Ida May Sullivan, 88, passed away peacefully on June 15, 2017, under the loving care of the wonderful staff at Brendan House in Kalispell.
May was born to Elmer and Anna Woldstad on Oct. 11, 1928, the second of three children. She grew up in the Swan River Community near Bigfork, and was a third-generation attendee at the Swan River elementary school. She graduated from Bigfork High School in 1946, and then obtained her cosmetology certification in Missoula. She promptly returned to the Flathead Valley, which she proudly called home for the rest of her life.
May was married to Cecil Sullivan on Oct. 23, 1950, and for the next 49 years, until Cecil’s passing in 1999, they enjoyed one another and an incredibly great friendship, dancing, traveling, golfing, fishing, playing cards and spending time with their kids, grandkids and friends. Their daughter Arlene was born in 1952, and their son, Rodney, was born in 1954.
May was a naturally happy and kind, compassionate person, known for her great sense of fun. She loved to entertain friends and family in her home, hosting pinochle or penny-poker games, celebrating holidays and other special occasions. She is remembered by many as the humorous announcer at the Echo Lake Saddle Club O-Mok-Sees, and for her imitation of Minnie Pearl for variety shows at the Swan River Community Hall or her starring roles as the gun-toting “shot-gun bride” or the poor widow in plays put on by community members for charity fundraisers.
May was a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother, and no one was more important to her than her family. She was a very loyal friend, and enjoyed getting together with her “birthday bunch” of ladies that celebrated their birthdays together for over 65 years.
Known for her sense of humor and quick wit, she mastered hiding her dementia with cute, funny comments and humorous retorts, delivered with a twinkle in her eye, that had become a trademark of her personality, even as she slipped away due to Alzheimer’s disease in recent years. She loved to play table games, and spent countless hours in her later years honing her cribbage skills, continuing to whump everyone even after dementia had taken so many other skills and memories away from her.
May was preceded in death by her parents, Elmer and Annie Woldstad; her husband and best friend, Cecil Sullivan; her son, Rodney Sullivan; and her sister, Ruth Sullivan.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Arlene and Gary Wilson, of Bigfork; her brother and sister-in-law, George and Mary Woldstad, of Libby; her daughter-in-law, Rochelle Sullivan, of Camarillo, California; four grandchildren, Zane (Chris) Wilson of Parker, Colorado, Shawn (Nicola) Wilson of Deltona, Florida, and Daniel and Felicia Sullivan of Camarillo; and five great-grandchildren, as well as many treasured nieces, nephews, extended family members, and friends in Montana, Colorado and Florida.
Please join us for a memorial service to celebrate her life at 1:30 p.m. on June 24 at Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home. Immediately following burial at 3 p.m. at C.E. Conrad Memorial Cemetery, a reception, for friends and family to gather and share stories of a great life lived, will be held in the basement of Sykes’.
The family wishes to thank the staffs at Prestige Memory Care and Brendan House who provided such excellent, loving care for May the past three years.
Memorials, if desired, are suggested to be made to either the Bigfork Quick Response Unit, or the Bigfork Food Bank.