In memory of

Marie Vanisko, age 74 of Helena

September 30, 1943 – January 1, 2018

Marie Therese McBride Vanisko died on January 1, 2018, from complications due to ovarian cancer.  She was born on September 30, 1943, in Butte, Montana, to Joseph and Adele (Jaccar) McBride, who both preceded her in death.

Marie always felt blessed to have grown up in a loving home, to have found her true love, to have been given God’s gift of a wonderful child to love and to cherish, to have experienced the bonus years of getting to be a part of the growing up years of her three amazing grandchildren, to have encountered so many supportive people throughout her life, and to have found so much joy in her animal companions throughout the years.  She thrived with the support of her family and her friends, both new and old.

In addition to her role as a wife, mother, and grandmother, Marie had a lengthy career as a professor of mathematics.  After graduating from Carroll College and then receiving her graduate degree in mathematics from the University of Montana, she began teaching at Carroll College in 1967 and continued there until retiring in 2002, except for four years when her son was very young.  In 2002, she took a sabbatical from Carroll College to become a Visiting Professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and moved on from there to teach at California State University Stanislaus for five years after her son and his family moved to California.  Upon her return to Montana thereafter, she continued to teach part-time at Carroll and was named a Professor Emerita.

Throughout her career, Marie wrote many grants to promote the use of technology in the teaching of mathematics, and worked with K-16 mathematics educators on both the state-wide and national levels.  She served on numerous Boards, including The College Board committee for writing the SAT Subject Tests in Mathematics, the Carroll College Engineering Advisory Board, and the Board of Directors for the Montana Learning Center at Canyon Ferry Lake.  She also wrote technology modules and manuals in calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra for various book companies.

For more than 20 years, Marie was involved with the Consortium for Mathematics’ international mathematical contests in modeling at both the undergraduate and high school levels.  She promoted the contests and served as a problem reviewer and a triage and final judge for the contests.  In 2016, she received a special award for her support of the contests.

Marie and her husband, Bob, enjoyed being long-time volunteers at the Montana Talking Book Library, where they received the award for the outstanding recording team in 2002 and 2015.  As active members of Our Lady of the Valley Parish, they also served on the Pastoral Council, did hospital ministry, and visited the infirm.

In this period of negativity in the world, Marie was reminded of the legend of the Native American grandfather explaining to his grandson about the two wolves inside him—one good and one evil.  When the boy asked which wolf would win, the old man said, “the one you feed.”  In both her personal and professional life, Marie always felt that if you look for the good in people, you will find it, and that life is beautiful if you sprinkle it with love.

She is survived by her devoted husband of more than fifty years, Bob Vanisko; her son Chad and his family; her brother, Joe McBride and his family; and numerous cousins.

A funeral mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. on January 19, 2018, at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Helena, with a reception to follow immediately thereafter.  Cremation has taken place, and there will be no graveside services.  The family requests that memorials be made to the Carroll College Al Murray Scholarship Fund (, the Butte Central Foundation (, Our Lady of the Valley Parish (406-458-6114), or The Montana Learning Center at Canyon Ferry Lake ( Please visit below to offer a condolence or to share a memory of Marie.


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

  1. Helen Beausoleil says:

    Bob, Chad and family,
    We are so sad to hear of Marie’s passing. Please know you are in our prayers. What a wonderful, bright woman. She was an inspiration in our lives. So many fond memories…
    Our love,
    Helen and Joe Beausoleil

  2. Susan Andersen says:

    Hi Bob..Just heard about Marie and want to let you know how very sorry we are for you and your family. She was such a sweet gal….will be missed. Did you let West Point know? Hope so as she loved that work. We are in AZ for the Winter, but wish I was there to give you a hug. Susan Andersen

  3. Anne Bartsch says:

    I am so sorry about Marie. I know how dedicated you were to each other. I will pray for your peace.
    You will be in my thoughts,
    Anne Bartsch

  4. Dick Ross says:

    So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
    Dick Ross

  5. Charlie Mueller says:

    Bob – On behalf of your golf buddies we are sorry about your loss.
    Our prayers are with you and your family in time of your loss.
    Take care and God Bless!

  6. John Curry says:

    I am sorry for your loss. Marie was a fine person, and a good friend for many years. My thoughts are with you.

  7. Rick Elhart says:

    So sorry for your loss! You are in our prayers!
    The Elharts
    Rick, Susan, Penny and Kate

  8. Bernard McCarthy says:

    Bob, Chad and Family, and Joe and Libby. Sorry to hear of Marie’s death. She was blessed by the care and love that surrounded her in her last days. God bless all. Bern and Helena McCarthy

  9. Shari McDonald says:

    Bob, Chad and family. I was sadden to hear about Marie’s passing. Myself, Jennifer and Brian have many memories of our times with Marie especially the kids playing star wars alongside Happy . Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
    Shari, Jennifer (Sokoloff) and Brian McDonald.

  10. Patti Drake says:

    Bob and family. I am so sorry to hear about Marie’s passing. I am thankful for the time we got to spend with you and Marie this summer. Love and prayers to you, Chad and family, Joseph, Libby and family.
    Patti Drake

  11. David and Deidre Casey says:

    We are so sorry to hear of your loss and the passing of this remarkable lady. I am thankful for my memories of her at Carroll and our time together as parish family at OLV. Thank you for sharing her and know that we are praying for you and your family during this difficult time!
    Deidre and David Casey and family

  12. Michelle Peterson-Norton says:

    Bob, Michelle, Chad and Vanisko family,

    It saddens me so much to learn your precious Marie has left us for heaven. I’m so thankful for the times Lacey and I shared with Marie and getting to experience her abundant love and Faith. Peace and many prayers to you all.

  13. Professor Vanisko was such an important mentor in my life and I am deeply saddened to hear of her passing. When I was a young Carroll sophomore from a tiny farm town with almost no confidence in myself she inspired and encouraged me to dream much bigger than I had ever imagined. I went on to become a college math professor and have coached teams in the math modeling competition for the last 12 years…something I would have never thought possible until I took my courses with Marie. I will always remember how all of my classmates and I respected her completely and marveled at her mathematical abilities. She will be dearly missed.

  14. Brenda Johnson says:

    Bobbie I am sorry I am not much of phone talker so didn’t say what I wanted to you on the phone. Marie was such a great lady and you and her always went out of your way for my family. She will be deeply missed. I am thankful she got to come to my mother’s birthday party. She was so upbeat and it was her birthday that day also, but didn’t mention it to anyone. Shows you how humble she was. You were the best husband she could have asked for. You are in my prayers. Love you so much!

  15. Tanya Wilczynski Call says:

    So sorry to hear of your family’s loss. My dad enjoyed visiting with you both when we would cross paths at the Cancer Treatment Center. Sending lots of love and support to you all.

  16. Diane Gunderson says:

    Bob, My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I am so sorry to hear of Marie’s passing. She was such a special person. I enjoyed working with both of you at the talking book library. She will be missed greatly. Love Diane

  17. Mary Kay Bennett says:

    Marie was my math teacher at Carroll..without her extra help, I wouldn’t have had a passing grade).
    Bob, you & Marie have always been an inspiration to me; the way you stepped up to take care of the grandchildren, your community involvement & love of your Catholic faith.
    So sorry for your loss.
    Stay Anaconda Strong!

  18. Glen J Cuchine says:

    Marie was one of the kindest professors I had while a student at Carroll College. The college has always had a host of wonderful professors; Marie will always stand out for me as one of the finest. Her outstanding concern for each student was amazing. Heaven is richer today and her family, friends and the Carroll community are richer for having had Marie for so many years. May the memories you all have sustain you at this difficult time of loss.

  19. Dear Bob, Chad & Family:
    I wish to express my condolence by relaying what I just wrote to my Carroll schoolmates, as follows.

    I regret to inform you that Marie has left us. I’ve been blessed to have her for a friend since my Carroll days, especially I was only a B student of hers. All these years every time I was in Helena, I’d never leave town without visiting with her and her family. In Sept 2016 while nobody me included wanted leave Gene Mallette’s party, Annie & I went to Marie’s home as early as we could after having greeted with all old friends. She’s had cancer for years, yet she took it so well. She’s a best mother and grandmother. Her sweetest smile will always stay in my memory.
    I wish to share with you the recent letters between us (bottom). She must be in pain during the Christmas season, but still she would write me a letter.

  20. Dianna Porter says:

    Bob, my condolences to you and your family. I grieve with you as Marie has been my friend for 50+ years even though we didn’t see each other often. We first met when we were summer volunteers with the Glenmary sisters in Virginia in 1963, not knowing each other in Butte before that. We forged a special bond then which was unbroken all these years. I will miss our occasional phone calls and visits.

  21. Shirley Manson says:

    Dear Bob and family, so sorry to hear of Marie’s passing. I so enjoyed our visit at the reunion. Prayers with you and your family.

  22. Johnny W. Lott says:

    Bob, Chad, and all of the family, we were very fortunate to have had Marie as a major part of Montana’s mathematics education community. She was so vital in helping all of us on grants, on curriculum, and in other leadership roles. She embodied what mathematics teaching and vision should be in the state and beyond. We share your loss. Thank you for sharing Marie with us.

  23. Kathy Hubley says:

    Bob, I was so sorry to read of Marie’s passing. I will always remember her brilliance as my Math teacher but even more her kind, gentle way. I am sorry we will miss her funeral but know that you and your family are in our prayers.

    Kathy and Bernie Hubley

  24. Margaret Maixner Maddock says:

    I am only one of many students Marie touched some 30 yrs ago.
    The fact that I always remember her with fondness for a kind, excellent instructor is a testament to what a really nice soul she was.
    When someone like myself with so little exposure is touched by her passing , I can imagine that those of you who knew her well must feel a large void. Extending prayers to your family.

  25. S. M. Rachel Flynn says:

    Dear Bob, Chad and family and Joe and family,
    Through Dorothy McBride Flynn, my sister-in-law, I’ve always felt that I knew Marie although we crossed paths only a few times. She was a gift and so gifted! Obviously many have grown through association with her. My prayers in gratitude for her life and for you, her beloved family. May each of you know deep Peace even as you mourn.
    Sister Mary Rachel Flynn, SCL

  26. Deanna Reynolds says:

    Bob, Chad, & family,
    It saddens me that Marie is no longer physically present. She was a fantastic teacher and advisor and most of all a caring woman. I have many wonderful memories of time spent together in and out of the classroom. She will be missed. Blessings to all of you. I’m sure that she and Mr. Murray are having conversations about their years trying to guide young minds.
    Deanna (Turley) Reynolds

  27. Diane (Shamley) Ligon says:

    To Marie’s family;
    My memories of Marie as a professor at Carroll are wonderful as well. She inspired me to become a math teacher and I had a 31 year career that was super. I credit her with allowing myself to have the courage to go forth in the field. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  28. Teresa Gollmyer Dennis says:

    Mr. Vanisko, Chad & famil,

    Much sadness upon hearing this news. My deepest sympathies to all of you. I will always cherish the memories of Mrs. Vanisko and the part she played in my life as a teen in Helena. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. With love, Teresa Gollmyer Dennis

  29. Jennifer Sokoloff says:

    Dear Bob and Chad,
    I was deeply saddened and shocked to hear of Marie’s passing. To this day, I can still hear her infectious laugh and strong voice, even though it has been years since I’ve heard it. I will never forget spending endless days at your home on Leslie, and how kind Marie always was.
    My deep condolences,
    Jennifer Sokoloff (McDonald)

  30. Jim Crichton says:

    My recollection of Marie goes back a long time. Not long after I started my freshman year at the School of Mines, I discovered that a beautiful young woman lived right across the street. Many of our dates ended with a game of chess until I finally beat her. One could say that we were nerds of a sort. Though our paths had to diverge (another story) the life plans we committed to in the passion of youth were played out in Helena, where our trails never crossed again. I thought of reaching out to her over the years, but never did. It gives me a lump and a tear to think of her suffering and dying within view of my home, but I never knew. Many lessons.
    Jim Crichton

  31. Ellen and Dominick Speranza says:

    We are so very sorry to hear of Marie’s passing. We loved seeing her at OLV – she had a generous smile and a quick witted eye. Both Dominick and I had her as a Math professor at Carroll College. She was a dedicated, intelligent Math professor. Our thoughts go out to Bob, Chad, Michelle and family. God bless you in this difficult time.

  32. Patsy Sweeney kirkpatrick says:

    I’ve visited this page many days to read and reread the tributes to Marie. She was such a wonderful being and I am so happy that I was able to spend four wonderful days with all of you in September. I can’t even begin to put all of my wonderful memories of Marie and time spent with all of you in this space and venue. Know that my personal letter to you and continued phone calls will recall and share those wonderful times. I will be with you in prayer and spirit on the day of her service. My love and prayers to you and Chad and family until we speak again.

  33. Terry W Bass says:

    May she Rest In Peace. Grew up in early years as neighbor in Butte.

  34. Ben Barker says:

    Dear Bob, Chad and family,
    I have been thinking of you since the first of this year. Marie meant a lot to all our family in Wyoming. Every time she came to visit we were blessed. Joe and Marie were two older cousins that we loved and respected. We were in awe of their maturity and sophistication, coming from Butte so far away in that day and time. I am still in awe of all the wonderful things Marie accomplished in her life. It was uplifting to read all the testaments of people that knew and loved her. I will be thinking of you and wishing you Peace tomorrow and always.
    Ben Barker and Family

  35. Fred J. Stanaway says:

    Bob, Chad, Joe and Family,
    I was hoping to be at the celebration of Marie’s life today but was unable tomake it. Our trails have crossed a few times. I loved the spark in her eyes and the many contributions to math and education she accomplished. When I was involved in MCTM and traveled to conference, others arround the country were always impressed with what Montana was doing. Much of that was due to this wonderful, brilliant, and caring Lady. Our thoughts and prayers are with Yous Guys during this time and always.

  36. Vickie Vanisko says:

    Bob, Chad and family:
    My deepest sympathy on your loss. Marie was a wnderful person and eztraordinary teacher. I will never forget my first day as an older student at Carroll. I walked into her math class at Carroll and as she ran through role for that 1st day, looked up and directed me to stay after class. Since we had never met she wanted to speak to me and learn how I was connected to the family. I was a little nervous to talk to my math professor, but she immediately put me at ease. I enjoyed those times I spent with her, although they were far too few!
    Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

  37. Matt & Mary Kunnary says:

    Matt & I would like to say how sorry we are to hear of Marie’s passing. I worked over the years with Marie at Carroll College and she was a great person. She will be greatly missed by all. She is now in the hands of the Lord. Our prayers are with your family. God Bless you.

    Matt & Mary Kunnary

  38. Ming Qian says:

    Dear Bob, Chad and family,

    Professor Vanisko was my honor thesis advisor when I graduated in 1994. She is a great teacher and very kind person. For many years after I graduate, I have kept contact her every year. She has given me advises on my son’s math education 2 years ago.
    She is a very special teacher, and I will miss her.

    Ming Qian

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