CHINOOK Mary MacLean, 72, a retired Chinook businesswoman, died Monday, July 3, 2006, at Northern Montana Hospital in Havre, ending her battle with cancer.
A funeral service will be held Friday at 2p. m. in the Lloyd Sweet Auditorium at the Chinook High School. Burial will follow in Kuper Memorial Cemetery. Mary was born April 10, 1934, to Elbert and Lily Ashcraft in Little Rock, Ark. She grew up in Bryant, Ark., and graduated from Bryant High School in 1952. After brief stops in St. Louis, Mo., and Glendale, Calif., she traveled to north-central Montana to visit her sister in 1955. Her visit turned into a lifetime commitment after she met Kenneth MacLean of Chinook. The couple were married on July 14, 1957, in Chinook. Mary worked many jobs throughout her life, including telephone operator, secretary, and bookkeeper most notably for Taylor Motors in Chinook in the 1970s. In 1979, she entered the world of small business owner and became one of the first female State Farm Insurance agents in the state of Montana. She liked to joke that “I started from scratch and I’m still scratching,” but she managed to build a successful business through hard work, determination and respect for her customers. Mary enjoyed traveling, cooking and reading, but, above all, she enjoyed the love and companionship of her family and many good friends. She was generous and thoughtful with a warm smile and quick wit. She loved and spoiled her grandchildren and traveled many miles to support them in their sports and other activities.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, James and Doyle Ashcraft; and son-inlaw, Steve Jacobsen. Survivors include her husband of 49 years, Kenneth MacLean of Chinook; son, Thom (Tori) MacLean of Chinook; daughters, Kathy Jacobsen of Cut Bank and Heather (Russ) Ostwalt of Havre; brother, Norman Ashcraft of Jemison, Ala.; sister, Esther Rhea of Bryant, Ark.; grandchildren, Jessica and Ben Jacobsen, Dylan and Jacob MacLean, and Dani and Mollie Ostwalt. Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home of Chinook.