Estelle May Mathers

1923 – 2014
Estelle May Mathers


Montana lost a wonderful lady on Sunday, March 16, 2014.  Though Estelle had been struggling with health issues due to a stroke for many years, she passed peacefully at Highgate Assisted Living in Bozeman, Montana.

Estelle May Mathers was born in Edinburg, Virginia, in the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley on April 29, 1923 to Floyd and Maude (Hollar) Wilkins.

She was the second of four girls.  Growing up on a farm during the Depression years had its challenges, but also had wonderful memories of large family picnics, homemade ice cream and pies at the church socials in the summertime, and walking across the old bridge to the “island” and playing with friends and sisters in Stoney Creek.  Last but not least, she loved feeding the many “bum” lambs on the farm.

Upon graduation from Edinburg High in 1940, Estelle joined her sisters, Julia and Elizabeth, in Washington, D.C., to work at the telephone company.  There she met the love of her life, Bill Mathers, whom had returned from Germany serving in WWII.  They married March 25, 1950, in Washington, D.C.  Together they moved west to Colorado in 1951 and raised two lovely children, Karen Mathers Shapnick and Dean Mathers.

Estelle continued to work for a while at the phone company in Denver, but eventually went to work at BlueCross BlueShield working her way to supervisor for many years.

Upon retirement, she and Bill traveled the world and had many wonderful adventures with friends and family.

They moved to Bozeman in 1995 to be closer to their children and granddaughter.  However, her heart was always in Colorado, and she had hoped to return there one day.

Estelle enjoyed entertaining with her wonderful cooking, shopping, hikes and picnics in the mountains.  She also enjoyed traveling, which included a trip back to Edinburg, Virginia, in 2010 for a high school reunion.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Bill, and two brothers-in-law, Prent Golladay and Harold Newland.  Estelle is survived by her two children, daughter, Karen and son-in-law, Dr. David Shapnick; and son, Dean and (Becky Hoffman); granddaughter, Holly Mae Shapnick; three sisters, Julia Golladay, Elizabeth Newland and Nancy (Phil) Tyler; many nieces, nephews and extended family members.

Funeral services will be held in Colorado at Horan and McConaty Funeral Service, 3101 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Lakewood, CO, followed by graveside services at Fort Logan National Cemetery, 3698 S. Sheridan Blvd., Denver, CO, where she will join Bill once again.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Estelle’s name to Hospice of Bozeman Deaconess, 931 Highland Blvd, Suite 3200, Bozeman, MT 59715 or to a charity close to your heart.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.