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May 6, 1946 March 30, 2016
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Barbara Catherine Purcell was born May 6th, 1946 in Carrington North Dakota to Earl Jesse and Gladys Irene (Foulston) Purcell. The family moved to Trout Creek Montana in the early 50's where Barbara started school. After living in Trout Creek for several years the family moved to the McLeod area settling on Elk Creek, where Barbara continued her schooling at the East Boulder School. A number of years later the family settled just out of Big Timber on the Old Boulder Road. Barbara had many happy memories from her childhood with her large family of 5 brothers and 5 sisters; Doris, Norma, Rawleigh, Juanita, Wallace, Clayton, Rosemary, Bruce, Donald and Sheila.

In 1965 Barbara met and married the love of her life Harvey Cort Strobel. The couple was married in Billings on July 17, 1965. To the marriage she brought her son James Ronald. The couple initially settled at the Tony and Alice Vandervort place on the Yellowstone River. While living at the Vandervort place daughter Julie Ann was born in 1966. In 1970 Cort built the family home on Upper Deer Creek. Shortly after moving into their new home daughter Sandra Rae was born.

In her early years Barbara spent a lot of time with her older sister Rosemary. She helped with the cooking cleaning and childcare. Her sister Rosemary's brood of 9 was very special to her. Of course at that time making and kneading bread by hand was how you did it so she made slobber doughnuts with Danny Lee on the table, kneading dough and Danny Lee slobbering all over it.

Barbara passed away from a very short but courageous battle with pancreatic cancer March 30th, 2016, at the Pioneer Medical Center in Big Timber. It was where she wanted to be and we were so glad to be able to get her "home" to spend her last evening surrounded by those she loved. What a journey it was to get a new angel to heaven, but it was worth every tear.

Barbara loved her home, family and animals. Coming from a large family Barbara had many, many nieces and nephews, with a few that were extra special. Her critters were always very special to her as well. They included Sam, 2 Roscoes, Jockamo, Gregor, Boo, Squirty a couple of Lisa's and Buttons. Barbara loved her horses and horseback riding, spending a lot of time helping the neighbors move cows. In recent years Cort and Barb had acquired a fairly large population of cottontail yard bunnies, with one that was quite tame. She would throw a carrot out in the yard for him in the morning and he would come and munch it down.

All of Barbara's grandchildren had a special place in her heart. They start with Rian being the first and oldest, then her cowgirl Shelby, she was so proud of Reese being a college graduate (he reminded her so much of Jim) and Devin who could talk her into about anything. Great-Granddaughter Maren was the light of her life and her little helper.

Barbara is survived by her husband Cort, daughters Julie Schmidt (Loren Funk), and Sandra (Darren) Halvorson all of Big Timber. Grandchildren Rian Schmidt of Williston, ND, Shelby Schmidt of Billings, MT, Reese Halvorson of Bozeman, MT, Devin Halvorson of Big Timber and Great-Granddaughter Maren Schmidt of Big Timber. Sisters Sheila O'Connell, Big Timber; Norma Neumiller, Carrington, ND. Brothers Bruce Purcell, Livingston, MT and Donald Purcell, Big Timber and many many nieces and nephews.

Barbara was preceded in death by her parents Earl and Gladys Purcell. Son Jim, sisters Doris Vraa, Juanita Sands and Rosemary Myrstol; brothers Rawleigh, Wallace and Clayton Purcell. Special brothers-in-law David Myrstol and Lyle Neumiller.

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Previous Events

Funeral Service




10:00 AM 4/4/2016 10:00:00 AM
Big Timber Evangelical Church

302 Bramble
Big Timber, MT 59011

Big Timber Evangelical Church
302 Bramble Big Timber 59011 MT
United States

Cemetery Details


Mountain View Cemetery Final Resting Place

West of Big Timber
Big Timber, MT 59011

West of Big Timber Big Timber 59011 MT
United States

Memorial Contribution

Hearts and Hands Hospice

PO Box 1337
Big Timber, MT 59011

Sweet Grass Cancer Alliance

PO Box 517
Big Timber, MT 59011

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