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Ellen Opalka, 78

| June 28, 2023 7:55 AM

Ellen M. Opalka, 78, died suddenly on June 16, 2023.

Ellen was born on Feb. 18, 1945 to Kenneth and Marguerite Zanto. She had four brothers and one sister. Ellen graduated from high school in Highwood, Montana in 1963. She developed her love for teaching, graduating from the University of Montana-Western in Dillion.

Ellen taught school in Columbia Falls and started her own kindergarten in the basement of her home.

In June of 1973, she married Bruce E. Opalka of Columbia Falls. They were together until Bruce’s death in 2009. They were blessed with two children; Mary Opalka (Jeff LaPlume) and James Opalka (Becky). She loved her three grandchildren: Elizabeth Powell (Reush), Catherine and Benjamin Opalka; along with two bonus grandchildren: Madison and Jackson Birdsell.

Ellen was a wonderful cook and baker. She enjoyed trying new recipes and passing on her baking tips and tricks to friends and family. She took great pride in maintaining her home and homestead.

Ellen was a faithful member of St. Richard’s Parish in Columbia Falls for over 50 years. She embraced her Catholic faith reading her bible daily.

Ellen was a very loving, forgiving, kind and compassionate person always putting others in front of herself. She will be truly missed.

Matthew 5:1-12a “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

A Vigil Service with Rosary will be held at 6 p.m, Thursday, June 29, 2023 at Columbia Mortuary. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 2 p.m., Friday, June 30, 2023 at St. Richard Catholic Church with a Graveside Committal at St. Richard Cemetery and reception to follow.

Columbia Mortuary in Columbia Falls is caring for Ellen’s family.