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Patricia "Packy" Gillen Walker

March 20, 1938 June 24, 2022
Patricia "Packy" Gillen Walker
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Obituary for Patricia "Packy" Gillen Walker

Patricia Glee (Gillen) Walker March 20th 1938 – June 24th 2022

Packy Walker took the hand of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and entered the Kingdom of God for her heavenly homecoming the early hours of June 24th. The room was filled with love, and she was holding the hands of her sons as she left this world.

Packy was a one of a kind, made in Montana girl who truly knew the value of hard work and loving thy neighbor. Packy was given her nickname from her father who was proud of his Irish heritage. Her parents, Thomas and Frances (Kosak) Gillen, were both born in Montana. Thomas, born in Butte growing up in Red Lodge and Frances, born in the small coal mining town of Bear Creek, MT. Frances’ parents emigrated to the US in 1904 from Yugoslavia. Frances learned English in grade school in Roundup and grew up near the No.3 Coal Mine where her father worked. Packy remembers growing up making Poteca, a traditional Slovenian sweet bread, with her mother and aunts, a treasured tradition that Packy passed down to her granddaughters. You counted yourself blessed to receive a loaf of poteca for Christmas from Packy.

Packy was born in Wolfpoint but mainly grew up in Roundup where she graduated from high school in 1956 as the Valedictorian. Packy was the class Vice President, participated in student council, chorus, twirling, pep club, tumbling, rodeo staff, panther parade staff and was prom queen. Packy and her mother Frances hold the distinction of being the only mother-daughter team to both be crowned May Day Queens at Roundup High School. After graduating high school, Packy attended College at Montana State University. Packy cheered for the MSU Bobcats every year during the Brawl of the Wild, mostly for good rivalry with her younger brother of five years Danny, who is unfortunately a Montana Grizzly.

Attending MSU changed Packy’s life after agreeing to go on a double date with a friend and meeting her husband of 38 years and friend Richard (Dick) Walker. Packy and Dick married August 24th, 1958, in a little chapel on College Street in Bozeman and started a life together which brought Packy four beautiful, boisterous boys: Rick, Bruce, Randy and Brian. Dick and Packy moved to Broadus for a couple years then to Hardin for Dick’s teaching and coaching job.

In 1970 they moved back to the Walker Ranch in Musselshell where they finished raising their four boys. Packy was unmatched as a homemaker. There wasn’t a thing she couldn’t sew, grow, cook or bake. Her vegetable garden and flower garden always had the best in show, and she made gardening look easy. Packy was a 4H leader in Musselshell and taught countless kids how to sew. She also participated in Musselshell Homemakers Club and Musselshell Cowbelles.

After three of her four boys graduated high school Packy began working as the Roundup High School Secretary where she worked for 20 years and had all the stories of the high school shenanigans.

Packy was as tough as a bent nail to have raised four boys who all decided to try their hand at bull riding. It was no wonder she worried a lot; she cared even more and had raised four fearless young men who were ready to make their mark on the world. She cried when they left for college and cried when they came home. Her boys were her prized possession. During the cattle drive of 1989 she volunteered to help take the cash/tickets for beer. Selling over 80,000 beers and returning to the bank where every single ticket, receipt and penny was accounted for to the banker’s surprise. She kept track of her gaggle of boys even more closely.

In 2002 Packy moved to Huntley up the road from her grandkids and two sons Bruce (daughters Sarah and Laura) and Brian and Justine (Loren, Emily, Dixon). Loving thy neighbor came easy to Packy but having her grandchildren as neighbors gave her joy; and she didn’t miss a thing with her binoculars next to the window—especially the smoke of a fire in the fire pit. It only took grandma a matter of minutes to be over with a watering can, just in case.

Packy’s greatest source of pride was her family. Family gatherings at her cabin in Checkerboard when all the grandkids were young were nothing short of magical especially with the short-lived propane toilet that the grandkids renamed the “Fire Breathing Dragon”. Packy tried to make the cabin the heart of the family, a peaceful place for everyone to enjoy. Every year she would try to travel to visit her oldest son Rick and wife Joy in North Dakota and their boys Jory and Travis or fly north to Alaska to visit her son Randy, wife Robin and their boys Sam and Andy. She kept in touch with everyone and was the source of any information you needed and only a phone call away. She accepted all her daughters-in-law into the family with open arms and was always quick to invite them to a meal to get to know them more. Packy’s table knew no strangers and was always ready with good food, great stories, hot tea and the best company. She never hesitated to walk out in the field to invite the farmers in for some lunch. Feeding others was her love language.

Packy’s grandkids would tell you that “she didn’t have a mean bone in her body” and that she qualified for sainthood, mostly for her patience during sewing lessons and willingness to rip all the mistake stitches so we didn’t give up. She was her grandkids number one fan and a dedicated supporter for HP Schools and became everyone’s grandma by default. She helped her grands with every 4H Project she could and even made a few custom prom dresses. She never missed a sporting event from cheerleading, volleyball, football, basketball, track and wrestling; she even paid her grandsons a shiny silver dime for every kid they pinned during their wrestling careers. She had a special way to make everything fun or unique for each grandkid. She liked to have a little piece of each of them nearby including her “Travis Tree” that is still growing today and was started from seed found on a North Dakota playground 15 years ago. We also owe her Dixons life for always yelling at him to take smaller bites as a child. Watching Bubba eat gave her anxiety and pure joy, so she would cook trout just for the two of them and take him on all the Red Lobster dates. Packy’s four-year-old great-grand daughter and namesake, Hinlee Packy will forever cherish her walks and talks with great grandma and was so blessed to also grow up as grandma’s neighbor.

To add to Packy’s long list of accolades she was a master quilter and blessed each of her grandkids with a distinctive and individualized quilt upon graduation that had photos, favorite colors and hobbies sewn throughout the showpiece. She was even able to make a few final quilts for her great grandkids. The final count on how many quilts she made in her lifetime is far too many to track (the same with number of jeans she patched).

Grass couldn’t grow under her feet; she was always busy. In her retirement she worked at Martinson’s Ranch Chocolates (mostly to send her family caramel), participated in Huntley Project Sewing Club and Huntley Gardening club keeping up the flower beds around the town signs and at the Metra. During fair you could find her in the hobbies building volunteering to scoop ice cream and the first Wednesday of the month was her “Social Security Gal’s” lunch at Gusicks.

Grandma Packy was always full of wisdom, and she became a go-to source for all her friends, kids and grandkids. There wasn’t a question she couldn’t answer and always had a tried-and-true remedy for literally anything. Packy was innovative and independent, and she lived that way until her final days.

“This too shall pass” was a phrase she would share repeatedly during the sleepless nights after bringing home a newborn baby or when trudging through a particularly hard or sorrowful time in life. Right now, it doesn’t seem like this sorrowful time will pass, but Grandma was never wrong. She left her family with many memories and even more love. She brought the most truth to the adage “the best things come in small packages”. For being only 4’11’’ Packy left a big mark on this world and will be missed dearly by her family and friends. We love you Mom and Grandma and we cannot wait to see your gardens in heaven.

A service to celebrate Packy’s big life and to share food will be held August 27th from11-3pm at the Musselshell school.

Packy is survived by her brother, all four sons, fourteen grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Survivors include her brother Daniel Gillen (Marlys); her beloved sons, Rick Walker (Joy) of Minot, Bruce Walker (Paula) of Lewistown, MT; Randy Walker of Anchorage, AK; Brian Walker (Teresa) of Musselshell; her daughter-in-law Justine Walker of Temecula, CA. Grandchildren: Jory Walker (Emilie) and children Lincoln, Wells, & Eden of ND; Travis Walker of ND; Sarah Tvetene (Don) of Bridger, MT; Laura Bies (Jake) and daughters Evelyn & Ruth of Billings, MT; Stephanie Neumann (Christian) of Great Falls, MT; Remington Leclair of Billings, MT; Thomas Mentzer of OR; and Orrin Walker of Lewistown; Olivia Walker of Lewistown; Sam Walker of AK; Andrew Walker of AK; Loren Walker (Kylie) and children Hinlee Packy & Rhet of Huntley, MT; Emily Larson (Jeremiah) of Casper, WY; Dixon Walker of Huntley, MT; and Westyn Johnson of Musselshell, MT.
Ex-husband and friend Richard Walker


Packy was preceded in death by her parents Thomas and Frances Gillen, her in-laws George and Grace Walker, her granddaughter Lizzy Mentzer, and her two daughters-in-law Robin and Keri.

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Upcoming Events

Celebration of Life

Saturday

27

Aug

11:00 AM 8/27/2022 11:00:00 AM - 3:00 PM 8/27/2022 3:00:00 PM
Musselshell School Community Center

16 1st Street East
Musselshell, MT 59059

Musselshell School Community Center
16 1st Street East Musselshell 59059 MT
United States
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