Bruce Alan Blahnik, 77, lifetime resident of the Bitterroot Valley, passed away Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021 at St. Patrick’s Palliative Care Center due to complications from Frontotemporal Dementia. Bruce was born May 16, 1943 in Missoula, MT to Bruce Edward Blahnik and Helen Virgina McMenamin. Bruce graduated in 1961 from Hamilton High School and continued his education at the University of Montana where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Journalism/Radio & Television, a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education and a Masters Degree in School Administration. Bruce served in the United States Marine Corp from 1966-1970, serving 1 year in Vietnam.
In 1966, Bruce married Dona Terry. Bruce and Dona lived in many states while Bruce was in the service before settling back in the Bitterroot Valley. They were married for 25 years and raised two children together, Scott and Gina.
Bruce started his career in Education as a 4th grade teacher in Stevensville, MT from 1971-1975 and as the Stevensville Jr. High School Principal from 1976-1992. Bruce also coached basketball and football, was an MOA referee and drove school bus for many years. Bruce retired in 1993 from the Stevensville School District.
Bruce worked part time in the summers for the Bitterroot National Forest Service as a Firefighter and in Fire Management. Bruce worked full time for the Bitterroot National Forest Service from 1994-2002 and retired in 2002.
Bruce married Nancy (Roper) Blahnik in 1994 and happily welcomed Nancy’s two children, Kelly and Chris into his life. Bruce and Nancy spent their retirement years together enjoying fishing, hiking and camping alongside their family and friends.
Bruce is preceded in death by his wife of 19 years, Nancy Blahnik and parents Bruce Edward Blahnik and Helen Virginia McMenamin. Bruce is survived by his son Scott Blahnik, Orofino ID; daughter, Gina Blahnik-Elliott (Tim), Missoula MT; daughter, Kelly Collins, Broomfield, CO; son, Chris Roper (Kelly), Reno NV; granddaughters Riley and Payton Blahnik Elliott, Lauren Collins, Amaya and Corinne Roper and grandson, Aedan Collins. Bruce is also survived by his stepsister Kay Frey, Vashon, WA; cousins Johanna Bangeman, Lakeside MT and Lisa Prugh, Bozeman, MT. and Bruce will also be missed by numerous family, friends, co-workers, former students, neighbors and caregivers.
No funeral services will be held at this time due to Covid 19 restrictions. Arrangements are under the care of the Daly-Leach Chapel in Hamilton. Condolenses can be sent to: The Blahnik Family, PO Box 702, Stevensville, MT 59870