In memory of

Bernice “Polly” Gustin, age 92, of Helena

June 23, 1926 – May 6, 2019

Bernice P. Gustin, A.K.A. “Polly,” “Pudge,” 92, passed away May 6, 2019, at her home in Helena, MT.
Polly was born to Sam and Annabelle (Flatters) Stephenson in rural Foster County, ND, on June 23, 1926, the 11th of 13 children. Polly graduated from Hazleton High School in 1944. She married Leo F. Gustin September 1, 1947. Of this union six lovely children were born.

Polly is predeceased by her husband of 56 years, Leo F. Gustin, (2003), her grandson, Dylan Etchingham, (2005), her parents and 11 siblings.  Polly is survived by her children Mary Kay (Dan) Mitzel, Bismarck, ND; Jon (Karol), Helena, MT; Nancy (Michael) Etchingham, Bozeman, MT; Stephen (Djalai Babazadeh), Watertown, MA; Joseph, Great Falls, MT; Thomas (Lori), Helena, MT; 10 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, and her sister Darlene Garland, San Tan Valley, AZ.

Polly’s niece, Sara Garland, beautifully eulogized Polly with these words:
“Farewell, my beloved Aunt Polly. She was beautiful, gracious, irreverent, spiritual, devout, generous, a devoted Mother, and never without a twinkle in her eye. She was unabashedly and passionately in love with Leo and together they were the definition of an elegant and committed couple. What a gift she was to all who knew her.”

Private services will be held at a later date. Please visit below to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Polly.

Memories

Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.

  1. Jon Metropoulos says

    Tom and Family: Please accept our condolences on the passing of your Mother. Jon and Theresa Metropoulos

  2. Paul Cleary says

    To the Gustin family:
    Pudge was such a great person. Not only was she my Godmother, she was a loyal friend of my mother Audrey for 60 years. She always welcomed me, my wife and my daughters as family. I love and miss her. May God ease the grief that you feel with her loss.
    Paul

  3. Susan Knoll says

    We have many great memories of your family and especially Pudge. She was a blessing to my mom and we appreciated that so much! I will miss her laugh! May she rest in peace.
    Paul and Susan (Cleary) Knoll

  4. Rich and Sheila (Uhlman) Gray says

    Our sincere condolences to the family on the loss of your Mother. We have such wonderful memories of both your parents. Sending prayers of strength and comfort during this time of such grief.

  5. Sara Garland says

    Farewell, my beloved Aunt Polly. She was beautiful, gracious, irreverent, spiritual, devout, generous, a devoted Mother, and never without a twinkle in her eye. She was unabashedly and passionately in love with Leo and together they were the definition of an elegant and committed couple. What a gift she was to all who knew her. My deepest sympathies to my Gustin cousins.

  6. Kurt and Pam Gustin says

    Tom and family: Please accept our deepest sympathy on the loss of your Mother. We always loved visiting with Pudge. May God grant you all peace during this difficult time.

  7. Ali Poelman says

    Sending my love and prayers

  8. Carol Voegele says

    I loved to visit with her and her friends when they came to the Bismarck Elks. She had a great sense of humor.

  9. Sam McQuade says

    Just learned of Pudge’s passing. So many memories…

  10. Annetta M Sutton says

    Pudge was the epitome of the sister in law of the brother in law, who happened to be a priest. No easy task. That is how I came to know her. I loved to watch, listen and hear about the bantering between Ted and Pudge. They loved the same man and it often reminded me of the youngest child competing for attention from the older brother and his wife got in the way. It was hilarious. I loved the three of them very much. One of my favorite moments was when Leo and Pudge asked ME for advice! When I shared it. They listened. Later telling me how much they appreciated it. That was a career high. My love to all the Gustins who I hold with tenderness and deep affection. RIP, Miss Polly. Leo has been waiting. So has Ted.

  11. Jill and Creede Caldwell says

    My heartfelt sympathy to you all, especially Tom and Lori. May God comfort you in the days and weeks ahead.

  12. Mary Jane (Berger) & Scott Hewitt says

    To the entire Gustin family:
    Our deepest sympathy for your loss! Pudge was beautiful inside as well as outside…her smile was contagious & her fashion sense enviable! Your remarkable matriarch will be missed by not only her family but by ALL who knew her… God threw away the mold after he created her; she was a an incredibly endearing individual. Our lives are enriched by knowing her. Prayers for all of you as you deal with this huge void in your lives…

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