Delores “Dolly” Jean Gray Shepard, age 73, passed away at North Valley Hospital at 1:00 AM on July 25, 2019 from complications arising from breast cancer initially diagnosed October 2017. Despite all the care given, she is now at peace with Our Lord and her Heavenly family after battling metastatic liver cancer.
Dolly was born on August 4, 1945, to Harold and Jean Gray in Wampum, Pennsylvania. She grew up a country girl, helping in a large potato patch, peach orchard, and rose garden. She loved cats and her favorite as a girl was Tiger Bobby Dickey Gray. She graduated from Mohawk High School in 1963, moved to her cousin’s farm near Kittanning, PA, and was hired at Armstrong County Trust Company where she worked the proof machine.
During the summer of 1974, Mike saw her at a rock and roll bar in June, danced with her many nights in July, began to date on her birthday and was given a dozen roses, and asked her to marry him on September 13. They married on November 2, 1974 and are still together today after 44 years. Their son Eric was born in July 1977. Upon Mike’s acceptance of a transfer to the Anaconda Aluminum Plant in Columbia Falls, she, without hesitation, left family behind and moved to MT with Mike and Eric. She still talked about the early May Nebraska snowstorm, the pheasant that almost broke the truck windshield, and her first view of the mountains. They settled in Columbia Falls after spending several weeks in the Heavens Gate Outlaw in Kalispell. They bought a house in October 1979 and still live there today.
In 1985, she began to work at Glacier Bank in Columbia Falls, and then transferred to the main branch in Kalispell, where she was a detail specialist in Consumer Lending and Loan Servicing. She retired from Glacier Bank in 2011. She loved her job and coworkers. Detail came naturally to Dolly, and she was an accomplished seamstress all her life.
She was a beacon of support to Eric through his entire life and was proud when he achieved his PhD in 2006. Another wonderful memory in Dolly’s life came when he married Joyce in June 2009. Dolly was anxiously awaiting her first grandchild due in August. God had a different plan and she is now the guardian angel for this beautiful baby, not yet here.
Her cancer diagnosis in October 2017 changed our lives, and Mike, her caregiver and aide, was with her to the very end. She will always be the love of his life. He will miss her huge sneezing blasts, her humor, watching Young and the Restless, and eating bear and moose! She was a great wife, mother, friend and companion, and drove Mike nuts every morning doing the word scramble puzzle in the paper. Dolly recently finished compiling her entire family genealogy.
Dolly is survived by her husband, Mike, son Eric (Joyce) in Bozeman, MT; sister Marcia; nieces Michelle (Scott) and LuAnne (Ron); grandnephews/nieces Dalton, Travis, Brandy, Amber, and great grandniece Cassidy; brother-in-law Jack, his daughter Cassie; and sister-in-law Suzanne (Bill). Dolly leaves behind many friends and relatives in Pennsylvania, and across the USA. She also leaves behind her assistant thru the cancer treatments, yellow lab Starr.
Family and friends are welcome to attend her memorial service on Sunday, August 4, 2019, at 2 p.m., at Manorville United Methodist Church. Welch Funeral Home in Ford City is assisting the family with local arrangements.
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