In memory of

Zona I. Oleson, age 92 of Helena

November 27, 1926 – January 8, 2019

Zona Oleson, age 92 of Helena passed away peacefully on January 8, 2019.

She was born to John and Lillian Stoll on November 27, 1926. She married Harry Raymond in her teen years and they had 2 children, Vern Raymond and Debbie Hurni. Harry passed away in October of 1958. Later she married Bud Oleson in August 1960. They had a son, Scott Oleson. Bud passed away January 2011.

She and Bud owned Bud and Zona’s Bar in Canyon Ferry for many years until retirement in the 70s. Zona loved to crochet, embroider, eat Chinese food, and drink an occasional highball. Her get away was fishing under the dam at Canyon Ferry Lake with her best friend June. In her younger years she operated her own restaurant in Sunburst, MT and later worked at Jester’s and the Montana Club in Helena.

In Zona’s later years she enjoyed playing rummy, baking sugar cookies with her grandchildren, and working in the garden where she loved to plant beautiful gladiolus.

Zona is survived by: her children, Vern (Terry) Raymond, Debbie (Neal) Hurni, Scott (Laura) Oleson and Jerry Oleson; grandchildren, Randy, JayDee, Carissa, Jordan, Kyle, Ryan, and Marc; and many beloved great grandchildren, great great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.  She loved them all dearly.

A memorial service will be 1:00 p.m., Friday, January 18, 2019 at Retz Funeral Home. 315 E. 6th Avenue. A graveside service will follow at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery, Fort Harrison. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial in honor of Zona to the Lewis & Clark Humane Society, P.O. Box 4455, Helena, MT 59604 or Hospice of St. Peter’s Hospital c/o St. Peter’s Hospital, 2475 Broadway, Helena, MT 59601. Please visit below to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Zona.


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

  1. Allen Stenhjem Family says

    Vern and Family,
    What a great lady, Zona will be missed by all who crossed her path through the years, God Bless …………….
    Allen and Glenda

  2. Joe & Doreen Filson says

    We send our deepest sympathy for your loss.
    Joe & Doreen Filson

  3. Renie and Lee Hanson/June Kindsfater says

    Zona—Dear best friend, fishing buddy, loving heart, kind soul, infectious laughter, beautiful smiles, warm hugs, shared visits and wonderful memories of years gone by, will forever be encased in our hearts!! We will surely miss her. We are thankful to God for Zona, who shared her life with us here, and for His amazing gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, giving us the assurance we “will” meet again! May God bless Zona’s family with comfort and peace through His love.

  4. Jennie Ekwortzel says

    I only knew Zona in her later years. I wish I would have known her longer. I enjoyed visiting with her. She loved having her nails done in a dark Dusty pink. I am glad I got to spend a small part of her life with her.

  5. Connie (Sands) Jerome says

    Debbie –
    I am so sorry to read of your mother’s passing. May sweet memories fill your heart and mind with warmth and love. My prayers are with you during this time. Sending you my love and big hugs my friend.

  6. Kelly and Connie Jerome says

    Vern, Terry, Randy, Phaedra, and ALL the kids and siblings
    We are so very sorry for your loss.
    Our prayers are with you all.


    Do you know people who when they walk in a room, they light up the place with the stars in their eyes ? Zona did that ! A special twinkle in her eyes and always a smile on her face ! That was Zona ! We knew her for a short 14 years , but long enough to feel we were family. When Vern and Terry were having a party (which was pretty much all the time) , John would walk in and say ” Hi, Ma !” …..and Zona would respond with a hug. When Zona lost her vision, she would always recognize John’s voice with a “Is that you, John ?” And that followed by a hug !
    When it was time to go home, John always walked her to the car. 
    We will always keep Zona in our hearts forever ! 

  8. Andy and Rinay Bender says

    Zona was a genuinely sweet lady. You were blessed to have her. I know you will miss her. Our thoughts are with your family. Rest in Peace Zona.

  9. Jim Wilcox and Sally Russell says

    Jim and I are so sad to hear about Zona’s passing. She was one funny loving and amazing beautiful lady. We loved her so and know she will be missed. You all are in our thought and will continue to bein the days ahead. So sorry we are unable to be there to offer our support but know we are there in spirit now and the days ahead. Love all of you Vern, Terry, and families

  10. Deb (Winston) Bushnell says

    My sweet grandmother, Mary Amundson, used to live across the road from Bud and Zona’s! She bartended for them in her early 80’s. They were best buddies! Our whole family new and loved Zona! She was a great lady and very kind to our grandma! Very sorry for your loss!

  11. Steve lantz says

    I am so sorry for your loss. I remember that Zona liked going to hunting camp and having a sip of Apple pie! I will miss her.

  12. Kathleen Broussard says

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Keith, Kathleen and Kory Broussard

  13. Steve and Jeri Mosby and family says

    Vern and Family, We are so sorry for you loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. The Mosby’s

  14. Sandi Coyle Benson says

    Debbie – I am sorry to read this news. I’ll always remember your mom with a smile. Know you’re in my prayers for healing. Love you & God Bless

  15. Raynold Kunnary says

    Matt & I are sorry to hear about Zona. However, she is now in great hands and probably has a smile on her face. What a great person she was. It was a pleasure to have known her during her time here on earth.
    God Bless you, Zona.

    Matt & Mary Kunnary

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