June B. Hensley passed away peacefully with her family by her side on 22 March 2020 at Townsend, MT at the age of 87. Loretta June Burkart was born 19 March 1933 to Alice (Edgmond) and Jacob Burkart in Billings, MT. Her family lived in the Pompey’s Pillar area until 1942, when Jake and Alice purchased a ranch near Canyon Ferry, MT.
This is the place June loved. Much to her chagrin, she had to live in Helena to attend school. While there, she lived either with friends or in a boarding school. Upon graduating Helena High in 1951, she moved home to the ranch that she loved and immediately went to work.
As a young woman, June filled her evenings by breaking in young colts. Riding a good horse that knew how to cut cows never failed to bring her joy. June was an avid reader and read a wide variety of books, including the works of Shakespeare.
On 25 Nov 1960, June married George H. Hensley and moved to the Crow Creek Valley. They spent the next 40 years raising their family, farming and ranching together. In 1974 they and their two daughters, Jorja and Nancy, bought her parent’s ranch. George was glad to move his family to “the ranch” that his wife cared so much about.
On the ranch, she spent many a summer day on the W9 tractor summer fallowing fields, baling hay and fixing fence (something she detested). She hated to see water go to waste so she learned the art of flood irrigation. Her love for putting water on the land never waned. She helped her husband put in an extensive irrigation system that is still making her ranch an oasis.
Calving was her favorite time of the year. When George asked her to marry him she replied, “If you buy me a diamond ring, I will sell it and buy more cows”. Several years later, when the Bishop of their congregation told the men that they should buy their wives a new dress, she turned to George and said, “I don’t want a new dress, I want a calving barn.” George
willingly complied. She truly enjoyed working with and getting to know all of her cows. She even managed to make working cows fun. June shared her love for the land, cattle and horses with her daughters.
She served as a 4-H leader while her daughters were members. Some of Jorja and Nancy’s favorite memories: Coming out of school to find Mom waiting with our saddled horses to ride home with her. Waking up on Christmas morning to find handcrafted gifts, such as barbie doll clothes, and dolls dressed in nightgowns that matched ours. Salting cows up Avalanche Gulch. Learning to calve cows with her (Mom had the patience of Job when trying to help a calf to nurse, but that patience ran a little thin when a cow refused to let her calf nurse). Laughing while we worked.
More important than her work, June had a strong faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ that she also instilled in her children and Sunday School students. June served faithfully as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.
June was preceded in death by her parents and husband. She is survived by her aunts: Eva Pearson and Char Brinkel; her sister: Diana Graveley; sister-in-law, Louise Determan;
her daughters: Jorja (Wes) Munns, and Nancy (Cory) Davis; grandchildren: Jacob (Kara), Daniel, Michael, Ellen and Aaron Davis, and Jeri (Mike) Potvin and Kayla (Jarod) Goode; 10 great grand-children and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
Private graveside services will be held at 1 o’clock on Friday, March 27, 2020 at the Deep Creek Cemetery, Townsend, MT. Memorial donations may be made to Broadwater Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1164, Townsend, MT 59644.