Mary Lou Pethtel, long time and beloved resident of Kamiah, passed away peacefully at her new home in Idaho Falls, Feb. 15, 2020, in the presence of her husband of 66 years, Roy, and her daughter and family. She was 89.
Mary Lou was born at the beginning of the Great Depression on Feb. 27, 1930. As a child she enjoyed growing up in a suburb of Philadelphia called Drexel Hill, with summers spent frolicking at the beach in Wildwood, N.J. Coming from a long line of artists, Mary Lou attended and graduated from the Philadelphia Museum School of Art and began work as a restoration artist at an antique shop.
As a young woman she loved to dance and met her sailor, Roy, at a YMCA dance during the Korean war in February of 1953. On July 4 of that same year, they were married in a small chapel ceremony at her beloved Broad Street Memorial Methodist Church. Their first child Mary Ellen was born there. After two years Roy left the Navy and the family moved to Idaho to join Roy’s parents on the WP Ranch.
After moving home, Roy and Mary Lou had seven more children, Martin, Tim, Kelly, Tad, Leslie, Toby, and Lettie. Even though she was a water baby, she truly loved the beauty of the trees and the mountains of Idaho. She continued to paint, was an accomplished pianist, seamstress, gardener, and knitted and crocheted.
For many years Mary Lou would ride her bicycle to town every day in the summer to continue her love of water by swimming in the pool and visiting her many friends. She left her mark as an artist on the town by participating on the community murals project and painting the original Kamiah Kub on the wall of the middle school gym and the announcer’s booth of the football field.
An avid gardener and canner, her nemesis was dandelions. She spent many hours individually digging them out of every crevice of her one-acre yard and garden. As a young mother she led a 4-H knitting club. She attended the Lutheran church for many years, playing the organ, but began to faithfully attend the Assembly of God church after it was planted in 1980, where she continued to serve in music and dandelion eradication.
She is survived by her brother, George and his two daughters, and her husband, eight children, 25 grandchildren. 32 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
To ensure that many in the family can attend, a memorial will be held during Barbecue Days 2020, location and time TBA.
Trenary Funeral Home of Kooskia is assisting the family.