Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

Glenda Mae Farrell

Glenda Mae (Gideon) Farrell took her victory lap on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. We can imagine her gathering of ancestors pouring a ten-gallon tub of Gatorade over her back when she pulled that last hill. We look on in grief, but have a feeling she may be enjoying yet another adventure. She has always been one to eagerly take on new adventures.

Glenda was a country girl, born on a cattle ranch behind the Dobie Hills south of Glasgow, Mont., on July 28, 1934. She was the youngest of three daughters, each born six years apart. Their loving parents were Fremont and Helen Kaulitzke Gideon, both homesteaders there.

It's easy to follow Glenda's life through her 89 years because she wrote in a journal nearly every day. Her first diary, a small leather bound book with a tiny lock, indicates that as a teenager she attended almost every movie that came to her whisper of a town on the prairie.

In her formative years she learned important lessons from her father that she carried with her for a lifetime: Spend your evenings reading a good mystery - follow the rules - always tell the truth - no cursing and have fun.

Hooking up with Ted Farrell, a man with a gypsy nature, provided her with plenty of fun, beginning with this spontaneous idea: "Hey, let's run off to Nevada and get married." They were married in August 1952 in Winnemucca, Nev., and settled into a converted motel apartment in Boise, Idaho, that featured a shared toilet and washroom three doors down. By Christmas, they were so homesick they were already planning their move back to Glasgow.

Their first baby, Rodney Fremont, was born a year later in Glasgow, attended by Dr. A.N. Smith, the same M.D. who had delivered Glenda 19 years earlier. The highway called out to them again shortly after his birth. By the following Christmas they were living in Choteau, Mont., her husband's birthplace.

The Choteau adventure was also short lived, and they were back in Glasgow by the time their second child, Sandra Jean, was born.

After hearing Ted's many fond stories about his WWII years in California, Glenda was convinced to pack up and move the family to Los Angeles. They remained there long enough to have another child, Angela Lynn, before returning again to Glasgow. After the birth of their two youngest sons, Daniel Gideon and Thomas Hamilton, they settled 24 miles north of town on Cherry Creek, raising wheat and cattle.

They may have stayed put in a comfortable rural routine if their house hadn't burned to the ground. By the time the nearest neighbors (two miles south) saw the flames, the house was consumed. The fire put the family back on the road.

After wandering a bit, they set up housekeeping in Longview, Wash., where her sister Gloria had settled. Then they moved to a dairy farm just west of Mount Hood, where Glenda settled back into a rural life, giving the cream separator a good workout.

In 1963 the family discovered Clarkston, Wash. Adventure persisted amid the river valleys and mountainous terrain surrounding them. Many a swimming hole were constructed along Asotin Creek during weekend campouts. As a scout leader, Glenda supported numerous outdoor activities including sewing a tipi for a Boy Scout Jamboree.

Glenda could easily have settled down, but her gypsy-natured husband was convinced that giving Southern Cal another shot was a good idea. So the family packed for another big move. Ted and Glenda bought a cafe there, in Oxnard and turned it into a thriving Mexican restaurant with their partners, Marta and Roman.

Glenda worked so hard in the restaurant, she regained her schoolgirl figure and was able to wear her daughter's stylish hippie bellbottoms and halter tops.

The family sailed together on a 38-foot Atkin cutter that her husband restored.

Although she couldn't swim and was afraid of drowning, she pushed through her fear the same way she had as a girl on the ranch (when she anxiously tried to keep up with her dad as he ran down wild horses, praying that her horse wouldn't trip on a gopher hole.)

Glenda loved the outdoors. When her son Rod prepared to climb Mount Rainier she was there, at base camp. During visits to Montana she joined the family in whitewater rafting and hiking.

In 1996 Glenda suddenly lost her beloved husband, after 44 years of marriage.

As difficult as that was, she continued to embrace adventure and change. One day in 1998, her daughter-in-law Kathy received a call from Glenda announcing that the house was sold and she was moving back to Clarkston. She said that of all the places she had lived, this was the place where she was most comfortable.

Glenda appreciated the arts, and experimented with many art forms. She attended symphonies, plays, craft festivals, and garden walks. She volunteered at the Lewiston Civic Theatre as well as at the Lewis-Clark Center for Arts and History.

Glenda was also a volunteer at the local food pantry for many years, and at Tri- State Memorial Hospital. In her neighborhood, no stray cat went unfed.

As a Master Gardner she helped create a community garden in Clarkston, and guided students through the Junior Master Gardner program. She loved the awe a child expresses when stirred by the wonders of nature. She enjoyed watching their eyes bug out when she would dump a mass of creepy crawlers out in front of them as part of a lesson plan for raising earthworms. The children would watch this 70-year-old woman scoop the creatures into her hand and allow them to crawl up her arm. Immediately they would dive into the shimmering lot, eagerly learning how to feed them what they once knew as "garbage" but now called "compost."

This WSU Extension program also drew her to the Asotin County Fair, where she would enter award-winning art and garden projects. Glenda also served as a judge there.

She made a career of working in administrative positions in the insurance industry.

But it was in Glasgow that she got her start. Ranch kids seem to be born working. If they stand too long in one place, they're given a job. Glenda spent school days in town with her mother. Otherwise, she was on the ranch with her father.

In town she cared for her niece Bonnie, then worked in Johnny's Shoe Shop, downtown. After that, she landed a job at Ben Franklin, later working for Elmer Johnson Plumbing.

After retiring from the insurance industry and returning to Clarkston, she worked for Express Personnel Services, which she loved. Each assignment was a new adventure for her. Once, when asked where she was working, she said, "You're not going to believe it. I'm a DJ all week."

By example, her father taught her not to gossip. In her journal she reinforced this belief by quoting, "You wouldn't worry about what other people think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

We will remember Glenda as a remarkable woman, independent, intelligent, strong-willed, and talented.

Glenda was the last surviving family member of her generation. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Ted; her sisters Gladys Silk (Johnny) and Gloria Roe (Bill); and two of her sons, Rod (Kathy Fox) and Tom (Melissa Fox).

Glenda's five children blessed her with 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Her surviving children, Sandy (Dick Batton), Angie, and Dan, plan to inurn her ashes at the Glasgow Cemetery in October, perhaps on Halloween, her favorite holiday.

 

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