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Shirley Leppink, 94

| May 12, 2024 12:00 AM

Shirley Jean Farrington Leppink, 94, passed away on May 2, 2024, at Touchmark in Helena. Born in Forsyth, to Charles and Eva Hagen Farrington, Shirley began life in nearby Ingomar on the ranch where her maternal grandparents homesteaded years earlier. 

The majority of her childhood was spent in Bozeman where her father, a career army man, taught ROTC at what was then Montana State College. After graduating from Gallatin County High School, she married and moved to Helena where her husband, Ben Moore, obtained a job with the Montana National Guard. Ben passed away in 1962. It was in Helena where she raised their three children, Dan, Joni, and Dave Moore. Working for the National Guard herself, she met numerous life-long friends. When she married Gerrit (Gary) Leppink in 1965, she began working at C.R. Anderson School in Helena as their bookkeeper. In addition to collecting lunch and milk money, she, along with her husband Gary, learned to play golf, enjoyed traveling to bowling tournaments, family times at Canyon Ferry and Swan Lake, going camping, and socializing with ever-increasing circles of friends. 

Following their retirements, Shirley and Gary built their beloved home on the shores of Swan Lake. There, they became an active part of their community, belonging to the Chamber of Commerce, the Community Club, and the Swan Chapel congregation. Shirley also volunteered her time at the local library and joined the Women’s Club, as well as a weekly bridge club. They helped with Swan Lake’s yearly Huckleberry Festival in a variety of ways and loved their adopted community as much as it loved them. When the piles of winter snow seemed to get deeper and more burdensome to shovel, Shirley and Gary began to spend increasing amounts of time in Arizona during the winters, finally purchasing a home in Mesa. Their circle of friends again multiplied as they delighted in playing golf, shuffleboard, barbeques, and gathering with others for social times there. Following Gary’s passing in 2005, Shirley continued to live in both Swan Lake and Mesa, Arizona, and participate in a never-ending variety of activities in both of her tightly-knit communities. Shirley was named Swan Lake’s Outstanding Citizen in 2018, an award she treasured dearly. Health issues led to her moving to Touchmark in Helena in December of 2022.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her two husbands, her brothers, Maury Farrington and Forrest Farrington; and an infant son. 

She is survived by her children, Daniel (Sandra) Moore of Helena, Joni (Chris Swanberg) Chenoweth of Lakeside, and David (Virginia Heineman) Moore of Seattle. She also leaves her grandchildren and great-grandchildren Cory (Amber) Chenoweth (Drew and Addy) of Helena, Kyle (Kristin) Chenoweth (Anders, Freya, and Eleanor) of Billings, and Megan (Ryan) Welsh of Billings.

A memorial service will be held at Swan Lake at a later date.