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Barbara Louella Nelson

Barbara Louella Nelson



STEVENSVILLE — Barbara Louella Nelson, 75, of Stevensville, passed away Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, at Community Medical Center in Missoula. The daughter of the late Lyle and Opal Bourassa.

Barbara was raised in Helena and attended Helena Cathedral High School graduating in 1963. She lived in the family home on Poplar Street with her younger sisters Lyla, Cheri and brother Ken. She loved her early years in Helena going to her grandparents cabin on Canyon Ferry Lake in the summers. Upon graduating from high school she attended nursing school at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula. She then attended Western Montana College in Dillon where at a sock hop dance she met Neil Nelson. Barbara and Neil were married in 1967 in Helena and enjoyed the next 53 years together.  Following Neils teaching career they moved to Antelope in the fall of 1969.  Shortly after arriving in Antelope son Kyle arrived. In 1972 son Glenn arrived.  In those years she enjoyed supporting Neil’s coaching and teaching career. In the summers they worked at Hell’s Half Acre Lookout on the Bitterroot National Forest.

She loved those summers in the mountains enjoying family and friends that came to visit. Barb's warm and generous heart were hallmarks of her life endearing her to people wherever she went. In 1977 the family moved to Melstone where she worked as a substitute teacher and in the summer of 1979 the family moved to Eureka where they remained for the next 20 years.  During those years Barb was the “do it all” mom, supporting her sons' sports endeavors, camping, fishing, hunting and numerous adventures traveling across the United States. She was a great example to her kids instilling in her boys the love of work and play and always giving your best in whatever you do in life. While living in Eureka, Barb worked at a Christmas tree farm, as a bank teller, a cook before starting her own travel agency and escrow service in 1987 that she ran and operated for 10 years. In 1999 Neil and Barb moved to Libby where she worked summers as a cook for Big Sky Catering and as a substitute teacher in the winter. Barb was a culinary artist when it came to working in the kitchen and shared her many talents with friends and family.

In 2008 she retired for good so she and Neil could spend time traveling and enjoying lifelong hobbies of gardening, knitting, camping (RV), boating and fishing, and of course cooking. Barb loved her family dearly and loved spending time with them. Her family and many friends loved her as she loved them. In 2010 she became a grandma, and mom was absolutely thrilled and loved her grandkids, Jett and Londynn. She and Neil made numerous trips to Alaska and shared many adventures with them.

In 2011 Barb and Neil moved to Stevensville enjoying her retirement years with very good friends, neighbors and family. Mom loved life and life loved her back. She was always positive and remained strong and upbeat even when her health started to decline. We love you mom and we know you are looking over us.

She is survived by her husband Neil of Stevensville, two sons, Kyle of Williston, North Dakota, Glenn and wife Tyann and grandchildren Jett Michael and Londynn Marie of Wasilla, Alaska; sisters Lyla Stuart (Mark Fifield), Cheri Larson (John), brother Ken Bourassa (Melinda); brother-in-laws Hal (Carolyn) Nelson, Steve (Shirley) Nelson, sister-in-law Deb (Bob) York. Also surviving are 10 nieces and nephews along with grandnieces and nephews and many many cousins/aunts/uncles from the Bourassa, Flickinger and Nelson families. They were all a very important part of Barb’s life.

The family would also like to thank the medical staff at Community Medical Center and especially those attending to her needs in the comfort room. 

A celebration of life is planned for Barb in June. In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorials be made to Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at

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