Marian Jean Setter passed away at the age of 101 on August 30 2023 at the Benefis Goodnow Cottage in Great Falls. Jean, as she liked to be called, was born on April 6, 1922 in Lewistown to Frances and Peter Setter, and grew up in the Judith Basin on a ranch in the foothills of the Little Belt Mountains close to the Judith Guard Ranger Station near Utica.
Jean graduated from Hobson High School in 1939. She then studied nursing at MSU for two years before spending three years at the old Deaconess Hospital in Great Falls. She graduated from MSU in 1944 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing.
Although World War 2 was drawing to a close Jean still saw an opportunity to serve her country by becoming a nurse in the Army. Following basic training at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, WA in early 1945, Jean was assigned as a 2nd Lieutenant to general nursing duties at the Hammond General Hospital in California.
In 1946 Jean was given a unique assignment as a nurse on the hospital trains operating out of San Francisco. The trains transported soldiers and sailors, including prisoners of war returning from the Pacific, to hospitals across the U.S. Late in 1946 Jean was posted to the 34th General Hospital near Seoul in Korea for two years where she was promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant.
Seeking a career direction change Jean resigned from the Army in 1949, remaining in the Army Reserve, and took up a nurse teaching role at the MSU Great Falls campus. A year after the outbreak of the Korean War, in June 1950, Jean was recalled to active duty where she continued in teaching related roles as well as recruiting and supervisory roles for the next 25 years.
Over these years Jean was posted to various military hospital locations within the U.S. including Texas, Washington State, Massachusetts, Missouri, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas and South Carolina. She also had two overseas postings, one to West Germany in 1955 and to South Korea in 1968 to the 121st Evacuation Hospital where, as a Lieutenant Colonel, she was Assistant Chief Nurse during the USS Pueblo incident. In 1976 Jean finally retired from the Army as a Colonel.
After retirement Jean returned to Montana settling in Great Falls where she was interested in environmental issues and enjoyed travelling, gardening, hiking and bird watching.
She volunteered at the American Red Cross Blood Bank, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park. She was a member of AAUW and involved with their annual book sale. She was a member and supporter of the Montana Audubon Society, a supporter of MSU College of Nursing, First United Methodist Church and the Montana Environmental Information Center. She also contributed to the restoration of the Judith Guard Ranger Station.
For the last six years Jean has been a resident at the Benefis Grandview where she was very grateful for the care, friendship and love that she received from all the staff including support from the VA.
Jean is survived by her niece, Dena (Phil), grand-nieces Georgia and Lauren (Paul), great-grand-nieces, Florence and Maeve, and her first cousin, Judy (Rich). To read the complete obituary and share condolences, click here to visit the Croxford Funeral Home website.