Carol Cocanougher Raffety McLaughlin, 84, passed away June 6th 2021, at the Tobacco Root Care Center in Sheridan MT. She was born December 31, 1936 in Butte MT to Charles & Julia Cocanougher, ranchers from Glen Montana on the lower Big Hole River. At the age of four, Carol’s family moved from their 2 room log cabin with a sod roof, to a lovely log home with all the modern conveniences. She attended grade school in Twin Bridges & local country schools. Carol graduated in 1955 from Beaverhead County High School in Dillon.
She was attending Beauty School in Missoula when she met George Raffety, a Navy veteran and National Cash Register employee. They married in 1957. After their first child, Michael, was born in 1958, Carol & George returned to Glen & joined her parents in expanding the family ranch. Children Michelle & Mark were born while the family lived at the Mosteller place. Carol began a lifelong practice of cultivating a large & beautiful garden & yard. A few years later, the family moved to the Lee Joy Ranch, a large addition to the Cocanougher Raffety Ranch. As a ranch wife, Carol cooked three meals a day for her family plus ranch employees. While there were special meals for branding and harvest crews, the day to day meals were consistently delicious, often with garden raised vegetables. Memories of her cinnamon rolls & frozen peaches will be with us forever.
As a child, Carol was as 4-H member and her favorite projects were her pigs. While she wasn’t a 4-H leader for her children’s club, she was the mom who was there with refreshments, and a spaghetti dinner chairman. When Beaverhead County 4-H clubs raised funds for our own building at the fairgrounds, Carol worked hard and donated to the cause. At project tours, if your car door wasn’t locked you could arrive home with an uninvited zucchini from her garden. Carol was a supporter & fund raiser for the area Book Mobile.
In 1971 Carol & George purchased the Fred Bryan Ranch, where Mike & Mark now live. Mom was very proud of her new home & turned a cactus patch into an oasis. George passed away in 1973. With the help of her parents & family, Carol continued to ranch.
1984 started a new chapter when Carol married Joe McLaughlin of Sheridan. They first met as first graders in Twin Bridges. Carol was pleased to finally live where the paper could be delivered every morning. She & Joe spent many evenings on picnics up Mill Creek. They worked together stacking wood for Joe’s shop stove. They renovated a Model A that Carol’s Grandmother Cocanougher had given her to drive to grade school in. The McLaughlin’s enjoyed attending car shows in the Ford, and brought home a number of trophies. Of course Joe’s yard was a new opportunity to plant trees and flowers and gave Carol great joy. Joe gave Mom someone to take care of, someone to laugh with.
She was a member of the Buds and Bows Garden Club & American Legion Auxiliary.
We will remember our Mom as a kind, loving & hard working person, happiest at home with her dogs & cats & yard.
Carol was preceded in death by husband George Raffety, her parents, and her brother Clarke Cocanougher, & step daughter Wendy McLaughlin.
She is survived by her husband Joe McLaughlin, sons Michael (Penny) and Mark (Roberta) Raffety all of Dillon, and daughter Michelle (Glen) Kitson of Cascade, 6 grandchildren & 3 great grandchildren. Carol’s McLaughlin step children are Mark (Kaye) of Sheridan, Dan (Nadine) and Jeff (Janet) & Cindy McLaughlin, 8 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren.
We extend our deep appreciation to the staff of the Tobacco Root Care Center. Your care & kindness made Mom’s days, & ours so much better. Memorials may be sent to the charity of your choice.
A Memorial service will be held at K & Mortuary in Sheridan Saturday June 12th at 11:00 AM with reception to follow in Jackson’s Garden.