Mary was born on April 2, 1940 in Eureka to Orrin S. and Elsie M. Frost. She succumbed to a lengthy illness on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at Immanuel Lutheran Care Center. She was 83 years of age.
She is one of eight children, three brothers and four sisters. She attended school at Roosevelt Grade School and Lincoln County High School, graduating in 1958. That summer, she worked in the main state office of F.A. Buttrey Co. in Havre, and later transferred to the office in Kalispell.
In 1959 she met her future husband, Jim Handford, and they were married in December of that year. In the early years, Mary was mostly a stay at home mom and homemaker. She did some part-time work at the Flathead County Treasurer’s office during tax season in the 1960s and in the late 70s she went back to full-time work at the County Department of Motor Vehicles, where she worked for 23 years, retiring in 1999. Mary loved working with the public, and even though being a “tax collector” could be very stressful, her best reward was sending her most irate customer out the door with a smile on their face.
Mary was very much a family person. She loved her children and grandchildren so much, and had a great bunch of nieces and nephews, calling each of them her “favorite” — she loved them all. She enjoyed working in her gardens, loved the flowers, attended many ball games and concerts, and she kept in touch with old friends. She had a quick wit and sense of humor, always a storyteller and had a smile for everyone.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, all of her siblings and their spouses, and husband James Henry, who left us in October of 2017; as well as three of her five children,
James Brett in 1960, Orrin Henry in 1966 and Lisa Lynn in 1982.
She is survived by sons, Brad and wife Kim, and Hank and wife Christa; grandchildren, Ashley and Brett Handford, and Alanna Ozegovich and husband Dustin; one step-granddaughter, Mallory Slaten; and many members of her extended family and special friends old and new.
So now Mary has gone down “Primrose Lane.” Her remains have been cremated and a private burial will be arranged, with Buffalo Hill Funeral Home attending the family. A celebration of life will be held on Friday, June 16, 2023 at 4 p.m. at the Kalispell Eagles, 37 First St. West.