Linda Ellis Blank passed away on November 1st, 2021, after suffering from Para Supra Nuclear Palsy. She celebrated her 80th birthday in Post Falls, Idaho surrounded by family.
Linda was born to Charles F. Ellis and Jane Dorthea Ellis in Mandan, ND on October 20, 1941. She grew up with beloved younger brother, John C. Ellis.
Linda graduated from Mandan High and attended Denver Women’s College for a brief period but returned home where she met and married Phil Blank in 1960 in Mandan, ND. They moved to Montana the following year with their 5-month-old daughter to work at Watkins Creek Dude Ranch on Hebgen Lake in Montana. Linda was the cabin girl and Phil took guests horseback riding and fishing. They lived in Bozeman while Phil attended and graduated from Montana State.
Upon moving to Lemmon, SD with three small children and claiming she couldn’t even boil water she vowed to be the best housewife she could be and took it on as a job becoming proficient in cooking and keeping house. Then in Clancy, MT, she honed her entertaining, gardening and remodeling skills. In Missoula, Linda was a member of the U of M Symphony Chorale and owned and operated a successful used clothing store. Living twice in Dillon, MT she worked for a local garden nursery, State Farm and then ended up buying a Stained-Glass business after taking several lessons and falling in love with the craft.
In Cody, WY Linda continued her stain glass craft and fabricated pieces for many homes there and MT. Her crowning glory was the three churches she built windows for with her daughter Kris in West Yellowstone and Ennis, MT.
She and her husband Phil ultimately ended up back on Hebgen Lake in 1992 at the family cabin. They were lucky to enjoy lake life together fishing, hunting and back country packing on horses with good friends before Phil passed away in early January of 1998.
Linda stayed on at the cabin and was a member of the West Yellowstone Historical Society, active in the church as well as the United Women’s group. She loved to entertain the summer guests at the lake and enjoyed all of the activities winter had to offer. She was an avid skier both downhill and cross country, loved to fish, hunt with her California hunting buddies and was always up for an adventure of any kind. Linda definitely earned her nickname Mountain Mama and the Martha Stewart of the West amongst her friends and neighbors.
Her knowledge, adventurous spirit, her kindness and presence will be immensely missed by her family and friends. She is survived by daughter Kris Opprecht, son Russell S. Blank and son Jeffrey P. Blank, their respective spouses and 5 grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held June 18th at the CPC - Community Protestant Church, 505 N. Electric St. West Yellowstone, MT at 10:00 AM.