Evelyn Grace (Kennedy) Brainard, 95, passed away peacefully Oct. 23, 2020. She was born Oct. 13, 1925, at home in Rosebud County, Mont., to Joe and Gladys (Noyes) Kennedy, joining two brothers, James and Eugene. She grew up on the family ranch on the Rosebud Creek in Eastern Montana and attended rural elementary schools until the family moved to Manhattan in 1936. After graduating from Manhattan High School in 1943, Evelyn attended Dillon Normal School (Western Montana College, Dillon), obtaining a teaching certificate. She then taught third grade in Belgrade, Mont..
Evelyn married Bill Don Brainard on Jan. 7, 1948. They started their life of cattle ranching and raising quarter horses on the Brainard Ranch located five miles south of Maudlow. All five children were raised there and on the ranch; they moved to east of Manhattan in 1963. Evelyn was a great ranch wife and mother. She provided countless meals for work crews and hungry kids. Evelyn was a substitute teacher in Manhattan and was her children’s main chauffeur and chaperone for various school events.
After retiring, Bill and Evelyn moved to Three Forks. During the following years, they continued to keep up on the local team sports and followed their grandchildren in their activities.
After extensive family genealogical research of the Noyes family, it was confirmed that Evelyn was a 12th generation descendent of passengers on the Mayflower (1620). In January 2017, she became a member of the Mayflower Society.
Evelyn was an avid reader, excellent cook, seamstress, and Super Grandma. She belonged to bowling leagues in Manhattan and Bozeman. She qualified and attended the National Bowling Tournament in Tucson, Ariz., in 1995.
Evelyn was a member of the Gallatin County Cowbelles, Maudlow Women’s Club, Dry Creek Jolly Neighbors, Three Forks Area Historical Society, and Manhattan Legion Auxiliary. She enjoyed playing cards and sharing lunch with her friends at the Manhattan and Three Forks senior centers and later at Parkhaven in Manhattan. She attended Three Forks United Methodist Church.
Evelyn was preceded in death by her husband Bill Don; parents Joe and Gladys; brothers, Jim and Gene; and one grandson, Jeff Hedges.
She is survived by sisters-in-law Elsie Kennedy of Manhattan and Eldean Rempel of Federal Way, Wash.; daughters, Kathy (Butch) Damuth, Gayle (Paul) Clifford, and Sue Brainard, all of the Gallatin Valley area, and Jeri Lynn (Mike) Ward of Dillon; one son, Dean (Betty Ann) Brainard of Shepherd, Mont.; grandchildren Brent (Melissa) Damuth, Blaine (Amy) Damuth, Chuck (Lora) Clifford, Laura (Darin) Parr, Cathy (Ty) Parker, Melissa (Jason) Kittlemann, Val Brainard, Nick Hosley, Kris Ward, and Brian Ward; 14 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren; cousins and numerous nieces and nephews.
A public memorial to honor the life of Evelyn will be held Saturday, May 8, 2021 at 1 p.m. at Taylor Park in Manhattan. Memorials may be sent to the Manhattan Senior Center, PO Box 5, Manhattan, MT 59741; Three Forks Area Historical Society, PO Box 116, Three Forks, MT 59752; or a charity of your choice.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com