Dorothy McCleary was born Nov. 18, 1930, to Jean and Joe Redel. She passed away on May 23, 2013, six years to the day after her husband Tom. We feel it was time for them to plan their next big summer trip in a motorhome up above or who knows, maybe a motorcycle.
Dorothy grew up with a Scottish grandma and mom and at the age of five danced the Highland Fling for many events. She also discovered her lovely voice at an early age and sang for countless weddings and funerals for 30 years of her adult life.
At 18 she married Tom McCleary, Jr. and began a journey of love, faith, and family. She gave birth to the six McCleary girls in a nine year span, and then six years later the ultimate surprise, a son.
No one could ever love her family more than Dorothy. It was her total focus for 62 years. As her 25 grandchildren appeared, she became the champion of each and every one of them. One might think a family this size would be overwhelming for anyone but not Dorothy. She was so excited when the great-grandkids arrived, now numbering 24.
Dorothy not only loved her family; she loved to cook, bake, and feed them. Grandkids from all over the United States loved coming home, mostly for Gramma’s “big buns.” The grandkids living in Roundup really lucked out — lunch at Gramma’s every noon, Monday through Friday, for years and years. She fed them and many of their friends as they moved through high school.
Tom and Dorothy managed to fit in a few other hobbies. One that their children endured with trepidation was the motorcycle. In their 50s and 60s, Tom and Dorothy went to Alaska three times on that motorcycle and made several other trips in their motorhome. Although they traveled to every state several times, Alaska was their love.
Anyone who knew Dorothy at all often heard about her love for dogs. This was not just a liking for dogs. She loved dogs and always felt none of us knew how to care for our own pets like she could. She was probably right. She was a spoiler.
As her little great-grandchildren turned three and four, one of them could not say Gramma Dorothy and the next thing we knew, she called her Gramma Goofy. As you can guess, that caught on like wildfire and she has been Gramma Goofy ever since. She loved and cherished that name and considered it a very special title.
We all considered her our very special center of a large, ambitious family. Dorothy and Tom lived in Roundup their whole lives and built successful businesses that served the Roundup people and economy well for decades. Even though they were so well-traveled, they always adamantly said they would never move from Roundup. “It is the best place on Earth,” both were often heard saying. And they stuck to their guns. Roundup is the home where they lived, loved and died. We, the family have such a model in the lives of Tom and Dot.
Survivors include Diana and Russ Knudson, Great Falls; Donna McCleary, Roundup; Debbie and Larry Ling, Newcastle, England; Denise and Terry Watkins, Roundup; Denelle and Dick Smith, Billings; Doreen and Mitch Rech, Roundup; Mike and Sara McCleary, Iowa City, Iowa. Dorothy has 25 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren.
We also want to include Linda and John Larson who lived across the street from Dorothy and truly looked out for her. She loved them like her kids.
There will be a memorial service on May 31 at 11 a.m. at The First United Methodist Church in Roundup with burial at a later date.