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Andrea McCluskey

November 23, 1923 ~ September 20, 2020 (age 96)

Obituary

Sadie Andrea McCluskey (Matthiesen)  was born November 23, 1923 to Andrew and Lillian Matthiesen (Mason) on their homestead 4 miles east of Billings, Oklahoma. She passed away on Sunday September 20, 2020, at her home, surrounded by loving care and her favorite music.

Friends are invited to stop by Dugger Funeral Home of Billings on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 from 10 am until 5 pm to pay their respects and sign her guest book.  Refreshments will be served.

She was  the baby of the large Matthiesen family which  included eight children. As a young girl she showed an affinity for farming and ranching, and  spent a good amount of time sitting on her pony, reading a book while minding the cattle. Her love of animals and a simple farm life continued and thrived throughout her life.

At an early age she was baptized at the Freedom  Baptist Church and attended Happy Star country school through  the eighth grade, walking uphill to school both ways, frequently in a snowstorm, of course. Andrea graduated from Billings High School in 1941.  After graduation she attended Oklahoma A and M,  then worked various jobs and later attended Phillips University,  completing a degree in education. She taught in country schools as they were being consolidated. On February 7, 1948,  she married Jack  McCluskey,  who had returned from service in World War II and she  joined the Billings United Methodist Church. When Jack  was recalled to active duty during the Korean War they moved to Dickson,  Missouri near Fort Leonardwood  where Andrea taught the eighth grade for two years until Jack was dismissed from active duty. They returned  to Billings and established a home two miles south of Billings on the Jim and Jenny McCluskey Homestead where they very happily lived out their lives.

In April 1955, daughter  Gayla Jacque  was born and Andrea resigned from teaching at the local elementary schools. A second daughter, DruAnn Joyce, joined  the family on the farm in November 1956. Andrea threw her heart and energy into helping her daughters in every way possible  while continuing as an excellent farm hand.  She was very involved with the school as room mother, 4-H leader,  and all around civic volunteer. She also loved driving tractors and stressing over cattle and wheat harvests.  She returned  to teaching at the Billings  schools in 1972, and adored teaching her six grade students for many years. She had a number of  second generation students in her long career. Her love and guidance helped many children grow to be competent, confident and caring adults.

Andrea was preceded in death by Jack in June 1989, after 41 years of marriage. As her grief subsided, Andrea further poured herself into community activism and volunteer work. She was active in the Billings Historical Society,  the Union Cemetery Board , the Billings Methodist Church and a variety of other organizations. She was instrumental in the development of the Bellmon Library and the preservation of the historic Renfrow Miller house. She always  preferred  the worker bee role to the officer and never wanted any recognition or thanks for her work. Nonetheless, she  was named Billings Citizen of the Year in 1993  and Outstanding  Individual and Educator  by the Billings Alumni  Association on April 6, 2013, and received a number of other accolades.

She also enjoyed a good, or honestly, any cup of hot coffee, puzzles of all kinds, music of any type and her long awaited grandchildren, Dugan and Delaney Farrell. Andrea had a beautiful soprano voice and frequently sang for church services and programs. She treasured the friendships of many irreplaceable women in the area-including Jeanette, Frances, Betty, Bertha, Donna, Marge, and many others, with whom she travelled, wallpapered, served receptions, shared joys and tears, political arguments and talking endlessly, her very favorite thing in the world.

Andrea was also preceded in death by her parents and seven brothers and sisters, Ray, Paul, John, Gertrude, Rex, Gordon and Beulah.  Andrea is survived by  a host of nephews,  nieces,  two daughters,  two grandchildren, and  many friends and numerous students from her years as a teacher. She will be sorely missed by all.

The family would like to  sincerely thank Jane Ann Inge and Eileen Learned  for the faithful and very appreciated visits in these final months, and especially Andrea’s niece, Nancy Brown, and her caregiver, Tammy Barrett, for a their many years of exceptional care and management, allowing Andrea to live out her final years on her farm, which she loved.

The family will hold a private graveside service and internment  will be at the Billings Union Cemetery under the direction of Brown Dugger Funeral Home in Perry, Oklahoma. A public celebration of her life will be planned in a few months when larger gatherings are safer for our friends and family.

Memorials in her memory may be made to the Billings Historical Society, the Billings Union Cemetery, or any other charity of your choosing.

 

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