Clary J. Cory
Great Falls - Clary J. Cory,96, lifelong resident of Great Falls, died peacefully April 7, 2018 at The Village Senior Residence in Missoula, Montana where she had lived for the past year and a half. She was born Clary Jean Kaufman on Dec. 10, 1921, the only child of Fred and Bernice (Fish) Kaufman and the granddaughter of pioneer businessman, Mose Kaufman and Celia (Arge) Kaufman.
Clary graduated from Great Falls High School, class of 1939 and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Montana. She was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority.
On July 23, 1942, Clary and her high school sweetheart, Harlan T. Cory eloped to Fort Benton. Soon afterwards, Harlan was drafted and served three years with the U.S. Army in Australia. At the time of Harlan's death in August 2008, the couple had been married for more than 66 years.
Clary had always dreamed of becoming a writer. In high school, she wrote a column for the school paper and worked on the yearbook. During summer breaks from college, she volunteered as a proofreader for the MONTANA Magazine and as a vacation reporter at The Great Falls Leader. Her editor at The Leader promised there would be a job waiting for her when she graduated from college. And there was!
"The war helped open jobs for women. There were gaping holes in the staff that needed to be filled", she remembered. Clary was eager to get to work. Dressed in a smart tailored suit, hat, and high heels, she was soon walking all over town collecting stories and forging lifelong friendships. She covered society, death and funerals, market reports, the recruiting office and a newsbeat. And she loved every minute of it!
When the war ended in 1945, Clary was asked to stay at the paper. However, in 1948, with the impending arrival of her first child, she decided to retire from the news bizz. Her editor offered to hold her job open for a year, but she said no, that she preferred to stay home to be a mom.
During the childrearing years that followed, Clary was never bored or idle. She volunteered as publicity chairman and took on other duties for many local organizations including Whittier PTA, Twentieth Century Club, the YWCA Board, Zonta Club, Travel Club, American Women in Radio and Television, The Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary, and later became a representative on the Neighborhood Council. As a member of the Junior League, she did community service and performed in every Junior League Follies production starting in 1954.
In 1967, Clary returned to journalism with a weekly column called "Clary Cory" that appeared in The Leader and later in The Tribune. The column covered people and events around town and surrounding areas for eight years. "I wrote about everybody," she said, "until, in the interest of progress, the paper cancelled me and ran Erma Bombeck."
Her greatest public involvement was through the Great Falls Advertising Club where she was a member for nearly 51 years. Clary began working with her husband Harlan when he opened Cory's Paint Store in 1957, and soon afterwards joined the AD Club. It was in that setting that she truly found her niche, serving as Women's Vice president in 1966-67, a board member several times and the second recipient of the Golden Girdle Award in 1972. She said her last award acknowledged her as the oldest member of the club. She was a member of the Church of the Incarnation. Clary held the longest consecutive membership of the Meadowlark Country Club, dating back to her grandfather Mose Kaufman who was a founding member.
In the 1960s, Clary appeared as a guest host on KFBBTV's morning show. Her experience on TV, her performances and willingness to clown around and a total lack of stage fright led Clary into a career as a convention speaker. She traveled across the United States presenting humorous programs to a wide variety of audiences. At one point, she was even considered for a guest spot on the Johnny Carson show. She spoke on advertising, current events and family life with a natural humor that had audiences asking for more.
Clary has been a fixture on local TV since 2000, and many people in Great Falls will recognize her as the Dusty's Sprinkler Lady. Although her background included years of comedic speaking at conventions, she never spoke in the later commercial work on TV. "Her actions, her predicaments and her facial expressions really conveyed a strong message," said OD Jones, formerly of KRTV, who suggested her for the position. "Clary had a particular appeal. She was a likable person- really cute, goofy and spontaneous." Dusty Bergstrom said the ads did the trick and he received positive comments and feedback.
Despite all the public accolades, it was motherhood and her family that brought Clary her greatest joy. She cherished wonderful memories of weekends and time spent at the family cabin in Neihart. She would be the first to admit that she was no athlete and always failed at sports. But she loved to bake pies and serve burgers in the ski lodge at Kings Hill in the early years while the rest of the family skied. She was a willing sidekick and followed her friend Betty Hasterlik on many family excursions and helped out in the Neihart General store. Clary took every opportunity to visit family in Missoula and followed her other daughter's family wherever the Air Force took them. Everything she loved involved people, "I just want to be one of the gang."
Someone once asked Clary, "When did you first realize you were funny? Was it because you were an only child?" She said it happened without her trying to be funny. People just laughed at the things she said and did and at her facial expressions. She often commented about all the wrinkles on her face, but decided as long as they were laugh lines it was okay.
As Clary grew older and unable to drive, she became more home-bound. However, on her trips out on the town with friends, she always made eye contact and happily spoke to anyone she encountered. She was thrilled whenever someone recognized her and stopped to chat. She will be sorely missed.
Clary was preceded in death by her husband Harlan, a great grandson and her parents. She is survived by her children, Nancy Cory Springer (Tim) Columbia, MO; Marcia Cory Storer (Bob) Missoula; Paul Cory (Lorri) Great Falls; grandchildren, Sara Springer and Anna Springer North (Scott); Cory McAtee (Nick) and Scott Storer (Leah); and Samantha Cory; three great grandsons and her cousin Ike Kaufman (Mary Ann) Great Falls.
Interment has taken place at Hillcrest Lawn Memorial Mausoleum where she rests with her husband. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday May, 12 at 2:00pm at the Church of the Incarnation. Arrangements are being handled by Garden City Funeral Home in Missoula.
The family requests memorials be sent to the Salvation Army Women's' Auxiliary PO Box 2585 Great Falls, Mt 59403 or Shriner's Hospital
, 911 W. 5th Ave. Spokane, WA 99204. Condolences may left for the family at www.gardencityfh.com