Mary Margaret Rose Pfennig was born Margaret M. Rothwell on August 10, 1928 and went to join the Lord on May 4, 2022.
Mary was born and raised in Gillette, Wyoming with her older sister Ruth and older brother James. The family lived on a 320-acre farm and farmed and raised livestock. His father was a carpenter and farmer, and his mother was a housewife.
Mary learned many carpentry skills from her father, Jim. She built lamps, fences and even a garage, and once said she was more comfortable with a Skil saw than a kitchen utensil. She could ride a horse like Fred Astaire could dance and adored his horse, Topsy, whom she often rode in elementary school in the country. Remembering Topsy always brought tears to Mary’s eyes. The school was on skids and was moved to be centrally located among the children who would attend each year.
She enjoyed golfing with her children and laughing together on the courses. She participated in the Wyoming Centennial Trail wagon ride in 1990 and other wagon rides in Montana. In 1998, she learned to ride a bicycle. She submitted weekly comments to the Stillwater News in Columbus regarding meals and activities at the Absarokee Senior Center and ran a successful auto glass repair business over the next few years, performing all window repairs herself.
Mary was a devout Catholic who embraced her Christian faith and faithfully attended Mass. She volunteered countless hours for churches in Billings, Absarokee, and Columbus, and served as secretary at St. Pius X Church and St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral in Billings. She was actively involved in the Right-to-Life movement and also volunteered with them.
Mary attended Campbell County High School in Gillette, Wyo., and was a cheerleader whose abilities shone with a stick in her hand. She led the Gillette 4th of July fashion show between her junior and senior years at the music master’s written request.
She attended the University of Wyoming, then left school to marry her college sweetheart, John Harold Rose (Jack), of Dayton, Wyo. Mary was a resourceful and practical woman who raised eight children from her first marriage. After Jack’s death, she married Allen Pfennig.
She is survived by her children, Marilyn (Robert) Hunt, John (Susan) Rose, Jr., Jacquelyne (Kevin) Hill, Patricia (Edward) Rose, Nathaniel (Charles) Rose, Mary (Bryan) Kirby, Kelly (Rich ) Klein and Michael (Angie) Rose. Mary is also survived by her 15 grandchildren, Kristy Mitchell, Pamela Grissom, Jessica Dansby, Brandy Dobbins, Casey Rose, Kris Hill, Kristy Kerin, Kendra Kirby, Shay, Rae and Montgomery Klein, Amanda Winterberg, Savannah Salazar and Abigail and Alexandra Rose. Mary also had four stepchildren from her second marriage.
She resided in Billings, Montana much of her life, but moved to Absarokee, Montana after Jack’s death. Mary eventually moved to Meadowlark Assisted Living in Columbus, Mont., after Al passed away, and her last home was in Rockwood, Tennessee, where she could live near her daughter, Jacki. Mary was predeceased by her parents, her sister Ruth Letzkus and her brother James Rothwell.
A memorial mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 3, 2022 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Columbus, Montana, followed by lunch at the church and then interment at Rosebud Cemetery in Absarokee.