Elaine Bracken Gregory, 89, died Friday, July 31, 2009, in a Billings hospital after a short bout with cancer.
Mom was born Ruth Elaine Bracken on Dec. 2, 1919, in St. Cloud, Minn. , t o Clara and Elmer Bracken. After graduat ion from high school, she worked for the telephone company in St. Cloud. She met and married Ward Gregory on Oct 25, 1941, in St Cloud, after receiving a diamond ring in a box of chocolates. She worked until her family began to grow and from then on worked raising her six children, Doug Gregory of Townsend, Lee (Joanne) Gregory of Seattle, Wash., Bob (Dee) Gregory of Dillon, Mary Jo Gregory of Billings, Tom (Deb) Gregory of Belgrade and Lorna Gregory (Steve Larson) of Butte all of whom survive her. Also surviving are 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren; her sister, Lavonne (Bunny) Wegler of St Cl oud, Minn. ; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and brother, Armond. The Great Northern Railroad moved the Gregory family from St. Cloud, Minn., to Havre, Mont., in the winter of 1953. They loaded all their worldly possessions in a box car and ended up on 3rd Street in Havre. Mom was very active in the Methodist Church, Scouting, home demonstration and other child-related and community activities until Dad’s retirement in 1977. Then they traveled, spending their winters in Casa Grande, Ariz., and their summers in Montana, eventually landing in Townsend, Mont. Mom and Dad had a wonderful retirement together until Dad died in 1999. Mom went back to Arizona that winter, but said it just wasn’t the same. She moved to Butte in 2001 and lived there until moving to Billings in May of this year. Mom dedicated her life to raising us six kids and volunteering her time whenever she could. She was an avid seamstress and knitter, making lots of clothes, hats, scarves and afghans for us and others over the years. She loved playing cards and was actively playing bridge, pinochle and cribbage until the end. Mom was the neighborhood Mom with all our friends, and the neighbor kids seemed to gather at our home for cookies and play. As the family grew, Mom loved spending time with the grandkids and great-grandkids. Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held in the Townsend United Methodist Church, at 200 N. Cedar St., Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, at 11 a.m. A reception will be held immediately following the service. Then interment will be in the Deep Creek Cemetery in Townsend next to the love of her life, Ward. The entire Gregory clan will be camping at the Hellgate campground on Canyon Ferry Lake where the family is gathering for a family reunion. Anyone is welcome to come and camp with us and share in Mom’s celebration of life. Mom will be greatly missed, but we know she and Daddy are dancing among the stars. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the American Cancer Society, The Relay for Life, or the charity of the donor’s choice.