Obituary: Valerie Dawn Osborne McCoy

Posted at 2:21 PM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 16:21:30-04

Valerie Dawn Osborne McCoy, 85, passed away on September 4, 2021. Val was born May 13, 1936, in Waverly, N.S.W, Australia, to Claude Samuel Osborne and Edith Mary (Forrest) Osborne and grew up in Canberra, A.C.T, Australia. It was in Canberra where Val met her first husband, a U.S. Marine, and she moved to the States in August 1959, the day before the earthquake at Quake Lake. Although she said she could never live in an earthquake zone, Val ultimately spent 50 years living in and loving Belgrade, Montana, and six years in Bozeman, Montana.

As a young wife with two small daughters, Val lived in several states following her husband’s work with the Federal Aviation Administration. She always said it was a wonderful way to see and learn about the country she adopted and loved. When it came time to settle down so their children could attend elementary school, they agreed Bozeman had been their favorite place and moved there in 1966.

Val worked as a receptionist at the MSU Medical Center and later as an Administrative Assistant in the MSU Ag-Econ Department. Val also worked in that capacity at Big Sky when Chet Huntley was just starting the development. One of her most exciting memories was meeting Charlton Heston and being so overwhelmed she forgot her own name when she was introduced. Val was an avid and knowledgeable movie buff and she especially loved Westerns.

A few years after her first marriage ended, Val married James Richard “Rick” McCoy, a pilot for Frontier Airlines. Val and Rick loved camping in their Airstream and she was always happiest outdoors listening to birds, gardening, and artifact hunting. Val was an award-winning amateur archaeologist and had close friendships with several professionals in the Archaeology Department at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Some of her collections were briefly displayed there. Val became very knowledgeable about Native American history and culture and was a docent at the Museum of Rockies where she especially enjoyed working with children and reading Native American stories to them. She also loved antiquing.

Val passed away while living at Brookdale SpringMeadows Assisted Living in Bozeman. Her family thanks all the staff for the wonderful care and genuine love they gave Val during her last three years.

Val was predeceased by her husband, Rick; her parents; all four siblings, Joyce Vardy, Leslie Osborne, John Osborne and Bettie McNee, all of Australia; grandson, Keigan Woodhart; and many family members of the canine and feline persuasion.

She is survived by Annie, her Golden Retriever and best friend who was with her until the end; daughters, Dawne Spilman Smith (Doug) of Sheridan, MT, and Keira Woodhart (Joe Starzyk) of Colrain, MA; grandchildren, Tracy Bieler (Bill) of Choteau, MT, Travis Smith (Caitlin) of Bozeman, MT, and Gabriel Woodhart (Cailin) of Whatley, MA; and five great-grandchildren.

A private memorial will be held at a later date.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service.