Friends, family and former staff members filled the rotunda of the state Capitol on Friday to pay their respects to former Gov. Judy Martz, the first and only woman to be elected governor of Montana. She died Monday at 74 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Martz was a pioneering governor who was remembered as smart, vibrant, loyal and deeply faithful, but faced a rocky term in office from 2001-2005. She was also an Olympic athlete who competed in speed skating, and was a rodeo star who won Miss Rodeo Montana in 1962 and joined the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame recently.
Martz was born in Big Timber and went to Butte High. She later attended Eastern Montana College, now Montana State University Billings, and worked as a field representative for former Sen. Conrad Burns. Martz and her husband, Harry, have two children and several grandchildren.
Martz's ashes were escorted from her home in Butte by members of the Montana Highway Patrol, who stood at attention through the day as Montanans came to pay their regards, along with family members and friends. Gov. Steve Bullock ordered flags at half-staff through Monday in honor of Martz. A celebration of life will be held at the Butte Civic Center at 11 a.m. on Saturday.