Friday, December 31, 2010

Remembering friends we lost in 2010

Editor's note: People—all kinds of people—make the Wood River Valley what it is. We've lost many such people over the last 12 months and offer tributes to some of them here, listed in alphabetical order:

Tim Appleton, 49. He spent 27 years in the Wood River Valley and lived them to the fullest, working at various restaurants and co-founding Apple's Bar & Grill with wife Joanne in 1988. He was an extraordinary athlete, competitive as could be, talented in every respect, always the first on the lift or the first golfer to tee off each season. Tim fought cancer for 20 years and maintained great humor and spirit until the end—April 26 in Ketchum.

Mo Barry, 54. A woman of great passion and style known fondly as the "Goddess of Zest," Mo was a highly regarded insurance agent here for 20 years. She was a master swimmer, accomplished cook and world traveler. Involved in leadership roles of civic projects like the Rotary and chamber, Mo faced her three-year battle with ovarian cancer with great courage—March 8 in Ketchum.

Blanche Winger Barrymore, 98. A Preston native and 30-year Ketchum resident, Blanche was the mother of famed ski filmmaker Dick Barrymore. Eldest of eight children, Blanche left home at 17 in 1928 and moved to Los Angeles. She met and married William "Bill" Barrymore, a Hollywood stuntman and silent screen Western movie star. After their divorce, Blanche operated a successful photography studio. In later life she lived independently in Ketchum and was a companion for actress Ann Sothern—June 23.

Don Bennett, 94. One of the original artists to arrive in the valley during the early Union Pacific Days of Sun Valley, "Bemco" was a distinguished landscape artist with more than 1,000 original works. When he was a merchant seaman during World War II, his sketches captured the hearts of fellow sailors. Don's love for the outdoors and all its creatures brought him to Ketchum in 1954. The bell on his rucksack was a familiar sound in the backcountry—Jan. 7 in Ketchum.

Orville Black, 87. Ketchum's most ardent recycler back when it wasn't fashionable, Orville was a local character for 60 years. He arrived in Ketchum in 1937 and worked for Union Pacific as a groundskeeper, then for Louie's Pizza as cleanup man. His "long arm" reached into trash containers for treasures nobody else wanted—Aug. 23.

Stephen Lyle Breneman, 57. Born in 1953 on the upper floor of Sun Valley Lodge, Steve loved the valley. He was an officer for the Ketchum Police Department before being hired in security for Sun Valley Co., where he worked for 30 years—Oct. 18 in Ketchum.

Earl Buell Jr., 83. An upstate New York native who loved work and family, Earl retired to Hailey in 1989 to "help raise his grandsons," and drove school bus for 12 years. He guarded the crosswalk leading to Hailey Elementary and was known as "Pizza King" by valley youth. Earl was active in church life and positive about everything, certainly his wife of 62 years, Betty—July 17 in Ketchum.

John Caine, 85. The Kentucky native was a redshirt basketball player on the first UCLA team coached by the legendary John Wooden in 1947. John Caine coached high school and college basketball for 16 years, and was one of the most reputable college athletic directors until his retirement in 1990—July 9 in Sun Valley.

Sally Collins, 64. Raised in the Sierra Nevadas, Sally loved ski racing from an early age and was the first member of the Bonnie Bell Ski Team, marketing cosmetics to the ski industry. In the 1970s, she and then-husband Sandy Liman built Ketchum's first fitness center and racquetball club, the Wall Bangers, in the present site of Perry's restaurant—Nov. 25 in Ketchum.

Jimmy Dorr, 83. First a merchant seaman and military man, Jimmy met Jeanne Ivie Knight at a picnic and married her in 1952. He co-owned a Texaco station in Ketchum, worked for Sawtooth Motors in Hailey and was Blaine County School District bus manager for 20 years. Fire chief, Boy Scout leader, Masonic Lodge member, raised chickens, friend to kids everywhere. Jimmy and Jeanne loved square dancing—Nov. 26.

Tyler Felton, 53. No one would have been happier than Tyler to see the University of Oregon Ducks play for a national football championship. A partner in the Ketchum CPA firm of Lallman, Felton, Peterson & Pierce, Tyler graduated from Oregon in 1979—coming out of Idaho's tiny Butte County High School in Arco where he was a strong athlete. He loved the outdoors and was a devoted husband and friend. Tyler died in a Feb. 21 auto accident near Arco.

Robert Earle Gillett, 93. Son of a Castleford pioneer sheep farmer and a child of the Depression, Earle and his wife owned a Broadford Road ranch between Hailey and Bellevue from 1954-1964. A portion of the property near Friedman Airport is now called Silver Bell Ranch. Father of Stanley rafting company operator Ron Gillett—Dec. 12 at Twin Falls.

Bob Griswold, 64. An expert skier, part of the original K2 Demonstration Team known as The Performers, "Grizy" was one of the original freestyle skiers. He worked for two decades as a ski instructor here, and was a charismatic bartender at the Ore House in Sun Valley in the early 1970s—Aug. 12.


Karen Sue Hale, 59. Moved to Ketchum in 1976 from Las Vegas, where she had been a professional dancer at The Dunes. In 1984 Karen joined The Fabulous Vuarnettes act as "Lola Motorola," a name honoring her mother, a Motorola factory worker in Illinois. Den mother of the quartet of talented women, a master of makeup, a Liberace of lip liner, Karen brought the Vuarnettes their signature number, "Stand on Your Man"—Sept. 7 in Iowa.

Sam Hazard, 88. Founder of The Community School in Sun Valley in 1973, Sam was an education visionary and proponent of progressive learning. He served as headmaster until 1981, and was on the ground floor of startup community schools in Florida and Boise—Sept. 15 in Boise.

Austin Hennefer, 15. A Carey High School sophomore active in a myriad of school and church activities, Austin was the youngest son of Dennis and Mary Ann Hennefer. Austin's tragic death in an Oct. 26 auto accident inspired his teammates on the Carey football team to win the State 1A Division 2 championship for the third time in five years.

Rod Kagan, 70. A kind and gentle man, Rod was a noted sculptor whose octagon-shaped home, workshop and studio at Chocolate Gulch was surrounded by his awe-inspiring sculpture garden—Dec. 14, Sun Valley.

Joe Koenig, 71. A native of Lustenau, Austria, Joe brought an Old World sensibility with him to Ketchum in 1966, when he arrived at age 27. He built the Tyrolean Lodge with partner Elmar Grabher and was an innkeeper, owning and operating Knob Hill Inn in later life. After he sold the Tyrolean in 1976, Koenig stepped into politics and became an influential city councilman. He worked to establish infrastructure and encouraged Ketchum to adopt the state's first design review process—April 11 in Ketchum.

Gary Edward Lind, 63. "Steady Eddie" from Minnesota drove his yellow VW bug into Ketchum in 1972, Eddie was a true charmer, nonchalant by disposition, a passionate backcountry and telemark skier. Found himself a real job as Ore House manager for 20 years, married to Cathy "CR" for 32 years—Oct. 16.

Rowena Normand-Mallon, 85. Fell in love with skiing while covering the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics for a newspaper, moved to Mammoth Lakes and became an avid skier. Came to Ketchum on a ski train trip and moved here in the late 1960s, opened Rowena's Sports Chalet in Ketchum's jail building, now Bobbie Burns' shop. Played Nell in Blackjack Ketchum Shootout, one of the Animal Shelter founders, an original South Woodside resident, wife of the late Richard Mallon, both active in the Ketchum American Legion Post—Oct. 20 in Kansas City.

David "Mad Dog" Martin, 70. Born in Bozeman, "Mad Dog" was a commercial fisherman, longshoreman and log roller before moving to Sun Valley in 1968 where he worked as a bellman at Sun Valley Lodge. He and partner Lauren Day ran Taxi Limo for several years and "Mad Dog" pitched for the Taxi Limo softball team. Always the life of the party, he married Tara in 1976. They bought and sold Silver Creek Outfitters, then "Mad Dog" enjoyed watching his sons Chancey and Tyler play tennis. He had countless friends and sampled all the great things Ketchum offered—Sept. 30 in Ketchum.

Tim Michael, 54. An avalanche on Baldy near Lower Broadway run claimed the life of the Lower Board Ranch resident and avid skier on Jan. 22. A gentle and energetic man who was passionate about skiing, kayaking, hiking and gardening, Tim died doing what he loved.

Joan Mickelson, 83. Originally from Minnesota, Joan always celebrated her birthday on Valentine's Day, though she was born Feb. 3. A lifelong athlete and accomplished skier, she married Bob Mickelson on Valentine's Day 1983 on Baldy. Joan often skied 180 days a year and ski raced NASTAR and Pro-Am well into her 60s—March 22.

Ross Peck, 85. Sixth of nine children, an Army medic during World War II, successful farmer and dairyman, Ross was a lead rider in the Carey Riding Club and a School District trustee, father of Robb Peck with 24 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren—Dec. 10, Twin Falls.

Glenn Stelma, 84. A 62-year Bellevue resident, Glenn was always the first to raise his hand when jobs needed to be done. He served in many capacities—School Board, Bellevue City Council, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, Rotarun, American Legion, Labor Day. After he was raised on a Buhl farm, Glenn's family moved to the valley to work Cove Ranch in 1948. He met his wife of 60 years, Phyllis, while working at Sun Valley bell service—Jan. 9 in Boise.

Clint Stennett, 54. A Minnesota native who grew up in southern Idaho, Clint moved to the Wood River Valley and owned a newspaper (Wood River Journal) and radio and television stations. A Democrat, he served in the Idaho House of Representatives from 1990-1994 and the Idaho Senate from 1995-2010, holding influential positions as minority caucus leader in both bodies. He bravely battled brain cancer for two years—Oct. 14 in Ketchum.

Lana Jo Taylor, 53. Raised on a Declo farm with five siblings, Lana earned a master's degree in social work from Eastern Washington University. Her life's work was 25 years as a school social worker for the Blaine County School District, helping students succeed in every aspect of life—Oct. 27 in Ketchum.

Morgan Thomas, 65. An avid gun safety advocate and outdoors enthusiast throughout his life, Seattle-raised Morgan worked just about everywhere after moving here in 1963—Pete Lane's, ski patrol, gun club, Aspen Sports, Webb, Scott USA. He made a bucket list after his diagnosis with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) two years ago—May 17.

Vida Toneri, 93. Cheerful, friendly and passionate about her 50-year career in food service, Washington State native Vida discovered Idaho on a fishing trip and joined daughters Leah and Lynn in Ketchum. In 1969 Vida was asked to open a kitchen at Sun Valley's Moritz Community Hospital. That kitchen became known as "Chez Vi" because of her culinary gifts. She organized Meals on Wheels and worked in Lynn's art gallery—April 24.

Michael Rex Watson, 82. Born in tiny Lund, Rex came to Hailey with his parents in 1935, graduated from Hailey High in 1947, father of three. Famed as the "Phantom Skier" making first tracks on Baldy. An excellent athlete and beautiful skier, Rex worked for Sun Valley as lift operator, painter and mountain mechanic—Oct. 10 in Hailey.

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