It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Tina Zaneta Bea
Simpson Hirst, who departed this world on July 9, 2023 . She was born on
October 25, 1947 to Tina and Joseph Byron “Bee” Simpson in Havre,
Montana and would spend her first 6 years on her grandfather Simpson’s
ranch in Alberta, Canada before moving with her parents and little sister,
Zonda, to a ranch in the Sun River Valley between Simms and Augusta. She
attended school in Augusta where a brother, Jay Bee and sister, Zina would
join the family.
After a marriage and divorce, she moved to Helena in 1969 with three little boys in tow. She signed up for the Concentrated Employment Program and got her GED. Next, she completed the courses to get a certificate at the Capitol School of Business and continued her education at Carroll College where she studied political
science and psychology. During this time, she took a job with the Helena Indian Alliance and met her future husband, James Hirst. They were married Dec.24,1975 in Helena. She also worked at the Montana Historical Society in the library
where she discovered she wanted to be a librarian.
In 1979 they moved the family to Fairfield where she worked at the Copper
Kettle as a night cook. A fateful day in April of 1980, her husband was killed
in a car wreck. Two months later, Zaneta went to work with the Mental Health
Center in Choteau as a secretary and later as an adult case manager until
retiring in 2011. She also worked nights at the Quick Stop for a couple of years.
Throughout her 31-year career in the mental health field, Zaneta had a profound
impact on the lives of countless individuals. Her passion, dedication, and
expertise in the field contributed to a lasting legacy of generosity, positively
influencing the lives of her colleagues, clients, and loved ones.
Zaneta loved people and was a member of several organizations such as the
Soroptimists, Red Hats, Women’s Bowling League and Teton County Tobacco
Coalition. She served on the boards of Teton County Alcohol Advisory, Choteau
Activities, Region 2 Council for Developmental Disabilities and Teton County
Mental Health Advisory Board. She was a board member at the Choteau Senior
Center for 2 years and served as president for 1 year.
Zaneta cherished her family, friends, and life. She always told you exactly what was
on her mind and had the most loving heart. She also enjoyed good food and
would threaten to call the police if it was not acceptable (a crime, an assault on
her taste buds) A free spirit not to mention the life of the party, she never
passed up having a good time.
Zaneta was predeceased by her spouse, James Hirst; her mother, Tina Simpson;
her father, Bee Simpson; and brother, Jay Bee. She is survived by her three sons,
John (Michelle) Hirst, Joseph Byron “Joby” (Sydney) Hirst, and Jason (Jennifer)
Hirst; sisters, Zina Coley and Zonda (Pat) Barber; grandsons; Mackay, Byron,
Braden, Shawn, Dennis; 2 great grandchildren, Harper Lee and Easton; also
several special nieces, nephews and extended family.
Zaneta always sought the silver lining in every situation, regardless
of the odds. Her unwavering positivity touched the hearts of those who knew
her, and her inherent warmth and kindness will be dearly missed.
She was an eternal optimist who loved life to the fullest and left a lasting
impression on everyone she met. Her memory will be forever cherished by her
family, friends, and the countless lives she touched as a mental health
professional. Zaneta's legacy of generosity and optimism will continue to be an
inspiration to all who knew her.
A celebration of life will be held at Frontier Funeral Home followed by a
graveside service at the Choteau Cemetery and lunch at the Choteau Senior
Center on Saturday, July 15th at 11:00 a.m.
This will be potluck style, so please bring a side dish or salad to share and celebrate