Joleen Cahill

Joleen Kathryn Murphy Cahill

Joleen Kathryn Murphy Cahill, formerly of Boulder, died of complications from leukemia on December 21, 2021. 

She was born October 16, 1949 in Billings. Joleen graduated high school in Musselshell, attended Gonzaga University, Oregon State, and the University of Great Falls, and completed a year abroad at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. With her husband, Michael Cahill, she traveled throughout Europe and the United States.  

Joleen lived in many places, and she became an active member of each community. She was an avid piano and organ player, bringing music to local plays and choirs and, as a devout Catholic, playing for each of her churches, finishing at St. Monica’s. In her younger years Joleen played the French horn for the Oregon State Band and small orchestras. She always had a house filled with music, whether it be Elton John, George Winston, or The Chieftains. And her homemade Scottish shortbread was a sought after treat for the holidays.

When bussing was cut from her children’s rural school district in Oregon, Joleen organized a bussing program, and was nominated for Oregon’s volunteer of the year award. In her later years, she became a champion for veterans, participating in her local American Legion, supporting Help Heal Veterans, and participating in gold star family events all over Texas. She was a soft place to land for many survivors of the Fort Hood Shooting (November 5, 2009), where her husband was killed. She was a pivotal advocate for the Fort Hood memorial in Killeen, TX. 

Joleen was a soft-spoken woman who loved her grandkids, her family, and her community. With a loving and gentle touch and a hot pot of coffee or tea at the ready, she was a shoulder to lean on and a friend to many. The neighborhood cats and birds will miss her generous spirit. May her legacy live on in kindness that is so often lacking in this crazy world. A genuine and gentle spirit that never judged, never threw stones, and only saw the best in people has joined her husband and the angels. May her music live on as we remember her. 

Joleen was preceded in death by her husband and is survived by her children James Richard Cahill, Keely Cahill Vanacker, and Kerry Jane Cahill; her siblings Alan Murphy, Kevin Murphy and Sue Olson; and her grandchildren Kate and Brody Vanacker.

Services for Joleen will be 2:00 p.m. Saturday, January 8, 2022 at St. Monica Catholic Church in Cameron, Texas. A Rosary/vigil will be recited 7:00 p.m. Friday, January 7, 2022 at Marek-Burns-Laywell Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, people can send money to Help Heal Veterans, TAPS, or their local NPR station.

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