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Mavis Wastweet (Filler) Farnham. September 11, 1947 – August 13, 2019. A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, August 31, 2019 at the Fifth Ave Christian Church, 2015 5th Ave., Havre, MT.
Mavis Farnham was born in Parker’s Prairie Minnesota, to Leo Marvel and Ellen Caroline (Felt) Wastweet. At the age of 4, Mavis moved with her family to Shelby Montana. Her Minnesota roots stayed strong, travelling there to visit grandparents and other family in the Bagley/Shevlin area every summer and Christmas. Later on, she continued taking her two girls to Minnesota every summer, establishing strong roots for them there, as well.
Mavis attended school in Shelby and graduated from Shelby High in 1965. From 1965 – 1970, Mavis worked at the Toole County State Bank, in Shelby.
In 1970, she moved to Havre and married Dave Filler. From this marriage, came her two daughters, Pamela (West) and Christine, as well as good times with step-children, Kim and Jeff, whom she loved as her own. In 1980, that marriage ended. Mavis continued to be a devoted mother, often sleeping across the bottom of Pam and Christine’s bed at night. In reminiscing about this she said “I just couldn’t get enough of you girls”. She always sacrificed and provided them a beautiful life with fun trips, bike rides, days spent in the Bears Paw mountains, and much more.
In 1974, Mavis started working at Northern Montana College as Administrative Assistant in various offices. During the last 8 years at NMC, Mavis was advisor for the International Club, where her family grew to include many students and parents from other countries. They called her their American Mom, as she took on caring for them as her own. The love created with them was so strong that some travelled far distances to visit with her and share memories in her final days.
In December of 1990, Mavis acquired more children as her own, with the tragic, sudden death of her sister and brother in law, Marlene and Delmar Fenger. She took her maternal role seriously with her nephews and niece, Jim and Darrin, and Brenda, assuring that they always had her to lean on.
In 2000, Mavis started working at Havre Job Service, continuing her commitment to help others until her retirement in September of 2009. Her retirement gave her the opportunity to start checking items off of her long “bucket list”, including attending a taping of the Oprah show with long time friend and sister-in-law Judi Filler, a trip to the east coast with her beloved aunt Shirley Powell, and a trip to Africa, with granddaughter Tatiana, where they enjoyed a safari and a visit with International student, Levi Maranga and his family.
Mavis was always a supportive and very involved grandma to her five grandchildren, Anthony, Tatiana, Cole, Janae and Kamryn. She was always present at their sporting events, concerts, and other activities that they were involved in, cheering them on and sharing her enthusiasm.
Another passion of Mavis’ was singing in The Timely Trio, which she formed in 1983 with dear friends, Kim Callahan and Dena Tippets. They often performed around the Havre area and also went on the road to perform in other cities and states. Their final performance for family and friends was in July, in Mavis’ hospital room, when Kim and Dena came to visit her. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house! Barb Neuwerth was an original member of the trio and also travelled to pay Mavis a visit in the final days.
Mavis’ devoted service to others continued when her parents moved in with her in June of 2001, receiving her loving care until her mother’s death in December of that year and her father’s death in July of 2004.
In 2017, Mavis completed her family when she married Robert Farnham, becoming “Mom” to his children and step children, April, Heather and Josh. During their brief time together, Mavis absolutely glowed as they shared fun events and activities with family and friends, such as The Dirty Dash, a trip along the coast of Oregon in their camper, a trip to Chicago, and many trips for theatre and music events. Bob was an incredible help to her and her family in her final days, returning the love and devotion she always gave others and assuring she was comfortable and feeling loved at all times.
Others preceding Mavis in death include infant sister, Roberta Wastweet, stepdaughter, Kimberly Filler, and numerous aunts and uncles.
Survivors include husband, Robert Farnham of Havre MT, daughters Pamela (Robert) West (Havre) and Christine Filler (Great Falls, MT), grandchildren, Anthony (Cortney) Filler, Tatiana Marden, Cole Lambert, and Janae and Kamryn West, nephews and niece, Jim (Brenda) Fenger, Brenda (Duane) Bauer, and Darrin Fenger, step children, April (David) Farnham Morrison, Heather (Luca) Casparis, and Josh Bartlett, step grandchildren, Paul Bartlett, Gavin Morrison, Matteo Casparis, Sophia Casparis, Gabriella Bartlett, Lucia Casparis, and Leia Bartlett, sister in law and dear friend Judi Filler, numerous other nieces and nephews, and all of her international “children”, and many friends near and far.
In lieu of flowers Mavis would like donations sent to Peace Hospice in Great Falls, Friends of Beaver Creek Park, Abundant Life Ministries or Van Orsdel Methodist Church of Havre or Sell Lake Lutheran Church in rural Shevlin Minnesota, or your organization of choice. Burial of ashes will be at a later date at Sell Lake Cemetery.
Mavis’ dying wish was for people to show kindness to others, so please, in her honor, be sure to spread love and light to those whose paths you cross.