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Landscapes 14

       


Carolyn Ann (Cartwright) Garriott

November 30, 1936 ~ December 28, 2018 (age 82)

Carolyn's indomitable spirit departed this plane of existence after 82 years and one month of life; enroute to her next exciting adventure.

Carolyn was born to Borghilde (Peggy) Cartwright and Clarence Cartwright at Lewistown, MT. in November 1936. Unfortunately, she and her elder sister Joyce lost their father to a logging accident when she was only two. Peggy moved to Great Falls to find work to support her two girls. Later Peggy met and married Ed Burtosky of Great Falls. The girls entered elementary school at Emerson, and they lived in the Bill Holt Housing project while Ed was serving in the Navy. The girls often spent their summers on the farm near Loma, MT. with Peggy's parents, Thore and Christine Ritland, or with Clarence's parents, Frazier and Blanch Cartwiright on their place near Geraldine, MT.

All went well until after WW-II, when Peggy and Ed divorced. Peggy soon married John Koble, an Army Air Corps man, recently discharged. The girl's new step-father found work difficult to find in the post-war times. They moved, first to Clyde Park, MT; then Boise ID and finally to Riverton, WY, home to John Koble and his family. He soon found a good job as a Postal Service Carrier.

Carolyn entered the fifth grade and soon made many friends. One of those schoolmates was Jerry Garriott. They became very good friends throughout their High School years, graduating in 1954. Carolyn then attended Junior College at Casper, WY, as did Jerry. They maintained their close friendship until Jerry enlisted in the Navy in 1955. Carolyn left school soon thereafter and went to work in a bank and an oil company doing clerical and office management work.

In Riverton, Carolyn later married the 'boy next door', Buckley Cunningham. They moved to Laramie, WY where "Buck" attended the University of Wyoming, while Carolyn worked to help support them. They had three children there, David, Stephen and Karen, while Buck was earning a BA in Wildlife and Forestry Management. Shortly after graduation Buck was offered a position as Park Naturalist at Banff National Park, in Southern Alberta, CA. He accepted forthwith and the little family immigrated to Canada and settled in Waterton, a village just south of Banff.

Buck's career in the provincial government later took them to Edmonton, AB, where they had their fourth child, Brian. They then moved to Calgary and finally to Lethbridge, where Buck joined the faculty at Lethbridge College. Carolyn enrolled there and soon earned a BS in Anthropology, followed by a BA in Education. Carolyn and Buck divorced then and she took the four kids and moved to a small farm south of Lethbridge. Carolyn started working and entered a fast track program to get her MA Ed. She was then able to secure a good position teaching middle school in the Lethbridge high schools system. An accomplished vocalist, Carolyn was appointed to manage and directed the school choir.

Soon after beginning her teaching, Carolyn was chosen by the University to become part of an Anthropological research team planning to go to Italy on a dig. While preparing for this assignment, Carolyn retained a fellow named Antonio Brocca, to tutor her Italian language. Tony was an Italian immigrant to Canada. When he proposed later she decided to marry Tony and he could then accompany her to Italy, acting as tutor and tour guide. During her absence the four children were sent to live with their Grandparents in Montana.

These plans came a cropper shortly after they arrived in Rome. The Morrow Civil War broke out in Italy and the expedition leader soon advised everyone to return home to Canada a soon as possible. But because of the civil war, transportation and documentation were nearly at a stand-still. Happily Tony and Carolyn were able to stay with his family while they scrambled for air transportation out of Italy. After many days they finally secured reservations to fly home, but not before Carolyn had learned a lot about Italian cooking from Mama Brocca.

Once back in Lethbridge, Carolyn was able to resume her work teaching, but unfortunately contracted Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She was medically retired early from teaching, and spent several months regaining her mobility. Finally she got out of the wheel chair and resumed a nearly normal life. Her teachers pension and federal disability benefits enabled them to buy some property in the village of Sterling, about 24 Km. south of Lethbridge.

In Sterling Carolyn, who had raised goats for milk and meat, saw an opportunity and a market and she decided to build a Goat Milk Dairy and go into business In only a little over a year, near the turn of the Millennium, the Heritage Creamery opened for business in Sterling. The Goats Milk Dairy didn't take off as quickly as hoped, so she expanded the product line by making single serving meat pies, small pizzas and cookie dough, The food was frozen for take home, and became an immediate hit, first in Sterling and then to the surrounding suburban communities. The frozen cookie dough became a big seller to the local schools where the students took orders and delivered them as fundraising projects.

Then in 2002 a seismic event occurred back in Riverton, WY where she had graduated High School in 1954. A group of alumni started early planning for the a 50th high school reunion to be held in the summer of 2004. An e-mail was sent out to all of the '54 grads that they knew of. In Las Vegas, where Jerry Garriott lived, he received the reunion notice e-mail. In the large addressee list Jerry spotted Carolyn's name and her e-mail address. He e-mailed and asked if she would be attending, and suggesting that they might get together. She quickly replied and they began a correspondence. The e-mails soon morph into telephone calls, and they made a date to meet. Jerry would fly and Carolyn would drive to Great Falls. The rest involves Jerry moving to Shelby, MT and commuting to Sterling, initiating their respective divorces, while Carolyn set about selling the Creamery. They moved her to Great Falls. They found a place to live and when their divorces were final they were married in a civil ceremony at the Cascade Cuntny Court house in June 2003. They proudly attended their 50th High School reunion as man and wife. They had become Soul Mates and made each other's lives complete for 15 wonderful years.

Carolyn wrote and published a novel entitled Shadow of the Cross, and also four children's books. She had been diagnosed with Lymphonic Leukemia in 2009, underwent chemothearapy and was able to get it into remission. Early in December, 2018. the leukemia was back, and getting worse. Her oncologist prescribed absolute rest and zero stress. He recommended the Benifis Health System Peace Hospice facility, where she checked in on December 14th. After Christmas, her condition declined further , and she passed away at 1:32 PM on Friday the 28th, as Jerry held her hand.

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