Garnett Cary


(Sept. 3, 2007)

Garnett L. Peterson Cary, 98, died Monday, Sept. 3 at her home in the Crandall area of northwest Park County.

She was born June 2, 1909, to early Shoshone Project homesteaders, L.E. and Stella Peterson.

She graduated from Powell High School in 1927 and went on to the University of Wyoming in 1928 and 1929, then attended Montana State University in 1930 for a career in forestry. After a year and a half, she learned that women could not be forest rangers, and she changed her schooling to a musical course. She earned a bachelor’s degree from American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Ill., in 1934.

Garnett married Alvin M. Cary on May 29, 1935, in Cody. After a year with Alvin, working in the Shoshone Forest as a fire guard, Garnett and Alvin responded to the early death of her mother, Stella Peterson, with a change in jobs. They went to help her father, L.E. Peterson, operate ranches in Wyoming and Montana while he was with Home Lumber in Powell.

With the sale of the ranches in 1949, Alvin and Garnett decided to become dude ranchers. Their headquarters were at Hunter Peak Ranch on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone.  They started a trailer park in the late 1960’s and later added a mobile home park.  In 1962, Alvin died, leaving the business for Garnett to manage. She became one of three women as Wyoming big game outfitters, taking over two camps on the forest.

Prior to Alvin’s death, the family moved to Powell in 1956, spending the winters to enable their children to attend high school. Garnett taught accordion lessons and established Cary Music Store. The business lasted for 20 years and was sold to Sage Music in 1976. A highlight of her music career was the concert in Washington Park in Powell by a 30-accordion band, composed of her students.   She also directed a boy’s choir at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

In 1983, Garnett left the Hunter Peak Ranch to Louis and Shelley Cary and started a store to accommodate a trailer park on the Clark’s Fork. The Painter Estates RV Park was named after the post office in the area. The original store and log home burned in the 1988 Yellowstone fires. Another building was built and located nearer to the highway and included a restaurant and store.

In 2003, at the age of 93, Garnett was forced to retire due to poor health. Her business sold in 2004, but Garnett kept the Painter RV Park.

She will be remembered as a truly remarkable person. She loved music and horses and would not leave the mountains. An avid horsewoman, she enjoyed guiding horseback riders out of the Hunter Peak Ranch. She raised Missouri Fox Trotters while living in Powell.

She enjoyed playing bridge, Chinese checkers, King’s Corners, dominoes and rummy. She was a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church since kindergarten and was a member of P.E.O. since 1933 and EPASC Club since 1972.

Survivors include four children, Cynthia E. (Fred) Fisher of Montrose, Colo., Louis (Shelley) Cary of Hunter Peak Ranch, Lawrence E. Cary of Park City, Mont., and Kathleen (Larry) Riley of Casper; eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Cremation has taken place. Memorial services are pending. Ballard Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.