Arliss Maxine Pillatzke Skipwith passed away on February 16, 2018 surrounded by her loving family after a courageous battle with cancer.
She was born on December 6, 1930 to Oley and Christine Engen in Anamoose, North Dakota. She was raised on a farm with her two brothers and six sisters. They helped with chores around the farm when they were growing up. This included milking cows, cutting and harvesting grain, raising chickens and everything else a farm had to offer. When WWII started, the farm lost their hired hand so her dad went to town and got drivers licenses for her and her siblings so they could drive the grain trucks to town.
She graduated from high school in Anamoose and became a schoolteacher in a one-room school 10 miles south of Harvey, North Dakota. She had six students in her school. On cold snowy days, she would ride to school in a horse and sleigh covered with a buffalo robe.
On June 12, 1950, she married Louis Pillatzke who was also from Anamoose. They were married for 32 years until his passing in 1980. During their marriage, they had four children. His years as a meat cutter took them to many different cities in North Dakota and Minnesota. They eventually settled in Minot, North Dakota where he managed two Super Value Stores. During this time, the Engen family farm was always the focal point for her family and her extended family. On weekends and holidays, they would always get together for card playing, great jokes, and best of all grandmas home cooking.
In 1966 Arliss, Louis and the kids moved to Helena, Montana. Louis became a meat manager for Associated Food Stores and Arliss went to work for the JC Penny Company. She worked for them for the next 16 years.
She enjoyed camping and fishing at the lakes in and around Bozeman and Helena. With their motorhome and boat, she and Louis would travel Montana. On almost all of these trips, they would meet up with her sister and husband Phyllis and Lowell Klatt and enjoy the weekends together camping and fishing. Black Sandy Beach on Hauser Lake was one of her favorite spots and always had a special place in her heart.
On 2/18/92, she married John (Skip) Skipwith in Honolulu, Hawaii. Skip was from Conrad, MT. so she packed her bags and left Helena for Conrad. They shared 21 good years together and loved to travel. One of their best memories was a cruise from Seattle to Alaska. They also liked to escape the Montana cold so every January and February for 10 years they traveled to Palm Springs, CA. or Parker, Arizona with Phyllis and Lowell Klatt.
After the passing of Skip in 2013, Arliss continued to live in Conrad. She was very involved with her friends in the Catholic Church, bridge clubs and volunteering. She moved back to Helena in 2015 to be near her children.
Her survivors include her sons Steven and David (Lori) of Helena; daughters Marilyn (Paul) Templeton of Helena and Kathleen Meagher of Tempe, AZ.; sisters Coralie Hooper of Wilton, California; Patsy Frey of Grand Forks, North Dakota; Gloria (Irvin) Mills of Kennewick, Washington and Barbara (Jerry) Helm of Austin, Texas. Brothers Peter (Delilah) Engen and Billy (Gloria) Engen of Anamoose, North Dakota. Brothers-in-law Lowell Klatt of West Yellowstone, MT. and Buddy Oster of Kennewick, WA. She also is survived by eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by both of her husbands, Louis Pillatzke and John Skipwith; parents Oley and Christine Engen; Sisters Phyllis Klatt and Peggy Oster; sons-in-law Jim Meagher and Gene Farley.
Arliss would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Thomas Weiner and his staff at St. Peters Hospital Cancer Center in Helena, Marie Lavender Home Health, Compassus Hospice and Mikal Pillatzke FNP for their compassion and care throughout her illness.
Cremation has taken place. A private ceremony will be held at a later date. Condolences can be sent to 3266 Quarter Horse Court, Helena, MT. 59602. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Compassus Hospice, 1075 N. Rodney, Helena, MT 59601. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Arliss.