Athelia "Dilly" Nivens

Athelia “Dilly” Nivens, 95, passed away due to natural causes on Friday, August 30, 2019, at the Big Sandy Medical Center. Cremation has taken place, and memorial services were held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 5, 2019, at Christ Lutheran Church with Pastor Sean Janssen officiating. Dilly’s family has suggested memorial donations be made in her name to the Big Sandy Medical Center or the charity of the donor’s choice. Holland & Bonine Funeral Home has been entrusted with services and arrangements. Please visit Dilly’s online memorial page and leave a message of condolence for her family at

Dilly was born on April 5, 1924, in Worland, WY, to Adam and Katherine (Hoff) Zinn. When she was very young, the family relocated to the Hi-Line. Dilly graduated from Kremlin High School in 1942, and soon married Harold Gorman with whom she had a son. They divorced within a couple of years. In the mid 40’s, Dilly married George Nivens who lived in Harlem, with whom she had nine children, losing two early on. The family moved to Big Sandy in 1963 for work, where they remained to raise their family. Dilly worked hard her whole life, beginning with her childhood working in the fields. After she married, she worked as a waitress and a cook in restaurants, and then as a dietician in the Big Sandy Medical Center. She and George owned and ran an upholstery shop until Ron & Joan, their son & daughter-in-law, took over the family business. In the mid 70’s, Dilly moved to Douglas, WY, and worked as a janitor in the schools and at Pizza Hut. She returned to Big Sandy in 1990, and worked for the Big Sandy Medical Center in the laundry until her retirement in 2004. In 2013, Dilly again returned to Big Sandy Medical Center, this time as a resident, where she remained until her death.

She enjoyed bowling, crocheting, reading, cooking, sewing, baking, playing games, and telling jokes. She loved her “people” and the many small dogs she had throughout her lifetime. She also adored the one cat she always had around to keep the dogs in line.

Dilly was preceded in death by her husband, George Nivens; two infant sons, Henry and Roy Lee Nivens; two adult sons Wes Gorman and Frank Nivens; daughter-in-law Joan Nivens; grandson Bryan Nivens; parents Adam and Katherine Zinn; three brothers; and three sisters.

She is survived by her children, Dennis (Toni) Nivens of Great Falls, Ron Nivens of Big Sandy, Monica (Jack) Halbert of Malta, Tammy (Jim) Houle and Randy Nivens, all of Big Sandy, and Donna (Bob) Roswell of Rock Springs, WY; two daughters-in-law, Shirley Gorman of Havre and Lori Nivens of Malta; 19 grandchildren; 44 great-grandchildren; 6 great-great-grandchildren; sister Louise Prowse of Huntington Beach, CA; brother Richard (Lois) Zinn of Havre; numerous nieces and nephews; and her extended family, the staff and residents of the Big Sandy Medical Center.