Stuart Gerald Blankinship was born January 19, 1935 to Marion (McLellan) and Hubert Blankinship in San Diego, CA. He passed away peacefully in his sleep November 11, 2021. It was fitting Stuart passed away on Veteran’s Day as his service for his country was important to him. He joined the Navy at age 17 and actively served in the Korean War. He was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Valley Forge with the responsibility of preparing jets for flight. He did such a great job that a F9F-2 Grumman fighter plane was named after him. When his enlistment was up, he was called into the office and offered a higher rank to go along with a new 4 year commitment. His response was, “Ya - when elephants fly!” His sister Maude told him it was a good thing the Navy officers hadn’t known about Dumbo!
Stuart received his B.S. degree in education from USC. He went to work for the LA County Parks and Recreation Department and after 17 harrowing years of working with violent gangs, decided to pack it up and move to Montana. It’s a move he never regretted. He taught in several rural schools before finishing his career as a math teacher at Big Sky High School. He was proud of the fact that “he never flunked a student because they were all trying!”
After retirement, Stuart spent his mornings at The Peak Fitness Club “working out”, drinking coffee and sharing cookies with friends. As his health declined, those visits with friends were what he missed the most.
Stuart loved dogs and was never without one. Cocker spaniels were his favorite breed until he took on Angel, a mixed breed rescue dog. She had been abandoned because of expensive dental work that was needed. Stuart didn’t hesitate to spend the needed money and he was rewarded with her unconditional love.
Stuart was proceeded in death by his parents, brother Hubert Jr. and sister Linda. He is survived by sisters Maude Norris, Vivian Gulley, half brother Richard Blankinship, half sister Pat Bates, numerous nieces, nephews, friends and last furry friend Angel.
We are eternally grateful for the outstanding care Dr. Brad Berry and his staff provided Stuart. Also, a big thanks to Dr. Rodney Heaton, Providence Healthcare, Beehive Homes and Encompass for their compassionate care.
At Stuart’s request, no services will be held. His ashes will be inurned at the Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery in Missoula.