Thelma Schrank, Who Held Down The Nabesna Desk For NPS For Many Years – And Once Ran Duffy's Roadhouse

Thelma Schrank Of Slana Passes Away  May 12, 1948 - Feb 10, 2023  Worked on Park issues for Slana League, and also for the National Park Ser...

Thelma Schrank Of Slana Passes Away 


May 12, 1948 - Feb 10, 2023 

Worked on Park issues for Slana League, and also for the National Park Service at the Nabesna Ranger Station 

Thelma Arlene Schrank was born on May 12, 1948, in San Antonio, Texas, the first of three children born to Arlon and Vera Fay Schrank. Thelma passed from this world at Vida, Mo., in the early morning of Feb. 10, 2023, while holding the hands of her sister Cleo Kline and cousin Gennie Ellis.

In 1972, Thelma and her family traveled to Alaska to spend six months. Fifty years later, she was still the busybody of the Slana community. She left Alaska on Dec. 25, 2021, to spend the winter with Cleo so they could travel together, again. Sadly, Thelma was diagnosed with oral cancer shortly after her arrival in Missouri. She endured surgery, radiation, chemo, experimental drugs and excellent hospice care before her passing.

Thelma had a varied work history, starting with insurance in Texas then operated and managed the Ellis family roadhouse, Duffy's, at Slana. She took aviation observations for NOAA for many years. In 1983, she went to work at the National Park Service ranger station at Slana, the northernmost portion of the newly-established Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Thelma retired from the NPS in 2019. In October 2022, Thelma received the Harry Yount Lifetime Achievement Award from the NPS Rangers Association for all her help to new rangers and the park service. Thelma was hospitalized and unable to receive her accolades in person at their annual meeting. However, her award trophy was recently delivered to her at Vida. She was honored to receive the award and happy to have lived to see her trophy.

She is survived by her sister, Cleo Kline of Alaska and Missouri, and numerous family and friends all over the world. She was preceded in death by her father, Arlon; mother, Fay; half brother, Ronnie; brother, Bill; and special companion, Bill Ellis.

Donations are requested for the Mt. Olive Baptist Church food bank so Thelma can keep feeding the masses like she did at home in Alaska. A gathering of family and friends will be held in summer 2023 in Alaska and her cremains scattered in the Wrangell Mountains.

Cremation services were under the direction of Rolla Cremation and Memorial.

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