Joan Helen Runyan

Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Article Image Alt Text

Joan Helen Runyan, 91, of Billings, MT, passed away due to Alzheimer’s disease, Tuesday, June 22, 2021, surrounded by family. 

Joan was born on Feb. 8, 1930, in Winifred, MT, the daughter of Kuzma and Johanna (Pipinich) Simac. She received a degree in nursing from St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in Lewistown, MT, in 1953. During her 40-year nursing career, she worked in various hospital settings and finished her career at the Livingston Convalescent Center, where she provided skilled, compassionate care to countless patients. 

In 1954 she married her high school sweetheart, Dwayne Runyan, in Lewistown, MT. They made Livingston their home in 1959, where they raised their family and were active members of the community, until moving to Billings, MT, in 2018. She was a longtime member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, St. Joseph’s Circle, and a member at the Livingston Golf and Country Club. 

Joan and Dwayne enjoyed traveling to CA and AZ in their RV in the winter, avidly golfing, sightseeing, and meeting new friends. She found joy in flower and vegetable gardening and donated the extra bounty to family and friends. But most of all, Joan enjoyed spending time with her four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. 

Joan is survived by her husband of 66 years, Dwayne; son, Dan Runyan; daughters, Barb (Mike) Metzger, Jan (Brad) Charleson; granddaughters, Michelle (Will) Blakeley, Susan (Erik) Wood, Lauren Charleson, Kelly Charleson, and great-grandchildren, Levi, Addison, and Natalie Jo. 

Joan is preceded in death by her parents, Kuzma and Johanna Simac; brothers, Joseph, John, Gerald Simac; and sisters, Helen, Stephanie, Anne, Mary, Margaret, Rosie, and Katie. She is survived by brothers, Jim and Bob Simac; sisters, Dicy Smith, Fannie Ehlert, Lucy Carr, and Nancy Bates. 

A Memorial Mass in honor of Joan will be held 10 a.m. on Friday, July 9 at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Billings. Reception will follow at the Columbia Club (formerly known as the Knights of Columbus) 2216 Grand Ave. in Billings, MT 59102.

Those wishing to honor her memory could consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association: Montana. To view the tribute page or share condolences, visit:


Special Sections