• Date Of Birth: September 16, 1928
  • Date Of Death: March 15, 2016
  • State: Montana

After a lengthy descent into Alzheimer’s, Patricia Jeane Morton Hibbard died March 15, 2016, on a chilly, but sunny and breezy day. She died at Heritage Place in Kalispell, where she had resided for the past 15 years.

She was born September 16, 1928, on an early fall day in Kalispell, to Thomas and Selma (Helseth) Morton. She began school in Half Moon, and then continued at West Side (Elrod). She was graduated from Flathead County High School in 1946. She was the business manager for the annual and Arrow (newspaper), on the tumbling team, and

selected for both Quill and Scroll (journalism honor society) and Appinokwis (scholastic honor society).

Soon after graduation she headed to the Bay Area and

secured a position with Shell Oil. She found a delightful

apartment overlooking Lake Merritt in Oakland. Then

along came the tall, handsome, sophisticated ad man from

a prominent San Francisco family. She and Bob Hibbard were married in 1950 and bought a house in Walnut Creek.

Bob was a golfer. A very good golfer.  The very athletically inclined Pat always loved competition. So she took golf

lessons, and began playing golf with Bob and his friends. Soon she was shooting better than Bob. At their country club, Round Hill, she was the club women’s champion several times. She and Bob golfed at Pebble Beach, Carmel, and many other beautiful and challenging courses in California. They later divorced.

She worked her way up at Shell Oil, becoming

executive secretary to the director of the chemical research division. Shell moved her to to Houston. She didn’t like Houston and decided it was time to head back to Kalispell.  

At first she rented a small apartment on First Avenue East; later she bought a house on First Avenue West. Once again, she began attending Bethlehem Lutheran Church. She also did some part-time work for Carver Engineering.

She got in touch with some of her old Kalispell gal pals and

they began a weekly rendezvous at Buffalo Hill. Lunch and maybe a beverage or two always followed the 18 holes. She won the women’s championship at Buffalo Hill seven times—1976, 1978-82, and 1984. She even had a green built in her back yard so she could improve her putting. When her Dad was 69, he took up golf–with Pat as his instructor. He never  beat her, but on a good day, he could hold his own.

Pat was smart, quick, and a fiercely loyal, loving, generous friend and relative. If she liked you.

She had fuchsias; her back porch and yard were festooned with them—rose, pale yellow, burgundy, many shades of purple and lavender (her favorite color). Every fall she cut them back and overwintered them in her third bedroom—which she didn’t heat.

She read incessantly–books she traded with friends, books she checked out from the library. And she taped movies.

Her mother died in 1972 and her father in 1986. Her brother-in-law and good friend and classmate, Philip Bertelsen, also died before she did, as did all of her aunts and uncles in both the Morton and Helseth families. She is survived by her sisters Shirley Morton Bertelsen, Columbia Falls, and  Kay Morton Ellerhoff (Tom), Helena; her nieces Jan Bertelsen James (David) of Eureka, and Sally Kay Bertelsen, Kalispell;  and her nephew Tom Bertelsen (Jayne) of Whitefish.  Other survivors include her grandnieces Jayde James of Great Falls and Tayler Bertelsen of Bozeman, and a grandnephew, Philip Bertelsen, Kalispell.

Golf Course. Should you desire to send a memorial, she chose the Buffalo Hill Junior Golf Program, P.O. Box 1116; Kalispell, MT 59903.

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