Victoria (Vickie) Ann (Parke) McIlvain passed away peacefully at the age of 73 at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Billings, Montana, on Thursday, July 2, 2020. She was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother, as well as a cherished friend.
Vickie was born in Twin Falls, Idaho, in February of 1947 and grew up in Malta on the Parke Ranch along the Raft River. The family worked cattle, bucked meadow hay, trained cutting horses (and a zebra), rodeoed, and was active in the Cassia County Fair. One of Vickie’s favorite memories as a child was a trip to the racetracks in Santa Anita, California. During high school she was active in various organizations (Pep Club and Super Snooper – who knew?!), and remained in touch with her friends and cousins in the Raft River Valley by regularly attending her class reunions. Vickie always had a strong connection to her family in southern Idaho. She often returned with her family to the Parke ranch in the summers. Her children recall day trips to the family homestead and exploring some of her favorite haunts, like the City of Rocks, Black Pine Mountain, and the wagon ruts along the Hudspeth Cutoff of the California Trail.
She married Billy G. McIlvain of Big Spring, Texas in September of 1966. They lived briefly in southern Idaho and Dillon, Montana, where Vickie introduced Mitzi and Corey, the first of four children, to the outdoors by taking them to pan for gold, pick watercress, fish for trout, and explore the ghost town of Bannock. Next came a move to Belle Fourche, SD, where Olin and Jody were born. During her thirteen years in South Dakota, she shared her laughter with numerous friends, and she became active in local churches and the Butte County Fair. Her children remember trips to Orman Dam to look for shark’s teeth, a swimming hole in Spearfish Canyon, fishing at the Bentonite Ponds, and driving the backroads of the Black Hills.
In 1987, the family moved to Huntley, Montana, where the next chapter of Vickie’s life unfolded. When Malene, an exchange student from Denmark, came and lived with her family, Vickie gained another daughter. She enjoyed working at the Martinson’s Ranch Chocolates and R&R Trading Post, volunteering at the Huntley Project Museum, and spending time with her grandchildren. She was our biggest fan at track meets, baseball games, basketball games, football games, soccer games, and rodeos. It was here that she joined various sewing circles and created beautiful quilts, often with the help of her sister, Helen. She enjoyed gardening and counted cross-stitch; she made amazing Halloween costumes and personalized Christmas stockings for the grandkids.
Vickie gave freely of herself. She was a joyful person who was full of life and love for her family and friends. She loved to reminisce and laugh and was always up for a new adventure. Her smile and zest for life will forever be missed.
Vickie’s parents, Glen and Ada Parke of Malta, Idaho, preceded her in death. She is survived by her husband Bill McIlvain; her children Mitzi Austin (Luke), Corey McIlvain (Jodie), Olin McIlvain, Jody McIlvain (Jamie); grandchildren Riley, Braden, Kade, Will, Kate, and Harper; and siblings Robert Parke (Karla), Helen Parke (Harold Ruby), and Patricia Parke-Gebauer (Galen).
Cremation has taken place. In consideration of family and friends, a Celebration of Life is planned for next year on July 17, 2021. In lieu of flowers, please think of sharing fond childhood and family memories with those you love.