Nona Drew, 84, of Missoula, passed away the afternoon of Saturday, May 15, 2021, at North Valley Hospital in Whitefish. She was surrounded by her family and her circle of love.
She was the daughter of Earl and Irma (Thompson) Larson, she was born in Butte, MT. She grew up and attended school in Whitehall, MT, graduating in 1955. An enthusiastic member of the Whitehall Whiz 4-H Club, she qualified for a trip to the National 4-H Congress held in Chicago.
She attended the UofM receiving a degree in education. While there she joined the Delta Gamma sorority and had the privilege of serving as president in her senior year. She was also a member and coed colonel of the ROTC Angel Flight.
She married Warren Drew in 1959 and after a short military stint and a few years in Great Falls where she taught kindergarten, the family, now including two small daughters, moved back to Missoula. She was active in the civic and cultural community and was instrumental in launching the Missoula Head Start program, later successfully lobbying the legislature to incorporate kindergartens into the public school system. She also led a Brownie Scout troop for several years.
In 1973, now divorced and a single mother, Nona changed venue and joined the sales staff of KYLT radio, a job she held for twelve years. Then, with her daughters out of school, she spent a few years in Hawaii and Asia with the Youth With A Mission organization, working in squatters zones, burning garbage dumps and mercy shelters. Upon returning home and holding several short term positions, including director of sales of the Village Red Lion Inn, she realized that her calling was with the disadvantaged, the elderly and the informed. Propelled by Heartland Caregivers of Missoula, she traversed the United States for the next fifteen years on assignments.
Nona loved to travel and did so extensively. She lived her life with courage and was not afraid to take chances or to make changes. She felt that life was about rewards…recoveries… and the grace of “letting go”… and that fear and regret are set aside, all that remains is peace and gratitude.
In 2003 she retired to Missoula, blessed by the proximity of her much loved family. She felt that she had lived in the best of times and would want to extend thanks to all of those who supported her, laughed with her or walked beside her throughout the trip.
Nona is survived by her daughters, Desiree (Randy) Cogdill, Whitney (Dale) Crosby Newman of Whitefish, her grandchildren Drew Crosby Newman, Cameron Crosby Newman, Lauren (Jonson) England, her brother Tom Weir of Santa Barbara, CA, sister Claire Whealy of Tulsa, OK, five nieces and three nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents, her brother Jim Weir of Butte, MT and her granddaughter Elizabeth Paige Crosby Newman of Kalispell, MT.
At her request there will be no formal service but a celebration of life with her family complete with games, laughter and yellow balloons. Those wishing to honor her memory might send a contribution to an organization that you feel best represents Nona or call upon someone who is homebound.
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