Esther Wilcox Fellows, 85, longtime resident of Shelley, died Monday, April 21, 2014, peacefully surrounded by loved ones at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
She was born Saturday, Dec. 8, 1928, on a small farm in Goshen, the youngest of four children of Samuel Orris Wilcox and Sarah Amelia Peterson Wilcox. At the tender age of 2, her mother passed away. This left her father yearning to live and be closer to his relatives, so he sold his farm, and moved his family to Archer, Idaho.
Nicknamed "Estee Puddin" by some aunts, and called "Little Esther" by others, her early childhood years were spent growing up as a tomboy in the beautiful rural areas of Archer and Herbert. Her dad would forever and always hold and have the greatest influence in her life. In the absence of growing up without a mom, it would be her Aunt Martha Wilcox Hacking who would impart and instill many ladylike qualities and mannerisms.
At 5 years old, she attended first grade in a one-room schoolhouse in Herbert, along with a total of eight other students ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Having an older sister, Helen, and older brother, John, meant lots of teasing, lots of laughter and being the blunt of many playful jokes.
With plenty of farm animals and pets, it would be her love of horses that would sustain her interest throughout her life. Her three favorite horses went by the names of "Janey," "Dumplin Daisy" and "Gracie Darling" (aphew, aphew).
Television hadn't been invented yet, but the family owned a battery-operated radio and listened to popular radio programs such as "Fibber McGee & Molly," "Amos & Andy" and "Ma Perkins." With their dad working in the field, Helen, John and Esther would listen to the radio throughout the day. When evening fell and supper was finished, their dad would turn on the radio to listen to his favorite programs, only to discover the batteries had ran low. He'd get a little annoyed, and kindly ask his kids not to play the radio so much.
There were many times when he would play his violin, and daughter Helen would accompany him on the piano. Esther especially loved whenever they played "Claire de Lune" and "Danny Boy," and she cherished these songs always.
Entertainment of going to the movies back then was an extravagant indulgence; however, some of her most beloved all-time favorite screen actors were Gary Cooper, Claudette Colbert and Shirley Temple.
She graduated from Madison High School in 1946, and was a three-year Seminary graduate. It would be several months later that her friends would set her up on a blind date, where she would meet and fall in love with Donald Verl Fellows. They were married March 7, 1947, and were later sealed in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple in 1966. Don and Esther made Shelley their hometown, where they raised five children and would build five homes.
They both loved to dance and joined a local square dance club called "The Promenaders." It was a blast to watch them practice their dance steps at home and listen to their dance records being played on the record player. And wow, could they cut a rug dancing to "The Salty Dog Rag." In addition to being a loving mom, her grandchildren idolized her. She would amuse them with her mock tea parties, ice cream cones and root beer floats.
She loved playing all sorts of board games and card games with her grandkids. She was quite the card shark at pinochle, solitaire and spades, and loved to shout "trump that." Hobbies included putting puzzles together, handmade quilts, knitting afghans and collecting dolls, coins and stamps.
A true backyard gardener, her yard was always filled with flowers and vegetables that were pleasing and pleasant to look at, fun to touch, nice to smell and good to taste.
Spring was her favorite season of the year, and she loved working and being outdoors. Camping and fishing came second nature to her. She would take us on nature walks and identify, by name, most types of mountain flora and fauna. It's always been an exceptional shared moment whenever she spotted and pointed out the melodious chirping of a mountain bluebird, and it always will be.
While serving in the Young Women's Mutual for several years and going to Darby Girls Camp, she would forge many long-lasting friendships. She retired in 1993, having spent 24 years at the Shelley Pillsbury plant.
She is survived by her brother, John; sons, Alan, Craig (wife Susan) and Karl; and daughter, Sandy; 13 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband; son, Larry; parents; sister, Helen; brother, Sam; and great-grandson, Andrew.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 26, at Nalder Funeral Home, 110 W. Oak St. in Shelley. The family will meet with friends from 9:30 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. Saturday prior to services at the funeral home. Burial will be in Goshen Cemetery.
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.nalderfuneralhome.com.