- Published: 01 October 2014
Audre Leona (Hunter) Blankenship, daughter of Clarence DeMar and Ethel (Whited) Hunter, was born January 17, 1916 in Martinsville, Missouri. She attended Morningstar country school through the 8th grade, graduated from Tarkio High School, and attended Tarkio College in Tarkio, Missouri. On July 30, 1934 Audre was married to Robert Alexander Knox in Tarkio. Two daughters, Barbara and Linda, were born to this union. The couple divorced, and Audre later married Harlan Reed, and she accepted his son Robert as her own. When she married the love of her life, Robert Blankenship, Audre’s family grew by three more children: Bill, Bob, and Betty. The only family she was missing now were grandkids, but they would come soon (and then some). Audre’s career path took many turns during her life. Initially, she was a stayat- home mom, but later she and her husband owned and operated a restaurant in Brownville, Nebraska. As time went on she worked at the Green Lantern in Auburn, Neb., as well as the John Deere dealership and then as a Lab Tech at the Auburn Clinic. In her later years she started selling Mary Kay cosmetics, and continued selling the products until she was 93! Church and community were almost as important to Audre as her family. She was a 50+ year member of the First United Methodist Church in Auburn, and served in many offices within the church. She was mayor of Auburn from 1974 to 1978, and a tireless member of the Auburn Ambassadors of the Chamber of Commerce for many years. She broke ground as the first woman member of the Auburn Toastmasters. Audre’s interests also led her to become a member of the Hopettes, and as a volunteer for the Brownville Concert Series. When she was no longer able to live at home, Audre moved to the Good Samaritan Society-Auburn, where she enjoyed visits from her family and friends. She passed away there on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at the age of 98 years, eight months, and seven days. She was preceded in death by her parents, husbands, brother Ben and his wife Bunny, daughter Linda Remmers Oestmann, son-in-law Erv Remmers, grandson Kent Gerking, and foster daughter Marie Blankenship. The family she leaves behind, each of whom were very special to her, include her daughter and son-in-law Barb and Rich Moore of Auburn; step-children and spouses Robert Reed of Kearney, Neb.; Bill and Diane Blankenship of Sioux City, Iowa; Bob and Liz Blankenship of St. Louis, Missouri; Betty and Sverrir Hauksson of Virginia Beach, Virginia; son-in-law Jim Oestmann of Auburn; grandchildren and spouses Deb and Wayne Joy; Lonny and Lisa Remmers; Kathy and Paul Hogue; Lori Gerking; Mike and Terra Moore; great-grandchildren Shannon Stemple; Haley and Willie Tryon; Danielle Remmers; Amber and Bryan Dutcher; Jamison Remmers; Jenni Sims; Daniel and Cassie Evans; Marcus and Jackie Hogue; Meredith and Dustan Sanders; Cory and Kristen Gerking; Kyle and Laura Gerking; Sydney Moore; Mia Moore; great-great-grandchildren Enoch Tryon, Eliza Tryon, Georgia Frommie, Nora Dutcher, Preston Gerking, Harper Gerking, Audre Gerking, Julia Sims, Jarod Sims, Brennan Evans, Aubrey Evans, John Riley Sanders, and Gretchen Hogue; brother and sister-in-law Glen and Lou Hunter; sister Lula Mae Twitty; and foster son Vic Watts. She will also be remembered by many other relatives and many friends. A funeral service was held Saturday, September 27, 2014 at the First United Methodist Church in Auburn, officiated by Rev. Nita Hinds-Park. Honorary bearers were Audre’s great-grandchildren. Her body was cremated following the service, and inurnment of ashes will be at a later date at Sheridan West Cemetery near Auburn. Services were entrusted to Hemmingsen Funeral Home of Auburn.