Long-time resident and former high school P.E. teacher, Eleanor Buzalsky passed away on May 4, 2008, in Bozeman Deaconess Hospital of congestive heart failure.
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Eleanor (or "Ellie" as she was known to many of her friends) was born in Hettinger County, N.D., on June 10, 1920, to LeRoy and Maud E. (Pringey) Howard. Her family consisted of four brothers and three sisters. All have preceded her in death.
After graduating from high school in New England, N.D., Eleanor started teaching in rural schools and attending summer school to obtain the standard teaching degree (two-year). Later she attended the University of Colorado and was granted a bachelor of science degree in physical education and health sciences. After attending many summer schools in the states and Europe, she attended the University of North Dakota and was granted a master of science degree in physical education.
Eleanor married Edward L. Buzalsky in Connor, N.D., on Dec. 26, 1941. He died in World War II, serving as a tank commander in Belgium, on Sept. 7, 1944. One of her brothers also died in World War II, in June 1944, while serving in the Navy Air Corps.
Eleanor came to Bozeman in 1953 to teach physical education in the high school. As part of her duties, she was in charge of twirlers, cheerleaders and tumblers, as well as being a guidance counselor for several years.
Later she was involved in coaching cross-country, track, boys and girls gymnastics. From 1970-75, she served on the National Federation of State High School Association Rules Writing Committee. During that time she helped write the first National High School Association Girls Gymnastic Rules Book.
Eleanor always said, "After teaching in rural schools, grade schools, high school physical education and coaching for a total of 38 years, that she had lots of children."
Eleanor retired from the high school in 1981 but continued to help with sporting events by judging and score keeping. Eleanor loved all sports -- football, basketball, track, wrestling, golf, and horseback riding. She especially enjoyed Bozeman High School and Montana State University athletic activities. Not only did she attend as many sporting events as she could, she was also an avid TV sports fan.
During her time in Bozeman she was an active member of Bozeman United Methodist Church.
After retirement, Eleanor seriously pursued photography and genealogy. She belonged to two Bozeman Camera Clubs and also the Photographic Society of America. In genealogy, not only did she thoroughly search for information concerning her family, she worked at Bozeman's Pioneer Museum to help with inquires that came to the Museum. In 2007, Eleanor was awarded recognition and thanks for her generous service to the Pioneer Museum as a volunteer and their genealogist beginning in 1985.
For many years, Eleanor has been an active member of the Bozeman Breakfast Optimist Club and was always very enthusiastic about their activities. She was awarded a plaque honoring her as "Optimist of the Year" in 1992. The Optimists also recognized her in 1999-2000 when she was serving as lieutenant-governor in Zone 2.
Some of the other awards and recognition that have been bestowed on Eleanor are: The Montana Officials Hall of Fame for Distinguished and Dedicated Service 1964-1984. She was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1987. Big Sky Retired Teachers' Community Service Award -- 1998; and University of North Dakota Appreciation Award for 25 years of support.
She is survived by her nieces: Ona Adre of Mountain View, Calif., and Joanne French of Kirkland, Wash.; nephews: Oran Bertsch of Titusville, Fla., and Ivan French of Richland, Wash.
Eleanor Buzalsky was much loved, admired and respected. At her request, there will be no funeral service. She wished to be cremated and her ashes interred in the family cemetery in New England, N.D.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from May 7 to May 11, 2008