Leone (Peggy) Lillis Rule
Aug. 29, 1924 - Feb. 21, 2017
When Esther Leone Lillis was born on August 29, 1924, her mother, Zoe, of Billings said to her father, B.C. Lillis, “You can name her anything you want. I’m going to call her ‘Peggy’” She has been both Leone and Peggy ever since.
Peg passed away February 21, 2017. Raised in Billings, Leone ran with her “Thundering Herd” of eight and played first chair flute for the high school and with the Billings Symphony.
She studied nursing in Bozeman and Minneapolis, then followed life’s currents through Helena and various parts of California. 1952 found her in Vallejo, California with four kids: Andy, Bob, Rick and Meg Movius. There she met life love and partner Bob Rule, a widower with toddler, Bill, in tow.
Bob and Peg wed on August 30, 1953, and seven people with two different last names melded into family. Bob and Peg owned the Rule Blueprint and Photostat Shop in Vallejo for a number of years but they wanted to raise their kids in Peg’s native Montana. So the family moved to Big Timber in August of 1959, then to a ranch on the East Boulder River near McLeod.
Besides being a rancher and mother to five, Peg drove the school bus 20 miles to and from Big Timber and worked as the Sweet Grass County High School secretary.
Peg and Bob were active in Big Timber’s Congregational Church and supported their kids in 4-H and school activities. The friendships kindled in this era sustained Bob and Peg through the rest of their lives.
The kids flew the coop and Peg and Bob sold the ranch in 1971 and moved (by degrees via Bisbee, Arizona) to year-round residence in West Yellowstone where they operated the Rustic Gift Shop, later a candy store.
They flew around the west in a 182 Cessna until heart trouble claimed Bob’s pilot license, then traded the plane for a travel trailer and traveled the US at ground level.
In 1995 Peg and Bob retired to Helena, filling their time with a large yard, garden, sewing room, woodshop and participation in Plymouth Congregational Church. They cruised on the Mississippi, through the Panama Canal and to Alaska. They trailered with friends around the US. They camped with family.
Bob died in 2003 and Peg has since resided at The Waterford/Touchmark. Her whole clan celebrated her 90th birthday at Tamaracks Lodge on Seeley Lake in 2014 and will meet in her memory in the summer of 2018. Peg requested that there be no service.
Peg was predeceased by her husband, Bob, parents, B.C. and Zoe (Brusseau) Lillis, and brothers, Burton Jr., Dean and Hubert Lillis. She is survived by Andy (Becky) Movius of Boise; Robert (Angela) Movius of Cannock, England; Rick (Michele) Movius of Fayetteville, North Carolina; Meg Kane of Redmond, Washington; and Bill Rule (Becky Warren) of Helena.
She is grandmother to 11, great-grandmother to 12 and great-great-grandmother to one. Peg sewed masterfully and planted an abundant garden. She was a good mother, a hard-working business woman, a minor card-shark, and an avid reader.
Peg’s greatest pride was her family; her regret facing death was not getting to watch them all grow up. And the mountains. She’ll miss Montana’s Mountains.