Obituary: Mary Ellen "Dolly" Smith

Posted at 3:39 PM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-21 17:39:31-05

Mary Ellen "Dolly" Smith passed away peacefully in the morning on January 4, 2022, in Bozeman.

Dolly was born Mary Ellen Rearick on June 21, 1924, to Grace (Pemble) and Raymond Rearick in Bemidji, MN. Her Grandpa, Pemble, dubbed her "Dolly" at birth and her friends and family have called her that for the last 97 years. During her young life, she lost her father to pneumonia and her mother then met and married Tilmon Gregg. From that union, she was given five younger siblings whom she loved very much.
As a young woman, she was working at Cargill in Minneapolis when she took a train trip to Sun Valley, ID. That sealed the deal for her to vow to live in the West someday. Her dad took a job working in what is now Big Sky, and she took advantage of the opportunity. She joined her family and took a job at MSU.

On a Memorial Day weekend, she met Robert Orton Smith, a local man who was stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls. By Labor Day, wedding plans were set and on September 29, they married and set off for Alaska where he had been reassigned. Two years in Fairbanks brought them their son, Greg. They then moved to a new assignment in Kansas which was a short stint. They came home to Bozeman where Bob took a job at Security Bank. He and Dolly soon added Sue to the family and she began her career as a stay-at-home mom. Their family was active in Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Sunday School where she served as a leader. Dolly was ahead of her time, signing Sue up for the Cub Scout troop using her first name, Bobbie, long before the Scouts were co-ed! She was always active in church, participating in Circle at the First Presbyterian Church here in town. She also was involved with United Presbyterian Women going on a number of leadership trips. She served locally as a Deacon and volunteered at Love Inc. as well.

Dolly served as a Trustee of the Museum of the Rockies during the time it was breaking ground at its current location. This was something she was extremely proud of, and she included her family in these activities as much as it was possible for two kids to be. I (Sue) remember spending hours in the museum offices with Les Drew's spider collection, the receipt of T-Rex bones on-site, making bushels of paper flowers to host a huge fundraiser for the time—an ice cream social on the lawn at Hannon Hall. It was a great success for that simpler time! She also gathered family papers for a history project on Dad's Family for the Renne Library at MSU.

Dolly LOVED music. She enjoyed the Symphony, Jazz concerts wherever they might be, and all the orchestra and choir concerts her grandchildren participated in. She loved to ski with Bob and the kids and her friends. She talked of skiing again up until her very late years. She loved her children, Greg and Sue, and she loved her neighbors.

Dolly was preceded in death by her parents; siblings, Dennis Gregg, Sydney Jonas, Jane Hopkins, and Judy Gregg. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Sue and Alex Hudak of Bozeman; her son, Greg; grandchildren, Matt (Christa) Hudak all of Bozeman, Katie Hudak-Kay (Brighton) of London, England, Alexandra McCall (Darin); and her great-grandchildren, Charlotte, Emmett and Bennett McCall all of Clarkston, WA. She is also survived by her brother of Cedar City, Utah, Tilmon Dean Greg (Darlene); sister-in-law, Mary Gregg; and many nieces; and nephews.

A huge thank you to all who so loyally cared for her, neighbors, caregivers including, but not limited to Dr. Omohundro and staff, Bozeman Health Hospice, and the staff at Brookdale Spring Meadows—too many of you to list individually, but love to you all.

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