Cover photo for JoAn Carey Marshall's Obituary
JoAn Carey Marshall Profile Photo
1934 JoAn 2023

JoAn Carey Marshall

February 22, 1934 — April 3, 2023


Funeral Services for JoAn Carey Marshall, 89, of Ekalaka, MT will be 10:00 a.m. July 3, 2023 at Stevenson Funeral Home in Ekalaka with Pastor Jim Biswell officiating. Burial to follow service at Beaver Lodge Cemetery in Ekalaka.

Live Streaming will be available for the service.

JoAn passed away April 3, 2023 at Dahl Memorial in Ekalaka.

JoAn Marshall was born February 22, 1934 JoAn Margaret Carey on the Carey Ranch on Chalk Buttes Road in Ekalaka Montana in 1934 and was delivered by Dr. Sandy.  The Carey Ranch was homesteaded by her uncle John Carey in 1909 and taken over by her father Joseph Carey when John Carey died.  JoAn had an older sister, Mary Ellen Carey, who lived most of her life in the Bay Area in California, and a younger brother, Joe Carey who married Carole Curry and they lived on the Carey ranch, then moved to town and bought the Speelmon property originally owned by Dr. JP Hedges.

 JoAn lost both parents at a young age and broke her leg in a horse accident when she was in high school and endured much pain and 2 surgeries and lived through a transfusion of the wrong blood type.  The long hospitalization in Miles City let her think a lot about her life and she decided to be a veterinarian.  Very few women became veterinarians in her time, but she was very smart, worked hard, got good grades at the University of Montana in Missoula and was accepted to veterinary school in 1954 at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.  It was there that she met Wes Marshall who was in her veterinary school class and they were married in 1957 and both graduated in 1958.  She was the only woman in her class.  They went on to own a veterinary practice together for 40 years in Lompoc, CA that they named the West Valley Veterinary Clinic and raised 3 children:  a daughter Kerri who also became a veterinarian (WSU 1985), and two sons, Daniel who became an attorney, and Matthew who became a pharmacist and moved into pharmacy systems (technology). 

When they turned 70, Wes and JoAn moved to the ranch in Montana and retired in the beautiful Chalk Buttes on the ranch 17 miles out of Ekalaka, MT.  Wes bred and trained Arabian horses, went to horse training clinics, ran steers, and rode several half bronc quarter horses, while JoAn always had the gentlest horse on the ranch- everyone always wanted to ride her horse, Chic.  JoAn’s lifetime honors included becoming a regional California director for the American Animal Hospital Association, being asked by the governor of California (Jerry Brown) to join the Santa Barbara County Fair board, and when they retired in Montana, JoAn was asked by the governor (Brian Schweitzer) to join the Montana Board of Veterinary Medicine where she served for many terms and became the first woman to turn 80 on the board.  JoAn founded the Pet Parade event at the county fair in Ekalaka to make sure small children could participate in the fair.  JoAn always had a great sense of humor, the most beautiful red hair and freckles, and a photographic memory, especially for WSU fight songs and Irish limericks!  She loved to listen to Joan Baez and old western music and especially those songs by Willie Nelson. JoAn was an accomplished Cowboy Poet by the pen name of Montana Maverick. She was the featured artist at the Alzada Poetry Festival and always had a new poem or two ready each year to share.  Her claim to fame was when Russell Rowland, the famous Montana writer, did a piece on her life in the Montana Quarterly called “JoAn’s Land”. 

She was a strong and independent person, and a wonderful wife, political sparring partner, and business partner with her husband, Wes. She was a caring mom to her kids who learned that hard work, internal strength, and kindness will get you far.   She made sure her children were taught to live independently and released into the world prepared to make their own way in life.  Her favorite nickname given to her by her daughter was Bad Ass Mom. She could be seen tooling around the ranch and into Ekalaka with her little red Toyota Truck with the license plate BAMBAM3.

She is survived by her daughter, Kerri, her two sons Daniel and Matthew, and her grandchildren (Daniel’s children) John Marshall and Michelle Marshall.  John helped his grandmother stay on the ranch an extra 3 years by making her dinner every night and took care of all the animals and the ranch.  She loved her family, the ranch, and the prairie whose winds carry her soul to her new frontier.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Dahl Memorial Healthcare, PO Box 46, Ekalaka, MT 59324 or the Carter County Museum, PO Box 445, Ekalaka, MT  59324 (home of the Dino Shindig)

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of JoAn Carey Marshall, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Monday, July 3, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain (no DST) time)

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