Our loving wife mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, friend left us in her sleep Jan. 27, 2016 after a battle with leukemia. Carole Jo Ann Smith was born April 16, 1942 to Edward and Nellie Sowa. She spent her young childhood years on the Sun River on 10th Ave SW. Sadly her mother passed away when mom was five and mom spent her life missing her. She was partially raised by her Auntie Opal on a ranch in Stockett, Montana, and loved the ranch. Another family wrapped their arms around young Carole as well. Grandpa and Grandpa Rafferty, along with mom’s best friends, Judy and Jeannie Rafferty and their brother, Terry.
Mom attended Franklin Elementary School in Great Falls and graduated from Great Falls High School in 1960.
After school mom moved to Conrad where she was a nurse’s aide at Pondera Medical Center. One night she and some friends went dancing at the Palace Bar in Conrad where mom met a handsome and rebellious Cowboy Indian named Jim Smith.
They married on March 21, 1964, at PMC. For 52 years they loved, laughed, cried and through thick n’ thin, never wavered in their devotion to each other.
Their first home was a bunkhouse and then they moved to Sweetgrass Hills, where dad was a true cowboy. They then followed road construction for a bit. While living in Butte, Montana mom became pregnant with Pam. Dad had been nomadic and he had vowed to give his kids a place to grow up and Pam and Karen were given the best gift ever of calling Butte America home. Mom and dad loved Butte and it is still home to us all. Mom was a homemaker for years and we had three hot homemade meals every single day. We sat at the table as a family and many wonderful memories were made in our trailer house on Sunset Drive.
Mom was active in many organizations. She was our Blue Bird and Camp Fire leader, she was in the PTA, she was secretary of the Butte Vigilante Saddle Club. She played bingo every Friday night with a group of ladies. One of those ladies Joyce O’Bill was the inspiration for the Lady of the Rockies.
Our house was the hub of all of the kids in Butte and they hung out there because as Mary Criscuolo-Bouma stated we were a family. She loved her Blue Bird and Camp Fire Girls and all of them remember her.
Mom used to make many of our clothing. We were dressed to the nines. Especially on Easter Sunday for our service at Gloria Dei Lutheran.
Into high school as Butte girls do we got a little wild from time to time. Halli Atiyeh-Perala shared some of the times mom chased her with a wooden spoon and yelled. It was done out of love to keep our butts in line.
After living in Butte for 20 years and Pam and Karen moved away, our folks decided to move back up near Conrad to Pendroy, Montana. Mom had obtained her vocational degree and was an LPN and was hired at PMC where her and my dad had married in years before.
Mom stayed active in clubs and was the Queen Mum of the Red Hattitudes in Conrad. She was so proud and used to march in parades, sport her fancy red hats and purple outfits all over Conrad. She held many a tea, red hat dinner and loved her Red Hat Group
She also was a trustee of Junior Vice President of the VFW.
Mom was a pistol. It was her way or the highway and she made no bones if she was cranky at you. She loved her flower beds and they were gorgeous. She was also very funny. Never much of a drinker there is a story she got a little tipsy one night at the Night Owl in Butte and started doing somersaults in the bar.
Mom is survived by her husband of 52 years from Conrad, Montana, Jim Smith; daughter, Pamella Smith-Bogunovich (Daryl) of Sun River, Montana; daughter, Karen Hesser (Jeremy) of Light House Point, Florida; granddaughter, Amanda Welsh of Great Falls, Montana; grandson, Apollo Hesser of Lighthouse Point, Florida; granddaughter, Heather Berger (David) of Vandenberg AFB in California; grandson, Bryce Hesser of Lighthouse Point, Florida; and granddaughter, Shelby Hesser of Lighthouse Point, Florida; great-grandchildren, Lexie, Devin, and Ethan; a brother, Arnold Sowa of Helena; a half-sister, Julie; numerous cousins, friends, and a Weiner dog, Levi and an orange cat named Punky.
Mom will be sadly missed and we love you so much hon, mom, gramma and Mugga.