Zada Faye Roberts formerly of Orofino, died March 8, 2013, at the River's Edge Rehabilitation and Living Center in Emmett, Idaho, due to complications from pneumonia. She was 89 years old.
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Twins Zada and Vada joined their parents Hermon and Grace (Adams) Fisher and two sisters on Oct. 31, 1923, at Ford, Idaho. The family later moved to Kamiah, where the girls grew up.
Zada was the aggressive twin, always looking after her shy sister Vada. She remembered the first day of school when the teacher separated them in the classroom, and Vada kept crying. Without even asking the teacher, Zada went to the back of the room, picked up Vada's books and hauled her up to the desk next to hers "just to shut her up."
Zada loved school and excelled in math. The girls did so well that they were moved ahead a grade in elementary school. In high school, Zada played trumpet in the school band and excelled in swimming competitions during the summer at the local swimming pool. One of her friends always said Zada was the smallest person in the pool, but she could out-swim everyone.
It was in high school that Zada met the love of her life, Larry Roberts. He was a handsome young man boarding with a neighbor across the street. He quickly became a part of the twins' group of friends and spent a lot of time at their home. Zada always told how they eloped on April 21, 1940 and went back home to live with their parents until graduation from Kamiah High School in May of 1941.
The couple had two children, Douglas and Jerrilynn, before Larry enlisted in the Navy in 1944. Zada and the children lived with her mother in Spokane and Zada worked at the B.O.F. during the two years that Larry served on the Marcus Daly.
While visiting Larry on leave in California, Zada was seen swimming in the hotel pool by Buster Crabb. He was so impressed with her swimming ability that he invited her to join his aqua show, but with a husband and children, she felt there was no way that she could accept the offer.
After Larry's discharge from the Navy, the family continued living and working in Spokane.
In 1954, the family moved to Orofino where Larry worked for Stoddard Electric and Zada worked as a waitress at the Orofino Cafe. Working and raising their children kept them busy, but every Sunday Zada would fry chickens and make a huge macaroni salad. Friends would come to eat, and there would be as many as six or 10 extra people for dinner. The Roberts' home was an open house to many of Doug and Jerri's friends, and many of them still think of the couple as their "other" parents.
Zada and Larry enjoyed dancing at the local watering holes with friends and Zada's other hobbies included reading, working search-a-word puzzles and sewing. She was an excellent seamstress, sewing for everyone in the family. She made everything from blankets and clothing to Halloween costumes and home decorating.
Zada also worked as a clerk at Watkins Grocery. When the owner of the store died, his widow sold it to Larry and Zada. They renamed the store Downtown Grocery. They also owned the Downtown Variety Store. In 1979 they sold the grocery store, and Zada continued operating the variety store until retiring in 1984.
The couple spent every weekend in their motorhome, camping and fishing - mainly at Orofino Creek. They especially enjoyed going with Tootle and Charlie Adams. Tootle and Larry would go fishing and Zada and Charlie would sit around the campfire and drink beer. Zada loved her beer and everyone knew when she had three because the sneezing would start. They also enjoyed fishing trips with friends Donna and Mickey Taggert and Judy and George Payne, going to Brownlee Dam and the Washington and Oregon Coasts.
They also traveled across the country and spent several winters in Yuma, Ariz., until Larry's Parkinson's Disease curtailed their activities.
Zada and Larry could be seen walking around Orofino every day. They would walk a couple miles and join friends in town for coffee each morning. They also delivered senior meals around town and enjoyed going to the senior center for lunch.
They moved to Emmett in 2005.
Zada was preceded in death by her husband Larry; her parents; her sisters Vada White, Nadine Klock and Lorraine Rhinehart; niece Cindy Bird; and two grandchildren Kirk and Aimee Roberts.
She is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, Jerri and Larry Irish of Emmett; a son and daughter-in-law, Doug and Pat Roberts of Lewiston; four grandchildren and their spouses, Randy and Chrissy Irish, Brett and Doris Irish, Stacie and Jesse Chan and Keith and Loary Roberts; two step-grandchildren, Byron and Brett McLean; 10 great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
At Zada's request, no service will be held. The family suggests donations in her name be sent to any senior center, Meals-On-Wheels or hospice programs.
Published in Emmett Messenger Index from Mar. 8 to Apr. 7, 2013