It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mary “Noreen” Bartsch. Nor passed away peacefully May 12 due to complications of idiopathic liver failure at Apple Cooney Nursing Home, where she had recently resided. Noreen was born August 17, 1933 in Butte to Mary (Mame) and Malachy (Mal) Doran. She attended Immaculate Conception grade school and graduated from Butte Girls Central High School. She attended Carroll College School of Nursing, graduating in 1954.
Noreen began her nearly 40-year nursing career at St. James Hospital in Butte. She later worked for St. Pat’s in Missoula, and St. John’s in Helena. In 1972 Nor began her 20 years of home health nursing when she was one of the first three nurses hired by West Mont Home Health Care. This was a time when home health care was a new concept. Many interesting stories were told whether it be police escorted visits or visiting a patient under a railroad bridge! She retired from West Mont in 1992, the same day Dan retired from DOT.
Noreen married Daniel P. Bartsch on September 7, 1957. They were lovingly and happily married for 57 years before his passing in January 2015. From this union were born five children. Colleen with husband Tim and children Pat and Anna. Paul and wife Chris. Mike with wife Lisa and children Makenzie, Shea and Sierra. Don with wife Cory and children Rian, Kady, and Mike. Kevin with wife Anne and children Amanda, Morgan, Dani and Paige.
During her life, she was a very active member of the St. Helena Cathedral where she was a Eucharistic minister, provided communion for hospital visits, and rarely did a funeral luncheon occur without one of her salads! Noreen was a member of Jaycees, volunteered with March of Dimes and read to children at Central School long after her kids’ attendance.
For those of you who knew Noreen, you know of her intense love for sports. She was someone who had virtually no athletic talent, but you will be hard pressed to find a more enthusiastic fan! Nor rarely missed any of her kids’ or grandkids’ sporting events. From Central School basketball games, Small Fry football, to Helena High and Capital High athletics, she was always in the stands with a smile on her face. Not to mention the many Casper Natrona events, University of Wyoming volleyball games, and University of Montana football games attended in order to support her family. Noreen was a serious college football fan and you better believe – any fall Saturday you could find her watching the Cats, Griz or Notre Dame on TV, all while simultaneously listening to Carroll on the radio. In addition to being a sports fanatic, Noreen enjoyed her bridge clubs over the years where she enjoyed many long-lasting friendships. She was an avid member of the Bengal Booster club when it was established.
Noreen’s career as a nurse was her vocation, but her true calling was her commitment to her family. The two really went together, since ultimately, Noreen cared far more for others than she did herself.
Noreen was preceded in death by her parents, her devoted husband of 57 years Dan, her son Mike and nephew Steve. She is survived by her four remaining children and their spouses, daughter-in-law Lisa and her husband Dick Bratton. She is also survived by her special relatives Jim and Shelia Drynan, Jim and Gete Garvey, and Rosie Garvey and their families.
There will be a public viewing from Noon until 3:30 pm on Saturday May 16, 2020 at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral home. Due to current restrictions, there will be limitations on the number of people in the building at one time and social distancing will be required. A funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Helena Cathedral once we are able to do so without restrictions. Internment of ashes will take place at Resurrection Cemetery following the funeral mass.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish may provide memorial donations in Noreen’s name and are suggested to St. Helena Cathedral, West Mont, Intermountain Children’s Home or an organization of the donor’s choice.
We would like to pay special thanks to the caring staff of Apple Cooney Nursing for the excellent and loving care they provided during these last couple months. Under very difficult circumstances, they kept her comfortable and well cared for and we appreciate their efforts to be with her so she was not alone, even at the end.