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Lanie Wulf

Lanie Wulf Lanie Wulf

Opal Lorraine “Lanie” Wulf, 101, died Wednesday, June 5, 2024, at her apartment in Touchmark retirement home in Helena.

She was born to Helmer and Clara (Knutson) Insteness on May 20, 1923, in Froid. She lived on the family farm near Froid until graduating from high school. She moved to Spokane, Wash., to attend business school in 1941.

After training as a secretary, she worked for an insurance company and then for Spokane Air Depot. When her brother Lyle and friend Homer Wulf came to Spokane, their courtship began in earnest and she and Homer were married in Couer d’Alene, Idaho, on Aug. 22, 1942. This union lasted over 72 years.

Homer enlisted in the military and she followed him to several bases, but stayed in Froid when their son Gary was born in November 1943. After time at Yuma, Ariz., Army Airfield, she moved to Kalispell, where her parents had recently moved. Son Jeffrey was born in October 1945. Homer was discharged in November of 1945, and they moved to a house they’d bought in Kalispell and started building a house one block from her folks.

In March 1947, daughter Sharyn was born, followed by a move back to Froid in 1949 where son John was born in April 1951.

After Homer’s electrical business partner died, the family moved back to Flathead County where he worked on Hungry Horse Dam and Anaconda aluminum plant construction. His employer was based in Seattle, Wash., so the family lived there for a while. Even though his job kept him traveling, the family moved to a 5-acre property near Columbia Falls.

When Homer worked as the electrician for Glacier National Park, the family lived there for awhile, but kept the property outside Columbia Falls. Daughter Lyn was born in October 1960. A final move was to Helena to be closer to family. There, they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary (of 72 years together.)

Music was always a big part of her life, with a public performance as early as age 5, in a duet with sister Avis, age 3. The love of music reached a higher level when her grandma Gina Knutson gave the family a piano, which all the girls learned to play, even without formal lessons. She would turn almost every family gathering into a musical event, either by starting to play the piano or urging someone else to play or sing. As her hearing failed later in life, she could no longer play or even enjoy listening to music. As compensation, she played a lot of Scrabble in her later years.

In 1959, shortly after Homer turned from his old life, she joined him to walk hand in hand in thankful service to the Lord. She had been spiritually minded for many years, but found harmony as the couple embraced a new way of life.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Homer; and siblings, Lyle, Avis, Galen and Dolores.

She is survived by her sister, Cheryl Huggins of Olympia, Wash.; sons, Gary of Helena, Jeffrey of Clancy, and John of Ajo, Ariz.; and daughters, Sharyn Kuipers of Manhattan and Lyn O’Neal of May, Idaho; 11 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

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