Dog 04

Kathryn I. "Kathy" (Kelly) McGowan

February 13, 1934 ~ August 7, 2022 (age 88)

Obituary

Missoula  -  Kathryn Kelly McGowan CATHERINE IMELDA (KATE) KELLY-MCGOWAN was born February 13,1934 in Glendive, Montana where her parents Jim and Myrtle Kelly worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad. Jim, a truck driver in the Transport Division and Myrtle a waitress at the iconic NP Depot Beanery Café. An older sister, Meme, was also born there before the family would follow the railroad to Livingston where their baby brother Bob came along two years later. The family would finally move to Missoula in 1940 where they would relocate many times, always on the West side. (Grandpa Kelly was always looking for cheaper rent!) IT WAS MAINLY at 1127 Sherwood Street though that Cathy would spend her formative years at St. Francis Xavier Grade School, working at Ray and Mae’s Grocery as a clerk and later graduate from Sacred Heart Academy in 1952. There, she would practice and learn how to write articulate prose, not unmatched by her beautiful cursive penmanship which could only be described as calligraphy. Her dad remained employed by the NP and her mother as a waitress at the elegant Florence Hotel. In those days, they did not have a car, so they walked to work, walked to school, and walked to Mass at St. Francis. AS A TEENAGER, Cathy would follow her mother to the Florence where she too would work at the cigarette and cigar counter and meet and marry the dashing and debonair bellhop Michael McGowan in 1954. Likewise, Brother Bob Kelly would be employed as a bellhop along with his future wife Carolyn Walsh who worked as a waitress in the Blue Fountain Café. Sister-in-law Sharon Walsh rounded out the family clan as an elevator operator. With the steady stream of celebrities and all the local gang, it really did seem to be the talk of the town. THE OTHER MISSOULA mainstay to meet and greet and enjoy “comfort-food” was of course the Double Front Chicken Café and Bar. As a young girl, Cathy was sent to the local eatery on frequent “runs” with her older sister Meme to retrieve her father for dinner or pick up some takeout for the family. To the end of her days, she always enjoyed a good chicken dinner and fries, even if they had done away with the black olives, pickles, and breadsticks she remembered from the days of her youth. AFTER MIKE’S GRADUATION from the University of Montana (MSU at that time), the couple would marry at St. Francis before moving to Berkley and San Diego, California and then across the Pacific to Japan and back to Great Falls where they would adopt their only child Ricky in 1962. From there they would follow Mike’s career with the Red Cross to St. Louis and then to Seattle. In later years, they would retire and return to family, the easy living of Missoula, and regular orders from the Double Front! “SASSY KATHY” WOULD come to be known for her haughty wit, idiosyncratic ways, always obstinate demeanor, and lifelong love of her many dogs from German Shepherds and Poodles to runts, mutts, and strays. She came from a time before television and automobiles were the norm and lived to see the ubiquitous Smart TV’s, cell phones and computers we all take for granted today. In later years they would become her bane and constant nemesis. That said, she made us all appreciate the old days and what it was like to just sit around with family and laugh and joke and tell a good story. Her life was certainly that. AUNT KATHY DIED of natural causes on Saturday August 7, 2022. She is preceded by her affable husband Mike of 68 years, and her son Ricky. She is survived by her sister-in-law Carol Kelly, nephews Jim Kelly (Corrine), John Kelly, niece Kasey Kelly-McNulty (Mike), great-niece Sydney McNulty, great-nephew Chance McNulty, niece Hilary Canty (Hank), and several other nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place. No services are planned. She was 88. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.whitesittfuneralhome.com.

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