Fern Elizabeth Hildreth

Fern Elizabeth Hildreth


Our sweet Fern Elizabeth Hildreth peacefully passed away on August 9, 2013, surrounded by those who loved her.  

Her amazing optimism, determination, and love for her family and friends helped her through her valiant fight with cancer. During treatments, Fernie’s sense of humor delighted doctors, nurses, and therapists, as well as other patients who surrounded her.

  Fern was born March 29, 1956, to Raymond and Darlene (Goodfellow) Hildreth. In her early years, she lived in Armstead and later was raised in Dillon until she graduated from Beaverhead County High School. She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had a deep abiding love for the Savior and his unconditional love for her. 

Fern had a contagious love for life, laughter and holidays. Her spirit radiated sunshine to all the lives she touched. She loved being outside in just about any capacity—from gardening, horses, biking, swimming and tennis, to sleeping under the stars and any family activity. She had a passion for crocheting afghans and making quilts for all her family members. Throughout high school, she stayed active in many clubs and was a cheerleader for the Beavers. She was Dillon’s Junior Miss for 1973–74. 

After high school, Fern married Brand Thornton, and together they had four wonderful children: Nick, Chad, Jesse and Brandee. They moved to Colstrip, where they made their home and raised their family. They were divorced in 1992. Fern was later married to Arnold Garner for 20 years.

Fern worked for the school system and was in charge of the reprographics department. She drove bus for the school and all their different activities. She dearly loved the association and friendships with the children that she met along the way. She was always laughing at what the kids had to say. Fern also worked many years as a part-time driver for Sarpi Transportation. She certified in the field of interior design, where she was able to express her artistic gifts.

   Fern’s lifetime of unconditional love and goodness toward everyone was returned to her tenfold during her illness by so many lifetime family and friends. At this time, we want to express our deepest gratitude to those of you who loved her in so many ways. We express a special thanks to the community and school district of Colstrip and Sarpi Transportation.

Fern is survived by: sons Nick, Chad and Jesse (Melissa), and daughter Brandee Burt (Kendall); grandchildren Jarom, Kaylee, Azelynn, Blair and Macey; grandchildren Dylan, Sadee, Noelle, Christian and Juliette; her parents Raymond and Darlene; brothers Clayton, Bryce (Hazel) and Grant (Debbie); sister Amber (Doug); and by many nephews and nieces.

To have known Fern was to have loved her. She will be deeply missed. 

 On Monday, at the Brundage Funeral Home, a viewing was held to honor our dear Fernie and her funeral was on Tuesday at the LDS Church. All Memorial Contributions can go to Relay for Life, Hospice, or to donor’s choice.