Bernard Leonard Pease Sr., of Billings, Montana, passed away on February 23, 2020, at the age of 86. He was a United States Army Veteran, proud member of the Crow Tribe and a loving Husband, Father, Uncle, and Grandfather. Bernard spent the remainder of his life peacefully in his home with the love of his life, Betty Pease, and family.
Bernard was born in Lodge Grass, Montana, on February 3, 1934, to Anson Pease Sr. and Mattie Hall. Bernard is the last brother of eight siblings who he continued to look after throughout his life. Bernard loves to reminisce about all the rabbits and chickens he had to raise and sell to help provide for his family at a young age, building him into the hard-working man we all knew him to be.
Bernard enlisted at the age of 17 to fight for his country. At this time he had a three-year apprenticeship as a mason and within two years he made foreman as a bricklayer. During this time, Bernard was deployed to Korea to fight for his country in the Korean War. At the age of 18, he was appointed as a Buck Sergeant and then a 1st Class Sergeant. On July 3, 1952, he had the opportunity to leave Korea but felt strongly that he needed to continue leading his men. On July 4, 1952, he was critically injured as a 1st class sergeant and spent months in the hospital. He was honorably discharged and was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star. Bernard felt very honored to serve his country and earn the opportunity to lead an amazing group of men.
In 1952, Bernard met the love of his life, the beautiful Betty Brester from Laurel, Montana. Bernard and Betty celebrated 68 years of marriage. Bernard and Betty have five children; Rosella, Sherrie, Helen, Bernard Jr., and Linda. Bernard became the President of the Bricklayers Union and at the age of 30 became a Bricklayers’ Contractor. Bernard started Bernard Pease Masonry and built many symbolic buildings across the State of Montana. Betty helped run the family business and worked with her daughter Linda Thomas at Bibs to Books Daycare raising her grandchildren and many neighborhood kids. Together they built their red brick home that holds memories of a lifetime. His home was his greatest accomplishment and he loved sharing stories about how he built it with his own two hands. His home was the host to special family gatherings, holidays, or space to just feel at home.
When Bernard wasn’t at his home, he was at his favorite place, Ft. Smith, Montana, on the Big Horn River. Bernard loved nothing more than to fish in the Big Horn River with his beautiful wife and family. Bernard was one of the best fishermen you’d ever meet. He knew the Big Horn River like the back of his hand. He loved nothing more than listening to the water, watching the movement of the fish, sharing his wealth of knowledge about anything and everything, and counting who caught the most fish on the way home, always making it a
Bernard had the best sense of humor. You could find yourself sitting with him at Wal-Mart, home, Yellowtail, the baseball fields, The Rainbow Bar and The Play Inn, telling stories and jokes for hours and hours. He’s the only person you could send to Wal-Mart with a grocery list for him to return hours later with only another story about how he made a new friend.
Life wasn’t always easy, but with his wife Betty, they got through it together. Bernard was a family man and loved nothing more than spending time at Ft. Smith, Montana, watching his family grow. Although he is no longer with us, his family will continue to grow and his memory will live on forever. Every time we see a fish jump in the Big Horn River, we will know it is Grandpa telling us to throw the line more upstream, let the line out, be patient and keep your tip-up. We love you more than all the fish in the Big Horn River, always and forever.
Bernard is survived by his beloved wife Betty Pease, his five children; Rosella, Sherrie, Helen, Bernard Jr., and Linda. He is also survived by generations of grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, hundreds of cousins and thousands of friends. He is preceded in death by his grandparents, parents and siblings. Our family would also like to give a special thanks to Sarah for the wonderful care she provided him.
A celebration of Bernard’s life will be planned at a later date. Heights Family Funeral Home is entrusted with his care.