BOULDER – Eve McCauley, 96, of Helena passed away October 15, 2017, at Edgewood Assisted Living in Helena, Montana.
Eve was born on February 7, 1921, to Samuel and Marie Thompson in the family farmhouse near New London, Wisconsin. Growing up on a dairy farm, she drove workhorses for her father to mark and plant the rows of corn and cultivate them during each summer. She and her father hand milked 20 cows morning and night. Following her graduation from high school in 1938 and the death of her father, she had to move to town and take a job waitressing at the local café. During this time of her life Eve became a die-hard Green Bay Packer fan having season tickets from 1940-1954.
After the loss of several friends and classmates on the USS Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack and the Bateen Death March, Eve joined the U.S. Army Air Force in 1943 as a link Instructor. She taught pilots during WWII instrument flying. The job required classroom instruction as well as flight instruction in the air. Because Eve had such a strong work ethic, she was one of the last instructors to complete link instruction at the end of the war.
Eve then returned to Wisconsin and was employed as a fabric buyer for several stores before moving to Deerlodge, Montana in 1955. Here she met a rancher from the Boulder Valley, Tom McCauley and they were married on Feb. 9, 1957. Following their marriage, they started a lifetime of ranching in Boulder, Stevensville, Helena, and Cut Bank. Their ranching adventure ended upon the death of Tom in 2011.
In 1983 at the age of 62, Eve began working for the State of Montana at the Mountain View School for Girls in the Helena Valley. She retired when the school was closed down. During her tenure she received the Montana State Employee of the Year Award.
In addition to all of her endeavors Eve started making hand wound Christmas wreaths in the 1970s. Overtime she wound thousands of fresh wreaths throughout the years. At the age of 95 she wound 200 by hand for the 2016 Christmas season.
Hobbies that Eve enjoyed included bowling, knitting, doing crossword puzzles, reading, gardening, and picking huckleberries. She was famous for her canning of fruits and pickles.
When granddaughters Amber and Kindle began to play sports in high school, Eve began attending JHS basketball games. She continued her support of the JHS Panthers long after the granddaughters graduated. Eve also never missed a Jefferson County In-County rodeo, until 2017. She always enjoyed watching McCauley family members compete and seeing old friends. She split her summers attending both the Jefferson County Fair and the Maris County Fair watching her grandchildren show and sell 4-H stock.
Eve was preceded in death by her parents, husband Thomas, and three sisters and one brother.
She is survived by sons James T. (Anika) of Boulder, Michael (Lori) of Cut Bank and Cody Craft (Bonnie) of Newberg, Oregon. Her five grandchildren include Edward (Megan) McCauley, Robert (Shawna) McCauley, Rebecca (Josh) Wiley, Amber McCauley, and Kindle (Andy) Van Dyken. Eve also has an additional ten great-grandchildren, and still counting. She is also survived by her brother-in-law Mick McCauley, sister-in-law Anne Groeneveld, and many nieces and nephews. Also surviving are her special friends Judy and Nora Johnson.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, at 1 p.m., at St. Catherine’s Parish in Boulder with Deacon Bernard McCarthy officiating. Viewing will be held at St. Catherine’s beginning at noon on Saturday. Graveside services with military honors will take place after the funeral service at St. John’s Cemetery in the Boulder Valley. A coffee and dessert reception will immediately follow at the Father Greytek Catholic Center in Boulder.
Memorials may be made to St. John’s Church Cemetery Fund, Frontier Hospice or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
K&L Mortuaries & Crematory of Boulder is assisting with arrangements.