In Memory

Nona Johannsen (Byrne) - Class Of 1975

SUNBURST - Nona Marie (Johannsen) Byrne, 53, a former teacher from Sunburst, died from surgical complications Saturday at a Great Falls hospital.

Memorial Mass is noon Tuesday at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, with burial in Sunburst Cemetery. A reception will follow at the Sunburst Methodist Church. Whitted Funeral Chapel of Shelby is in charge of arrangements.

Survivors include her daughter, Kimberly (Daniel) Hartmann of Wabasha, Minn.; her significant other, Ronald Elery of Sunburst; brother Cleve (Jonette) Johannsen of Sunburst; sister Barbara Johannsen of Monrovia, Calif.; and nieces and nephews, Kallie, Darcey, John, Riley, and Chase.

Nona was preceded in death by her parents, Russell and Rita, and several aunts and uncles.

Nona Marie Byrne left this world Sept. 11, 2010, to embark on a new mission. She was born Feb. 8, 1957, at Great Falls to Russell and Rita (Byrne) Johannsen, and was the big sister, the star of the show, and the boss. She grew up in Sunburst. College years were spent at Northern Montana College and also at Boise State University. Nona received her teaching degree and took great pleasure in molding the lives of children. Teaching in small schools seemed to be her specialty. A one-room school in Whitlash was where she completed her teaching career before moving on to brokerage work in Sweet Grass in 1993.

She was forced to quit working because of her multiple sclerosis, but kept busy with her parrots, cats, dogs, and Kimberly's horses. She also enjoyed her flower beds and honing in on her socializing skills.

Nona got married in 1979 to William Byrne and was later divorced. A daughter, Kimberly, entered the scene in 1984, and became the light of Nona's life as well as her best friend.

Nona was a member of American Legion Auxiliary Border Post No. 73, Sunburst VFW Auxiliary, and took a very active role in fundraising/developing the SPARK Park (Sunburst Park and Recreation for Kids).

Memorials are suggested to American Legion Auxiliary, Sunburst VFW Auxiliary, or Benefis Gift of Life Housing in Great Falls.

Nona now has a large role in heaven and we are expecting frequent thunderstorms from her commotion! She will be deeply missed by her family and friends, but also remembered for the wonderful person that she was. A new angel gained its wings today and heaven has a wonderful addition.

Oh, the places she went. She was dexterous and deft, and never mixed up her right foot with her left. And did she succeed . . . 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed, mom. You've moved mountains!

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09/11/10 06:51 PM #1    

Wendy Paisley (Olson) (1974)

I was just getting re-acquainted with Nona after this summer's All Class Reunion in Sunburst.  What a loss for all of her family and friends!  I  am so thankful that we got to visit a bit at the reunion in July!   I remember back in grade school, that I usually ended up spending the night with Nona during the Jerry Lewis Telethon weekend.  We would stay up all night long watching all the entertainment and stars on TV.  And, of course, we'd drive her Mom and Dad crazy with all our giggling and noise! Her Mom, Rita, inspired me to prepare a science paper in high school on Multiple Sclerosis.  God Bless You, Nona! 

09/22/10 08:55 AM #2    

Brad Feehan (1975)

Nona you were a good friend and I will always remember the great times we had.  Your time here was to short.  At times like these I remember some of the events that shaped both of our lifes.  I remember being introduced to you when I was in 6th grade.  Our meeting took place at the swings over by the grade school.  You told me who was who at the school and let me know your house was always open for "snacks" (what a mistake).  From that point on we were friends and yes I was always at your house with the "guys" eating the snacks.  Anyone who was there would remember your mother would send you to the store if there wasn't enough "snacks" for the guys to eat.  I believe I spent more time at your house then my own.  We always talked about what we would be doing in the future and yes those talks also took place at the famous grade school swings.  I will miss talking to you..........

03/15/11 08:08 PM #3    

Sue Lasher (McMinn) (1975)

 What can I say.....You kept me grounded so many times, always there to talk to with wise advice if I wanted it, just to listen if I didn't..... crazy life adventures made for good times and wonderful memories I cherish!!!  I miss you dear friend and think of you often.......

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