Doris Jeannette (Hanni) Blakeley
On Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, Doris Jeannette (Hanni) Blakeley — a beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and friend — passed away at the age of 89 from natural causes at the Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana.
Doris was born on July 16, 1932, in Butte, Montana, to Ahti and Minnie Hanni. She joined her older brother Gene and five years later, her brother Donald was born. The family resided in Butte before later moving to Virginia City, Montana, where Doris graduated high school.
It was in high school where Doris met the love of her life, Jack Blakeley. They eloped at the courthouse in Livingston, Montana, on July 7, 1950, when Doris was 17 years old. The couple resided in Virginia City, Montana, where they welcomed five children — Arlene, Donna, Jim, Pete and Jake — between 1952 and 1967. They would later welcome their sixth child, Zeke, who was born in Deer Lodge, Montana, in 1969 and Doris called Deer Lodge home for the remainder of her life.
Doris valued family above all and will be remembered for her fun and amazing Thanksgiving dinners. She looked forward to this holiday and enjoyed hosting family and friends with open arms and a bottle of homemade peppermint schnapps.
When her children were younger, she would joyously cheer from the stands during football and basketball games — oftentimes cheering louder than any other parent. She loved her children dearly and was so proud of each of them. She continued this enthusiasm when she watched and cheered on her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Doris loved to have a good time and was known to be the life of the party. She liked to include everyone and would quickly turn strangers into friends. She loved to celebrate, dance and laugh the night away. Her laugh was infectious and her red lipstick smile would light up the entire room. There was never a doubt that if Doris was having a good time, so were you.
After her husband Jack passed away in 2009, Doris was quite lonely and found comfort in the friendships she formed with her two daughters, Arlene and Donna. Besides spending her time with family and friends, Doris loved her cat Tommy. Together, they would watch reruns of the “Friends” TV series. Tommy would give Doris a peck goodnight and in the morning wake her with a pounce on her chest.
Doris was preceded in death by her husband Jack Blakeley; her son Jake Blakeley; her daughter Arlene Marshall; her grandson Ethan Blakeley; her father Ahti Hanni; and her mother Minnie Hanni.
She is survived by her daughter Donna (Bill) Beierle of Deer Lodge; her sons Jim (Sharon) Blakeley of Deer Lodge, Pete (Mary Rose) Blakeley of Salmon, Idaho, and Zeke (Trish) Blakeley of Butte, Montana; and her grandchildren Vince Shelton, Michael (Michelle) Blakeley, Darren (Kym) Shelton, Jenni Marshall, Michelle (Lee) Garrett, Josh (Vicki) Blakeley, Mindy (AJ) Collins, Steven Blakeley, and Perry Blakeley.
She is also survived by her great-grandchildren: Dylan Keith, Leanne (Patric) Higle, Garret Shelton, Kiya Shelton, Hallie Blakeley, Jaiden Meagher-Marshall, Devin Shelton, Parker Blakeley, Wyatt Blakeley, Luscienne Homer, Olivia Garrett, Carter Garrett and Ace Collins.
Honorary pallbearers will be Vincent Shelton, Michael Blakeley, Darren Shelton, Josh Blakeley, Perry Blakeley and Steven Blakeley.
A gravesite ceremony will be held on Friday, Dec. 2, at 2 p.m. at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Deer Lodge, Montana. A celebration of life will follow at the Elks lodge in Deer Lodge, Montana.
Vernon Fred Woodruff
Vernon Fred Woodruff, age 67 of Deer Lodge, Montana, fell asleep in Jesus’ arms on Saturday, Oct. 23, in Spokane, Washington, after suffering a massive stroke. Vernon was also known as Fred to his friends and Woody to his confidants.
Fred was born to Alice and Vergil Woodruff in 1954. He was sent to the military at age 17, where he served six years and acquired his nickname Woody. Fred did many things throughout his life — including logging and truck driving — but his true passion was being a mechanic. He received his trade degree as a mechanic in 1979.
Fred married Juli Lemon in 1980 and together they raised three children, Sosha, Brittany and Skylar. He owned Woody’s Auto Repair in Goldendale, Washington, for 10 years before he and Juli divorced. Fred moved first to Ogden, Utah, and then finally settled in Deer Lodge, Montana.
Fred’s joy was to minister to others, to spend time in the mountains with his son and to love on his grandchildren. Woody was known for his love for others. He welcomed anyone into his home and was known for giving great advice.
Fred was preceded in his death by his parents; his daughter Felicia; and his many uncles, aunts and cousins. He was survived by his sisters Patricia and Carolyn; his brothers Ed and Daryl; his ex-wife Juli; his daughters Sosha (Larry) Duff and Brittany (Josh) Ramirez; his son Skylar (Nicole) Woodruff; his granddaughter Topangia; and his grandsons Keilynn, Grayson and Kaynan.
A memorial will be held at a later date.
Dorothy Ann Rice
Dorothy Rice, 81, left us on Nov. 10 with her loving husband of 64 years by her side.
She was born on Nov. 24, 1939, in Anaconda, Montana. She graduated from Anaconda High School in 1957, and married the love of her life, Butch Rice, that same fall. They initially made their home in Anaconda but eventually moved to Deer Lodge and then finally, in their retirement years, to the Lost Creek Canyon. It was a beautiful setting where they enjoyed nature and frequent wildlife sightings.
Dorothy was very outgoing and made many friends wherever the couple lived. She worked for many years at the registrar’s office in Deer Lodge and then as a clerk for the Powell County High School until her retirement in 1994.
She was an excellent hostess and homemaker — she and Butch hosted many holiday family gatherings at their home, many of which turned into all-nighters! Dorothy was passionate about her many interests in life. As a gifted artist, she was an active member of the Deer Lodge Art Club and volunteered at the Old Prison Museum Gift Shop. She also belonged to the Copper Village Museum and Art Center and the Mountain Village Quilt Guild. Being an ardent cook and collector of recipes, Dorothy was naturally a member of the Lost Creek Recipe Club.
She was an avid reader and talented seamstress, making many beautiful quilts for her family and friends. Dorothy always enjoyed a competitive game of cards, especially pinochle or bridge — of which she usually was the victor. She was occasionally, teasingly, accused of “bending the rules” to her advantage!
Willing to pursue almost any activity, in her younger years she enjoyed bicycling, golf and downhill skiing. Later Dorothy participated in water aerobics, which led to her involvement with the Wet Hens Red Hat Society group. She suffered from many health complications throughout her life but maintained a winning spirit.
Dorothy was proceeded in death by her mother Ann Hoolahan; her father Jack Huffman; her stepfather Ray Hoolahan; her brother Bob Huffman; her parents-in-law Clint and Lillian Rice; and her brothers-in-law Lyle Rice, Tom Rice and Gene Burkey.
She will be sadly missed by her husband Butch; her sisters Kathy Cloninger and Betty Lou (Louie) Vaughn; her brother Shaun (Carol) Hoolahan; her brother-in-law Corky Rice; her sisters-in-laws, Wilma Burkey, Wanda Rogers, Lillian (Ron) Haffey, June (Merle) Rice-Craner, Phylis Rice, Lizzi Rice and Carol Rice; along with many nieces, nephews and friends.
A celebration of Dorothy’s life was held at the First Presbyterian Church on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Deer Lodge Art Club, the Copper Village Museum and Art Center or the charity of your choice. You may pay your condolences at www.longfellowfinneganriddle.com.