Florence N. Wodnik


Florence N. Wodnik


Florence Wodnik
Florence Wodnik

Florence N. Wodnik, wife, mother and world traveler, died Sunday, March 3, 2013. She was 84.

Florence was a woman of strong faith who raised six children and found a way to make each feel special. She had a deep-rooted sense of community, and called Billings home for nearly 55 years. Friendships came naturally to Florence, and her smile was a familiar sight around Billings — from swimming with her friends at the YMCA to reading novels with her book club to attending musicals and plays at the Alberta Bair Theater.

Florence was born June 12, 1928, in Carson, N.D., and was raised in Bismarck. Growing up in the Great Depression helped form her values of hard work and frugality, and yet she was generous to everyone she met. As a teenager, she played the violin and appeared on local radio with a popular Bismarck musical group. Later, she attended North Dakota State University, where she graduated with honors in Home Economics. It was at NDSU where she met her husband, Frank, and they spent the next 60 years together. Frank died in 2010 and, though Florence was independent and strong, she missed him every day.

Education was important to Florence and, after making sure all six kids were through college, she went back to school herself and earned a master’s degree from Eastern Montana College (MSU Billings). She was the determined middle-aged lady on campus with the orange Volvo sedan and personalized “Flo” license plates. She put her master’s degree to work with the Yellowstone County Council of Aging, eventually becoming manager of the Meals on Wheels program.

With retirement, she and Frank used Billings as their home base to see the world. Starting with a trip to Europe, over the years, they would venture out to China, Russia, Africa, Iceland, the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica. They would return home after each trip with a fresh scrapbook of adventures and a desire to visit someplace new.

As she told her family at the end: “I had a good life — I did everything I was meant to do.”

Florence was preceded in death by her husband, Frank, in 2010. She is survived by her six children: Rick (Elsie) of Steamboat Springs, Colo.; Andrea Floyd (and Larry Hansen) of Lynnwood, Wash.; Alane Smith (Mel) of Butte; Bob (Bridget) of Everett, Wash.; John (Tammie) of Marion, Iowa; and Joe (Loraine) of Helena. She is also survived by 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 6, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave. Interment will follow in the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery. There will be a luncheon honoring Florence held at Mission Ridge at 1p.m.


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0 thoughts on “Florence N. Wodnik”

  1. Mrs. Wodnik was a great friend and inspiration to me. I will hold memories of her dear for the remainder of my life. She treated me with love and respect as she did all those around her. From my first memory of her fixing Joe and me a cup of hot chocolate in their home on Miles Ave, laughing and enjoying the antics of her dogs (Sidney and Moose in particular), listening to the stories of her and Mr. Wodnik’s adventures in the world and my last and now precious visit last summer – the joy of her friendship will be with me forever. Her spirit of adventure and love of learning set an example to strive toward in one’s life. I am grateful to have been blessed with the presence of Florence Wodnik in my life.

  2. Sherry (Zieske) Fredsberg

    My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with all of the Wodnik family. I have wonderful memories of Florence and Frank. I met them at the YMCA many years ago and become their “dog sitter”. For a number of years I enjoyed the company of their dogs, first Moose then Sam. I was so touched by the loving and committed marriage Frank and Florence shared. They were extremely proud of each and every one of their children and grandchildren. The joy and pride shone in their eyes when they spoke of any of them. They loved to laugh and they lived their lives to the fullest. I enjoyed hearing all about each one of their trips and they always brought me back special mementos which I still treasure. They treated me as a friend and I looked forward to our visits. Those memories are very special to me. Florence was a wonderful person. I know that I was very fortunate to share a small part of their lives. Although I am saddened by Florence’s passing, I am so glad that I had the opportunity to know her.

  3. Tim and Bobbie Owen

    Dear Rick and Elsie, So sorry about your mother but how wonderful she felt as she did about her life. A great legacy to leave for her family. We are sorry that we did not get to see you when you where here, or make it to the the service. Hope you are well and happy, other than Florence’s death. This could be a good time to join her in her sense of adventure and take a trip together of somewhere you have wanted to go but have not been able. Love, Tim and Bobbie

  4. We were so sorry to hear of Florence’s passing. She and Frank were great supporters of the Y, and they will be missed. Please know that your family are in our thoughts and prayers. From the Billings Family YMCA

  5. Bill and sandy Shikany

    Dear John, Joe, Andrea, Rick, Alane and Bob, Sandy, Mike,Tony and I wanted you to know how much we admired your mom and dad. What a blessing to have your mom, dad and your being a part of the Gorham Park neighborhood. We loved seeing and visiting with your mom and dad.They were very special. May they rest in peace. Peace be with all of you. Peace on earth.

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