Becky Kay Birnel, 61 passed away peacefully at Benefis Teton Medical Center on December 9, 2020. Becky was born on April 25, 1959 in Hamilton, Montana.
In 1990, Becky’s life led her to Choteau, Montana where she found a home and family at Choteau Activities, Inc (CAI). Becky quickly made many friends at CAI who became her family assigning songs and nicknames to everyone. She loved participating in talent shows singing songs by her favorite singer, Johnny Cash. She was particularly fond of “Ring of Fire”. Often Pastor Jerry Olson would stop in with his guitar, and Becky would light up knowing she would get to have a good sing along!
In 2013, Becky moved to the Long Term Care facility at Benefis Teton Medical Center (BTMC). She went right to work building her family. Every resident and staff member that came and went was accepted as one of Becky’s people.
The community of Choteau stepped up and adopted Becky ensuring she always had a home to go to for the holidays. Many holidays were spent at Norris and Karin Richins’ home. She had a secret pal, whose name is still a mystery to this day. Receiving special notes and gifts from her secret pal made Becky’s day each time she received something. She had a special connection with Jackie Schlepp and thought it was pretty neat that she had someone calling her when the LTC facility had to be shut down to visitors earlier this year.
Some of Becky’s favorite town outings were to John Henry’s for a hot dog and onion rings or over to see Susie and Collette to get her hair dyed. She loved shopping at the Drug Store. And Becky was probably the only person who loved to go to the dentist because it meant she got to go on an adventure!
Becky was a girl of routine. She started her days with sleepy eyes sure she could convince someone to sneak her over to see “Brian McCollom” for some new glasses. We were never quite sure what Becky would be wearing from day to day. She had an appreciation for a good hat, wigs, big sunglasses, and jewelry, especially big, fancy, diamond rings! One thing was for sure, once she was up and moving, she hit the ground running and only stopped for a quick nap or when it was time for bed. She ended her days blowing kisses and making sure her pillows and blankets were arranged just right.
Becky was a girl on the move. She loved cruising the hallways of CAI and BTMC listening to music, drinking coffee and making the rounds stopping in to see everyone. Each day Becky would find someone to write a list of things she needed from downtown which usually included a watch and a diamond ring. She had a song for everyone she met. “Wake Up Little Susie”, “Louie, Louie”, “Nikki Mouse”, “You Are My Sunshine”, “Leaving on A Jet Plane”, “Little White Duck”, “Bicycle Build for Two” among many more! She wasn’t one for crafting, listening to books or playing group games because that would mean she would need to sit still for a few short minutes.
Becky’s year revolved around two holidays, her birthday and Christmas. As soon as one was over, she was sure to remind you the next one was coming up. And to Becky, “coming up” could mean 8 months away! Everyone was invited to her birthday party, and the arrival of Santa was a highlight of her year! It should be noted, the firetrucks in the Fourth of July parade and the school kids in their Halloween costumes were also holiday favorites!
Becky had something special and unique for each person. Whether it was a special fist bump, a unique name or a favorite topic of conversation, each person was special to Becky. One of her CNA’s sums Becky up perfectly by saying “Becky was a bubble of serotonin, anything she did would brighten your day in seconds. She always knew how to make your heart happy, make you smile and laugh! There are a million things that we could say about Becky, but there isn’t enough space in the world to explain how much she really meant to us and how much we genuinely loved her.” Another said “Becky is genuine; Becky is kind. Becky is a jokester who loves to laugh and make others too. She trusts and loves with all her heart, even if you don't love her the same way back. She never let herself get hurt by that, just made more friends. Becky's love for people defined her life and she gave the best death grip hugs!”
Becky will be miss by all her “family”. In her memory, please make some feel special and loved each day!
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