Cover photo for Jerriann Hanel's Obituary
Jerriann Hanel Profile Photo
1943 Jerriann 2024

Jerriann Hanel

January 29, 1943 — March 29, 2024


Celebration of Life for Jerri will be 3:00 p.m. Wednesday April 3, 2024 at Dahl Funeral Chapel in Billings. 

For those who cannot attend it will be live streamed at I

Jerriann Hilma Hanel died peacefully at Highgate Senior Living in Billings, MT, early on the morning of March 29th, 2024. She quietly slipped into eternal rest as she conquered the Parkinson’s Disease that had tried, but failed, to take her mind and spirit for the past 31 years. Jerriann was 81 years young.

Jeri was born the fourth daughter of eight children to Frank and Alice Hanel in Glasgow, MT, on January 29, 1943. She was described by her siblings as “much like her dad”: kind, funny, sensitive, strong-willed, stubborn, fearless, determined, and loved to be the center of attention. Jerriann also displayed a love of the Lord at an early age, and continued this strong relationship with God until her last breath.

Jeri lived life to the fullest and engaged in a variety of adventurous activities throughout her lifetime. During her youth she participated in band, synchronized swimming, art, and ice skating among others. She became known by some as the “farm girl” for her love of being outdoors and especially enjoyed gardening. She was also always looking to have a good time. An early example of is when Jeri joined the carnival the summer after she graduated from high school. She worked in the ticket booth and loved to tell the story about when one of the heads of the two-headed lady just happened to walk by.

Jerriann’s next brave adventure began when she moved to Minneapolis, MN, to attend the College of Medical Technology and X-ray. She achieved that degree in March of 1963 where she also met, and later married, Dennis Williams. From that marriage, four children were born. They later divorced, and thus began her very busy next adventure as a single working mother attending Nursing school in Miles City, MT. She proudly graduated with a Nursing degree in 1977, about the same time she met John Obye. After they married, she moved to Baker, MT, where Jerriann’s social life continued to thrive as she joined Toast Masters, community/church choirs, and a sorority group. She made friends easily and quickly became a beloved member of the Baker community.

In 1979, Jerriann added a new dimension of adventure to her life with the addition of her fifth child. While raising another child she also continued her career working such jobs as hospital nurse, clinic nurse, public health nurse, and she had a special passion for the individuals she served as a drug and alcohol counselor. Her most recent position, however, was perhaps the most impactful and brought her the most joy. Jerriann was the school nurse in Baker for 28 years. She touched the lives of hundreds of staff, students, and their families providing care, encouragement, counseling, and developing long-lasting friendships with colleagues and students alike. In addition, Jeri brought playfulness, music, and laughter into all of their lives. Her birthday kazoo salutes, musical instrument parades, and Easter bunny appearances were highly anticipated activities and enjoyed by all.

In 2016 while living at her cherished home on Baker Lake, Jerriann fell while playing a solo game of darts. This incident became the beginning of a series of events leading her to transition to the assisted living care facilities in Billings that she would reside in for the remaining eight years of her life.

The move to Billings was a tough adjustment for Jeri and she always spoke of getting better and moving home. She never lost faith. Although the Parksinon’s tried in vain to slow her down, she would not be overcome. Many of us have witnessed, first hand, that there was no stopping her. She would climb over, under, or around any obstacle in front of her and always find a way to do what she wanted to… often artfully soliciting the help of others. She truly was a fun loving person who made the best of every situation. Some of her favorite pastimes included spending time with family/friends, singing, kazoos, puzzles, Yahtzee, riding recumbent bike, canoeing, gardening, making homemade cards, children, ice cream, and being in the company of handsome men (hubba-hubba). She also had a passion for kites and has been seen flying one out of the window of a moving vehicle, along the interstate next to a tour bus, and alongside her train during a station stop. She continued these and many more shenanigans at both Sweetwater Retirement Commuity and Highgate Senior Living where she met old and made many new dear friends.

Jerriann was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Alice Hanel; sister JoAn Houg; brother-in-law Loren Houg, nephew Bruce Houg; daughter-in-law Denise Williams and brother-in-law Gary Lanterman. Jerriann is survived by sisters Joyce (LeeRoy) Mann; Jeanie (Harry) Bickle; Janny (Dave) Parsley; Judy Lanterman; June (Mike) Vogt; brother Frank (Tammie) Hanel, Jr; children John S. Williams; Dawn Benth; Jennifer (Paul) Bitts; Stacy Williams, Jana (David) King; grandchildren Christopher (Amber) Kastner; Ashley (Walter) Childers; Louis (Taylor) Bitts; Zoe (Cameron) Sticka; Brenna King; Shamrock King; Will Meier; Lysistrata King; and six great grandchildren. Jerriann also had a special relationship with John Obye’s four children Erin, Brick, Bryce, and Shawn. Numerous nieces and nephews and other family members.

Jerriann Will be honored in a celebration of life on April 3rd, 2024, at 2:00 pm at the Dahl Funeral Chapel in Billings, MT. An additional celebration will take place this summer prior to the burial of her ashes in Wolf Point, MT.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jerriann Hanel, please visit our flower store.


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