Juanita June Stovall

Thursday, September 9, 2021
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Juanita June Stovall, 78 of Billings passed away unexpectedly of natural causes on Aug. 28, 2021 in Bozeman, after spending a wonderful evening with family and friends.  The little girl from St Xavier, Montana, went to heaven to be with her husband and two boys.  She missed them dearly.  
Juanita was born on June 6, 1943. Her parents Victor and Delores (Schaak) Schuppe raised her on the Big Horn Valley where she attended St. Xavier School.  She cherished many memories with her Schaak families as a young girl.  Starting from humble beginnings, Juanita learned to work hard early in life hoeing beets to earn money, never wasting anything and always trying to make things better.  She was not only trying hard to better her life but was always very caring of others and wanting the best for them.  
She met a ranch kid named Jay Stovall. And it became a real-life love story.  They were married at a young age in 1960 and moved out to one of Orville “Tog” Stovalls cow camps.  Even though they rarely had electricity or running water they were happy because they were together.  When their first son (Jay Jr. “Manny”) was born, they were camped on Middle Buster Creek on the Little Pryor Mountain.  No matter the situation, Juanita always tried to make the best with what she had even using a drawer as a bassinet for Little Jay.  She talked about trying to keep his cloth diapers white from the red dirt and needing to get water out of the streams early before the cattle would come drink turning the water red.  
Jay and Juanita’s family grew with Tyler (who claimed to be the better looking son) and later cameTurk (A miracle, blessing or accident – depending on the time discussed).  Having ranch operations from the Bull Mountains to the Big Horn Mountains to the Pryor Mountains they went through it together.  The cowboy crews from 1960 to today always appreciated Juanita.  Cowboys could see the smoke from her wood stove as they would ride into camp.  They also knew Juanita made sure everyone got the same portion of food when Jay would hold up a trailing herd and dismiss the cowboys to take turns, one at a time to go eat, while the rest of crew would stay with the herd.    And it didn’t matter where you were eating, she always brought soap and water so you could wash.  Juanita even brought the cowboy crew a meal just a week before her sudden passing.  The 1980’s were very hard on Montana ranches and much of what Jay and Juanita gained was taken away.  Her boys had to get jobs elsewhere and she and Jay went back to humble living trying to keep together what they had left.  But these two love birds were survivors and together they could get through anything.  Both Jay and Juanita started getting more involved in organizations and trying to learn new ways to improve the business by taking courses.  Juanita mostly did Jay’s school work for him, but they laughed about it and did learn something.  They enjoyed being involved in the Al Bedoo Shrine Black Horse Patrol and loved the friends they made and all the events and trips.  It was their getaway.  
As times improved, they loved going on trips and cruises with friends.  A proud time for Juanita was when Jay was asked to be the Trail Boss for the Montana Centennial Cattle Drive.  Jay and Juanita were an integral part on making the M89 Cattle Drive a success.  Juanita’s cowboy crew just got a little bigger and she was again behind the scenes working her tail off.  Then came politics!  Jay and Juanita were supporters of the Republican Party but no one would have thought Juanita would be a Campaign Manager and Jay would be running for public office.  Once again, their partnership prevailed, and a political career was launched.  Juanita was very involved in reading and discussing legislation with Jay and always in the gallery (unless the kids were in town). She LOVED intermingling with new people and hearing their story especially at a reception with good eats and free drinks!
Being a Christian was very important to Juanita and she made sure her kids were raised knowing Jesus.  She talked about her Grandpa Erdman Schaak escaping to America, working to bring over the rest of his family and how appreciative we need to be of our Freedom of Religion.  Juanita’s best trip of her lifetime was when she went to Israel with her First Presbyterian Church family.  She was SO happy to even be able to go.  Pastor Dave Thompson and her Presbyterian family made it possible and she was so thankful and talked about it often.  Juanita was blessed with many true genuine friendships and relationships.  Her siblings were her first best friends.  She was really known as a “Class Act”.  She was a social person by nature, who loved events and people.  She was very caring but not afraid to tell you the blunt truth!  She always cared about how she looked, even putting on lipstick heading to a branding or shipping cattle.  She loved being the host and having people over for coffee, a meal or a beer.  Her kids were more then just Manny, Tyler and Turk.  They also included the neighbor kids, the boys friends, her nieces and nephews and the list goes on.  Juanita was a friend and mother to so many.  Her lifetime of adventures blessed her with many loving people who she really cherished.  In later years she found the love of being a grandma.  “My grandchildren are a true gift from heaven,” she would say.  Together, they enjoyed late night ice cream sundaes, swimming in the pool or in Pryor Creek, playing cards, checkers or a good visit over coffee or a cold beer.  She would never miss a dance or sporting event.    Grandma made her schedule around grandkids and love every minute of it.  Juanita is “one of the last” to see the local area go from dirt floors to cell phones.  She loved Christ, her family and her friends dearly.  Although mom/grandma will be sorely missed we are happy she can be with Jay, Manny and Tyler again.                      
Juanita is survived by her son Turk (Jenny) Stovall and their children Gabe, Reagan and Kristian of the family ranch south of Billings; daughter-in-law Lee Stovall and her children Levi Stovall and Alicia (Carter) Knight of Billings; granddaughter Hannah Stovall; and siblings Roger (Linda Baker) Schuppe and Sharon (Dale) Phillips; uncle Ray (Marilyn) Schaak; and many nieces and nephews.   She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Jay; and her sons Tyler and Jay Jr. “Manny”.
The family received friends for a visitation on Wednesday, Sept. 8, from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. at Heights Family Funeral Home. (733 W. Wicks Ln.)  Funeral Services will be held Thursday, Sept. 9, at 2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church. (Corner of 13th and Poly Dr.) Burial will follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens and a reception will be at the Elk’s Lodge around 3:30 p.m.  
Memorials can be made in Juanita Stovall’s name to PEO Chapter Y, Billings, Montana; Local Scholarships at MSU-B and RMC; MT Stock Growers Foundation – Juanita Stovall Cattlewomen’s Fund; Helena, Montana, or First Presbyterian Church, Billings, Montana.  Heights Family Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements and remembrances may be shared with the family on Juanita’s Tribute Page at www.heightsfamilyfuneralhome.com.