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Obituary: Berdena Alice Ulmer

Berdena Alice Ulmer, 95, passed away peacefully of natural causes on December 24, 2018, at Highgate Senior Living. She was born November 3, 1923, to Oscar and Olive (Bonebright) Merene on the family ranch in Paradise Valley. She attended Deep Creek grade school and graduated from Park County High School. During WWII, she served in the Student Nurse Corps at Malmstrom Field and received her RN in 1945 at Montana Deaconess Nursing School in Great Falls. She later received a B.S. degree in nursing at Montana State University, with honors, and a clinicians license from the University of Utah. Following her nursing school in Great Falls, Berdena moved to Bozeman and worked at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital where she was highly respected by all the doctors and staff with whom she worked.

She married James H. Border, Jr, in 1946, raised a family of three children, toiled alongside her husband in the ranching and logging businesses, and continued to work long shifts at the hospital. Berdena was a woman of indefatigable drive and commitment. After her divorce from Jim, she moved to Salt Lake City and worked at the Fort Douglas VA Hospital. After 23 years, she retired in 1989 and moved to Missoula.

She continued her faithful service to the Lord and became involved in the ministries of her church. Her flower garden was her pride and joy, and she spent endless hours working to perfect it.  She mastered the art of wood carving as evidenced by a very detailed replication of the Nativity Scene. It was during this time she met and married Robert B. Ulmer, and they spent the next ten years traveling and visiting family.

Berdena is survived by her three children: James H. Border, III (Margaret Ann) of Weiser, ID, Shirley Lutes (Victor) of Bozeman, and Richard Border (Clayetta) of Missoula. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Jimi Meyers (Troy) of Boise, ID, Jodee Nassir (Mark) of Hampton, VA, Jonna Lawrence (Brandon) of Palm Beach Desert, FL, Jilene Rossel (Mike) of Nampa, ID, Page Lutes (Holly) of Belgrade, Joni Savage (Mike) of Somers, MT, Heather Grutsch (Brad) of Missoula, and Kristen Patton (Greg) of Missoula, and 15 great-grandchildren. She also leaves behind her older sister, Mary Strong, of Livingston and stepchildren Elden Ulmer (Joan), Marguerite Ulmer, Keith Ulmer (Linda) all of North Dakota, and Glen Merkel (Lois) of Missoula. She was preceded in death by her parents, step-father Will Hume, James Border, husband Bob Ulmer, brother-in-law Bill Strong, and stepson Kenneth Ulmer.

The family is deeply grateful for the special, loving care Berdena received from the staff of the Bozeman Lodge and the cottage at Highgate and the caregivers of Hospice of Bozeman Health.

Cremation has taken place. A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, January 18, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. at Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, 113 S. Willson, followed by a reception at the Holiday Inn. Memorials in Berdena’s name may be made to the charity of one’s choice.


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