EllenMae passed away quietly of natural causes at her home in Kalispell on June 11, 2018.
She was born in Reed Point, Montana, to Arthur and Ellen Nutting on March 30, 1935. As a child she attended Ashley Lake and Batavia schools.
EllenMae is survived by her three children, Raymond Richards of Deer Park, Washington, Russell Richards of Helena, and Ronnda Wartnow of Whitefish. She raised two stepchildren, Dan Knopfle of Mol, Belgium, and Vernelle Knopfle of Kalispell. She was very fortunate to have had numerous adopted children at heart, as well as her uncle, Bob Cartwright, of Kalispell, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
EllenMae was preceded in death by her father Arthur Nutting, mother Ellen Nutting, younger brother Jackie Nutting and her grandson Travis Wartnow.
Grandma “K” as everyone called EllenMae, was known to be quite the prankster. Her victims endured her classic pranks such as the ketchup and mustard bottles filled with the appropriate colored string, the dinner rolls baked with a “cotton ball surprise” in the middle and the fake butter squares to top off their pancakes. By profession she would have been labeled as a “Social Ambassador.” She worked in many kitchens and cafes as a waitress and cook all around the Flathead Valley and Eureka areas. EllenMae also tended bar in many places such as Stillwater Bar in Olney, Mountain View Tavern on Highway 35 and the Palace Bar in Whitefish, to name a few. After her career as a bartender she and her husband Vern Knopfle leased and operated Casey’s Café in Whitefish. She loved to cook for large gatherings, oftentimes prepping and slaving for days only to sit back and reap the rewards of watching everyone enjoy her spoils.
EllenMae loved to camp, fish, hunt, dance, play cards, organize mock weddings and crochet. She was no stranger to farming and hard work and would crack the whip whenever something needed to be done. She would also tell you, with a sly smile on her face, that she doesn’t have a stubborn bone in her body!
After her retirement, EllenMae spent many hours volunteering. She and her husband Pat Knutson helped with the Smoky Bear Project as well as restoring old cemeteries’ grave markers to make them visible once again. Her patriotism and love for her country led her to volunteer at the Montana Veterans Home in Columbia Falls, where she and Pat would call bingo, play Santa and the Easter Bunny as well as hand out birthday gifts. They would even go as far as to bus the residents to their home and feed them a barbecue luncheon. EllenMae was extremely proud to learn that all of her hard work had been recognized when she was voted Senior Citizen of the Year. EllenMae, (Grandma “K”) will be missed dearly by all who knew her. Services will be held at 1 p.m. on June 25 at Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home in Kalispell. Interment will follow at Glacier Memorial Gardens in Kalispell where pallbearers Bob Wartnow, Levi Richards, Bobby Cartwright, Melvin Carr, Roger Jones and Jeff Hughes will lay her to rest.