Our beautiful mother joined our father in the Hereafter on March 8, 2019 after a stroke. Carolyn Marie arrived into the world on November 2, 1936 to Charles and Ruth Moody, spending her life in her beloved Montana. She met the love of her life in Missoula at a dance in college. A few years later she married Philip Bird on June 12, 1958. They loved each other fiercely for nearly 54 years until Dad’s passing in 2013.
After teaching elementary school for several years, she left her profession to raise her kids. Phil and Carolyn moved from Great Falls to Helena in 1970, soon making lifelong friends. Mom baked for the folks at the local retirement home, cooked endless hot dogs and hamburgers for neighborhood parties in our back yard, and made sure our shoes were polished every Saturday night for church on Sunday.
Mom took up running in her late thirties, competing in her first marathon at age 42. She ran like a beast, with Dad manning the sag wagon for her and her running friends. She competed for many years and across several states. Her fastest time – at age 50 – was 3 hours and 40 minutes.
Carolyn eventually went back to teaching as a substitute for nearly 30 years. She loved being in the classroom, often relating funny stories about the kids. She was beloved in that community. In addition to teaching for the Helena school district, she also taught Sunday school for several years at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
She baked the best bread, had a wicked sense of humor and a quick smile, and her gardens exploded with beautiful flowers that she largely grew herself from seed. She made her last snow angel a month ago and had a penchant for festive headwear. She made any gathering livelier simply by joining it. Her spotless house gave her both joy and much teasing from friends and family.
Mom built many friendships over the years; both she and Dad were social butterflies. They frequently hosted a party or a friend for a cup of coffee. As their daughters, we learned young how to hold a conversation with virtually anybody.
Moving to Billings in 2015 to be closer to family, Carolyn applied her lifelong social skills to be the ad hoc director of events at her assisted living center. She was famous for creating special "days", i.e. "Angel Day", so that they always had something to celebrate.
She is survived by her brothers Leonard (Shirley) Moody, and Charles (Doris) Moody; daughters Gretchen (Tim) Stenson, Amy (Steven) Kiffe, and Cara (Bruce) Walcheck; and grandchildren, Megan (Mick), Melissa (Kirk), Nathan, Tyler, Kate, Rachael and Elise. The family would like to thank her friends at Lasting Legacy in Billings for giving her a beautiful place to live out her final years. And deep thanks to special friend Aggie Hamilton for loving Mom until the end. We miss her dearly.
A service celebrating Carolyn’s life will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 23rd at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home, 3750 N. Montana Ave. A reception will follow the service in the social hall of the funeral home. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Carolyn.