Amanda Blake photo

Amanda Blake’s Funeral Arrangements Announced: Memorial Service and Ashes Sent to Kenya Game Preserve

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The funeral proceedings for beloved actress Amanda Blake, known for her role in the television series ‘Gunsmoke,’ have been revealed. Memorial services will take place at the Sacramento Garden Chapel on Thursday, honoring Blake’s memory. Following the service, her ashes will be transported to a game preserve in Kenya, facilitated by ABC News wildlife correspondent Roger Caras.

Blake, who passed away at the age of 60 on Wednesday after a lengthy battle with throat cancer, had been under the care of Mercy General Hospital for the past three weeks as her health gradually declined. The non-religious memorial services will be conducted at the Sacramento Garden Chapel, providing an opportunity for friends, family, and fans to pay their respects.

The decision to transport Blake’s ashes to a game preserve in Kenya reflects her deep affinity for wildlife and conservation. Roger Caras, a trusted correspondent known for his dedication to animal-related issues, will oversee the journey, ensuring that Blake’s ashes find their final resting place in the preserve.

During her illustrious career, Blake gained prominence for her portrayal of Kitty Russell, the red-haired and resilient saloon keeper, on the long-running series ‘Gunsmoke’ from 1955 to 1974. Her character shared a special connection with Marshal Matt Dillon, portrayed by James Arness, as the unspoken love interest.

Retiring from the show just before its conclusion in 1974, Blake faced health challenges when she was diagnosed with cancer in 1977. However, she successfully recovered after undergoing extensive surgery and resumed her acting career.

Beyond her contributions to the entertainment industry, Blake was an ardent animal lover. In the last two years of her life, she relocated from Los Angeles to Galt, a community in Sacramento County, where she resided on a ranch owned by former ‘Gunsmoke’ animal trainer Pat Derby and her husband. Living amidst domestic and wild animals, Blake found solace in caring for them.

Her passion for animal rights advocacy was evident as she vehemently fought against the mistreatment of performing animals, as well as the sale of ivory and fur. Just three months prior to her passing, she participated in fundraising events for the Performing Animals Welfare Society, showcasing her commitment to the cause.

In lieu of flowers, Blake’s friends requested that contributions be made to either the Amanda Blake Memorial Fund, care of the Farmers and Merchants Bank of Galt, or the local animal Humane Society. This gesture reflects her enduring legacy and dedication to both her humanitarian and animal welfare endeavors.

Leading the memorial service will be Roger Caras, a close friend and ally who shared Blake’s passion for animals and often accompanied her on various journeys and endeavors. Caras will ensure that the service pays tribute to Blake’s remarkable life and lasting impact.

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