A Funeral Mass for Alice MacKay, 90, of Baker, Mont,, was held on June 20, 2017 at St. John’s Catholic Church, Baker, Mont. with Father Philip Chinnappan celebrating. Burial took place at Lame Jones Cemetery.
Alice Marie (Cunningham) MacKay was born August 25, 1926, in Miles City, Mont., to Joseph Cunningham and Mary (Doran) Cunningham, immigrants from Kilkeel, Northern Ireland. Her father died when she was nine months old, but she was very close to her Uncle Pat Doran, who treated her like a daughter. Her mother and Uncle Pat were exceptionally kind and decent people. She enjoyed a special relationship with them that lasted throughout her life and spoke of them often. She grew up on the family ranch on Timber Creek, southwest of Baker and was the youngest of three children. She had many exciting adventures with her brothers, Joe and Tom, including one involving a rifle and a hospital visit. She went to country school and graduated from Baker High School in 1944. Shortly thereafter, she left for Los Angeles, Calif., where she worked at the University of Southern California on the Manhattan Project, assisting in the development of the atomic bomb that ended World War II.
She returned to Montana and married Alfred Joseph MacKay on Nov. 30, 1946, shortly after his return from the Army Air Corps. They moved to Bozeman, Mont., where she was a bookkeeper for a large cattle company. During this time, they had two children, Bill and Shelley.
In 1953 the family moved to Livingston, Mont., and then to Gardiner, Mont. Two years later, they moved to the family ranch west of Willard, Mont. She worked for Randash Motors, attorney Gene Huntley, the superintendent of schools, and for numerous other businesses in Baker as a bookkeeper. They moved to Cypress, Calif. in 1964, where she worked for McDonald Douglas and later for various school districts. She enjoyed knitting and oil painting and received several awards for her work. Many family members have cherished paintings displayed in their homes.
Mom enjoyed traveling. In 1975 she went to Colombia, South America for her son’s wedding and spent a month traveling. In 1988 she went to Ireland to visit cousins Sister Maureen, Christina and Barney, Nicky and Bernadette, Father Victor, Sister Evelyn and several other relatives and had a wonderful time.
In 1994, when Shelley and Barney were married, mom became Gramma to Brandon, Jessica and Angela Dean. She was so proud of Brandon’s military service and excellent work ethic. Jessica had a special bond with Gramma Goo. Mom and Jessica would head straight to the shoe department of any store and check out the latest fashions. The best times were had when they were washing dishes as they laughed the whole time. Angela was mom’s little artist and they spent time in mom’s “studio” painting. Mom also took Jessica and Angie on many adventures in the little Trooper as they were learning how to drive a stick shift. There are still ruts in the fields. Most of all mom was always up to a card game or board game and many memories were made.
She moved to El Paso, Texas, in 1995 for several years to be close to her son and his family. While she lived in Texas, she traveled extensively with them throughout much of the United States and enjoyed adventures such as whitewater rafting. They made several trips into Mexico, including down to the tip of Baja, Calif. and took their car on a ferry across the Sea of Cortes to mainland Mexico. These traveling times with her family were the highlight of her life.
In 2004, she moved permanently back to Willard after Mary Ana and Linda graduated from high school. She lived on the family ranch with Al, Shelley, Barney Dean, and Babe (MacKay) Billingsley, and later resided in the Superior Care Villa.
Throughout her life, she had a very close and devoted relationship with God. In the summer of 1968, she gave her life to Jesus Christ and shared her faith with many loved ones and friends. She lived out her life in such a way that drew others to want to learn about God. She worked at a Christian television news station in El Paso, providing hotline counseling and prayer to people in need.
She died peacefully of natural causes on June 14, 2017, in the Superior Care Villa. She is survived by her son, Dr. William “Bill” (Emma) MacKay of El Paso, Texas; her daughter Shelley (Barney) MacKay Dean, and grandchildren: Mary Ana MacKay, and dog Luna of El Paso, Texas; Linda (Jay) MacKay Rost and children Ashli (Bailey) Wiedmer (children Alan, Sierra and Ryler), Bobby, Lukas, Rye, and Erika of Willard, Mont.; Brandon (Beth) Dean and children Travis and Taylor of Stanley, N.D.; Jessica (Dean) Dinardi and Tyler, and her fiancé, Rich Batterman of Baker, MT; and Angela (Kris) Dean Goertz and children Harlee and Jason Goertz of Lewistown, Mont.; two sisters-in-law: Nellie Rost of Marmarth, N.D. and Anna Mae Wang of Ollie, Mont.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Mary (Doran) Cunningham, her Uncle Pat Doran, her husband of 60 years, Alfred Joseph MacKay of Willard, Mont., her brothers Felix Joseph and Thomas Cunningham, her grandson Joseph Luis MacKay, and her great-granddogter Gizzy MacKay.
Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at www.stevensonfuneralhome.com.