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Alice Tarrant
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Alice Helen (Blakely) Tarrant, 89, died Tuesday, May 5 in Glendale, Arizona.

She was born June 4, 1919 in White Sulfur Springs, Montana, the fifth of six children born to Agnes and William Blakely. She grew up on farms and ranches in Broadwater County, Montana before settling with her family in Townsend where she graduated from high school in 1938.

She graduated from Montana Normal College (now the University of Montana Western) in Dillon with a two-year degree in education in 1940. She taught in Polson, Montana in a one-room school before the advent of World War II. Alice received her four-year degree from Western Montana College in 1965 after spending many summers taking courses at the college.

During the early part of WWII, she went to Portland, Oregon where she worked as a weld scaler on ship construction. She then enlisted in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) in early 1944 and served as a cryptographic technician (code translator) in the then recently constructed Pentagon near Washington, DC.

In addition to translating messages from General Dwight D. Eisenhower and General George S. Patton, she said a highlight of her war years was frequent furloughs to New York City, where she attended Broadway shows and once was a guest on Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia's radio show.

She returned to Townsend following the war and married Hubert C. (Bert) Tarrant on June 14, 1946. The couple had two boys, Bert, born in 1947, and Bradley, born in 1948. In 1956 she returned to teaching and taught at a two-room school in Radersburg for several years before becoming a first grade teacher at Cecelia Hazelton Elementary School in Townsend, a position she held until 1967.

In the summer of 1967, she and her husband moved to Escalon, where she taught elementary school in Farmington before transferring to the nearby Escalon elementary school. Mrs. Tarrant was a special education teacher in Escalon until she retired in 1982. She and her husband usually spent their summers in Montana, traveling the state in a VW camper van and visiting relatives.

The couple moved to Arizona to be closer to son Bradley, who resided in Glendale, near Phoenix. Upon her husband's death in 1995, Mrs. Tarrant returned to Escalon to be near friends for several years before moving to Glendale in 2004 where she lived at Golden Age Assisted Living until her death.

Survivors include her two sons, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, brothers William, Charles and Robert and sister Anna (who died as an infant) and Dorothy Stensvad.

Arrangements were handled by Angel's Cremation and Burial, Mesa Arizona.

The Escalon (Calif.) Times

May 20, 2009