Nancy Maxine Ewan Perkins died Sept. 6, 2014 in Bozeman, from complications from multiple sclerosis (MS). Nancy was born on a cold February night on Feb. 5, 1948 in Livingston, Mont. Over the hill as the crow flies, she was raised on the Ranch at McLeod on the East Boulder River. From the time she was able to walk, she was riding a horse and running around chasing lambs and calves. It is like she was born wearing cowboy boots.
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Her first years in school were in a one-room schoolhouse on the East Boulder and she was able to ride her horse to and from. Then she went to grade school in McLeod and attended Sweet Grass County High School in Big Timber. During high school Nancy would stay with the Lowry family. She graduated in 1966. She attended Eastern Montana College (now MSU Billings) in Billings for business. After high school Nancy worked and lived in the areas of Gibson, White Sulphur Springs, Billings and Big Timber.
She loved animals and especially lambs and her horses. She would gather all the bum lambs from the neighboring ranches and bottle feed them and raise them. She was not fond of chickens or birds in general. Nancy enjoyed her years in 4-H where she excelled at raising championship lambs, yarn and needle projects and food entries. She also excelled in home ec during school; she was an excelled cook. Oven baked chicken was her specialty albeit she could make a good meal out of just about anything.
Nancy was especially close to her dad. She would rather be outside helping him chase cows, brand the cows and calves, or whatever else needed to be done. One of her proudest moments was when she went hunting and killed a five-point bull elk up Enos Creek with her dad. During the summers she would be back up the Boulder working on the ranch or other ranches.
In 1980 she was tending bar at the Fryes Bar and Café and became friends with the beer delivery guy from Bozeman. Gary and Nancy spent New Year's Eve and Day together in 1981; Gary knew she was special, a spit-fire, and a fun loving cowgirl.
Nancy and Wendy moved to Bozeman from Big Timber in 1981. She worked for Lehrkinds Coca-Cola preparing delivery invoices. In 1986 she was employed by Village Inn Pizza as a bookkeeper and later Bozeman Ford as a title clerk. Her last job was working at Hillcrest Retirement Home alongside her cousin Carol Ewan before taking on full-time disability in the early 1990s.
In the fall of 1991 Nancy was diagnosed with MS and her entire world was turned upside down. It was a struggle to maintain her self-respect and dignity. Through it all, she never lost her spirit; she always had a smile on her face and a quick remark to say.
Nancy through the years loved to knit afghans for anyone she knew; they could be baby or children afghans or just because. Other hobbies of Nancy's were playing Cribbage and Pinochle card games, cooking, baking and canning, watching football, her favorite NFL team, the Vikings, and of course the mighty Bobcats (no Grizzlies), having a drink and visiting with people. Nancy never knew a stranger and often said if you talk long enough you might find out you are related or know someone who is.
Nancy is survived by her husband of 29 years, Gary Perkins of Belgrade, daughter, Wendy Kostelecky (Tony) Stroop, step-daughter, Julie Perkins (Rob) Dunn of Owatonna, Minn.; step-son, Mark (Tara) Perkins of Las Vegas, Nev. Grandchildren: Derek and Avery Dunn, Nick and Ali Perkins. Her brother, Russ (Eileen) Ewan of Spokane Valley, Wash.; two aunts, Evelyn Ewan of Three Forks and Ada Ewan of Anaconda and cousins. She is also survived by her in-laws, Carol (Dave) Scheck, Joan (Mike) Matz, Bill (Dee) Perkins, all of their children, all of her good friends and her dog, Ellie.
Nancy was preceded in death by her parents, Wright and Hazel Ewan, aunts and uncles: Irene Ewan Ferguson, Alva Ewan, June Ewan, Marie Ewan Mikkelson, and Lydia Ewan Hauge.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m., Thursday at Dahl Funeral Chapel.
In lieu of flowers and plants, please make donations to the MSAA (The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America), mymsaa.org or mail to National Headquarters, 706 Haddonfield Road, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002.
Condolences and memories may be shares with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Sept. 9, 2014