Kathryn (Kaye) Ruth Wanke


Kathryn (Kaye) Ruth Wanke, 91, born March 30, 1927, to Jacob and Elizabeth Schwab in Brighton Colorado, died April 25, 2018, following injuries from a car accident on April 4th near Whitehall.

She was eighth of nine children, grew up and graduated from high school in Brighton, CO. Interested in becoming a nurse, she attended the University of Denver. She worked as a nurse's aide in a hospital and waitressed at a restaurant where she met her first husband, Al Libra.

The newlyweds moved to Missoula, MT so Al could attend law school while Kaye worked to help "put him through school". Later they moved to Thompson Falls where Kaye raised her three daughters and worked part-time as a news stringer for Associated Press when there was news happening in the area. It was during this time that Kaye became a passionate gardener and chairman of the floral division of the Sanders County Fair, as well as a floral judge.

In 1960 the family moved to Helena, Kaye attended Carroll College where she received her B.A. degree in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. She continued her interest in gardening and became involved with the community.

Finding herself single again she moved back to Missoula; one evening she attended a Parents Without Partners meeting where she met Herb, a Catholic widower with 8 small children. Kaye married Herb on May 12, 1972, moving shortly thereafter to a farm near Florence. Kaye was a dedicated homemaker and kept busy raising the children, tending animals, gardening, and preserving food by canning, drying and freezing. A pianist since childhood, she took up the organ and played for churches in the area. She and Herb were devoted supporters of the nearby St. Mary's Mission.

In 2006 Herb and Kaye moved to Whitehall where she continued to enjoy her flower and vegetable gardening, dancing at fiddler jamborees, fishing with Herb, and relaxing at the various local hot springs. Kaye and Herb were married for 43 years.

She was preceded in death by her parents, seven siblings, and both husbands. She is survived by her sister, Irene Golder, of Victor; her three daughters: Joyce of Nisswa, MN; Stevie (Scott) of Columbia, SC, and Kathy (Tony) of Sparks, NV; eight step-children: Arthur (Barb) of Colorado Springs, CO; Bonnie (Ron) of Cascade, CO; Cynthia of Marietta, GA; Donna (John) of Chinook, MT; Eileen (Matt) of Whitlash, MT; Floyd (Susan) of Great Falls, MT; Genevieve (Carl) of Durango, CO; and Jerry of Newburg, OR; 14 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

A vigil service will be held Thursday, May 3, 6:00 p.m. at St. Theresa of Avila Catholic Church in Whitehall. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, May 4, 10:00 am at St. Theresa of Avila Catholic Church in Whitehall. Burial will be at in Stevensville at St. Mary's Mission Cemetery on Saturday, May 5 at 12:00 noon with a reception following in the fellowship hall.

Memorials preferred to be made to St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Whitehall, MT, St. Mary's Mission in Stevensville, MT or the Whitehall Library.

Kathryn (Kaye) Ruth Wanke


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