Eleanor Michelle Dougherty
A special angel gained her wings far too soon leaving those she left behind heartbroken. We will miss her sparkling blue eyes, quick wit, loving spirit, positive attitude, and mischievous brilliant Irish smile. Eleanor Michelle “Ellie” Dougherty, 39, of Missoula passed away suddenly Monday, August 2, 2021 from an unanticipated and unexpected health event. Known affectionately by some of her family as Bean, she was born June 4, 1982 in Missoula, Montana, to the late Maureen Sullivan Dougherty, and the late James D. (Jim) Dougherty. She grew up with her two brothers and sister as ranch kids enjoying putting up hay, chasing chickens, and feeding cows. She attended St. Joseph’s and Hellgate Elementary, Big Sky High School and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Carroll College in 2004.
Ellie excelled at soccer, playing for the Missoula Strikers in her younger years, transitioning to play for Big Sky High School playing her favorite position of Goal Keeper. She was excited to carry on the tradition at Carroll College playing four years in goal in the newly formed soccer program at the college. She continued to give back to the sport she loved by offering to help young soccer players and volunteering her expertise to help the Big Sky High School soccer team. She was always willing to lend a helping hand in soccer or in life. You could count on her to be there to help in any way. Ellie touched many lives, doing many different things.
She was a strong, independent, kind-hearted woman who was deeply proud of her Irish roots. She loved living in Montana and everything about it. Ellie was an avid outdoorswoman with an adventurous spirit enjoying hiking, bow hunting, snow shoeing and spending time at her most favorite place in the world, the upper pasture of the Dougherty Family Ranch. Many days she could be seen tilling or walking the fields with her treasured pups by her side. Ellie had a way of knowing what was truly important in life. She focused more on the beauty in flowers and the growth of vegetables rather than dusting or vacuuming. A shining example of a true steward of the land, she was an amazing gardener and loved to can with her mother Maureen and share the fruits of her labor with family and friends. Her love of animals was evident to all and she was excited to be raising eight piglets this year while tending her garden of tomatoes, beets, pumpkins, and peppers for salsa among other things. Ellie was loving life and living it. Happy and content in reviving her childhood roots by raising animals and growing vegetables. In recent days she was so joyful and happy in life, a shining example of living each day, each moment that is given to you.
Family was important to Ellie. She was always looking for ways to include more people in whatever the current adventure was. Whether it was a bon fire, Fourth of July fireworks, a pig roast, or a competitive game of Settlers of Catan. Ellie looked to include more people in the merriment. One of the most important people Ellie loved spending time with was her very special nephew Conor Dougherty. She gave him the nickname “Magic” and found great delight in introducing him to many adventures, games, and books. Together they had many hours making memories and fun.
Ellie had a special way with people, giving them space to be who they were without judgement. She devoted her early career to helping those less fortunate. She deeply cared about the clients she worked for through Reach in Bozeman and Opportunity Resources in Missoula. Ellie spent many years dealing with chronic pain, illness, and adversity. Eventually these circumstances necessitated a change in her career path to a position with regular work hours and she found a supportive work family at Fred’s Appliance where she enjoyed working until the time of her death.
Ellie is preceded in death by her parents, Jim and Maureen and survived by her brother Jamey Dougherty; brother Sean and wife Anna Dougherty, and nephew Conor; sister Mary Jane and husband Michael Crader. Also, numerous aunts and uncles from the Dougherty and Sullivan families and many cousins and friends who loved her dearly. Ellie also leaves behind her beloved Australian Shepherd girls, Finoula and Eyries, who were devoted companions bringing happiness to her many adventures. Beloved daughter, sister, aunt, god-mother, niece, cousin and friend, you are greatly missed. May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. The rains fall soft upon your fields. Until we meet again. We love you.
A celebration of Ellies life will be held on Tuesday, August 10 at 11:00 a.m. at Garden City Funeral Home, 1705 West Broadway Street, Missoula with a light lunch immediately following in the banquet room. Her celebration will also be live-streamed on the Garden City website for those unable to attend in person.
The family invites memorial donations to honor Ellie to be sent to Missoula County 4-H, Attn: Campbell Barrett, 2825 Santa Fe Court, Missoula MT 59808; Missoula FFA. Attn: Tom Anders, 3100 South Avenue West, Missoula, MT 59804; The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, 5705 Grant Creek, Missoula, MT 59808; or Opportunity Resources Inc., 2821 S Russell St, Missoula, MT 59801.