The Impact of Private Support

"Bloom Where You Are Planted”
- Betty Gainan

Elizabeth “Betty” Gainan (’38)
1917 – 2004


This motto was one Betty lived by and exhibited all her life, from her early childhood years in Chaska, Minnesota, to Mason City, Iowa, where she graduated from Holy Family High School in 1935.  Following graduation from high school, Betty moved to Billings with her family, when her father, a sales manager for the American Sugar Beet Company was transferred.


By fall, Betty was budding as a freshman at Clark College in Dubuque, Iowa.  Scholarship in hand, this spirited young woman began her academic career.  Her mother’s death in 1937 brought Betty back to Billings to be closer to her father and sister.  She continued her studies at Eastern Montana College and earned her education diploma in 1938.  That same year, Betty met her future husband Grant Gainan, and they were married in 1939. Grant continued his career as a fireman and city fire marshal and Betty as a homemaker and busy mother of three, Chuck, Kathy, and Mick.


In 1951, Betty and Grant blossomed with their new adventure, the opening of a flower shop, Gainan’s Flowers.  Betty cherished being with her family, and as saleswoman and delivery driver, she was able to work side-by-side with Grant, and the children frequently accompanied her as she made deliveries.  Known for her warm and friendly manner, Betty took a deep interest in everyone she met and the business quickly grew into one of Montana’s most respected family businesses.  Three generations of Gainan family members have worked in the business and it has grown into one of the premier floral and garden centers in the region.


Betty Gainan


In 2005, the Gainan family created the Gainan Family Endowed Scholarship in memory of Elizabeth “G’ma G” Gainan.  The scholarship benefits female business majors having financial need.  This is especially meaningful, since 66% of MSU Billings students are women.  Thanks to the generosity of the Gainan family, recipients of their scholarship will be able to learn, grow, and blossom, and go on to make a difference in the world; just like Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Gainan.


Memorial scholarships are a lasting way to honor loved ones. A tribute that will span generations, an endowed scholarship at MSU Billings helps others reach goals through a quality education.  To discover how you can create an endowment that lives beyond your own lifetime, the MSU-Billings Foundation, 406-657-2244 or 888-430-6782 (toll free) or email at


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