Ramona Higgins Matthews, 79, life-long resident of Browning, passed away peacefully at her home Saturday, April 6, 2019, in Browning.
Cremation has taken place and a Celebration of Life is set for Thursday, April 11, at the Stick Game Arbor in Browning. Social gathering starts at 2 p.m. with a memorial service following. A dinner will begin at 4 p.m.
Mona, as she was affectionately known, was born in Browning on May 23, 1939, to Ursula Walter and Arthur Zervas, and later raised by Walter Higgins. She was the oldest of nine children. Mona spent most of her childhood in Browning, with stops along the way in Missoula, Thompson Falls and Seattle. She graduated from Browning High School in 1958. After graduating, she briefly attended Haskell Indian Junior College in Lawrence, Kan., to pursue a nursing degree.
Being so far from home, missing family and friends, left such a lonesome feeling. With the help from the love of her life, Carl (Bumps) Matthews, Mona returned home. Mona and Bumps were married in late November 1958, and made their home on the Matthews ranch just north of Browning. This is where they started their family, having three children – Kathy, Tim and Nikki. Bumps passed away in 1992, and Mona continued to live there until her passing.
When her children were older, Mona took a job with the Blackfeet Boarding Dormitory. It was here where she impacted so many lives. She would always tell you after greeting someone that “he/she was one of my Boarding school kids.” She retired in 2006 after over 36 years of service.
Mona loved spending time with her family and friends. She loved spoiling her grandchildren. Mona also loved to picnic, bowl and golf until her health got the best of her. She was an adamant supporter of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital until the day she passed away.
Mona is survived by her daughters Kathleen (Clarence) Gilham of Browning and Nikki (Bill) Powell of Babb; her son Tim (Betty) Matthews of Browning as well as her beloved grandsons, Clarence Brian Gilham (Sissy), Brandon (Shawnee), Ty (Chyana), Chance (Tara) Matthews and Ben Powell; and her only granddaughter Skye Gilham. Mona also adored and loved her great-grandchildren Mariana, Elena, Rylynn, Mariah and Robert (Angus) Matthews; and her arguing partner Augustus (Gus) Gilham; brother Jim (Kay) Higgins; and sisters Patty (Joe) LaTray, Laurie Marso, Mary Higgins Edmo and Kathleen (Kitty) Bull Calf; sister-in-law MaryAnn “Chyna” Higgins; and special niece Dawn Magee Cobell. She is also survived by all her many nieces, nephews, extended family and her “boarding school kids.” All will remember dear Mona fondly and with many happy memories of her kind and caring spirit.
Besides her loving husband Bumps, Mona was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Delores “PeeWee” Magee and Johnel “Peaches” Tail Feathers; and brother, Wayne “Sonny” Higgins Jr.; brothers-in-law Donny Magee, Butch Tailfeathers and Bobby Bull Calf; as well as her beloved and cherished grandson, Clint Powell.
Donations in her honor can be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or the American Diabetes Association.