Jackie McDonald passed away peacefully March 26, 2016 at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula, Mont. She was born Aug. 1, 2016 to Edward and Beulah Cooley in Forest City, Ark., the eldest of 8 children. Mom began playing musical instruments, and singing at a very young age. She and her brother Paul started a band. They played at various functions and also played on the local radio station. Every year they played at the Boonville Apple Fair, where one year she was voted Apple Queen, which was quite an honor in those days and still is! She spent her life caring for others, beginning her career at Clear Water Ranch as a counselor for emotionally challenged children, working her way up to Supervisor at a children’s home in Sebastapol. Late in her life, mom met Elwood Erickson while living at the Village Health Care Center, they had two years together and she always said he was the love of her life.
Our mother had seven children: Bonnie Bitner of Missoula; Mike (Ruth) Gilfillan of Tacoma, Wash.; Terri (Jim) Hermes of Missoula; Tony (Rita) McDonald of New Jersey; Robin Howard (John) Missoula; Jerry (Angie) McDonald of Frenchtown and Joe (Paula) McDonald of Three Forks. She is survived by all of her children, brothers Jim and Paul Cooley who reside in California, and numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and nieces and nephews. Her family was her pride and joy; she was caring, loving and kind. She was our rock. At mom’s request there will be no services, however on her birthday month (August) there will be a memorial picnic in her honor, the details will be announced at a later date. Mom you will forever be our “Apple Queen”.