Mary Alice Overaker

Mary Alice Overaker, a resident in the Missoula area and in Missoula for many years off and on, passed away peacefully at St. James Hospital, Butte, Mont., after succumbing to cancer that had spread throughout her body.

She was the oldest daughter of Clarence and Betty Biehl, sister of Betty (B.J.) McAlear, Donald (Don) Biehl and Christopher (Chris) Biehl.

She was born in Missoula on Dec. 15, 1940, and was the darling of the Forestry School as her father finished his degree in forestry.

She grew up on a ranch near Garneill and attended grade school there in a “one-room school.” Next she went to a private girl’s school (Rowland Hall) in Salt Lake City, Utah for two years. While there she spent many weekends with her grandmother, Mary Atwater, and uncle, Montgomery Atwater and his wife Alice. 

She decided to go back home and spent her last two years of high school at Moore Public High School and made many new friends. After her graduation she went to both MSC (Bozeman) and MSU (Missoula). After student teaching in Hobson she became restless and traveled the country to find her true calling, never settling in one place for long.

In her later years she lived in Lewistown, Milltown, and finally in Missoula, near the new Povarello. She became a tireless advocate for the homeless and knew most of them by name. She will be greatly missed as she cared deeply about their wellbeing.

Mary Alice had a strong faith, was a fine pianist, had a beautiful voice, was an avid reader and spent many hours at the library, had a brilliant mind and wrote often in her journals.

She is survived by her son, Benjamin Overaker, her sister B.J. McAlear in Lolo, her brother Don and his family in Belgrade, her brother Chris in Bozeman, and many cousins and friends.

She was preceded in death by her first son, Michael Belangie on Nov. 8, 1988, by her father in 1987, and her mother in 2002. She will be greeted in Heaven by them, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and her grandparents. May she rest in peace.

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