MISSOULA – Joan Frances Mildenberger Lefler, 85, of Missoula, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. She died at the Port Angeles, Washington, hospital of natural causes.
Joan was born June 19, 1930, to George and Thelma Mildenberger in Mitchell, South Dakota. As a young girl Joan lived in Mitchell with her parents and at the age of 13 Joan went to live with her Aunt Daisy. She graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1948. Soon after graduation Joan met William Lefler at Ruskin Park at the roller skating rink in Mitchell and they were married shortly after on Feb. 25, 1950.
In the first year of their marriage, they moved to Billings and eventually to Missoula to raise their family. Joan spent the early years of her marriage raising her family; the passion of her life was to please God, serve her spouse and lead her children to have a solid foundation in God. William and Joan later divorced and this life change required her to work to support her family. She began a career in retail at Montgomery Ward and the Clothes Closet in Missoula. She eventually went to work as a finance clerk for over 20 year until she retired in 1999.
Joan was a devout Catholic and an active member of her church. She belonged to the Secular Franciscans Daughters of Isabella. She served on the boards of the Poverello Center and Council Grove. A loving wife, mother and grandmother, she took great loving care of her family, friends and her church.
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She was preceded in death by an infant child, John Lefler; mother, Thelma Mildenberger; father, George Mildenberger; sister, Judy Lorrine Curtis; and great-grandchildren, Triston Lee and Trevor Shepard. She is survived by her siblings, brother Robert (Fern) Mildenberger of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, sister Sheryl (Bill) Thill of Fort Collins, Colorado, sister Patricia (Al) Dilman of Fort Collins, sister Jackie (Keith) Ross of Omaha, Nebraska, and all of their children; son, David (Kim) Lefler of Port Orchard; son, William "BJ" Lefler of Missoula; daughter, Sandra "Sandi" (Dick) Shepard of Frenchtown; daughter, Micki (Russ) Lodge of Sequim, Washington; son, Rob (Toni) Lefler of Belfair, Washington; grandchildren, Bryan, Carri, Casey, Scott, Doug, Jess, Christina, Tracy, Chad, Shanna, Benjamin, Paige and Faustine; and great-grandchildren, Drew, Ashton, Ally, Darren, Avory, Kennady, Kassedy, Karsen, Joclyn, Triston, Shelby and Lily.
Viewing will be 2-5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, at Garden City Funeral Home followed by the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 26, at St. Francis Xavier Church. Services will be held at at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 27, at the church. Interment will take place at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery following the service. Reception to follow at St. Francis Xavier Church. Donations in memory of Joan can be made to the Poverello Center or Council Groves.
Condolences and memories may be left for the family at missoulafuneralhomes.com.