Jan. 19, 2012 Missoula Missoula County Montana, USA
Allison M. Easterling passed away Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, at the age of 95 in Missoula. Allison was the fifth of six children born to Leslie F. and Winnefred M. Vinal.
She was born in Libby on May 2, 1916.
Allison lived the first six years of her long life in Libby. The family then moved to Kalispell, where she attended the first and second grade. The family subsequently moved to Missoula, where Allison completed the rest of her grade school years. She graduated from Missoula County High School in 1934. Allison then graduated from the University of Montana in 1939 with a degree in business administration. Allison joined the Kappa Delta sorority while attending the university and was active in her sorority for her entire life. While attending the university, she also won the Montana State Badminton championship.
After graduation from UM, Allison moved to San Francisco and worked in the Emporium department store. When World War II broke out, she worked for the War Department in the office at Fort Mason.
Allison married William Easterling in 1940. They were married for 30 years, divorcing in 1970. Shortly afterward, Allison moved back to Missoula.
Allison had a lifelong love of the outdoors. She hiked and cross-country skied with her friends in the Tuesday and Wednesday hiking groups well into her 80s. A highlight of her year was always the annual week in Glacier Park with her Tuesday hiking group. She loved huckleberries and picked at her secret spots throughout her life. She was somewhat of a huckleberry expert, and was visited from time to time by authors writing about them and even horticulturists seeking to grow them as a crop.
Allison loved music and the theater. She attended plays, operas, ballet and concerts throughout her life until the ravages of old age forced her to remain at home.
Friends and family have always marveled at Allison's adventurous spirit, and enjoyed the recounting of her many trips around the U.S. and the world. She has been to every state in the nation, often traveling with her sister Heloise or her dear friend Ed Dvorak in her trusty Toyota Chinook camper. She has driven to the Bay of Fundy to watch the tide come in. She has driven to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, Canada. She traveled by tramp steamer from New Orleans to Egypt. She has trekked in Nepal. She has also visited Borneo, Peru, Madagascar, Russia, England, Scotland, Austria and the Scandinavian countries. At age 88, she traveled alone to New York City, stayed in a youth hostel and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Allison was preceded in death by her parents and all of her siblings: Heloise Wickes, Leslie Dickinson, Elaine Dwyer, Keith Vinal and Dean Vinal. Nephew Thomas A. Wickes and niece Sharon (Vinal) Benson also preceded her in passing.
She is survived by step-son Larry Easterling; nephews Phillip Easterling, Richard Easterling, David Wickes, Jerry Wickes, Michael Dwyer and Steve Vinal; and nieces Caryl Wickes-Connick and Kay (Wickes) Flink.
The family wishes to thank the wonderful people of Partners Hospice for their tender care of Allison in her last days.
Cremation has taken place. At Allison's request, there will be no service and her ashes will be scattered in one of her favorite huckleberry picking spots.