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Wilma Roberta Snell

September 24, 1932 ~ March 6, 2019 (age 86)

HAMILTON - Wilma Roberta Snell, 86, our loving Mother, passed away Wednesday, March 6, at the Bee Hive Homes in Hamilton.  Mom was born in Stevensville, Montana on September 24, 1932 to Fred and Stella France.

The France family was moving from Grass Range, Montana to the Bitterroot Valley when they stopped in Stevensville due to Grandma going into labor. Later that night our Mom was born. She would grow up in a family with eight brothers. Needless to say she learned to be strong and hold her own at an early age.

Mom met Dad when he was working road construction on Lost Trail Pass in 1949. After a short courtship they were married September 14, 1949 in Chinook, Montana. They spent 69 beautiful years together before Dad’s passing in 2018.

Mom and Dad’s first home was in Harlem, Montana. There Dad worked for John Deere Tractor and also farmed. There wasn’t much money coming in back then but they entertained each other with Dad playing his guitar and Mom singing. When Grandpa and Grandma Snell and aunts and uncles came to visit there were always mini jam sessions. Within five years they had three children (Fred, Steve, Sally). Although times were hard she adapted and kept busy being a homemaker and raising the children. She also found time to be the choir director and Sunday School teacher at the Assembly of God Church across the street from where they lived. The one thing Mom dislikes were the cold bitter winters and spring flooding on the highline (as they call it) and was very happy when they moved to Hamilton.

In 1960, with Grandma France’s health failing, the family moved to Hamilton so Mom could care for her. In December of 1961 another son was born, (David) which completed the family. Caring for Grandma, being a homemaker, and raising children kept her busy but she found time to raise a huge garden which she took great pride in. As kids we hated pulling weeds and working in garden but learned to appreciate it as we ourselves got older. Later in life as the children were grown, to keep busy, she worked at various jobs which included Parker’s cannery, Life and Times Press and Ravalli Republic newspapers, Ravalli Services store and Group Home. She also delivered Meals on Wheels. Everywhere she worked everyone loved her great sense of humor.

Mom enjoyed gardening, cooking, canning , going to the hunting cabin each hunting season, camping  with family, dancing, traveling to visit relatives, and especially family get-togethers.  The cookie jar was always full as she loved baking CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES for her precious grandchildren. Let’s not forget Missoula. We could not make a shopping trip to Missoula without first going to the China Buffet which was her favorite. You could also take her to any restaurant and tell her to order anything she wanted on the menu and she always would just order a hamburger with fries.

Mom, you were an amazing Mother and Grandmother. We will be forever grateful for having you and will miss you and your great sense of humor. You are forever in our hearts. We will be at peace knowing you are with Dad.

Mom was preceded in passing by her parents;  her husband George; brothers, Verdun, Miles, Merritt, Aaron, Lincoln, Kenneth, Milton;  sister, Wanda; and daughter-in-law, Sylvia.

Mom is survived by daughter, Sally (Bill) Neustrom and their children, J.D., Nancy and Paul; son, Fred and his children, Jeri, Paul, Robert and Hallie; son, Steve (Cindy) and their children, Elizabeth, George and Serena; son, David (Marketa) and their children, Steve, Jeremy and Amanda; her brother Clint (Genae) France of Mesa, AZ; 17 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be at Daly Leach Memorial Chapel on Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 11:00 am with a reception following in the funeral home’s community room.  Burial will be at Riverside Cemetery in Stevensville.  Condolences may be left for the family at

Pallbearers will be Fred Snell, Steven Snell, David Snell, Steve Snell, Jeremy Snell, and Paul Neustrom.

Honorary pallbearers are Nancy Hilgenberg, Elizabeth Sheldon, Serena Snell, Amanda Snell, J.D. Pape and George Snell.

The family would like to thank the great staffs of Marcus Daly Hospice and Bee Hive Homes in Hamilton for the tender and loving care they gave our Mom. Too many names to list individually but you know who you are.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Marcus Daly Hospice, 1200 Westwood Dr., Hamilton, MT 59840.

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