On October 27, 2022, at 6:20 p.m., Rita Leiby breathed in, then out her final breath at Benefis Hospital. Surrounded by family, she expired peacefully, free of the multiple years struggling with her painful health issues.
Born in Wolf Point, MT on September 6, 1948, to George V. and Helen M. Bergstrom, she was their third child. The family moved often and found their true home in Great Falls. Rita attended and graduated from Charles M. Russell High School in 1966, within the first graduating class of the new high school.
Rita then began her life journey. Her path led her in many directions. Some of those experiences were filled with great joy and others with deep sorrow. The joys included her two children; six grandchildren; several nieces and nephews; and her siblings.
Another of Rita’s special joys, Jerry Bonderenko, filled her life with happiness and love during their twenty years together. The untimely death of her life partner, Jerry, broke her heart. Following her loss of Jerry, she lived with her son Charlie, Deana, and Cooper for the last seven years of her life.
Survivors include her daughter, Bernadette (Matthew) Hemingway of Carson City, NV and her son Charlie Leiby (Deana Novozel) of Great Falls, MT; her Hemingway grandchildren are Zakary, Matilda, Elijah and Levi; her Leiby grandchildren are Kale and Cooper; her sister, Mary (Kurt) Fagenstrom of Great Falls; her brothers Melvin “Bud” Bergstrom of Laurel, MD and Nick Bergstrom of Phoenix, AZ; two nieces; and eight nephews.
To read the complete obituary and share condolences, visit the Schnider Funeral Home website.
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