Obituary: Yvonne Bost Pickett

Posted at 1:10 PM, Aug 18, 2017
and last updated 2018-08-10 11:28:40-04

Yvonne Lillian Bost Pickett passed away suddenly at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital August 14, 2017, after 101 years of a wonderful life.

Bonnie, as her husband Frank nicknamed her, was born at home to Dr. and Mrs. Ernest (Ella Elizabeth Hoffman) Bost in New Orleans, LA, November 8, 1915, weighing 4.5 pounds. The doctor who delivered her said it would be no use to send her to the hospital, because she probably wouldn’t live. With her parents’ tender care, Bonnie beat the odds and lived on for more than a century.

She later was joined by a sister, Elaine.

While the girls were young, the Bosts moved back to their native Illinois, settling in Vandalia. In addition to her many interests, Bonnie was an enthusiastic Girl Scout, earning its highest award at the time, the Golden Eaglet.

After graduating from Vandalia High School in 1933, she attended MacMurray College for Women in Jacksonville, IL, for two years before transferring to Washington University School of Nursing in St. Louis, MO. She graduated from the five-year program with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in 1938. It was in St. Louis that she met medical student, Frank Joseph Pickett, on the steps of a Methodist Church, where they would be married several years later.

Nursing, which engaged her mind, heart and spirit, was a calling for Bonnie. She never had any other career aspirations except to be a nurse.

Bonnie worked at St. Louis Children’s Hospital for more than two years before accepting a nursing position at Queen’s Hospital in Honolulu in the Territory of Hawaii in early 1941.

Originally, Bonnie and a friend planned their jobs in Hawaii as the first step in working their way around the world. That plan came to a halt on December 7, 1941, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. She would spend most the rest of the war in Hawaii, first working as a supervisor in the Queen’s women’s ward and later as education director of Queen’s Hospital School of Nursing. Young, pretty and lively, “Miss Bost” was a favorite instructor of her students. She continued to receive letters from her former students for many years.

She returned to the Mainland in 1945 to marry Frank, who was on leave from the U.S. Army Air Corps, having served as a flight surgeon on a bomber wing at an American airbase, Old Buckenham, Great Britain. After the war, they lived in Missouri, where their son, Frank James, was born in 1946. The family moved to Bozeman, MT, in the fall of 1947 into a small house on Sour Dough Road when there were few houses, many coyotes and no fences. Cowboys drove cattle past their home and frequently across their lawn.

Mary Lee, joined the family in 1949 and Ernest John, in 1951.

Bonnie and Frank created an idyllic childhood for their kids, who had the full run of neighborhood creeks and fields. The mountains always beckoned for skiing in the winter and pack trips in the summer.

Bonnie did the books for her husband’s medical practice and later worked for Retired Senior Volunteer Program in Bozeman. She loved playing bridge and was active in the Longfellow Elementary School PTA. Continuing her interest in Girl Scouts, she was a scout camp nurse and chairman of the Scouts’ peanut fundraising drive for several years. She was thrilled when, on her 100th birthday, Girl Scouts from all over the country sent almost 1,000 handmade cards to her.

She was a 60-plus-year member of the Order of the Eastern Star and the Bozeman First United Methodist Church. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, for which she held many local and state offices. The DAR was an extended family for her at a time when her relatives lived 1,500 miles away.

When she moved to Aspen Pointe in 2008, she enjoyed an ever expanding circle of friends and appreciated the nurturing staff.

She was preceded in death by her parents, sister, husband of 54 years, an infant granddaughter, Hyalite Rose Pickett, and son-in-law, Vincent Frezzo.

She is survived by her children: Frank Pickett (Donna Jean) of Butte; Mary Pickett Parker (Phillip) of Billings; and John Pickett of Butte, MT; five grandchildren: Matt Pickett (Meredith) of Missoula; Holly Pickett of New York City, NY; Luke Pickett of Butte and Jake Pickett and Kale Pickett, both of Bozeman; two great-grandchildren: Olivia and Carter Pickett of Missoula and nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be September 2 at 2 p.m. at Aspen Pointe, 1201 Highland Blvd, Bozeman.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Bozeman United Methodist Church, 121 S. Willson Ave., Bozeman, MT 59715; Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming, 2303 Grand Ave., Billings, MT 59102; or the Mount Hyalite Chapter DAR, Catherine Muntean, 150 Covey Court, Unit D, Bozeman, MT 59718-8407.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.