(July 14, 2004)
Funeral services for Elna Tilda Wasden Blood, 95, who died Wednesday, July 14 at West Park Long Term Care Center in Cody, were held Monday, July 19 in the Cody LDS Church, with burial in Crown Hill Cemetery in Powell.
She was born Elna Tilda Wasden, third daughter of James and Tilda Christina Wasden, on Sept. 15, 1908, in the Penrose community south and east of Powell. She was educated there and in Cowley to be a teacher.
Soon after graduation, she met and married Oscar W. House, a homesteader from Nebraska, in November of 1928. They lived at the Ralston ditch camp until they started the Ralston Lumber Company in 1940.
Elna had her hands full by then with five children- Margaret Jean "Peggy," Walter Stanley, Dean, Verne and Neal - but by when World War II made labor scare, she worked alongside her husband. Sometimes she drove the truck to Billings, Mont., to get materials.
The business grew by default. The grocery store burned so Ralston Lumber added groceries. Mrs. Barrows retired so Elna became postmistress, and the small wall of brass-fraced postal boxes was moved in. When Ralston Lumber added tools, cement, shoes, paint, stoves and more, they changed the name to Ralston Mercantile. After World War II, they sold out to Bud Steck and Mack Patterson.
Oscar and Elna built a house in Ralston and helped WWII veterans who homesteaded nearby. A sixth child, Linda, was born in 1949, but lived only a few weeks. Oscar built houses for a few friends and kitchen cabinets for homesteaders. Elna often helped. After her husband died in 1952, she finished at least one set of cabinets by herself.
She held many jobs: sales clerk and orange roll baker at Ralston Lumber, dispatcher at the Cody Police Department, and bookkeeper at Hoodoo Ranch. The hoodoo was her favorite, but she left to marry Russell Blood and move to Tumwater, Wash.
Russell had been husband to Elna's sister, Minnie, who died several years before. By this happy marriage, she gained a great companion. One of her sons joked that his former cousins were now his "blood brothers." She was widowed again in December of 1981 when Russell died.
She was a woman of faith and hope. She relished the past, but always looked ahead. She suffered from macular degeration, yet tried diligently to learn to use a computer for e-mail and to write stories about her family. She went to the summer camps for the blind on Casper Mountain and benefited from their services for the visually impaired.
Her life included many setbacks, but she adjusted and went on. Children Linda, Peggy and Stanley all preceded her in death. At 95, she had outlived her six brothers and sisters. She joked that there was no one who could contradict her version of history. She enjoyed all her children, including the Bloods and their children. She was able to live independently in her home because so many volunteers helped her in so many ways.
She is survived by Dean House, Powell; Verne House, Bozeman, Mont.; Neal House, Chino, Ariz.; Louise Blood, Salt Lake City, Utah; Dwight Blood, Orem, Utah; Elizabeth Gage, Preston, Idaho; Judy Petersen, Olympia, Wash.; Stephen Blood, Boston, N.Y.; and Ann Tanner, Salt Lake City.
The family suggests memorials to Services for the Visually Impaired or a charity of choice.