Friday, December 30, 2011

Friends we lost in 2011

Editor's note: The diverse blend of people from all walks of life in Blaine County is evident at this time of year when we remember those we lost over the past 12 months. We offer tributes to some of them here—listed in alphabetical order—and sympathies to all who lost loved ones in 2011.

Craig Adamson, 53. An Eagle Scout, active in his church, Craig was dedicated to helping people. He managed the hardware section at his family's convenience store and fuel station in Carey. Adamson was emergency medical services chief for the Carey Quick Response Unit and helped form that team in 1981. He also served nine years on the Carey City Council. He died Feb. 2 at Picabo in an explosion while transferring fuel between a tanker and a farm delivery truck.

Sarah Jane Adicoff, 21. Gifted with musicality and singing talent, Sarah nurtured a long list of creative talents and also excelled athletically—in particular swimming year-round in Ketchum. She was passionate about school and embraced academics. She graduated from the Community School in 2007 and attended Stanford University. Cancer interrupted Sarah's life at 16. She fought a courageous battle for five years before dying in her parents' arms in Seattle. Her humor, observational skills, grace and enthusiasm, and her love of adventure inspired everyone who knew her. She died Jan. 20.

Alba Arndt, 100. Born in 1910 in the tiny town of Virginia between Pocatello and Preston, the daughter of homesteading Italian immigrants, Alba Bertoglio was passionate about education from a young age. While teaching in Bannock County, she met Chet Arndt and they married in 1936—eventually moving to Hailey in 1950 where they bought one of Hailey's earliest homes. She lived there for 60 years. Always well informed, Alba taught reading and music to Hailey students for 20 years, played the piano and organ at numerous services, and served as Hailey's librarian. She took joy in life's little pleasures. She died Feb. 4.

Joe Benz, 62. Many Sun Valley skiers in the 1970s hung out at the Barsotti & Benz Beer & Basics restaurant at the base of Warm Springs ski lift. It was operated by Brian Barsotti and a soft-spoken gentleman named Joe Benz, an Indiana native who arrived in Ketchum after graduating from the University of Oregon in 1969. Known for his laugh and smile, Joe's amazing work ethic led him to become the top independent producer of a sunglass and speciality fisherman eyewear business. He died April 5 at home in Ketchum.

Douglas "Buzz" Bradshaw, 101. The phrase "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" applied to Payette native Buzz in many ways. His upbeat, positive attitude was legendary in Ketchum, where he and his wife of 77 years, Myrle, bought a home on Knob Hill in 1954 and lived on the property for the rest of Buzz's long and productive life. As the son of a beekeeper, Buzz went into the family business of making honey. It became his nickname and livelihood. Buzz and family members built what would become the largest independent honey producing and packing business in the U.S. A wonderful storyteller and community contributor, Buzz served as Wagon Days grand marshal along with Myrle in 2005. He died Nov. 7 at home.

Christopher Bridgeman, 49. Lover of the good life, one of Baldy's many devotees who rarely miss a day of skiing, Chris came from Malibu, Calif., and traveled the world. He loved his sons and wasn't afraid to live life his own way. Chris died Feb. 9 after colliding with a tree while skiing down Baldy's Graduate ski run.

Gertrude "Trudy" Brohan, 89. Daughter of a prosperous café owner in Belgium, Trudy met her future husband, Bill Brohan, when the Americans liberated her native country in World War II. A naturalized German-American, Bill worked in military counter-intelligence because of his language skills. After the war, he wrote to Trudy from Sun Valley—his home since 1937—and proposed marriage. They were married at Trail Creek Cabin in 1947. The couple bought the Jack Frost Motel in Ketchum. Trudy managed it, and Bill worked as maître d'hotel of the Sun Valley Resort Dining Room. From 1966 to 1975, they managed the Tamarack Hotel and became known for their unique hospitality. She died Aug. 31 in Long Beach, Calif.

Wilma "Billie" Buhler, 96. A Hailey resident for nearly 97 years, Billie was born just as spring arrived in 1914, one of five children including her sister, Roberta McKercher. The family of Robert Horne moved from a humble farm home up Quigley Creek into the city of Hailey so the children could attend school. They eventually moved into the home that became known as the Ezra Pound House. Billie graduated from Hailey High School in 1934 and married Harold Buhler two years later. They operated a dairy farm when they weren't out kicking up their heels dancing, and they raised three sons. Billie worked as a telephone operator and a Blaine County Sheriff's deputy. She enjoyed quilting and was very involved with her church and community. She died Feb. 23 in Boise.

Robert Burns, 87. A successful entrepreneur from Bellingham, Wash., Bob started in retail clothing in his hometown and went on to become the father of the resort time-share industry in North America. He co-founded Vacation Internationale in 1974 and was also the inspiration and initial backer of Sun Valley's first fractional ownership resort—Les Saisons. An avid skier and father of seven who started skiing Sun Valley in 1946 after serving in the Air Force, Bob was a first-tracks kind of guy who was still skiing Baldy, top to bottom, into his 80s.

Dayle Fowler, 62. An enthusiastic patron of the arts during the eight years she lived in Sun Valley, cancer survivor Dayle was a selfless volunteer and philanthropist who gave to a number of causes. They included Camp Rainbow Gold, Sawtooth Botanical Garden and the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley. For years she was the main sponsor of Ketchum's Jazz in the Park Festival. She died June 28 in a vehicular accident north of Jerome on U.S. Highway 93.

Ivan Gustafson, 91. "Dr. Gus," as the Washington state native was known, was a Navy veteran of World War II who became a noted general surgeon in the Seattle area before moving to the Wood River Valley in 1970. He helped start the Ketchum Medical Clinic and continued his lifelong interest in civic matters as a member of Blaine County government. "Dr. Gus" helped start the Blaine County Recreation District and was a proponent of a four-lane highway between Bellevue and Ketchum. He retired to Hagerman with his wife of 68 years, Lucy. He died Nov. 24.

Beatrice Haemmerle, 88. A native of Wisconsin and a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan, Bebe visited Sun Valley as a 15-year-old in 1938 and returned in 1949, when she met her future Bavarian husband, Florian Haemmerle, one of Sun Valley's first ski instructors. Bebe and Florian built their house on Gem Street at the south entrance of Ketchum where they raised three children and always had a grand time. One of Baldy's most elegant "stem christie" skiers, she was adventurous and extremely social and community minded. Bebe helped found the Papoose Club and was an original volunteer at the Gold Mine. She gave generously to good causes and loved the community bike path. She died Aug. 1.

Jim Hitson, 91. No Wagon Days Parade in Ketchum was complete without the strolling appearance of the "Mountain Man," Jim Hitson in his Western costume. Having started his skiing career in his native North Dakota and Montana, Jim moved to Ketchum in 1951 and joined the Sun Valley Ski Patrol and later the Ski School. He worked for Union Pacific, Sun Valley Co. and the Janss Corp. into his late 80s. A friend to many, Jim also drove truck, recycled cans for charity and earned a part in Clint Eastwood's movie "Pale Rider." He died April 11 in Bellevue.

Phyllis Houk, 77. Countless children in the valley learned to swim at the Bald Mountain Hot Springs Pool and Hotel complex, which was located across the street from the current Kentwood Hotel on Main Street in Ketchum. It was owned and operated by Ferrol and Phyllis Houk. After Ferrol's death in 1975, Phyllis continued operating the business until she retired in 1996. She was especially proud of her flower garden in front of the pool along Main Street. She died April 22 in Valley County.

Rob Kiesel, 65. Founder of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation's cross-country ski program and former head coach of the U.S. Nordic Ski Team, Rob was a Nordic skiing pioneer in the Wood River Valley. He originated the Boulder Mountain Ski Tour, which has become one of the country's biggest and best ski marathons. For 28 years he was affiliated with Swix Sport and helped start the glide-waxing revolution. He died Oct. 24 in Joseph, Ore.

Art Lazzarini, 63. An extremely positive man in all respects and a person of many talents, Art was best known for being a flight instructor for 33 years and more than 19,000 hours. He owned and operated Mountain Air Engineering in Hailey. Art walked away from more emergency landings than just about anyone. He served in the Marine Corps from 1966 to 1970, including a tour in Vietnam. Ketchum's Scott USA offered him a job to fly in 1978 with his close friend, Mike Penrose. He died April 21 in an airplane accident in Oklahoma.

Kathleen Harriman Mortimer, 93. The daughter of Sun Valley Resort founder Averell Harriman visited Sun Valley frequently and, despite her life of privilege, lived a life of spirited adventure on the world stage. She was the granddaughter of E.H. Harriman, head of Union Pacific Railroad, and grew up in a 40-bedroom house in the Ramapo Mountains outside New York City. Kathleen graduated from Bennington College and became a war correspondent in Europe—often traveling with her father, a U.S. ambassador to Moscow, to major international events. At Sun Valley, she enjoyed ski racing and did some training here with the U.S. Olympic team. She was an outdoorswoman well into old age. She died Feb. 17 in New York City.

Margaret Barton Murdock, 91. The "running center" on the Carey High School girls' basketball team, Margaret lived 84 years in Carey where she graduated from high school in 1937. She was an organist for the LDS Church for 70 years and took pride in playing for countless weddings and funerals. Mother of eight, a piano teacher to 40 students a week, an elementary school teacher and married 68 years to Thomas Murdock, she had 66 great-grandchildren. She died May 25 in Gooding.

Pat Murphy, 82. A distinguished lifelong journalist who finished his 60-year media career at the Idaho Mountain Express, Pat was an Army veteran who served as a combat correspondent in the Korean War. His newspaper career started in 1952 at Florida's largest newspaper, the Miami Herald. He climbed the ladder there for 20 years and then moved across the country to The Arizona Republic, where he finished up as its tenacious publisher from 1986-89. A passionate airplane pilot, father of two daughters and husband of Betty Murphy for 58 years, he was above all a quintessential newsman who interviewed five U.S. presidents. He worked the last 13 years of his productive life as a part-time reporter and outspoken columnist for the Express. He died Oct. 1 in Boise.

James Nelson, 42. Certainly no one enjoyed team sports more than the youngest son of Hailey's Raymond and Marian Nelson. One of Wood River High School's better athletes, James continued playing competitive sports, particularly his favorite, baseball, well after graduating. He worked many years for Uhrig Fencing and maintained a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. He devotedly coached his sons, Andrew and Zachary, and passed along the knowledge of the games he loved. He died March 19 in Boise.

Steve Pruitt, 58. Theater-goers remember Steve for his roles as Nicely Nicely in "Guys and Dolls," the coach in "Damn Yankees" and the emcee in "Cabaret," which suggests the range of talent that the northern Idaho native brought to valley stages. Though University of Idaho alumnus Pruitt was a residential architect by trade, the theater became a second home to him and his entire family. His first role was in the chorus of the Laughing Stock Theater Company production of "Mame" in 1979. He was an active community asset and contributor to the lives of his dear daughters Gariety and Kaley throughout his life. He died Oct. 3 at home in Zinc Spur.

Wild Bill Shaw, 84. One of the founders of the Sun Valley Ski Team was a jack-of-all-trades—a hard and resourceful worker who grew up on ranches all over the West during the Depression. He enlisted in the Navy at 16 and fought for the Navy Seals in the Pacific, earning a Purple Heart during World War II. After the war, he moved to Elko, Nev., and ran chain gangs repairing railroads. He and wife, Barbara, moved to Ketchum in 1956 where he worked for the Forest Service, managed hotels, owned the Ketchum Chevron Station, tended bar and kept the peace as a deputy. He loved the outdoors, skiing and being with men. He worked every possible job at Sun Valley Resort, including the graveyard shift, shoveling coal to heat the buildings. He was one of the best ski mechanics in the valley. He helped start the ski team with 15 kids, including his son Billy Shaw, one of the great early Sun Valley ski racers. He died April 14 at home in Troy, Idaho.

Boyd Stocking, 81. Raised on a ranch in Carey's Fish Creek area, Stocking was married 62 years to Lois. They raised six children and he left behind 47 great-grandchildren. Boyd was a store clerk, mechanic, power plant operator, dairy farmer and 4-H leader. For 20 years he was the water master for the Little Wood River Irrigation District and, four years ago, he made the Idaho Water Users Association Hall of Fame. He died April 30 in Ketchum.

Barbara Jean Tollerup, 79. Barbara and her beloved husband of nearly 60 years, Harold Tollerup, were dairy farmers for 30 years in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California. Snow skiing and water skiing were lifelong joys of the couple. From 1962 until they moved permanently to Sun Valley, they traveled each year to enjoy the skiing of Sun Valley. For more than 40 years, Barbara and Harold were devoted members of the Sun Valley Ski Club. She died March 2 at home in Ketchum.

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