Obituary: Betty Jane (Lee) O’Connell

March 20, 1924 ~ December 8, 2020 (age 96)
Posted at 12:12 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-12 10:44:44-05

Betty Jane (Lee) O’Connell passed away peacefully on December 8th, 2020.

Born Betty Jane Lee on March 20, 1924 in Petersburg, VA, she was the eldest child of Earl L. Lee Sr. and Mabel E. Walsh. Her family moved to Spokane, WA and eventually settled in Great Falls, MT. Betty graduated from Great Falls High School in 1942 and went on to take business courses at MSU-Northern in Havre, MT.

Betty started ice skating when she was 8 years old and when the civic center opened in Great Falls in 1940, she skated in the opening show. Betty also enjoyed theater and she was in the Great Falls Little Theater Guild. Through the years Betty did many different projects, such as modeling for fashion shows from 1948 through the 1980s. She started doing commercials in the 1950s and was in almost all the movies which were made in Great Falls.

It was during her time in the theater that she met the love of her life, Clarence Lewis “Buck” O’Connell. They were both working scenery in July 1946 in the Grand Theater. The couple married on February 15th, 1947 at the Placer Hotel in Helena, MT. She and Buck traveled extensively, and were members of the Elks, Skunkwagon Car Club, AARP, Senior Center, American Orchid Society, Cascade County Historical Society, and performed with the Stringalongs.

To read the complete obituary and share condolences, visit the Croxford Funeral Home website.