Mary Lois Stanberry was a true Rudyard native, being born in the Rudyard Hotel on May 6, 1932. She joined an older brother, Elwin, and her parents, Roy & Minnie (Geesey) Stanberry on the farm ½ mile west
of the Minneota School, way out north of Inverness. Years later, two younger brothers, Raymond & Melvin, completed the family. Having spent her childhood during the Depression & Dirty 30’s, she learned to be resourceful, frugal and happy with what she had. She remembered as a young child getting an orange for Christmas as a once a year treat. The past few years, they were her favorite thing to eat. When she was
a young grade schooler, her brother Elwin came down with diabetes, and she was moved up a grade, so she could keep an eye on him. That may have been the match to the Mother Hen bonfire that burned within her
ever since. She attended Minneota School through the 8th grade, when the family built a house in Rudyard so Mom & Elwin could attend high school that fall. She graduated as Salutatorian in 1949 and went on to Northern Montana College for a teaching certificate. She taught 3rd grade in Gildford for one year before “retiring” to start a family with Jerry Hybner, and they were married in Hingham on Sept. 20, 1952. That union was blessed with six children she taught to plant, weed, water, harvest, can, & freeze the produce from her enormous garden. “STAY OUT OF THE PEAS!” was often heard after they formed pods. In
addition, meat chickens were raised yearly and beef canned. Following in her mother Minnie’s footsteps, Mary Lois was a great cook and baker. Birthdays always came with an animal shaped cake or cherry pie
lovingly made to celebrate the occasion. Holidays came with a spread that could feed the whole community, and leftovers were always used to create another delicious meal a few days later. On the other hand,
this petite woman could freeze a herd of kids running at full speed in their tracks with nothing more than a look!
Mary Lois was a true steward of her community at all levels. She volunteered as a member of the Hi-Line Health Foundation and was a part of the group that started the trip raffle fundraiser. She really enjoyed letting someone whom she sold a ticket to know they had won the trip. The Goldstone Altar Society was another avenue she used to care for her community. From organizing funeral meals and church celebrations to sewing christening garments and blankets for nursing homes and shelters to keeping the church clean, these women were the caretakers of the Catholic community. If an individual community member was having a hard time, she was usually one of the first to offer a meal or sweet treat and give her time for a project or just a
simple conversation…whatever was needed.
Once most of the kids were grown and off on their own adventures, she started her own business as the community Avon lady. She took great pride in this work and won several sales awards from the company. She enjoyed meeting new people through the Avon network, as well as
getting out to visit her neighbors.
Quilting, crocheting and embroidery were passions for Mary Lois, and she produced an enormous amount of crafts, doilies, clothing, blankets, potholders, and wall art. Every graduation and wedding in the family was commemorated with a quilt from Mom/Grandma. She was also known for recycling clothing into polyester-knit crazy quilts and blankets made with old jeans. She was especially proud of a quilt her
mother started and she finished. Before Minnie died, she started making a crazy quilt with intricate hand-stitching using silk neckties. After many years, Mary Lois took up this project and finished the beautiful piece.
After retirement, Mary Lois and Jerry enjoyed traveling to see friends and relatives as well as exploring new places. In 2016, they made the move from the farm to Rudyard and then to the Wheat Country Estates in
Chester in 2017. In 2020, further medical issues forced a move to the Liberty County Nursing Home where she resided until her peaceful passing on the morning of April 28, 2023. We will forever be grateful
to the staff at these facilities for providing such exceptional care to our parents.
Mary Lois was preceded in death by her husband (Jerry Hybner), her daughters (Linda Schweitzer & Theresa Ann), her parents (Roy and Minnie Stanberry), and her brothers (Elwin, Raymond and Melvin
Stanberry). She is survived by her children Dan (Lynn) Hybner of Rudyard, MT, Roger Hybner of Joliet, MT, Terry (Mary) Hybner of Rudyard, MT, Maria Forrest of Denver, CO, and Amy (Tim) Huber of Cicero, NY, 14 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Martha Jurenka and Peggy Stanberry; several nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life is being planned for later July. Having lost a brother and a daughter to diabetes, Mary Lois was an ardent supporter of research on the disease. Memorials can be made to the American Diabetes Association and earmarked for research or Hi-Line Foundation as she received outstanding care at this facility.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Lois Hybner, please visit our floral store.
Hi-Line Health Foundation
PO Box 705, Chester MT 59522
American Diabetes Association
PO Box 7023, Merrifield VA 22116-7023