Mary Jane Crowley was born in Three Forks to Art and Maude Carlson on June 10, 1919. She passed away Oct. 4, 2010, at the age of 91.
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Mary Jane was one of seven children. Her remaining sister, Katie Wilcox, and her husband, Ralph, still reside on their ranch below the Madison Valley Buffalo Jump, where she and Mary Jane were neighbors for many years.
Mary Jane married Bill Crowley. They lived on a ranch and had four delightful children, Mary Lou, Virginia (Ginny), Bill and Carole. Her brother's son, Billy Don Carlson, became like a fifth child, as he visited the ranch each summer from California to work and play with his cousins. Her nieces, Kay and Barbara, both from Washington, visited the ranch during the summers as well.
Ranch life is a lot of work and raising a family and cooking for almost everyone around she went about it with fun and caring for all.
Her husband preceded her in death in 1977. Daughter Mary Lou Houser passed away in November 2009. Mary Lou's sons, Tony, Mike and Joel, preceded her in death.
She had eleven grandchildren, thirteen great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Mary Jane will be remembered as a nice, friendly lady with wit. After selling the family ranch below the Madison Valley Buffalo Jump in Montana, she moved to Bozeman. While living in Bozeman she volunteered at the local hospital, earning a 3,000-hour volunteer award. She also worked at Montana State University. In her spare time, she was chief driver for senior citizen lunches, organized garage sales for friends and neighbors, and she served on the homeowner's board at the Chequamegon Village.
In 1997, after several years of wintering in California with her daughter Ginny and her husband, Ken Sullivan, Mary Jane moved in with them for the last 14 years.
Visits from her loving grandson, Jeff Howard, delighted her. He shared her luck at the casinos as he drove his family from Montana to spend time with her here in California. His family includes four of the great-grandchildren and the great-great-grandchild.
She had a special bond with granddaughter Brenda Hopper, as they talked every day, visited often and made cookies at Christmas for Brenda's UPS route customers – sometimes 800 to 900 cookies. Her friend, Gloria Favor, came over to help wrap the cookies in threes and they all laughed and had a wonderful time.
Trips to Nashville, Knoxville (daughter Carole and family) and Hawaii with the Sullivan's and Ivy Schuetz were another delight.
Lucky at slot machines, playing pitch, watching sports with passion, and enjoying Monday Night Football in California were always a highlight because these activities included good food, friends and betting.
A teetotaler by calling, she learned to enjoy a hot toddy prescribed by her doctor for a cold – which she felt lasted for four years! A friend introduced her to a small glass of red wine a year ago.
The last nine months were at Driftwood Health Care Center and she enjoyed the other residents and greeted them and the staff with a smile and small wave.
Mary Jane was loved by all and loved each person she met without reservation. She tried to make each of us feel welcome and comfortable. She will be missed.
Funeral mass is at 11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 11, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 435 Monterey Ave. in Capitola, Calif. Reception following. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity of your choice.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Oct. 10, 2010