new hobby. She was a skydiver, motorcycle rider, trap and skeet shooter, scuba diver and campfire devotee. After years of being pestered by her husband, she reluctantly took up hunting. She traveled to Zortman, Montana, shot at two deer and killed both, went duck hunting once and bagged the only duck she ever shot at. Something about getting up before dawn never appealed to her! Tonya went scuba diving in Cozumel, Mexico, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, Roatan, Honduras and Hawaii. In the last five years, she was able to make several trips to Hawaii visiting Maui, Kauai, and her favorite island Hawaii with and through the generous assistance of her dear friends Bob Pfouts and Karrie Westwood. In recent years Tonya spent as much time as she could in, on and around Emerald Lake camping on the lots which Betty so generously purchased for the family. No one loved the water more than Tonya! She was an amazing, loving person who did not have an enemy in the world and made friends wherever she went. Her greatest wish, however, was to grow old with her family and watch her grandchildren grow up.
Tonya was predeceased by her paternal and maternal grandparents, her father Kenneth Brown, and her beloved brother Gerald Creager whom she cared for during his last days.
Tonya is survived by her mother Betty Jo and stepfather John Blomenkamp of Missoula. Her husband Jonathan Hansen of Missoula. Children Alicia Quartz (Sean and Fiona) of Minneapolis. Brittney McCutcheon (Ben, DJ and Novalee) of Missoula, Courtney Richards and son Jaxon Fouts of Missoula and stepdaughter Jessica Hansen of Kalispell. Mother-in-law Susan Hansen of Saratoga Springs, New York and sisters-in-law Robin Creager of Kansas City and Jennifer McNeary of Jaffrey, New Hampshire and Brother-in-law Eric Hansen of Albany, New York. Her sister Betti Swann (Dave, Ashley, Ericka and Michael) of Post Falls, Idaho and her half-stepchildren Natalee and Genevieve DesChamps also survive her.
Funeral services will be held on January 4, 2023, at Garden City Funeral Home at 11:00 am. Cremation has already taken place and inurnment is planned in Grangeville, Idaho on her 57th birthday July 25, 2023.
Those wishing to make donations in Tonya’s honor may do so to either the Community Cancer Center or Partners in Home Health/Hospice both in Missoula. These organizations provided excellent care to Tonya throughout her struggle with cancer and she appreciated them so much! Finally-no one loved a good porch beer more than Tonya, so please take every opportunity to gather your friends and loved ones around you and have a porch beer and remember the truly amazing person she was!