Deirdre Lyn Alheim passed away on May 16, 2010 after a courageous 3 year battle with breast cancer.
Deirdre was born in Portland, Oregon on October 23, 1960 to Richard and Barbara Cole. She graduated from Centennial High School in Gresham, Oregon in 1978 and immediately joined the U.S. Coast Guard. She served as a coxswain on 44 ft motor life boats on the Oregon Coast; instructor at Boatswain Mate and Coxswain C schools in Yorktown, Virginia; Search and Rescue Coordinator at Group Mobile, Alabama and Group Mobile, Boston, Massachusetts; Housing Inspector at Support Center Governors Island, New York; and Barracks Master at Arms Activities NY in Staten Island.
While in the Coast Guard, Deirdre met Larry Alheim, an instructor at Marine Safety School in Yorktown, Virginia. After dating only 4 weeks, Larry proposed and lucky for him she accepted. They were married in 1984 and celebrated their 25th anniversary in December.
In 1998, Larry and Deirdre retired from the Coast Guard and moved to Helena, Montana with their daughter, Erin. In 2006, they moved to Montana City and joined the Montana City Volunteer Fire Department. Deirdre was named Rookie of the Year in 2006, and Firefighter of the year in 2007 and 2009, for outstanding service in the Fire Department. Even while undergoing chemotherapy in 2007, 2008, 2009, Deirdre still remained active, responding to over 70% of the department's calls including structure fires, wild land fires, vehicle accidents/extrications/fires, and hazardous materials incidents. She also responded to large mutual aid calls to the Meriwether fire, Spring Meadow Lake fire, Indian Trail fire, and MacDonald Pass fire.
Deirdre, Larry and Erin would like to thank Dr. Tom Weiner, Dr. Robert Pfeffer, and all the great nurses in the Cancer Treatment Center and the Oncology floor of St. Peter's Hospital for their outstanding treatment and care.
Deirdre was preceded in death by her father Richard Cole. She is survived by her husband Larry and daughter Erin of Montana City; her mother Barbara Cole of Portland, OR; sisters, Candy Dylla of Bend, OR and Cindy Vanhoff of Spokane, WA; as well as many nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Monday, May 24, 2010 at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. Burial with Military Honors will follow the service at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery, Ft. Harrison. To offer a condolence to Deirdre's family or to share a memory of Deirdre, please visit www.retzfuneralhome.com.
Memorials may be sent in Deirdre's name to the Cancer Treatment Center, c/o St. Peter's Hospital, 2475 Broadway, Helena, MT 59601 or to the Montana City Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 2094, 1 Jackson Creek Rd., Clancy, MT 59634. Arrangements are under the care of Retz Funeral Home in Helena.