She was diagnosed with leukemia in May 2010 and underwent treatment in Boise and Seattle prior to returning home in December. Throughout her illness, her strong will and determination were apparent in her continued optimism and her unwillingness to give up without a fight.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, 2011, at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Mountain Home, followed by a procession to Glenn Rest Cemetery in Glenns Ferry. A reception will be held afterward at Good Counsel Hall in Mountain Home. Services are under the direction of Rost Funeral Home, McMurtrey Chapel in Mountain Home.
Wakelee was born in Seattle, Wash., on May 29, 1950, to Ernest Victor Olson and Annis Wakelee Thoms Olson. She attended grade school in Des Moines, Wash., in the South Puget Sound area.
She often spoke of her many friends from her old neighborhood, of playing in the woods surrounding her home, and of the numerous camping trips with the Girl Scouts, which were often in the Mt. Rainier area. Summer vacations usually included a week in the San Juan Islands, which helped develop her lifelong interest in nature. She also developed her love for reading at an early age.
She moved to Spokane, for high school where she excelled in academics and fostered a strong interest in science and biology.
Due to her excellent grades and strong motivation, she earned a full-ride scholarship to the University of Washington, where she began her studies in the fall of 1968.
While earning her undergraduate degree, she spent her summers studying biology at University of Montana, University of Oregon, and The College of Idaho.
In 1971, she went on a field biology expedition to Mexico, where she met her future husband, Bob Bledsoe. Their shared intellectual interests and the time they spent together that summer forged a strong relationship that eventually led to marriage on July 15, 1972.
Wakelee received her bachelor's degree in zoology in 1972 from the University of Washington and her Master's Degree in Physiology in 1976 and M.D. in 1981 from the University of Illinois. She completed her first two years of pediatrics residency at the University of Nevada, Reno, and finished her last year at Oregon Health and Science University in 1984.
Following her training, she began practicing pediatrics in Mountain Home.
She ran a solo practice until 2006 and then joined Trinity Mountain Family Practice, where she worked until she became ill in 2010.
Throughout her career she also served as an adjunct clinical preceptor for the University of Washington School of Medicine, teaching many physicians in training.
Dr. Bledsoe was well known as a dedicated physician and was not only a caring doctor but also a personal friend to her patients and their families.
Since she stopped practicing medicine in 2010, many of her former patients and families have remarked that she has always gone "above and beyond" in their care, donating as much of her time as possible to improving their wellbeing.
In February 2011, Dr. Bledsoe was presented with the Pediatrician of the Year Award from the Idaho chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Despite her devotion to medicine, Wakelee still found time to be a loving mother and wife.
She enjoyed camping, hiking, and bird watching with her family, reading and participating in a local book club, and spending time with family and friends.
She is survived by her husband of 39 years, Bob, her three children, Matthew, Jacob, and Annie, and her brother, Ernest Victor (Wick) Olson.
Wakelee has touched the lives of many and will be dearly missed.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center go to www.fhcrc.org, click "Donate now," then click "Donate in memory or honor."