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Wilda Jane (Montgomery) Blankenship

Wilda Jane (Montgomery) Blankenship passed into eternal life on February 14, 2015 at her home in Houston, Missouri. She was 90 years old.

A lifetime resident of Houston, she was born on November 13, 1924 to William and Leona (Sutton) Montgomery, a direct descendent of Valentine Sutton, one of the pioneer founders of Houston. She married Dillard “Junior” Blankenship on March 23, 1947 and moved from her family home to the farm where she lived for 68 years.

Wilda and Junior’s home was the center of family holidays and events, providing many happy memories for their nieces and nephews as they were growing up. It was a treat to eat homemade light bread and jellies, hunt for Easter eggs, run from the Halloween witch, or find a special present under the Christmas tree.

Ever the caregiver, she helped her mother, father, and husband through many illnesses and their final days. A fiercely independent person, after the death of her husband in 1993, she took care of herself until a few months ago.

She was preceded in death by her husband and parents; brothers and sisters Stonewall Montgomery, John Montgomery, and Marvin Montgomery of Houston; sister Lillie Sharpe of Tiffin, Ohio; brother Earl Montgomery and nephew Steve Montgomery of Cabool, Missouri; as well as brothers-in law Dean Gettys of Cabool and Robert Sharpe of Tiffin.

She is survived by a sister, Ruby Gettys of Cabool; three sisters-in-law, Doris Montgomery and Naomi Montgomery of Houston and Emma Montgomery of Cabool; along with eight nieces and nephews.

Wilda will be remembered for her wit, humor, and creativity. Well known in the community as an exceptional farmer, she raised Angus cattle that topped the market in Springfield, as well as prize-winning chickens. Her black walnut carvings of birds and plants and intricate quilts and needlework rivaled those in the best shops in Branson, and her humorous and poignant memoirs of growing up in Houston grew into a book-length volume. Always a generous gardener, she gave flower bulbs and cuttings to neighbors, family, and friends, creating a legacy that lives in gardens and yards across Texas County and beyond.

Private services were held at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 18, 2015, at Evans Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Ozark Cemetery for upkeep and maintenance, a cause that she supported for many years.

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