Millie” Joy traveled quietly to Heaven from her home in Hot Springs on March 21, 2023 with family at her side. Mildred Ree Hale was Born April 13, 1934 to Elvin and Evelyn Hale in Townsend, Montana. Mildred married Larry Preston of Sheridan while they both attended Montana State College in Bozeman. They had six children and lived in a variety of places around southwestern Montana, with a short stint in Colorado. Later in life, Millie was married to Lowell “Skip” Joy and lived in Idaho and Arkansas, and eventually returned to Montana where she lived in Hamilton and finally Hot Springs. Millie was preceded in death by her parents, brother Malcolm Hale, and infant grandchildren Monica Preston, Anthony Preston, and Jonathon Preston. She is survived by six children: Duncan (Ellen) Preston, Shelley Greening, Evelyn (Ken) Nilsen, James (Margaret) Preston, Michael (Wendy) Preston, and Elisabeth (Bill) Penney, along with 21 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, and five nieces and nephews. A graveside service and interment of ashes in Mount Green Cemetery in Willow Creek will be held later in the year. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Mom’s name to Luc Boys Ranch in Lampe, MO or St. Jude’s (or other charity of your choosing).
Personal Memories from each of Mom’s six children:
Duncan - I am grateful that my mother was a part of the most important decision of my life. She showed me the way to salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ when I was five years old.
Shelley - My mother was pretty well balanced. “Moderation in all things - except moderation,” she quipped. She was neither too overprotective to prevent me from climbing trees nor too underprotective to allow me to do so carelessly. A good mother!
Evelyn - A few things I remember Mom saying, “One child took up all my time. Then I had two children and they took up all my time. It really didn’t make any difference having six children; they took up all my time.” “I can do a lot of things reasonably well. Anything I can do, I have at least one child who can do it better.” “I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher or a nurse. One of my favorite jobs was at the School of Nursing, but I wasn’t a teacher or a nurse.” Or to the poor soul questioning her knowledge, “I have forgotten more than you’ll ever know.” Mom loved God, loved her children, loved creative activities, was determined, seldom complained, gave of herself to help others.
James “Jim” - Mom’s Datsun 510 was not spectacular, but she and I both loved it. Reliable, low-maintenance fun, economical, and pretty good looking. A hint of sportiness in the lace pattern racing stripes she bought for it. A fair mechanical representation of my mom.
Michael - Mom was always there for a rescue whether it was a butterfly bandage to fix a bleeding cut over the eye or rushing me to the hospital for a broken wrist from falling on some ice. When we lived in Waterloo she found me trapped inside a large roll of chicken wire. When we lived in Melrose we were day camping at Brownes Lake. I wandered off exploring. Mom was the one who found me on an access road. I told her “you were losted but I finded you.”
Elisabeth “Lis” - Mom lived a life of quiet creativity, finding joy in both the greatest and the smallest details of life, wherever she happened to live at the time. Her skills were multifaceted and included drawing, painting, sewing, crochet, needlework, flower arranging, leather working, woodworking, photography, and all manner of other crafting, as well as baking, and proficiency in playing (and teaching) a variety of musical instruments. She instilled in me at a very young age an eye and ear for seeing and hearing the beauty in nature (“even weeds are beautiful”), the written word (starting with teaching me to read the summer I was 5, and encouraging the enjoyment of literature/theater my entire life), and music- all gifts from God, and a great part of the heritage I have tried to pass on to my children. Her dry wit was appreciated, and I can only aspire to her quiet, patient nature.