HELENA — Dora was born Nov. 24, 1924, at home on their Paradise Valley ranch to parents J. Franklin and Lucile (Gates) Overcast. She attended elementary grades 1-8 at the two-room North Fork School and graduated as a co-valedictorian of the Chinook High School’s Class of 1942.
After attending Northern Montana College for one year, she taught at the rural Hebbleman School a few miles from home and then returned to NMC for a second year. This was followed by four years of teaching in Choteau Public Schools.
Dora and Stanley W. Howard were married in the Chinook Methodist Church on Dec. 19, 1948. Their courtship of three months led to a union lasting over 65 years, until Stan’s passing on March 3, 2014.
Stan’s work brought several moves; to Hamilton, where son Doug was born in 1951, then to Bozeman, on to Townsend where daughter Jane joined the family in 1955 and back to Bozeman. The move to Bozeman enabled Dora to complete a B.S. Degree in Elementary Education at Montana State College in 1963. She taught in Dillon and later, Helena. She loved the 25 years she taught, and considered teaching young children a privilege.
Volunteerism was always important to Dora. She looked for opportunities wherever the family lived. She recalled one of the most interesting and rewarding projects as being the organizer and director of a UNICEF drive for the city of Bozeman in the ‘50s.
Dora was an enthusiastic, active member of Delta Kappa Gamma, her beloved teachers’ sorority, for more than 40 years. She served as state treasurer for 12 years, state historian for several years, and attended many Regional Conferences and a few International Conventions. Other memberships include Plymouth Congregational Church, Helena Friendship Force, Last Chance Gulch Corral of the Westerners, P.E.O. Chapter O, Friends of the Montana Historical Society and Montana Retired Educators Association.
She and Stan shared interests in genealogy, history and travel. They were fortunate to be able to make a number of trips, both domestic and foreign, that allowed them to pursue these topics. Elderhostel provided continuing education with favorites being in India and Ireland.
Dora passed away on May 4, 2014, in Helena. She joins her husband, Stan; brother John and sister-in-law Cleo Overcast; brother-in-law, Fred Edwards and nephew Steven Bryant.
She is survived by her son, Douglas (Roberta), Columbus; her daughter, Jane (Charles Eldridge) Seattle, Wash.; grandchildren, Alyssa and Adrian Eldridge; sister, Mary (Lou) Bryant, Great Falls; sister-in-law, Janice Edwards, Vallejo, Calif.; nieces, Carol Cushman, Sue Wilkins, Sherri Estep, Susan Asinas; nephews, Larry Overcast and Russell Edwards; along with many cousins.
A celebration of Dora’s life will be held at Plymouth Congregational Church; 400 S. Oakes St., on Friday, May 9, at 11 a.m. A reception will follow at the church. Memorials in Dora’s name may be sent to the Montana Historical Society, PO Box 201201, Helena, MT 59620-1201; the Montana Hope Project, PO Box 5927, Helena, MT 59604; or to the charity of the donor’s choice. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Dora.