Betty Jean Ayers

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Betty Jean Ayers

Betty Jean Ayers, 96, of Mildred, went home to be with her Lord and Savior in the early morning hours on July 2, 2020.

Betty was born on November 29, 1923 in Selma, Nebraska to Alvin “Doc” and Bethel (Rittenhouse) Wood. Betty had a long and fulfilling life. She grew up in Knowlton, later moved to Miles City, married Lawrence Martin and had her first child, Vaughn Dee Lee. Alas this marriage didn’t last, and they were divorced. She later met the man of her dreams Newman Ayers, sheep rancher extraordinaire, they were married on June 15, 1950 and were married forty-two years. To this union a son, Courtney, was born.

They spent many years building the ranch that Newman had been born on. Hard work is a big part of living on a ranch and Betty didn’t back down from a challenge. One such challenge was raising bum lambs, and she rocked it!!! Bum lambs are often known for “wanting to die.” Well Betty could bring a cold, starving, half dead bum lamb in, and bring it back to life. They would not only live, but thrive in her care. As you can guess, this became Betty’s main job in the spring and throughout the summer. She had one special ewe lamb her grandkids remember well, “Ribbon.” Betty had found her on the frozen creek, retrieved a tree branch and scooted Ribbon to the edge. As you can imagine that silly lamb had a place of honor for several years. There are many such stories of her and the animals that resided with her and her family. She passed these talents and stories on to her grandchildren, whom she loved very dearly. She had a great love for all animals, but her dogs were most certainly loved, especially Pumkin.

Betty spent most of her life on the ranch. However, in 2011, she moved into Billings Health and Rehab, (later Advantara), which is where she made many many friends who became her extended family. She would fill them with tales of her kids and grandkids, but mostly of the ranch life she had loved. She will be missed by these wonderful people who were such a huge part of her life in recent years.

Betty was preceded in death by her husband, Newman; and her parents, Bethel (Ray) Torgeson, Alvin “Doc” Wood.; her brother, Buddy Wood; her son in-law, Dale Bockness; and grandson, Ty Bockness. She is survived by, her daughter, Vaughn Dee Lee (Dale) Bockness; son, Courtney (Pam) Ayers; sister, Karen (Alan) Charles; Ten grandchildren, and many great grandchildren and even a few great-great grandchildren.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 9, 2020 from 1:00-6:00 p.m. at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Miles City. A graveside service will be held on Friday, July 10, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at the Mildred Cemetery in Mildred, Montana. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: