Seventy-seven years ago in mid-December of 1942, Gladys informed her husband Sal that the baby was coming and coming fast. They loaded into the old red pickup and headed down the trail from their ranch near Home Creek Butte, hoping to get to Miles City. But as the old pick rattled along the bumpy road, Gladys knew the baby was coming and she said maybe we can get to Broadus. But then the expectant Mother knew that she wouldn’t make it much further, so Sal turned the pick up off the Big Pumpkin Creek Road into the driveway of his brother Mike’s place. There he carried Gladys to the door step where a baby girl came out crying and kicking. That baby girl was Margaret Carol Cain. She joined two brothers Donald and Gene, and a sister Helen. A second sister for Carol, Ella Mae was born in 1947.
Carol grew up on the family ranch. She went to the Loesch School on Big Pumpkin Creek where she very much enjoyed Mrs. Huckins as a teacher, but never had much good to say about Mr. A.B. Burrows who taught her and Ella Mae one year. The round trip from the Nefsy Ranch (now the Samuelson’s Place) was twenty four miles. Sal taught Carol to drive the family’s black forty eight Plymouth, so he didn’t have to make the daily trip. Carol and Ella Mae, in the big old black car were quite sight and neighbors knew to give Carol plenty of room when they met her. She was not a good driver and Ella Mae remembers very vividly the many times Carol drove the car off the road into the barrow pit and then back up on the road.
Carol graduated from high school in Broadus and then took bookkeeping classes in Billings. She went to work for L. P. Anderson where she did some book work, but mostly she answered the telephone, greeted customers and kept the all men crew in line. It was a rough and tumble place where the boss ran businesses that sold tires, parts, moved dirt and drilled for oil. Carol was with L. P. for more than forty years. After that, she worked for Sam Ohnstad and United Parts. Carol loved working for Sam and L. P. She got to know many folks in the Miles City community and was active in most of the going’s on there. One of her fondest events was the hundred year celebration of the Montana Stock Growers parade which on the first day featured just horse drawn vehicles. She helped Nibs Allen get this organized.
Carol was big on keeping track of family. And with fifteen children in Sal’s family, there were and are a lot of Cain folks to track. In the eighties, she organized a Cain family reunion which saw more than a hundred relatives in attendance. Carol liked family dinners. When the meat was served it had better be done, or we all knew that she would raise a fuss about the rare prime rib.
When Gladys’s health began to fail, she moved into Carol’s Miles City home. And for nearly five years, Carol took care of her Mother right up until she passed away. For several years as her health permitted, Carol flew to Phoenix to see Gene’s son Wes and his wife Vicki. Carol and Wes went to a lot of pre-season baseball games. One of her prized souvenirs was a baseball that Albert Pujols signed for her. She also stayed in close contact with David, Gene’s youngest son. When David’s daughter started getting into horses, Carol managed to manipulate things at the ranch so Socks, one of the ranch horses could be given to Sierra. Through out the years, Carol kept in close contact with Socks and his life with the David Cains in North Platte, Nebraska.
Ella Mae’s son Joe was very close to Carol. Joe was with her when Carol battled cancer thirteen years ago and he was holding her hand when she passed away December 17, 2019 at the Friendship Villa in Miles City. Carol was also close to Ella Mae’s husband Michael. In her many, many phone calls to the ranch, she always asked about Mike and wanted to know what he was doing.
Carol was active in the local Garden Club and was a certified flower judge, judging the Montana State Fair in Great Falls for many years. Seeds from Carol’s “Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate,” got spread around to many of the Garden Club members in Miles City. Carol was also a collector of vintage hats. Her collection can be seen in the Range Riders Museum in Miles City.
As the family goes through her things, we were quickly reminded that Carol was into hats, flowers, the color white, and always coming up with projects that she wanted you to help with.
We are grateful to Kim Jerke, RN from the Council on Aging, the St. Vincent Hospital staff and most especially to the good folks at the Friendship Villa.
We will sure miss the old girl we called Carol.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, December 19, 2019 from 1-6 p.m. at Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home in Miles City. Funeral services will be held on Friday, December 20, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home in Miles City. Interment will follow at Custer County Cemetery. Condolences to the family may be sent by visiting www.stevensonandsons.com.