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Thelma Arlene Schrank was born May 12, 1948, in San Antonio, TX, the 1st of three children born to Arlon and Vera Fay Schrank. Thelma was raised in the farming community of Atascosa, TX and graduated from Southwest High School in 1966. Thelma passed from this world at Vida, MO, in the early morning of February 10, 2023, while holding the hands of her sister Cleo Kline & cousin Gennie Ellis.
In 1972, Thelma and her family traveled to Alaska to spend 6 months. 50 years later, she was still the busybody (said/meant lovingly) of the Slana community. She left Alaska December 25, 2021, to spend the winter with Cleo so they could travel together, again. Sadly, Thelma was diagnosed with oral cancer shortly after her arrival in Missouri. She endured surgery, radiation, chemo, experimental drugs & excellent hospice care before her passing.
Thelma had a varied work history starting with insurance in Texas then operated & managed the Ellis family roadhouse, Duffy’s, at Slana, AK. She took aviation observations for NOAA for many years. In 1983 she went to work at the National Park Service ranger station at Slana, the northernmost portion of the newly established Wrangell-St Elias National Park. Thelma retired from the NPS in 2019. In October 2022 Thelma received the Harry Yount Lifetime Achievement Award from the NPS Rangers Association for all her help to new rangers & the park service. Thelma was hospitalized & unable to receive her accolades in person at their annual meeting. However, her award trophy was recently delivered to her at Vida. She was honored to receive the award & happy to have lived to see HER trophy.
She is survived by her sister Cleo Kline of Alaska & Missouri, and numerous family & friends all over the world. She was preceded in death by her father Arlon, mother Fay, half-brother Ronnie, brother Bill & special companion Bill Ellis.
Visitation for Thelma Schrank will be Friday evening February 24, 2023 from 5:00-6:30pm at Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 17746 CR 8190-Newburg, MO 65550. Her memorial service will follow the visitation & then a dinner reception at the church fellowship hall. Donations are requested for the church food bank so Thelma can keep feeding the masses like she did at home in Alaska. A gathering of family & friends will be this summer in Alaska & her cremains scattered in the Wrangell Mountains.
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