Blanche Violet Lanoue Wheeler peacefully passed away at her home in Missoula, Montana and into the arms of our Lord on May 10, 2017. Blanche was born May 30, 1924 the daughter of Leandra (Dufresne) Lanoue and Adlard Lanoue. She was born at her family home in 6 mile, in Frenchtown, Montana. Blanche did not have the privilege of knowing her father as he passed before her birth. Blanche was the youngest of 8 children, Eva, Ernest, Isabelle, Homer, Ida, Bertha, Edna, who preceded her in death. Her daughter Bridget, grandson Bryan Van Gieson and great grandson Saber Wheeler also preceded her in death.
Growing up on her family homestead in 6 mile along with her 7 siblings where she was most content being outdoors helping with the crops, working with the livestock, fishing and hunting. She was a deadly shot with her 25-35 Winchester and a 30-06 to which several deer could attest. Blanche attended school in Frenchtown and after graduation, she moved to Great Falls, Montana to attend, the then named Great Falls College of Education. Blanche boarded at the Ursuline Academy while attending school.
Blanche move back home and worked in the lab at Saint Patrick Hospital with the Sisters of Providence. She loved to attend dances with her sisters and at one of those dance met and later married William Wheeler. They were married in October of 1945 and divorced in 1998. During their marriage they farmed and ranched in Missoula, Montana. They raised 13 children, Mary (Bob) Van Gieson, Bill (Peggy) Wheeler, Emily (Lee) Van Gieson, Frances (Bob) King, Katherine (Tim) Hammond, Michelle (Pete) Wilkins, Julie (Wayne) Maxwell, Tom Wheeler, Mike Wheeler, Joe (Linda) Wheeler, Dorothy Wheeler, John (Mary) Wheeler, and Peter Wheeler. Blanche was the proud grandmother of 42 grandchildren and, great grandmother of 80 great grandchildren.
Mom had many interest and hobbies, reading, dancing, and listening to country music, especially if her sons and grandsons were the performers. One of mom’s great pleasures was traveling. Any family member who had a set of keys in their hand or intended to travel prompted a response of “where are we going?”. Her children had the greatest pleasure of all by accompanying her on an Alaskan Cruise through the inlet passage for her 80th birthday. Mom was a great cribbage and pinochle player, all of her children learned to play. We had some raucous times together. We will miss our tradition of Christmas Eve dinners and family gathering. Our mother was a shining example of love, compassion, acceptances, strength and tenacity. Our hearts are heavy with love and sadness by her passing.
A visitation will start at 3PM until 6PM and Vigil/Rosary service will be held at Garden City Funeral Home on Thursday May 25 at 7 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church on Friday May 26, at 10:30 a.m. followed by the burial at Old St. Mary’s Cemetery. A reception will be held at Saint Anthony Parish Hall after the interment.
Thank you to all who administered to our mother during her time of need. A special thanks to Hospice caregivers.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in memory Blanche Wheeler.