(Aug. 30, 1927 - July 2, 2010)Carolyn Louise Gillett died Friday, July 2, 2010, at North Big Horn Hospital in Lovell from complications following a paralytic stroke. She was 82.
Carolyn was born Aug. 30, 1927, in South Bend, Ind., to Frances Davidson and John (Jack) Boyd Smith. Her father was an Irish immigrant and a plumber by trade. Because of the Great Depression, he loaded his family into their Model T Ford and headed West. Carolyn was 4 and remembered him singing “You know that Wyoming will be your new home” as they traveled along.
They ended up in Greybull River country where her father hired out to the Y.U. Sheep Co. Carolyn remembered her father, Jack, coming home one night with a puppy in his jacket pocket. She named the puppy Princie.
Jack died in 1932 from a blood clot. His wife, Frances, was left behind with three small children and expecting a fourth. The fourth baby died at birth, and Frances moved the family into Cody where she supported them with a variety of jobs. She helped cater social events for prominent people, including Paul Stock. She worked evenings cleaning business buildings on main street and took in ironing from some of her working neighbors. Carolyn and her sister Joan learned to use an ironing board at an early age.
Things went fairly well until Carolyn's younger brother Everett fell victim to a bruise over his eye. The cause of his death was called a wild cell. He was 12 years old and loved the game of football.
Carolyn always expected to find employment outside of her home. Her first job was as a ticket-taker at the old Buffalo Bill Museum. She also worked in The Red Arrow, which was Cody youth's “watering hole” (ice cream).
In 1944, Carolyn, Joan and their mother moved to Indiana so that the aging grandparents could get acquainted with the girls. Carolyn graduated from Peru, Ind., high school with the class of 1945. She then went to work for a trucking company as cashier. On June 13, 1946, she married a Willwood boy named Herbert Lee Gillett. The couple lived on the Willwood and their union lasted 64 years. Carolyn led a busy life but always found time for her husband and three children. She held a variety of jobs, but remained living on East Willwood the rest of her life.
She was employed by First National Bank for 21 years and held a highway contract with the post office for 15 years. It's been said a woman never gets to retire.
She was a member of Union Presbyterian Church where she helped with the church's Christian Education Program, was an elder and served three years as the clerk of session. She joined W.I.F.E. (Women Involved in Farm Economics) and traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress on farm bills. She was a 60-year member of the Hughes Pittinger Post No. 26 American Legion Auxiliary where she held several offices. Selling poppies was her favorite Legion project.
She is survived by her husband Lee; son George (Joan), of Cody: daughter Gail White (Jeff), of North Bend, Wash.; granddaughters Stephannie Eisenhower (Jim), Teresa Howard (Tim); grandsons Jesse White (Christina); Zach White (Carrie); 10 great-grandchildren, and a special great-granddaughter, Taylor Hamilton.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brother Everett; sister Joan; daughter LeeAnn; daughter-in-law Norma Gillett; nephew Kim Richardson; and four Canadian half-brothers.
Services will be held at Union Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, July 7, at 11 a.m. Burial of cremains will follow at Crown Hill Cemetery.
Thompson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.