Beloved Moscow resident Mary Harding Blanton passed away peacefully at home earlier this month on Monday, Sept. 5, 2022, at the age of 90.
Mary is survived by her sister, Ann; loving children, Mark (spouse, Kris Ann), Mary Ann and Randy; her granddaughters Callie (spouse, Tommy) and Ashley (spouse, Donny); and her five great-grandchildren, Jake, Brendan, Addy Rose, Vivian and Elin.
Born Oct. 17, 1931, in Nezperce, Mary entered the world with her best friend and twin sister Ann Harding Smith, as one of five children to Merwin and Genevieve Harding.
Early life on the family ranch established Mary’s hardworking, adventurous spirit. After graduating high school, Mary was off to college at the University of Idaho, where she majored in education. As she did with all new phases in life, Mary jumped eagerly into her collegiate experience, making the most of every opportunity. Serving as a leader across campus ultimately solidified her deep connection with the town that she, and the U of I, proudly called home.
Upon graduation, she began her dedicated teaching career, educating high school students for more than 40 years. Mary loved those she taught and had a knack for finding the best in every single one; as a result, she inspired the best out of them. During her marriage to Paul Blanton, Mary traveled the world with her children while continuing her service to multiple organizations throughout the community. Her inner explorer never subdued. After retirement, Mary took off on countless adventures — hiking the Grand Canyon, roaming through Moab, road trips across the country, and setting sail on international cruises. At the age of 85, she and her twin sister, Ann, even embarked on a kayak expedition following the winding path of the Lewis and Clark Trail — Mary, ever the history teacher.
Mary was many things: a cherished daughter, a loving sister and a devoted mother. She was known as “Grandma Rose” to her grandkids, who simply adored her. Mary served as a fervent parishioner of her church, St. Mark’s, sitting in the same pew for 64 years. She was bold, creative, an artist, a poet, a valedictorian, the ultimate cheerleader, a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and Eastern Star, an elected queen of The Daughters of The Nile, president and award-winning member of PEO, a board member, a committed teacher, a leader, a philanthropist and quite a fierce bridge player. Mary was smart, witty and clever — three words that could often be used interchangeably, but for those that knew her, they understand exactly how she independently embodied all three. She was selfless, she was loyal, she was simply remarkable.
Above all else, Mary exuded love and was loved beyond measure.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself.”
— Philippians 2:3
In the middle of a wheat field, sprouted a rose.
She was fearless and strong and did just as she chose.
Humble with beauty, poise and grace.
She’d call you “Honey,” amidst the warmest embrace.
The Palouse was not all that she’d known.
She traveled the world, but there was nowhere like home.
This place gave her confidence and embodied her beliefs.
Our prairie rose lived in love, may she now rest in peace.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be sent to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Notated: “Memorial for Mary Blanton,” 111 S. Jefferson St., Moscow, ID 83843.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 17 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Moscow. A day of remembrance and celebration for a wonderful woman, on what would be her 91st birthday.
A family burial service will be held next summer on July 9 in Nezperce, during her hometown’s beloved Prairie Days celebration, an annual favorite of Mary’s.
Short’s Funeral Chapel of Moscow is in charge of arrangements and condolences may be left at shortsfuneralchapel.com.