Elinor (“Ellie”) Agnes (Hansen) Safratowich, age 92, died naturally on Oct. 1, 2017 surrounded by her immediate family. She was entertaining, loving and humorous even in the last moments of her life.
Elinor was born Oct. 22, 1924, on a wheat farm in Keene, N.D. to Norwegian immigrants, Olaf Hansen and Mabel (Levang) Hansen, Mabel a school teacher, Olaf a farmer. She was second youngest in a family of four girls. Raised and educated on a farm near Watford City, N.D., her childhood was interesting and rigorous, and included studying hard, playing music, herding sheep and helping on the farm, a role which earned Ellie the loving nickname ‘Olaf’s boy’.
During her teen years, her musically talented family, The Hansen Sisters’ Orchestra, became well-known throughout McKenzie County. After high school, Ellie continued her education, graduating from Dickinson State College as a school teacher, married Laudie Safratowich in 1946 and started teaching. Ellie taught in rural schools in Lakeview, Belfield, Killdeer, Barton and Fordville, N.D. In 1954, her precious son, Lorr, was born. Ellie and Laudie continued their careers through Oberon, Egeland, Zeeland, N.D. and Jordan, Mont., at last retiring in Wolf Point, Mont. in 1980 following 14 years of service on the Fort Peck Indian reservation. During this time, she received many accolades, honors and gifts for her devotion to the education of the Sioux and Assiniboine community. Following retirement, they relocated to Billings, then Whitehall, Mont. and Ellie enjoyed a full and active social life with friends and community, particularly the Whitehall Jefferson Presents Theatre. Much time was spent visiting nursing homes, baking birthday cakes, and donating time and resources to the community. After her husband’s death, relocation to Butte, Mont. allowed her the joy of being near her son and his family. Lorr, Colleen, Mike and Jeremy were involved in the Butte community, and Ellie found life to be busy, social and full of love and laughter, even to the last months of her life.
Ellie was a master baker and cook, a good listener and an intelligent woman who enjoyed sharing her wisdom and laughter. Her home, open to all, was a place of sharing, feasting, unconditional love, generosity and comfort.
Preceded in death by many loved ones including her parents; three sisters; and many other family members and friends, she is also survived by many who appreciate her legacy, most especially her devoted son, Lorr (Colleen) Safratowich and her grandchildren, Mike (Melissa) Kallas, great-grandchild Emery Grace Kallas; Jeremy (Kayla) Kallas, great-children, Oliver Joseph and Emmett Patrick Kallas. She deeply loved the children of her three sisters, and maintained relationships with her nieces and nephews and their children throughout their lives.
Consistent with her belief that Education is the greatest gift one can receive, Ellie asked that you please honor her at this time by making a donation in her name, to the Kallas Family Education Fund for her grandchildren, Mike and Jeremy Kallas, and great-grandchildren, Oliver, Emmett, and Emery Kallas. Checks can be made payable to: Kallas Family Education Fund c/o Bank of Butte, 3525 Harrison Avenue, Butte, MT 59701.
A Celebration of Life will be scheduled at a later date.