Nancy M. Blessinger Kraft, 69
Nancy left her earthly home on July 26, 2022, to join her heavenly family. Nancy was born in Helena on July 27, 1952 to Irv and Lois Blessinger. She attended schools in Helena and graduated from Helena High School in 1970. She also attended Montana State University.
Nancy married Dave Kraft in 1974 and they have two children; Jaime (Jeff) Kicklighter and Brad (Meagan) Kraft, as well as a dear grandson, Noah Kraft. Nancy truly loved her family with all her heart, in addition to numerous rescue dogs and cats that she and Dave adopted over the years.
Nancy began working at The Department of Fish & Game in 1971 and enjoyed it so much she stayed for three decades. She retired as the Licensing Bureau Chief in 2002 from what is now The Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Upon her retirement, a tribute to her years of service – predominantly in the Licensing Section, was entered into the U.S. Congressional Record. In her time spent at FWP, she created life-long friendships with countless people in the Helena office, as well as across the entire state of Montana. After retirement, Nancy found she needed something else to keep her busy and worked at the Dive Bakery for nearly 8 years. She also returned to FWP for various short-term/temporary jobs which kept her engaged in the conservation of the wildlife and lands of her beloved home state. Her last position was at TIP-MONT, where she gathered anonymous reports of poaching and other natural resource crimes and worked hand-in-hand with Montana state wardens to catch offenders. This position provided her a great sense of satisfaction and was something that she was extremely passionate about.
Nancy enjoyed working in her yard, planting as many different types of flowers as she could each spring. She absolutely loved walking her dogs and spoiling them with treats. She volunteered for the Red Cross, the Montana Historical Society, and Pad for Paws where she was a board member. Nancy also spent years volunteering for the Montana WILD Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, where she cared for many bears and other animals.
During the span of her retirement years, Nancy endured 4 procedures to remove recurring brain tumors. Each brought new challenges, but they never dampened her spirit for life, her sweet disposition, or her sharp wit. With the support of her family, loving friends, her dear Lord and the wonderful people at First Lutheran Church, she stayed active until her passing. Nancy’s family would like to thank Dr. Couldwell, Dr. Rennert and their team from the University of Utah Hospital, as well as Helena Drs. Berbos, Peckinpaugh, Cupino and Hill, and St. Peter’s Home Health and St. Peter’s Hospice nurses, therapists and aides.
Nancy is survived by her husband, Dave; her brother, Mark (Paula) Blessinger; brother-in-law Doug (Teri) Kraft; nieces: Andrea Hall and Leah Kraft; nephews: Shawn and Kyle Blessinger; and numerous cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents: Irv and Lois, her brother, Mike, and her mother and father-in-law: Betty and Al Kraft.
A Memorial Service is scheduled at First Lutheran Church in Helena on Saturday, August 20th at 11am, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, memorials are welcome at First Lutheran Church, 2231 Broadway, Helena, MT 59601 or Pad for Paws, PO Box 287, Helena, MT 59624. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Nancy.