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June Marie Bruning Watkins


January 3, 2014

June Marie Bruning Watkins passed away on Dec. 31, 2013, at the Discovery Care Center in Hamilton.

June was born on June 24, 1927, in Havre to William J. Bruning and Myrtle Gilbertson.  She is preceded in death by her parents; and older brother, Aubrey (2008); and has a younger sister, Helen Miller, of Tacoma. June was raised in Havre and was an active member of St. Jude Thaddeus parish.

From 1946 to 1950, she was employed at the optometry office of Dr. William Forester.  June was a valued employee and lifetime friend of Dr. and Mrs. Forester.  She continued to wear the latest eyeglasses long after her employment ended. She was the “Elton John of her generation." 

On July 23, 1950, she married Wilbur Vaughn “Bunts” Watkins in Havre. They were married for 63 years, and all six of their children were born in Havre, Karen Myers (Ken) of Swan Lake and Mesa, Debbie (Tom) Beaudette, Dian (Tom) Schmidt and William Forester Watkins, all of Missoula, Sue Ellen (Laughlin) Waters of Los Angeles, and Amy (Ray) Shulund of Spokane.

June and Bunts were active in the Havre community. June was a devoted Catholic and spent many hours working at St. Jude Thaddeus School and parish while raising her family. She loved life, had a kind heart, a wonderful smile and a blessed sense of humor even when life was difficult. She was game for anything as long as she was with her family. June and Bunts opened their home to many “adopted” children along the way. No child was ever a stranger to June.

June was an avid cook and loved to entertain. She was the happiest when her house was bustling with her children, family and friends. There was always a Sunday dinner with her dad and a priest or two, along with a game of cards. June managed to find time to operate the Swiss Inn which kept her children employed.

In 1973 June and Bunts moved to Missoula. They spent over 40 years in Missoula and were again active in the community. She loved to play bridge, sing with the Sweet Adeline’s and swim at the health club. For 10 years she was the local chapter president of the Arthritis Foundation.

June loved her time spent at 6 Mile Estate on Swan Lake and her winters in Mesa.  She was a warm and loving grandmother to her 12 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Many thanks to the loving staff at the Discovery Care Center for their special care of June over the past few years – the family is so appreciative. It was a great comfort knowing that her care was exceptional and that there was always a hug and smile for her.

Funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church in Havre, with burial to follow in Highland Cemetery. A reception will follow the burial at the Mediterranean Room at the Duck Inn. A memorial reception will be held noon to 3:30 p.m. at the Depot in Missoula.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, 624 4th St., Havre, MT 59501. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with services and arrangements.


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