Rachel Louise Gaughan passed away surrounded by family on the evening of April 30, 2019 at Aspen Meadows Care Center in Billings. She was born in Greenwood, Indiana, on March 10, 1933, to Ralph and Edith Nay. She grew up in a strong faith-based home helping with the household and farm chores. She attended school at Clark Township in Needham, Indiana, and married her high school sweetheart, Jim Gaughan. Rachel and Jim began life together in Indiana on a farm raising hogs and dairy cows and soon added two sons, Daniel in 1953 and Samuel in 1954 to the family. In 1955, the family moved to Frankfurt, Germany, where Jim was stationed in the Army, and they lived off base with an older German couple. Rachel told many stories about her life in Germany, but always ended her reminiscing by saying that her mother really scolded her when they returned to Indiana because Dan and Sam kept calling her Oma (German for grandma) instead of speaking English. Daughter Sharon was born in 1960.
Rachel and family moved to Florida in 1964. While living in Florida, she worked at some interesting places, including Weeki Wachee Springs Resort, where there was an underwater mermaid show, and Hobeau Farms, a racehorse ranch who produced the horse Onion, who beat Secretariat in 1973. She also spent time as a tourist in Florida and was thrilled to obtain autographed pictures from the cast of Bonanza while visiting a local theme park. The family moved to Colorado in 1969, then Montana in 1970 where Miles City was declared home. Rachel worked as a bookkeeper at Beacon Carter Service until the business was sold and then at Stockman Bank until retirement.
Rachel’s favorite food was soft-serve ice cream and bowling was her favorite activity. She bowled in leagues in excess of 50 years and loved competing in the local, state, and national tournaments with friends, collecting numerous awards along the way and rolling an all-time high game of 289. She served as league secretary for many years and was inducted into the Miles City Bowling Hall of Fame.
Rachel was a lifetime member of the VFW Auxiliary and many members were some of her closest friends. She especially enjoyed the weekly pitch games, as card playing was her second favorite hobby. She moved to Billings in 2010 due to health issues. She is remembered as a devoted mother and grandmother, traveling many miles to watch Dan and Sam in all sports, Sharon at the local rodeos and the grandsons in baseball.
She was preceded in death by her mother,; father; brother Gene; sister Joan and son Sam. She is survived by her two brothers Jerry and Larry Nay; son Dan (Linda) Gaughan; daughter Sharon Gaughan; 'adopted' daughter Christy Mowrey; grandsons Jay Gaughan and Darsen (Jess) Gaughan; step-granddaughter Olinda (Tyler) Peplinski; great-grandsons Caden and Quentin Gaughan, Tre Higgins and numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family.
The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of Mom’s caregivers, but especially her Autumn Springs Assisted Living family and to Stillwater Hospice for the support, compassion, and care provided to Mom and us during the past month.
Memorial donations can be made to the Miles City VFW Post 1579, 119 N. 6th Street, Miles City, MT, 59301, or the Alzheimer’s Foundation. An informal celebration of life will be held later this summer.