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Obituary - Lillian Spinler October 13, 1937 - February 24, 2024

Lillian Loretta Spinler passed away at her daughter's home in Juneau, Alaska, Feb. 24, 2024, after a short battle with cancer.

A vigil and Rosary will be at 3 p.m. Pacific Time Friday, April 19, 2024, at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 30525 Eighth Ave, Federal Way, WA, and a Rosary will be said at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church in Havre at 6 p.m. Mountain Time Tuesday, April 23, 2024, with a funeral Mass at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church Wednesday, April 24, 2024, at 10 a.m. Mountain Time. Burial at Highland Cemetery will follow the Mass. The family is requesting you bring one rose to the interment to lay to rest with Lillian and Jay.

Born Oct. 13, 1937, in Buchanan, MI, she turned 13 Friday the 13th, which made it her favorite day. Her last birthday was Friday the 13th, and she enjoyed it, reiterating it was her favorite day. She was from the Silent Generation, also known as the Traditionalist, which describes her lifestyle and strong faith in the Catholic Church. She was a true believer in Jesus, Mary, the sacraments, baptizing all her children, and supporting their faith journey.

She was a member of St. Francis Xavier Parish, Spokane, WA, where she lived for the last seven years and was a long-time member of St. Jude Thaddeus Parish in Havre, MT. 

When Lillian graduated from high school, she initially joined a convent with an aunt. After a year, she left the convent and joined the U.S. Air Force where she met her first husband. She served for two years before she left the military to start a family, eventually giving birth to five children.

After leaving a difficult marriage, she raised her children with the help of family until she found a humble hard-working, blue-collar WWII vet, Jay Spinler and moved to Havre, Montana, where they raised her two youngest children together and she lived for 35 years. 

She and Jay were long time Eagles Club Members and members of the Drill Team traveling to conventions to help support the local club. They loved to go out dancing and would "glide" across the dance floor, as if their feet never touched the ground. In later years, they would travel across the US to see/help family/friends; Lillian doing most of the driving as she loved to drive. She was still driving at 86, it relaxed her and gave her freedom. She left Havre in 2015 a few years after Jay's passing (2010) and will be buried with Jay at the Highland Cemetery in Havre.

Lillian was undoubtedly a beautiful woman both inside and out. Someone once told Lillian that she looked like Sophia Loren, and that made her beam - and she loved reminding us of this. She was known for her astounding determination and a never give up attitude. Quiet by nature, she was ever diligent, determined, and unyielding. She worked various physically demanding jobs; a machine factory (while in the service and where she lost her hearing), then the food service industry, then as an aide at Northern Montana Hospital on the OB unit, followed by Head Start for many years before retiring. She loved taking care of people, especially her family. 

As a mother, she instilled a sense of responsibility in her children. When they would hear her car careening around the corner they knew they had better be where they said!

She liked eccentricity and originality, filling her home and yard with handmade items, mostly from Jay, and gifts from her large family and many friends. She considered them all a treasure, one of a kind, and cherished every one of them.

Due to her hearing loss, she could sleep through almost anything which she called "a blessing" from her military service. She compensated by reading your lips when you spoke to her, which could be interesting if you did not know about her hearing loss.

Together, Jay and Lillian had 11 children. Family was the most important thing to her, she loved to hear from everyone.

She is preceded in death by her parents, her husbands, one daughter, one daughter-in-law, one brother, three sisters, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Survivors include her sons, Gerald Nichols (Nick), Jr. and Anthony (Dana) Spinler; daughters Angelita Hersman and Roxanne Newell; her stepsons, Eugene (Gloria) Spinler and Edward (Denise) Spinler; stepdaughters, Bernadette (Ralph) Prosser, Germaine (Lonnie) Roberts, and Eulalie (Gary) Ophus; two sisters, Dorothy Marlatt and Esther Smith; one brother, Jim (Dorie) Brown; 29 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great-grandchild, and a multitude of nieces and nephews.


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