State honors passing of former First Lady

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STEPHENS

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has ordered flags across the state to be flown at half-staff on Friday, Oct. 13, in honor of former Montana First Lady Ann Stephens, who died of cancer Oct. 8 in Kalispell. She was 90.

Bullock issued a statement on the passing of Stephens, saying “Lisa and I join Montanans and former Governor Stan Stephens in honoring the life and legacy of First Lady Ann Stephens. Ann served the people of Montana with dignity and grace, and she will be remembered in the hearts of family, loved ones and the entire state of Montana.”

Stan Stephens was elected the state’s 20th governor in 1988 and served from 1989 to 1993. During her time as First Lady, Ann oversaw the renovation of the Governor’s Mansion, and particularly bonded with Elsie Jones, a caretaker of the mansion for 40 years. Ann oversaw the planing of “Elsie’s Tree” on the mansion grounds to honor Jones’ dedicated service.

Following the Stephenses’ years in Helena they relocated to Kalispell, and spent many winters in California. Stan Stephens continues to reside in Kalispell.

Ann Stephens was a native of Minneapolis. She moved with her family to Havre at age 12, and graduated from Havre High School in 1945. She continued her education at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where she earned a degree in home economics and taught for a time in Wilsall, Montana and later in Havre. Ann and Stan were married in Havre in 1954, and raised their two daughters there.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 13, at Christ Lutheran Church, 5150 River Lakes Parkway in Whitefish.

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