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Mary Lou LaDue

RONAN — Mary Lou Mikkelsen LaDue was called home on May 7, 2024, after a rough month-long battle with health complications. She passed away at Logan Hospital at 11:03 p.m. in Kalispell, surrounded by her daughter, Melisa, and two of her granddaughters, Shelby and Tanna.

Mary Lou was born in Ronan, on Jan, 29, 1954, to Jens and Eleanor Mikkelsen. She attended school in Ronan where she enjoyed being a teacher’s aide, a cheerleader, bowling, track, and cruising with her friends. She started her family life in 1972 with the birth of her son, Steven. She met Elmer LaDue a short time after and had their daughter, Melisa, in 1980. She lived her entire life in Ronan and never wanted to venture away from it. Mary Lou loved helping her parents at their grocery store on Main Street in the 60s. She also tended bar at the old Pheasant Bar, the old 44 Bar, and she waited tables at the Valley Club and the Big Medicine Pizza. She also kept score for Lucky Strike Lanes, helped process wild game in the fall, worked at Town Pump in Ronan, worked potatoes for Fleming Farms and was known for helping Elmer with his taxidermy work covering antlers. Elmer and Mary Lou were married in 2002 but later separated. Mary Lou overcame a lot in her life, on her birthday in 2019 she was diagnosed with lung cancer that metastasized to other parts of her body. She wasn’t supposed to make it six months, but she proved the doctors wrong and came into remission in 2022. She was always a fighter.

Mary Lou enjoyed many things in her life, fishing on the canal, camping at Dog Lake, going to the Bison Range, working in her flower beds, and she loved taking in stray cats. She enjoyed making grilled cheese sandwiches for Melisa’s friends at lunchtime. She was a second mom to many of Steven and Melisa’s neighborhood friends. She loved playing UNO, Rummy, or a good game of badminton in the middle of her street. She enjoyed crafts, beading for her family members and attending the local rodeos and powwows. She also loved the annual trip her and the family would make it to Virginia City and Bannack Days. She would always look forward to her family’s annual Thanksgiving dinner hosted by her niece Shelley; she loved having everyone under one roof so she could visit with everyone. She didn’t get as much time as she wanted this past year, but her family was her entire world, and nothing compared to the time she spent with them.

She was a very simple woman with a fun sense of humor; it didn’t take much to make her happy. A simple call, smile, wave, or I love you and her day was made. You could see her daily at Harvest Foods or Dyno Mart getting her groceries, visiting with everyone and people watching. Mary Lou was one of a kind and will be deeply missed by so many who knew and loved her. There will forever be a void in her family.

Mary Lou is proceeded in death by her parents, Jens and Eleanor Mikkelsen, and her great-grandson, Ethan Shakespeare.

She is survived by Elmer LaDue; her son, Steven Mikkelsen (Anny); her daughter, Melisa DesJarlais (Bryan); grandchildren, Cody Wilson-LaDue, Tanna DesJarlais (Cody), Shelby DesJarlais (Jasper), Kylie DesJarlais, Dawson and Brynley Bohn, Dakota, Stormy, Mystical, Serenity, Jameson, Meadow, Reign and Autumn Mikkelsen; her great-granddaughter, Heaven, Mikkelsen, Sisters: Shirley Cordis (Bill), Janie Bauer (Don), Brother Butch Mikkelsen (Ann) and and numerous nieces and nephews who she loved all dearly.

Messages of condolences may be shared with the family online at: 

Arrangements are under the care of The Lake Funeral Home and Crematory.


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