Mary Louise Tisdale Profile Photo

Mary Louise Tisdale

December 28, 1936 — September 2, 2023

Kalispell, Montana

Mary Louise Tisdale (nee Ledgerwood) was born on December 28, 1936, in Kansas City, Missouri, to Clement and Laura (Eaves) Ledgerwood.  Mary passed away peacefully in Kalispell, Montana, among family and caregivers on September 2, 2023.   Mary was 86 years old. 
Mary grew up in Kansas City, Missouri; she attended Kansas City’s East High School, graduating in 1954. She proved to be a talented student and a capable athlete.  Mary earned her bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Kansas four years later, after having been awarded several scholarships and academic accolades along the way. During one college summer, Mary studied modern dance under Martha Graham in New England. She enjoyed both intellectual and athletic pursuits while in college, and she excelled in both. 
Immediately after graduation from KU, Mary began her career as a teacher for grades K-12. Mary’s deep love of teaching and her naturally adventurous spirit brought her to teach in several communities in Wyoming and Hawaii over the coming years. She genuinely cared about each and every student she taught and tried to bring out the best in each of them. Mary mentored and coached countless elementary, junior high, and high school students and athletes though the course of her teaching and coaching career. She even secured a chauffeur’s license so that she could cart her teams around herself when these programs were short staffed. Mary took great joy in seeing each one of her students and athletes improve - she was a proud teacher and coach.  Mary had a special affinity for the underdogs and late bloomers, and she worked especially hard to help them succeed, and she was particularly heartened when they met their goals. 
In the early 1970s, while teaching, Mary earned her master’s degree in education, with honors, at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu. She continued to teach in Hawaii for several more years and then returned to “the mainland.”  In the early 1980s, Mary and her three children moved to Alaska, looking for new career opportunities and adventures — and to enjoy the natural wonders that promised to abound in the far north. Mary worked as an educator for the US Dept. of Defense while simultaneously serving as an adjunct professor of English at the University of Alaska for several decades. She spent nearly 30 years in Alaska.  During her time in the north, Mary enjoyed hiking, fishing, and camping with family and friends. She was a green thumb who excelled in gardening. 
After Mary retired and fell ill, she returned to the “lower 48” to spend time with her daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren in Kalispell, Montana.  She cherished watching her grandchildren grow and was very proud of each of them. She was, of course, a wonderful and loving grandma. Mary loved western Montana’s mountains, lakes, forests, and rivers.  While in Montana, she especially enjoyed flying with her son-in-law to see what it all looked like from the air.  She was excited to “co-pilot” those sightseeing flights when her health permitted. 
In her spare time, both in her youth and in advanced age, Mary pursued and mastered several artistic endeavors; she a masterful knitter and an excellent seamstress. Her skills in those departments were extraordinary.  She loved sharing her works of art as gifts to loved ones and donating them to raffles and charities. She freely offered to teach these trades to others when those opportunities presented. Mary also had a lifelong love of animals and enjoyed spending time with dogs, cats, horses, chickens, and nearly anything else with fur or feathers.  She adored every dog she owned during her lifetime — and her hounds adored her right back.  Most of all, though, Mary was a loving, capable, and devoted mother.  Of all of her talents, being a mom was where she shined most brightly. 
Mary lived a full and meaningful life and will be deeply missed by her family, friends, and former students. She was a remarkable woman with a strong will, a sharp mind, a relentless work ethic, and an exceptionally generous heart. Mary was a perpetual optimist and altruist. Those qualities were apparent and contagious to everyone who knew her.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Clement and Laura (Eaves) Ledgerwood, and her eldest brother, Norman (Mabel) Ledgerwood. Mary is survived by her sons, Robins Davis Tisdale II and Martin Clement Tisdale, both of Wasilla, Alaska, her daughter, Elizabeth (Heath) Pendlay, of Kalispell, Montana, and her beloved grandchildren, Elyse (Trevor) Blackburn, Vaughn Pendlay, and Olivia Pendlay. Mary is also survived by her brother, John Lewis (Amy) Ledgerwood and many nieces and nephews.  
In lieu of flowers or cards, in the spirit of Mary’s great generosity and good will, please donate to or volunteer at a charity supporting children or education — or, better yet, as Mary would have suggested, simply take a little time today to extend a helpful hand or a few kind words to a fellow human being.  
Buffalo Hill Funeral Home caring for the family.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Louise Tisdale, please visit our flower store.


Visits: 133

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors