Carol D. Spelius passed away peacefully at her riverside home on Aug. 8, 2012, at the joyous age of 93.
Carol Doherty was born on Jan. 26, 1919, in Hazen, N.D., to Edward Doherty and Nellie Foss Doherty.
She was raised with her two other siblings, Eddie "Bubs" and Birdie Ella, in Great Falls, Mont.
Carol always wanted to be a writer. In high school, she belonged to the Young Author's Club, studied journalism her junior and senior years, and became editorial editor for the school paper. Along with her discipline and passion of the written word, Carol was unique for a woman of her time as athleticism and adventure flooded richly through her veins.
She adored dancing and enthusiastically preformed in nightclubs and other venues despite her young age. Carol actively swam laps as a member of the high school swim team and was Montana state diving champion.
During her time in the pool, she became acquainted with "Art" Arthur W. Zipperian and they quickly became high school sweethearts. After their high school graduation from Great Falls High School in 1937, they were married in Great Falls in 1941.
Their only son, Wayne Arthur Spelius, was born in July 13, 1942. Wayne never met his biological father since Arthur was a member of the Great Falls, Mont., Army Air Core and was a pilot in the China Burma India Theater of OPS CVI at the onset of World War II.
Art was lost on a combat mission and was missing in action and presumed dead. His remains and those of three crew members were found and interned at Arlington National Cemetery in 1948.
After Art's death, Carol moved to California to attain her teaching certificate in physical education. While in California she was a member of the Aquacade that preformed in the 1939 San Francisco's World Fair.
Carol met "Bill" William Joseph Spelius in a folk dance class at the University of California's Berkeley Campus early in 1947. They attended graduation together in the stadium as onlookers, both too cheap to spend the money for cap and gown rental.
After graduation they said goodbye and went their separate ways. He proposed to Carol by mail from Wisconsin, and she accepted by mail from Montana. They were married on Oct. 18, 1947, at Carol's sisters' home in Maryland, a place called Dunroamin.'.
Bill adopted Wayne and together he and Carol expanded their family. They added Christine Ann in 1948, Chris Arthur Spelius in 1951 and finally Susan Marguerite in 1955. The Spelius "clan," as they came to be known has been described as an Olympic pentathlon team disguised as a family of six.
Carol's enthusiasm for adventure and passion for life was the keystone of their family. With Carol's undying support and empathy, her children pursued distinguished careers and lifestyles.
Wayne became a career Air Force pilot; Christine, a veterinarian; Chris, an avid kayaker and outdoor businessman, and Susan, a classical concert pianist.
Carol stopped skiing due to hip and knee replacements, but Bill remained an avid skier until close to his death in 2008. They had been married for 63 years.
Carol always deemed herself a "chicken" but had the strength and resolve to hold her head high and hide her fears and muster the courage to do it anyway. Her husband, Bill, acted as the catalyst in instigating family vacations to Isle Royal, Sun Valley, Montana, Mexico, Italy and Chile. Their most memorable family feat was the reverse Lewis and Clark trip down the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio rivers, a trip that Carol captained.
Carol was an avid reader and writer, who wrote and published the adventures and stories of her family. Carol once wrote how she appreciated the inspiration, encouragement and support from her family for her "strange and consuming habit of writing."
She always appreciated how her family never faltered in furnishing her with raw material for the various articles and books she proudly published and received awards for.
Carol, with the help of her son Wayne and layout editor, started Lake Publishing Company and began publishing poetry and her books, "Aqueus and Other Tales," "How We Got Here From There: One Family's Odyssey," "Soundings: A Poetry Anthology," "I, Mancha" and "Gatherings," as well as innumerable newspaper and magazine articles.
Her fiction credits include Ski magazine, Green's magazine, Young World, Fiction West, North Dakota Review, Western Ohio Journal, and Tucumcari Literary Review.
Carol's professional organizations included Off Campus Writers' Workshop, Pen Women, the Society of Midland Authors, The Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, and The Writers.
Carol always had empathy towards other people and had an innate ability to find common ground. Carol seemed to wear rose-colored glasses every day of her life and could always make the best out of any situation.
In one of her books, Carol wrote, "I look back on our adventures and feel content and grateful to have participated, although my passion for life has not yet abated. I am not yet ready—if ever—to go gracefully toward that last great adventure."
Carol is survived by her children; Wayne C. Spelius (Susan Mirrow) of Salt Lake City, Utah; Christine A. Spelius of Delco, Idaho; Chris A. Spelius (Rosie Olave Spelius) of Burley, Idaho; and Susan S. Gannon (Steve Robert Gannon) of Sun Valley, Idaho. Carol is also survived by her seven grandchildren, Christopher Spelius of Norwalk, Conn., Andrew William Dunning (25) of Sun Valley, Idaho; Ari Joseph Spelius (25) of Salt Lake City, Utah; Heidi M. Goedhart (24) of Salt Lake City, Utah; Michael Clayton Dunning (23) of Sun Valley, Idaho; Harley Goedhart (22) of Pocatello, Idaho; and Chiloe Leone Spelius (13) of Burley, Idaho.
Also surviving are her nephews Byron S. Doherty of Great Falls, Mont.; Steve Doherty of Columbus, Ohio; Clayton Doherty of Chesieres Vaude, Switzerland; Eddie Doherty; her niece Patricia Doherty of Juneau, Alaska; and close family friend 'Bill' William J. Horvath of Futalefu, Chile.
Carol is preceded in death by her husband, William J. Spelius; her parents, Edward Doherty and Nellie Foss Doherty of Great Falls; her siblings Birdie Ella Doherty Polich, and Edward "Bubs" Doherty of Great Falls.