Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lady of Hailey serves for seniors

Heritage Court honors Fern Stephenson’s community service


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

The 2010 Heritage Court lady representing Hailey, Fern Stephenson, in the middle, was accompanied by her two daughters at the Heritage Court Tea, which took place at Dollar Cottage in Sun Valley on Sunday, June 6. Past and present Heritage Court ladies who were honored for their service to the Blaine County community attended the tea. Photo by Sabina Dana Plasse

Third in a four-part series.

When Hailey's Fern Stephenson, 81, received notice that she had been chosen as a Heritage Court lady for Hailey, she said she was shocked.

"I thought they chose women who were born here," she said. "It was a big surprise to me because I didn't know how I was chosen."

Stephenson was nominated by the Hailey Masonic Lodge for her dedication to community, whether helping a neighbor bake a birthday cake or setting tables at the Senior Connection.

Following other relatives to Idaho, Stephenson moved with her husband, Frank, and their two daughters to south of Bellevue in 1966 from Phoenix, Ariz., when she was 38. They settled on Baseline Road, and she now lives in Hailey.

Frank was a carpenter but also raised cattle and liked to hunt and fish, one of the main reasons for the move from Arizona.

"I wasn't sure about it," Stephenson said. "All of my family lived in Phoenix, which is a long ways in between. If Nevada wasn't there, it wouldn't be so far. When we came over from Arizona, I was surprised by the bare mountains, but they grow on you."

As Stephenson helped raise cattle, horses and sheep, and assisted her daughters with 4-H competitions, she was also was very dedicated to her church.

"I was involved in Aglow International, a Christian women's group," she said. "We had monthly meetings and met at the Hiawatha Hotel in Hailey."

Aglow International was a Bible study group that did community service. Stephenson, who served as president for many years, said the fellowship held summer camp retreats at Cathedral Pines, which she loved. She said she also enjoyed spending summers at Redfish Lake, near Stanley.

"I like living here," she said. "I don't think you can live anyplace as nice as this in the summer."

Stephenson reflected on family picnics, her attempt to hunt and later in her life her involvement at the Senior Connection, where she has been a dedicated volunteer. She began visiting the Senior Connection many years ago with a friend and most loved the exercise classes.

"I would be there, so I started to volunteer," she said. "I used to set tables."

Stephenson continued volunteering at the Senior Connection until three years ago when her husband became ill. She said she used to be on the parade floats for the Senior Connection.

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"When you think of your life, it goes by so fast," she said.

"I wasn't that young when I first came here, but since, I have been a friend to a lot of people."

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com

Heritage Court

The Heritage Court is presented by the Blaine County Historical Museum. Each year, one lady is nominated from each Blaine County community. The lady is selected by a different community service organization for her participation in or efforts to preserve the history of the Wood River Valley. She must be at least 70 years old and have lived in the Wood River Valley for at least 30 years.

The 2010 Heritage Ladies to be honored are:

· Sally Donart, 83, representing Ketchum and Sun Valley, nominated by The Community Library board.

· Phyllis Stelma, 81, representing Bellevue, nominated by the Wood River Lions Club.

· Fern Stephenson, 81, representing Hailey, nominated by the Hailey Masonic Lodge.

· Jean Pyrah, 90, representing Carey, nominated by the Carey Senior Center.

The ladies will be honored at the Heritage Court Coronation Ceremony on Sunday, June 13, from 3-5 p.m, at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey.




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