Mary Ellen Olson DeRudder, age 82, passed away July 26th, 2020 from
medical complications under the amazing care of the doctors and nurses at St.
Vincent’s Hospital in Billings, Mt.
Mary Ellen was born November 18, 1937 to Louis “Swede” Olson and Mary
Olson in Powell, Wyoming. Many moves in her childhood landed her in Bridger,
Mt. where she attended high school. She was a proud Bridger Scout, Class of
1956, who participated in majorettes and the marching band and still has her
baton to this day. It was at Bridger High school where she also met the love of
her life August DeRudder. They were married in December of 1956 and were
blessed with three children while in Bridger: Michael, Tracey and Sheila.
Gus and Mary Ellen’s life together may have started in Bridger, Mt., but
Gus’s job sent them many places. First stop was Sheridan, Wyoming where all
three of their children attended school and the boys graduated. During that time
Mary Ellen stayed busy shuttling kids, helping at Holy Name School and even had
a job at MacDonalds Department Store. She was a devoted wife and mother who
always put the needs of her family first. Lunches were always packed, and dinner
was on the table when everyone got home. She took much pride in caring for her
family. Gus’s job then sent them from Sheridan to Miles City in 1978 where their
daughter Sheila graduated and they spent many more years until they headed off
to Glendive, and then back to Sheridan. Those years were spent enjoying friends,
family and focusing on her greatest joy which was spending time with her
grandkids. Her summers were booked with visits from the grandkids and she
always made it exciting. Trips to the pool, cookies on the counter and at one
point she even bought a Nintendo, which she practiced in secret so when the
grandkids came she would be able to show off all her skills and also be able to
beat all of them (she was slightly competitive). All the grandkids loved their time
with her and papa and would often be in tears when they had to head home.
When Gus retired they made their final move to Billings, Mt. Loving on grandkids
turned into loving on great grandkids as their family continued to grow. They
spent a lot of time in Bridger where they were able to surround themselves with
their extended family and life-long friends. They were also always ready for a
game of pinochle or game of horses when people stopped by. In 2003 when her
loving husband Gus passed away Mary Ellen bravely entered a new phase of her
life without her husband by her side. Living with her son Tracey and wife Anita
she was able to stay in the home that she and Gus had owned. She spent her
days playing games and working on beautiful craft projects with her close friend
and sister-in-law Gen. Playing cards with her “card club” on Wednesdays
connected her with wonderful friends. Lunches with her classmates quickly
became one of her favorite things and her road trips to see her kids and grandkids
that did not live in Billings always added joy to her days. She also just loved sitting
quietly in her chair watching her favorite shows snuggled up to the family dog
Lucy or checking in with all of her friends and family on Facebook (yep she was a
cool grandma). Mary Ellen’s final months were spent at Tender Nest where she
got a chance to meet many new friends.
Mary Ellen is survived by her sons, Mick (Kim) of Grants, New Mexico and
Tracey (Anita) of Billings and daughter Sheila (Pat) Haughian of Terry and her 9
grandchildren Tara (Ben) Moody of Gillette, Traci (Ben) Reichenbach of Billings,
Katie (Tim) Groener of Billings, Cortney DeRudder (Chance) of Gillette, Ian (Tara)
DeRudder of Billings, Alicia Reddy of Thornton, Co , Rory (Morgan) Haughian of
Miles City, Brennan (Alissa) Haughian of Miles City and Chelsie DeRudder of
Gillette. She is also survived by 21 great grandchildren and 2 great-great
grandchildren; half brother Steve (Trish) Olson, stepsisters Sue, Deb and Linda;
and many extended family members that includes in-laws, cousins, nieces and
nephews. Being the only child in her early years and not having a strong family
unit when she was young really gave Mary Ellen a longing for a large tight knit
family and when she married Gus she not only got an amazing husband, but an
extended DeRudder family that she loved and adored and was incredibly grateful
for. Lastly she is survived by many close friends that have been there through all
her stages of life.
Mary Ellen was preceded in death by her one and only love August
DeRudder; her father Louis “Swede” Olson. Mother Mary Shupak; great grand
daughter Brooklyn Reichenbach and many other precious family and friends.
Mary Ellen was many things she was an incredible baker, crafter and
caretaker. She was a lover of all genres of music, golf, rodeo and the Denver
Broncos. She had a laugh that was contagious and a special love for dogs. She
worried about everyone and everything and was just a little bit stubborn (or a
lot). She helped create the large family she had always dreamed about and was
loved beyond measure by us all. Not a day will go by that she is not missed.
Services for Mary Ellen will be held at a later date along with burial at
Bridger Cemetery.

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