Ella D. Peterson’s life long journey ended at the age of 95, passing away peacefully at Edgewood Spring Creek on June 30, 2019 surrounded by her loving family.
Ella was preceded in death by her mother and father and all six of her siblings. She is survived by her daughter Terri Coolidge and sons Art Peterson, and Dave Peterson; grandchildren Erin Rush (Terri’s daughter), Molly & Andrea (Art’s daughters), and Kaitlin & Jake (Dave’s daughter and son); and great grandchildren Taylor and Jordyn (Erin’s daughters).
Ella’s father John immigrated to the United States from Bohemia (now Czechoslovakia) in 1904 where he met, fell in love with, and married Agnus Theresa Kokes, who herself was the daughter of Bohemian immigrants, eventually settling on a small farm in Buhl, Idaho. Born on December 23, 1923 in Buhl, Ella was the sixth of John and Agnus’s seven children. She spent her early adolescent life gaining an appreciation for living in close quarters with her parents and six siblings (Billie, Pauline, Mildred, George, Barney, and Bob) in a small farmhouse while learning the farm life and attending school in Buhl. It was a hard life for a proud Bohemian family and during these formative years she learned what it meant to be poor but happy, what a hard days work meant, and that perseverance almost always paid off. One of the most important lessons that this shy but confident girl learned early in life was to be an independent thinker, something that she passed along to her family many times.
Shortly after graduating from Buhl High School in May 1942, Ella left Buhl with a suitcase in hand and a few dollars in her pocket. Her first stop was Yakima, Washington where she got her first real job as a Junior Clerk Typist in the Quartermasters Office at the Yakima Army Air Base. Later, after several other military jobs during WWII, including Kearney, Nebraska where she could be close to family, she ended up in Washington D.C. where she met and married the love of her life, Arthur Hews Peterson. He was a handsome Army Air Corps Captain who flew B-24’s in the Pacific Campaign during the war, and quickly swept her off her feet. They were a very happy young couple and soon expanded their family with the birth of their three children, Terri, Art, and Dave. But sadness struck Ella’s life in 1955 when then Major Peterson was killed in a tragic aircraft accident at Hill AFB in Ogden, Utah. Setting her grief aside, the lessons of her early life kicked in and she persevered, moving to Boise, Idaho to be with her sister Pauline and taking on the difficult job of raising her three young children as a single parent.
Over the ensuing years Ella worked at several bookkeeping jobs and in 1964 was hired as a Payroll Clerk at Boise State where she worked until her retirement in1983. For her, this was the perfect job as she had always loved watching the Bronco’s football and basketball games in person or listening to them on the radio. So being part of “Bronco Nation” was more than a job, truly a thrill. In her later years, you could always find her decked out in a Bronco’s sweatshirt and Pom Pom’s watching the cardiac Bronco’s with family and friends, and if needed, on her own!
Ella enjoyed being active and enjoyed many sports including golf and bowling in her younger years. But her true passion was fishing and she spent many enjoyable hours on rivers, lakes, and reservoirs with her family and friends in her pursuit of “The Big One”.
Ella loved being with her family and friends and was quick to host family gatherings for her entire family as often as possible, and for any reason she could think of. As part of her Bohemian heritage, she loved everything about being a hostess, including cooking, a glass of wine, and pre and post dinner games that included any and all card games and she was a true Yahtzee Master.
In the end, through the best and worst of times she was a Moms Mom, dotting over her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, never missing a birthday or any opportunity to visit them, no matter where they were… Idaho, California, Virginia, Minnesota, Texas, and Hawaii.
While her loss is mourned, her family takes comfort in that, if you listen closely late at night you can hear the Dana clan gathered once again, sitting around the dinner table playing cards, eating kolaches, and telling jokes. Ella’s next journey has just begun!