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Neva Ross Cavanaugh, 86, passed away at Wheatland Memorial Healthcare on Thursday, October 8th, 2020 of natural causes.  Mom was born in Billings to James and Gertrude (Seaver) Ross of Bercail, MT.  She was the youngest of 9 children.  She was raised on the family ranch on Careless Creek, east of Judith Gap, which was homesteaded by her grandfather Jack (Hamilton) Ross.  Early schooling was in a one-room schoolhouse called Rossville.  Getting there involved walking through the bull field and sometimes riding horseback.  In the winter months, the women and children lived in the Gap to continue schooling.  High school was in Harlowton, graduating in 1952.  Then, Neva attended U of M in Missoula for two years, taking business classes pledging Kappa Alpha Theta.

On September 28th, 1957, Neva married her high school sweetheart, W.T. (Tom) Cavanaugh at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Harlowton, being devoted to her faith.  She was past president of St. Ann’s Guild and enjoyed making quilts that they donated to the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch in Billings.

Neva worked at the bank and later became Deputy Assessor.  When the children started coming, she became a full-time homemaker.  In 1980 she went back to work as Deputy Assessor and later was elected County Assessor from which she retired.

Mom really enjoyed rides in the country - especially around the Snowy Mountains, and pointing out childhood memories like where a bull snake chased her several days in a row after school.  She knew who lived in each homestead in the early years and had fond memories of going to a neighboring ranch to pull Christmas taffy and peppermint sticks.

Being a ranch child, Mom became a wonderful cook and baker, with Christmas in the Cavanaugh household full of cookies, candies, and beautiful decorations.  She was a great seamstress, making most of our clothes and double patching the knees of our pants for extra wear.

She is survived by her children are daughter Karen Cavanaugh of Billings; sons Tim and Lisa (Budge) Cavanaugh of Harlowton, Kevin and Jan (Grimm), of East Helena, Ty Cavanaugh of Stevensville and Tom and DeAnn (Johnson) Cavanaugh of Helena; Grands and greats are Paige (Tracy) Elletson, their children Joplin and Hendrix of Billings, and Mikelann (Adam) Mollman and baby boy due in December, Coy (Katie) Cavanaugh with son Declan, Connor (Genessa) Cavanaugh and Nolan Cavanaugh, all of Helena; one sister Grace Boucher of Judith Gap and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and siblings - Mary Pirrie, Bea Watts, Faye Bolgen, Veda Ross, Kenneth Ross, Edward Ross, and Lois Ryan. 

Graveside services will be Sunday, October 18th, 2020 at 2:30 p.m. at the Harlowton Catholic Cemetery.  Perkins Funeral Home assisting the family.  

Friends are asked to make memorials to the Wheatland County Fire or Ambulance or the Charity of their choice and they may be left with the Perkins Funeral Home, PO Box 313 Harlowton, MT  59036.  Condolences for the family may be posted on-line at

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