Blanche Esther (Johnson) Waltari, 91, of Great Falls, a former teacher, died of natural causes Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010, at Peace Hospice.
One visitation was held at Schnider Funeral Home on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010, from noon to 4 p. m. and another will be held at Victory Christian Center one hour prior to the 2:30 p. m. funeral service on Monday, Oct. 25, 2010.
Blanche was born June 5, 1919, to Oscar and Hilma Johnson in Power, Mont., where she was raised and educated.
After graduating from high school, she earned her teaching degree from Montana State Normal College in Dillon (now MSU-Western). She taught at North Faris and Diamond Valley Schools in the Brady/Dutton area. She met Wayne W. Waltari, and they were married on Blanche's birthday, June 5, 1940, in Great Falls.
After her marriage, in addition to raising her family, Blanche continued to substitute teach in the Great Falls Public School system for many years, where she especially treasured the time spent working with special needs students. Her love of people spilled over into her work as a World Book salesperson in the community, as well as in her dedication to serving as an election judge for about 50 years.
Blanche was involved in her children's many activities through PTA, Boy Scouts, Camp Fire Girls and 4-H, serving in many different capacities.
She was active in Our Savior's Lutheran Church for many years and later, during her time as a member of Victory Christian Center, she visited the elderly, helped with musicals and was a part of Fully Alive Ministry. She always had time to lend an ear or extend a helping hand, truly the hallmark of her life. She cherished her family, loved her friends dearly and cared about all people, always finding the goodness in everyone. She was known to family and friends everywhere as Gramma "B." She was a very precious woman and such a blessing in all of our lives.
Survivors include a son, Jerry (Nancy) Waltari of Havre; daughters, Tari (Bill) Steinmetz of Tulsa, Okla., Carol Dustin, Bette (Curt) Shumaker and Sheryl (Chuck) Hopkins, all of Great Falls; sisters, Lillian Jenkins, Jeanette Waltari and Ethel Doheny, all of Great Falls, and Dolores Gettel of Power; a sister-in-law, Elsie (Waltari) Murphy of Great Falls; former son-in-law, Jack Dustin; grandchildren Suzanne (Clay) Lindsey of Huntington Beach, Calif., Stacey (David) Kendall of Phoenix, Ariz., Michael Dustin of Missoula, Casey (Shantel) Waltari of Cody, Wyo., Scott Waltari of Auburn, Wash., Leslie (Paul) Hill of White Oak, Texas, Aaron Richtscheid of Great Falls, Claire (Chris) Cummings of Hailey, Idaho, Amy (Anthony) Curtis of Great Falls, Amanda (Jason) Steichen and Rachel (Joe) Visser of Helena and Corrie (Matt) Triplett of Great Falls; 19 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren expected in the New Year.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Wayne Waltari, on Nov. 4, 1982; sisters, Evelyn LaValley and Gladys Pearson; and a son-in-law, Voyd Richtscheid.
Memorials are suggested to Victory Christian Center Building Fund, 3220 11th Ave. S., Great Falls, MT 59405, or to the charity of the donor’s choice.
Condolences for the family may be left at www.schniderfuneralhome.com.