Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Helen Farley Boulton

A well-loved local figure, Helen Boulton, 88, died from natural causes on May 11, 2010.

Born in Pontiac, Mich., on Aug. 11, 1921, Helen was the first daughter of Purl and Blanche Farley. She had three brothers, Jim, Bill and Don, and a younger sister, Marilyn. Her father built the house on Loon Lake, where he fished nearly every day, summer and winter, to help feed the family during the deep Depression and beyond. Her mother always kept a large vegetable and fruit garden, which explains Helen's love of caring for plants. She would "rescue" them from the markets, nurse them to health and find them homes. One of her favorite sayings was, "The difficult—that's easy; the impossible—well, that just takes a little longer."

Helen graduated from Walled Lake High School at age 16, and enjoyed one year of nursing school at the University of Michigan. A few years later, while working in Detroit, she met and married a handsome Canadian, Joseph Boulton. As an enlisted U.S. Army volunteer in World War II, Joe was captured in France and was a POW for several months prior to the liberation.

Together they had tree children, Lynn (Doug) Gardiner of Allegan, Mich., Mary (Kenny) Kimball of Bellevue, Idaho, and Paul (Shed) Boulton of Colorado Springs, Colo. Helen claimed that her greatest accomplishment was in raising her three children, and was very proud of them, and her six grandchildren and her six great-grandchildren.

In 1972 Joe was killed suddenly as a pedestrian, and Helen was left a widow. She bravely sold their home and moved out to Idaho and gradually reinvented herself. She loved volunteer work and was very active in the community as a member of the Bellevue Post American Legion Auxiliary. She was also a member of the Dam Fools out at Magic Reservoir, and later was very active at the Blaine County Senior Center and became a Red Hat Lady.

When she first came to the valley she was a bookkeeper at the old Moritz Hospital in Sun Valley, and worked in that capacity for Jerry Exline Architectural Firm. She also bartended at the Silver Dollar Saloon, and was a member of the Bellevue Shoot Out Gang for decades. Probably her most memorable job was being the "demo lady" in the many food markets in the valley. She would study her products and never sat down while on duty at her sample table. She insisted that the young children be polite at her table, and that no one took more than their share.

Ever the adventurer, Helen loved four wheeling in her Blazer with her dog, Mickie. She also enjoyed a trip to Ireland, and the "trip of her dreams" was an Alaskan cruise she took when she turned 80 with daughter, Mary, and friend Mimi Henreid.

Raised with three brothers, she also loved to hunt and fish. Grandson Kyle Kimball attributes his love of these things in part to Grandma Helen. She took the time to collect cans with her grandson, age 11, to earn the money to buy a .45-caliber black-powder rifle that they shared in shooting contests at many a rendezvous gathering of mountain men and women. She made their leather clothing and also threw the tomahawk and knife at targets at these gatherings.

Helen was an avid reader, having read every book in her high school library at least once! She had a great respect for the Holy Bible and read it daily. Her love of God's word and of learning led her to become one of ]ehovah's Witnesses in recent years. She died with the hope of being resurrected onto a paradise earth with Jesus Christ as king. She remains alive in the memory of her creator, Jehovah, and in the minds of all the family and friends who loved her dearly.

Surviving Helen is her younger brother, Don (Eileen) Farley of Milford, Mich.; her three children, and six grandchildren, Kyle (Deborah) Kimball of Gannett, Idaho, Christa (Carl) Braun of Brighton, Mich., Joe Gardiner of Allegan, Mich., Craig (Debbie) Gardiner, Oak Boulton-Maher of Seattle, Wash., and Lake (Ashley) Boulton-Maher of Colorado Springs. There are also four great-grandchildren, one on the way and one who died at birth.

The public is invited to a brief service at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Woodside at 2:30 p.m. with food to be served at the Blaine County Senior Center in Hailey from 3-5 p.m.

In the words of Helen, who hated to say goodbye, "Bye for now."

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