Mary Ellen Anderson

On Monday, Sept. 2, 2019, Mary Ellen Anderson labored her last breaths in her home in Kalispell, MT where her wishes were to return in her last days. From early on, Mary Ellen overcame family tragedy and her optimistic outlook on life is what got her through life’s toughest days, specifically in following her diagnosis of Grade 4 Glioblastoma in March of 2019, which later claimed her life. 

There will be a celebration of life honoring her on Sunday, Oct. 13, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Cut Bank Moose Lodge.

Mary Ellen was born on March 27, 1952 to Gilbert and Betty Wacker in a small town known as Cut Bank, MT. Mary Ellen grew up alongside her two brothers Jimmy and Clifford Wacker, where she spent lots of time exploring the beauty of Montana with her family. Mary Ellen attended Southside Elementary in Cut Bank, graduated Cut Bank Senior High and went on to attain her undergraduate degree in Microbiology from Montana State University (MSU).

 Following graduation, Mary Ellen moved to Colorado; where she worked in the Federal Center. There she met and went on to marry her first husband Edward Zayhowski. Together, they raised their two daughters Nicole and Courtney. 

All who knew and loved Mary Ellen will remember her giving, gentle nature, detail-oriented planning abilities, and her gentle-loving spirit, which shone through in her love of people and animals alike. Mary Ellen had many hobbies and enjoyed spending time with friends, her children and grandchildren, playing a variety of card games, caring for her pets and volunteering at the local church. 

Tragically, in 2002, Mary Ellen lost her first husband to a tough battle with colon rectal cancer and she was later reunited with her long time love Steve Anderson.

Steve and Mary Ellen built a beautiful life together. Together they loved to travel in their RV where they enjoyed each other’s company.  They built two lovely homes and lived as “snow birds” enjoying warm winters in Mesquite, NV. Here, Mary Ellen went onto learn a new love/hobby for shooting at the local gun club known as “The Mesquite Shooters Pistol Club.”

 She later took over the organizing/planning of the annual senior games, a local event for the community to gather and show off their shooting talents. Here, her detail-oriented planning came in handy. 

Mary Ellen most looked forward to spending her summers in Kalispell, which she considered to be her “true home.” She enjoyed expressing her creativity in her gardening, and loved to plant flowers.

Mary Ellen’s legacy will continue on through her husband, Steve Anderson of Kalispell; her two daughters, Nicole Zayhowski and Courtney Murillo; her son-in-law Abe Murillo; and her four grandchildren, Ethan and Stella Zayhowski and Lillie and Charlotte Murillo, all of Colorado.

She is preceded in death by her mother and father Gilbert and Betty Wacker; her two brothers Jimmy and Clifford Wacker; and her first husband, Edward Zayhowski.

“Grief never ends…but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is neither a sign of weakness nor a lack of faith…it is the price of love” (author unknown).