Elizabeth "Peggy" King, 96, a long-time resident of Bruneau, died peacefully in a Boise hospital on May 12, 2011.
Services will be held at the Bruneau American Legion Hall on Wednesday, May 18, at 11 a.m. A viewing will start at 10 a.m. Arrangements are under the direction of Rost Funeral Home, McMurtrey Chapel.
She was born June 23, 1914, at home in Bowmont, Idaho, to Robert Blakeslee and Edyth (Kern) Blakeslee. The birth announcement in the local paper reported she was the first white child born in Bowmont. This was probably true because the Bow family, for whom the town was named, went to Nampa to have their first child. She had an older brother, Kern, and a younger brother, Bill.
Mom grew up in Bowmont, graduating from Nampa High School in 1932 and the University of Idaho (Southern Branch at Pocatello) in May 1934 with a two-year teaching degree and a Provisional Teaching Certificate.
Her first job was teaching at the one-room school in Little Valley (19351937). She was paid $85 a month for teaching with an extra $5 for cleaning, chopping wood for the fire, etc. She received room and board with Jenny King and her son, Fred, our future father. Her second job was teaching
the 5th and 6th graders in Marsing (19371938). Apparently, this was more than our dad could stand - they were married May 23, 1938, right after school was out for the summer.
Except for a one-year teaching job in town following WWII, when teachers were hard to find, mom and dad lived on the family farm in Little Valley that Morris and Jenny King had taken out of the brush under the Homestead Act. However, in 1952, the C. J. Strike Dam was built and the backwaters
covered part of the farm, resulting in a buy-out by Idaho Power Company.
With their farm gone and a growing family, they made a courageous decision to file on 640 acres of desert land under the Homestead Act in what is now known as Sugar Valley. With one tractor and a team of horses they cleared
the brush, leveled the land, built the fences, drilled the wells, dug the irrigation ditches and moved a house in from Boise.
Those first years were difficult but they somehow managed to make a living and raise their six kids - Carolyn, Joe, Bob, Mary, Connie and Judy. The long hours, hard work and stress took their toll on dad and he suffered a heart attack in 1960. They moved to town and eventually sold the ranch to Gene and Mary Tindall, who still own it.
In 1963, at the age of 49, mom went back to college (summer school at Idaho State University) to renew her teaching certificate with her good friend and fellow teacher, Vera Bower. That fall, she was hired to teach the 5th grade in Grand View. Five years later and with many summer school classes and projects behind her, she graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Education and
was once again a full-time certified teacher in the Bruneau school system. Mom loved teaching and being involved with the kids, especially those that
needed extra help. She continued to go to summer school, this time at the University of Idaho in Moscow, and was eventually certified as a Special Ed teacher. She completed all the requirements for a Master's Degree except
the thesis and often joked that a Master's Degree would only price her out of a job.
Mom continued to teach at Bruneau Elementary School until dad died in 1977 and then she retired to work in her yard and garden, which were a source of enjoyment and gave her a purpose for getting up in the morning.
She always valued work and felt uneasy if she didn't do something meaningful each day, even after she turned 90. One of her favorite sayings was "my brow is wet with honest sweat," a line from The Village Blacksmith.
Mom was Aunt Peggy to a large number of nieces and nephews. Many had been her students at the Little Valley School.
She is the last member of her generation of the King family, which consisted of six families.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred, and two of their children - Carolyn Bowman and Bob King; one grandson, Walter Bowman, and brothers Kern and Bill.
She is survived by four of her six children: Joe and his wife, Jodie, of Eagle; Mary Tindall and her husband, Gene, of Bruneau; Connie Mauck and her husband, Jack, of Briggsdale, Colo.; and Judy Eichelberger and her husband, Barry, of Hayden Lake; 15 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren and 18 great-great-grandchildren and a life-long friend and sister-in-law, Bernice Blakeslee of Nampa.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Bruneau Library, PO Box 278, Bruneau, ID 83604, or the Bruneau Quick Response, PO Box 294, Bruneau, ID 83604, or an organization of your choice.