Kathleen Kay Blehm was born in Fairview on Jan. 17, 1947, to Donald “Bud” Gardner, deceased, and Phyllis Jean of Fairview. Kay departed this life after a courageous battle with cancer on Sept. 21, 2012.
Kay graduated from Billings Central High School in 1965 and on March 18, 1967, she married Raymond E. Blehm Jr., deceased. During Kay and Ray’s 28-year marriage, they had two daughters, Jessica Jean, deceased, and Amy Rebecca. Kay and Ray actively supported one another and were both deeply committed to their political, lobbying and public services efforts.
Later in life, Kay found a long-term companion in G. Wyatt Sims. Their adventures included her first successful moose hunt, the Quigley Shoot, several canoe trips down the Yellowstone, Easters at Dead Man’s Basin, and backpacking into fishing camp in the Beartooth wilderness.
From 1972 to 1979, Kay managed Rimrock Credit Union, worked on the recodification of the Montana Credit Union Law, and was a founding member of Montana CUPAC. From 1981 to 1984 and from 1991 to 1995, Kay was the office manager for Northern Plains Resource Council.
As a vibrant and involved woman, Kay was committed to preserving Montana’s air, land and water. She strove for people’s right to high quality food and was a strong supporter of human rights. She was active member of Yellowstone Democratic Party, Montana State Democratic Party, and Montana State Democratic Women’s Club. She was actively involved in Northern Plains Resource Council, Bull Mountain Land Alliance, Yellowstone Valley Citizen’s Council and Yellowstone River Forum. Kay also worked closely with the Billings Laurel Air Quality Technical Committee, Yellowstone County Local Emergency Planning Committee and the Conoco Citizens Advisory Committee. Her goal in working as a member was to overcome polarization and achieve transparency and fairness.
Kay enjoyed her family and friends and celebrated every Christmas morning with a renowned Blena breakfast that had been known to serve up 70 people. Her big hugs and beautiful smile will be greatly missed.
Services will occur in Billings at 2 p.m. Oct. 5, at the west end of Mountainview Cemetery with a potluck gathering to follow at the Knights of Columbus. Donations are requested to be made to Bull Mountain Land Alliance, P.O. Box 32133, Billings, MT 59107-2133, or Northern Plains Resource Council, 2220 S. 27th St., Billings, MT 59101 in lieu of flowers and/or condolences.