Heritage Court 2012

Mary Ann Knight
2012
BY KAREN BOSSICK

2012_mary_ellenMary Ann Knight has driven the Blaine County Heritage Court carriage in valley parades since the court made its debut in 2008.

This year she’ll get a reprieve from the reins—this longtime dental assistant who likes to say she “retired three dentists” has been named to the Heritage Court herself.

Knight was nominated for this year’s court by the Papoose Club for her work with 4-H and the Sawtooth Rangers where she organized the tea for rodeo royalty each summer. The court was established to pay homage to women who have made the valley what it is today, said Mike Healy, one of the organizers.

Knight was born in Buhl but her parents brought a farm on 318 acres at the southern end of what is now Buttercup Road when she was 2. Her father’s pores had been destroyed by the heat of working in vegetable canning factories, Knight says, and he could no longer tolerate the heat in the Magic Valley.

Mary Ann’s family–the Drexlers–kept the town supplied with fresh eggs and milk, feeding the hogs with left over milk.

“If I did something wrong, my punishment was to sort the potatoes we grew into 10- and 100-pound bags, Knight recalled.

Knight was just 2 when she started riding the family’s part-draft horse bareback into the canyon above the old Cutter’s Ranch to check on the family cattle. When she was 5, her father bought her a pony, handing over her piggy bank to Santa for a saddle.

“I rode that horse all over town. But Dixie was ornery. We’d get to where I was going and she’d dump me off—buck me—and go home,” Knight recalled.

Knight remembers a fun childhood filled with baseball, kick the can, hide and seek, 9-cent “Tarzan” and “Roy Roger” movies at the Star Theater and 12-cent movies at The Liberty Theater.

No one in Hailey skied then, even though Sun Valley was just up the road, because no one knew how to ski, Knight said. Instead, kids sled down Silver and Galena streets.

“It was a peaceful, beautiful simple life,” she said. “You’d tell them what you wanted at the hardware store and they’d find it for you—you didn’t look for it yourself. The Legion Auxiliary put on a talent show each year with two-act plays and a dance group—everyone looked forward to it. And you rarely went to Ketchum, although the high school band would occasionally play for the VIPs as they got off the train.”

At 18 Knight left the farm the day after she graduated from high school.

“Nobody wants to be on the farm because you can’t make money,” she said. “My dad would be up a 4 in the morning, keeping the machinery and everything going. I can’t begin to count the hours he worked.”

Knight got a job in accounting at Sun Valley, given room and board in a dorm where the Sun Valley Post Office now sits.

“It was the only time in my life that someone made my bed, my meals,” she fondly recalls.

Her bags were packed to take a job with the traveling accountant for Union Pacific Railroad, which owned Sun Valley Resort, when she met Don Knight, who would become her husband, while having drinks with friends in Ketchum.

“One look and I knew he was going to be my match for life. I went home and unpacked and told them I wouldn’t be going to Omaha,” Knight recalled. “I had actually met him when I was in second grade because my sister, who was 10 years older than me, married his brother. Don was just home from the service when we met again. He had bought a used car and was looking for a job in Ketchum.”

The two were married in 1961, had three children—David, Diana and Joe–and spent 21 y ears together before Don died in 1982. Don ran a garage and repair shop for several years before taking law enforcement jobs in Ketchum and Bellevue.

“Don made a good marshal because he could solve a lot of problems talking with people,” Knight said. “My older brother Orville, who was Blaine County sheriff, was that way, too—he had a way of speaking with people that made them comfortable.”

Today Knight lives in a log home her son built six years ago on the family’s 40-acre ranch off Highway 75 just north of Glendale Road.

A cowboy hat hangs on the wall. Horseshoes serve as a napkin holder. And Knight sports a big rodeo belt buckle her granddaughter won 2007 All-Around Champion at the 2007 Wood River Valley Junior Rodeo.

Knight herself has ridden with the Sawtooth Rangers since 1965 and still organizes teas for the rodeo queens. She also is involved with the Wood River Grange, ensuring that the facility remains available for public gatherings and dance classes.

Come Fourth of July she will dress the horses for the July Fourth parade in Hailey as her companion Bill Sherbine hooks the draft horses up to one of three Vis-à-vis carriages he found in Kuna and Oregon.

But, instead of climbing into the driver’s seat, she’ll climb into the plush seats with fellow court honorees Ann Christensen, Marsha Riemann and Mary Peterson.

“It’ll be interesting seeing everything from a different perspective,” Knight said.

 

Ann Christensen
2012
BY KAREN BOSSICK

2012_annAnn Christensen leaps onto a log straddling Eagle Creek as she spots a snake wiggling on it. Dropping to her stomach, she reaches down and pulls the 2-foot-long snake off the log to the delight of the youngsters watching her.

“It pooped on me,” she exclaims, as the kids gather around her. “Wasn’t that a mean thing to do to a snake?—to scare it like that? There’s no way these guys can hurt us at all.”

“How do you know so much?” a dark-eyed girl asks her.

“Well, honey, I’m old and I’ve been studying a long time,” Ann tells her.

Indeed, Ann Christensen is now in her 70s. But she approaches the world around her with the wide-eyed reverence and curiosity of the very kids she leads on walks to examine ants and plants and slugs and bugs.

“I worry about the kids now. They spend so much time on technology. If you don’t learn to love nature, who’s going to take care of it?” says Christensen.

Christensen has become an indispensible part of the Wood River Valley–from sitting on the floor examining caterpillars with 3- to 5-year-olds at The Community Library’s Tuesday morning Science hours to donating week-long stays at her oceanside Casa Akumal in Mexican to nearly every fundraiser in the valley

For all that and more, members of the Wood River Land Trust chose her for this year’s Blaine County Historical Museum’s Heritage Court, which honors women who have contributed to the rich fabric of life in the valley.

Although she had skied here before, Christensen’s real introduction to the Sun Valley area came in 1977 when she and her late husband Doug led a 10-day Sierra Club backpacking trip into the White Clouds near Castle Peak during the last week of August.

“It snowed almost every day. But the last day the sun passed through giving us a glimpse of how beautiful the area was,” she recalled. “We went to the Sun Valley Lodge all grungy and dripping wet and set up a tent in our room. And we stayed through Labor Day, while our daughters got to ride bicycles all over and we got to experience all that the weekend has to offer. And that sold us.”

The following winter when they returned to ski, Doug took off with local realtor Stan Potts looking at ranches from East Fork to Stanley while Ann went heli-skiing. The next day Ann found herself following outfitter Sheila Leonard into the Circle A Ranch, which the Forest Service had been trying to keep Boise businessmen from subdividing.

It was so reasonably priced, Ann said, that she and her husband bought it. And they moved there fulltime in 1983 after daughter Amy graduated from eighth grade.

Moving from Marin County was hard for Ann, who loved teaching her Middle School science students about everything from seabirds to spiders.

But the family hadn’t even finished unpacking at their Stanley Basin home near the Park Creek ski area before she found a new mission: saving the salmon.

Noticing salmon stranded in the irrigation ditches, she emptied the moving boxes and began scooping the salmon up. Then, she and her two daughters Eloise and Amy carried the fish back to Valley Creek.

It would not be the last of the Christensens’ work on behalf of endangered salmon.

Ann and Doug led the way when Idaho Rivers United became the first group in Idaho to press for the removal of the four lower Snake River dams. They helped develop a New York Times advertising campaign to bring national attention to Idaho’s endangered salmon and steelhead runs. They raised funds to travel to Washington, D.C., to lobby for salmon restoration. And they hit the streets of Ketchum collecting signatures on behalf of the fish.

Come winter, Ann and Cathy Baer got renowned tracker Bruce Thompson to put on an animal tracking workshop in Sun Valley. Christensen has led workshops every winter since, teaching people how to read the snow and piece together stories about the weasels and other animals that inhabit the woods north of Ketchum.

She started an Ants and Plants class for youngsters twenty-five years ago in 1987.

“I love it—it gives me energy. It keeps me young and gets me outdoors,” she said.

Christensen learned to love the outdoors from her father, who outfitted his three daughters in bird hunting clothes as soon as they could step into them and took them fly-fishing in the swamps of Florida.

But, the 5-foot-2 Kentucky didn’t get the environmental bug until she quit her job as a market researcher for Proctor and Gamble to marry Doug, a 6-foot-1 home builder of Danish-Swedish extraction.

“When I was growing up, I woke up every morning to see a layer of coal dust on the windowsill,” she said. “I didn’t think it looked healthy but I thought they—the establishment—wouldn’t let anything bad happen to us.

“But when I moved to California I started educating myself about a water plant they wanted to build so I’d know which way to vote. When I learned Los Angeles was trying to take the delta water from the Bay area, something clicked.”

Ann’s work hasn’t been confined to the environment, though.

She led a campaign to raise $1 million to build the children’s library at The Community library. She’s a Healing Touch practitioner atr St. Luke’s hospital. And she began studying the age-old craft of shamans after she became fascinated with the practice’s spiritual connection with nature at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival.

“I would like to leave a legacy of inspiring people to be curious about nature,” she said.

“It’s sad when you bring wolves back only to kill them. There are ways we could have handled that differently so that wouldn’t have happened. I just want to believe that I’ve helped people to understand and enjoy this amazing wildlife and nature we have all around us.”

 

Marsha Riemann
2012
BY KAREN BOSSICK

2012_marshaThere was a time when nothing happened in Blaine County that Marsha Riemann didn’t know about.

As Blaine County clerk, she was often the first to know which Hollywood star was buying a mansion near Sun Valley and who was updating their passport to travel around the world.

“I recorded deeds and mortgages so I always knew who was buying or selling a home. I knew who was getting married. And I even learned about the property people owned in the 1880s, thanks to the people researching their genealogies,” she said.

Riemann will be honored for her contributions to the valley by being inducted into the Blaine County Historical Museum’s 2012 Heritage Court on June 24.

Riemann had never laid eyes on the Wood River Valley when she moved here from southern California with her husband Charlie in 1971.

“We had been married a short time and our friends moved here. My husband told them, ‘Look for a job for me,’ and they called a month after they got here,” said Riemann, recounting how her husband started Charlie’s Hailey and Refrigeration. “Coming through the desert, I thought: What have we gotten into? But when we crested Timmerman Hill, it was beautiful.”

The Riemanns rented a two-story farmhouse on the Wood River Ranch a couple miles south of Bellevue. Bellevue then had a population of 500—1,800 fewer than its 2010 census. Riemann helped out with the cattle and horses as she raised her three sons, the oldest of whom was just two when they moved here.

“I had never, never, never done any of that,” she said. “Coming from California, where I had family in close proximity, I was lonely at first. But I met Mary Ann Knight, who lived nearby and I took care of her kids while she worked for Dr. Richards, and then we’d play Pinochle on Saturday nights.”

It was Knight’s brother—former Blaine County Sheriff Orville Drexler– who gave Riemann her first job. She worked in the sheriff’s office until 1976, at a time when Drexler was putting a countywide dispatch center and 911 system into place.

The calls then usually involved rounding up horses that had strayed too close to Highway 75 or someone’s son who was four-wheeling in one of the canyons, Riemann said.

In 1976 she went to work for the Soil Conservation District. She snowshoed near Galena Summit and dropped into other areas by helicopter to collect snow and water data.

“We’d take snow machines out Fish Creek near Carey and, often, a lot of other people would accompany us,” she recalled. “They’d go up the hills and gun down the hills, keeping their eyes on us all the time.”

Riemann then joined the Recorder’s Office where she recorded documents and worked on payroll. Finally, she ran for office clerk in 1999, a position she held until she retired in 2007.

“We had a close-knit group. One summer everyone went horse riding at Mormon Hill and spent the night. And I loved that old courthouse. I went in there yesterday to do some research and I was in there for 2 and a half hours. It’s historic, it’s unique. They went through four remodels while I was there and the last time they really tried to make it as close as possible to the original.”

In between traveling with her sister Sandy Christiansen to visit family in California and cathedrals in England, Riemann continues to keep busy, volunteering with the Blaine County Grange and St. Charles Catholic Church.

She served on the Bellevue City council in the mid-1990s when the council was busy putting in sewers, curbs and gutters.

“I always liked Bellevue and Hailey without the curbs and gutters—I thought the dirt roads gave the towns a unique flavor. But, as the area grows, things have to change.”

Riemann has also leant her accounting skills to the Hailey cemetery board and Blaine Manor where she serves as president of the board.

“I love numbers. I think it’s a gift,” said Riemann, who attended El Camino College in Torrance, Calif.

Riemann says she’s praying for a resolution to the question of whether to expand Blaine Manor or have the non-profit Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation or a for-profit agency build a new care facility.

“Blaine Manor has received seven awards for the care it provides in the last nine years,” she pointed out. “Its residents have the best possible care and I want to see a solution that continues to provide that level of care.”

SIDEBAR

Marsha Riemann was chosen for the Heritage Court by the Kiwanis Club. The Hailey woman will be inducted into the court at 3 p.m. June 24 at The Liberty Theatre, along with Bellevue’s Mary Ann Knight, Ketchum’s Ann Christensen and Carey’s Mary Peterson.

The ceremony, which will feature entertainment, is open to the public.

Former County Clerk Marsha Riemann to take place on Heritage Court

by KATHERINE WUTZ

Former Blaine County Clerk Marsha Riemann will be honored Sunday, June 24, as a member of the Heritage Court. The court—formed by the Blaine County Historical Museum—recognizes women who have contributed to Blaine County history. Photo by Willy Cook

Born in Arizona and raised a California girl, Marsha Riemann said that when she first came over Timmerman Hill in 1971, she couldn’t believe her eyes.

“We crested that hill and saw all that snow,” she said. “Even though it’s always the same thing, it’s overwhelming every time.”

Riemann has lived in the valley ever since, and has been nominated as a member of the 2012 Heritage Court, a group of women honored by the Blaine County Historical Museum for their contributions to the heritage and history of the county. Riemann, nominated by the Kiwanis Club, was nominated for her work with Blaine County government.

Riemann said she was “honored” to be nominated, especially with close friend Mary Ann Knight of Bellevue and environmental expert Ann Christensen of Ketchum.

“When I moved up here … Mary Ann and I lived just across a field from each other,” Riemann said.

She added that her youngest grandson attends kindergarten at a local Montessori school, where Christensen often brings animals and teaches the students about nature.

“My grandson thinks she’s the best there is,” Riemann said with a laugh.

Riemann was living in Anaheim, Calif., with her husband and two sons when she first heard about the Wood River Valley. She had been raised not far from Anaheim in Redondo Beach, where she and her three siblings essentially lived on the beach, taking the bus there and back almost every day.

“We loved the beach, so that’s where we spent our summers,” she said.

Riemann married, and two children later she found herself living in Anaheim when suddenly her sister moved to the valley with her husband in February 1971. Little did Riemann know that her life was about to take a similar course.

“Unbeknownst to me, my husband had asked them to look for a job for him!” she said.

By March, Riemann’s now former husband, Charlie, had the opportunity to buy a heating and refrigeration company—now known as Charlie’s Heating and Refrigeration. By May 1971, she was ensconced in the valley—a place she hadn’t seen and had barely heard about before she moved to Bellevue.

Riemann started working for the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office in 1974, leaving after two years to work for the Blaine County Soil Conservation District and then the Blaine County Recorder’s Office. She was elected Blaine County clerk in 1999, and retired from the position in 2007.

“It was like a family,” Riemann said of the Recorder’s Office. “We all got along really well. We all had our responsibilities, but we all had fun.”

Riemann also served on the Bellevue City Council for several years in the mid-1990s, before she was clerk.

“Bellevue has never had a lot of money,” she said. “At that time, they were [focused on] putting in curbs and gutters.”

Riemann said there were no curbs and gutters when she first moved to the valley.

“When I moved here, there were 500 people in Bellevue,” she said.

She’s seen growth over the years, she said, but the economic downturn has caused that growth to reverse.

“We’re seeing so many people move away,” she said. “That’s sad to see, so many people who I know who now can’t stay here.”

Riemann’s current involvement in the community centers on her work with St. Charles Catholic Church, the Blaine Manor board of trustees and the Hailey Cemetery board. Her work with the church actually led to her involvement with Blaine Manor, she said, as she worked as a eucharistic minister to bring communion to the Catholics there decades ago.

The manor has changed for the better since then, she said.

“When I first walked in there, there was this … odor,” she said. “It comes from patients not being taken care of. Now, that’s changed.”

She was asked to join the manor board by former Blaine County Commissioner Mary Ann Mix, who approached her on the day of Riemann’s retirement party to ask her to serve.

“I told her I’d have to think about it,” Riemann said. “I hadn’t even really been retired yet!”

But she agreed, and has been serving on the board since 2007. She added that the new staff has made excellent changes in the facility—and that the nursing-home odor is gone for good.

“There’s a lot of good care that is happening now, and that’s what keeps me [on the board], knowing that they do such a good job,” she said.

As for how long she will remain on the board—and in the valley—she said she’s not sure, but that she is grateful for all the chances she had to get involved in the community.

“So long as I can be an asset to and help with whatever happens to the manor, that’s what I’d like to do,” she said. “I’ve been blessed. All of those things I’ve done, I’ve really enjoyed.”

Katherine Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com

 

 

Mary Peterson
2012
2012_maryThe Blaine County Historical Museum will welcome Carey native Mary Peterson to the Heritage Court this summer, celebrating her many years of public service and participation in the agricultural heritage of Blaine County.

“I was flabbergasted and surprised by the honor,” said Peterson, whose family cleared land, farmed and ranched in Muldoon Canyon near Carey before the era of mechanized agriculture.

“She is known worldwide for her rolls and sweet rolls—everyone wants her to bring them for picnics,” said her daughter-in-law Deb Peterson.

Mary was born Jan. 7, 1931, in Carey to Myrl Patterson Carlson and Leonard Carlson. She is one of six children. She learned to drive when she was 14 in a Model A Ford, and drove a team of horses to load and stack hay, using a slip and derrick.

“During World War II, farmers had trouble getting help to put up their hay, so we kids were recruited,” she wrote in a letter to the Blaine County Historical Museum.

Peterson has kept a daily journal since 1952, detailing her life in Muldoon and in Carey.

After the war, Peterson drove a tractor for her next-door neighbor Jim Peterson, a farmer’s son with deep roots in the region. They soon fell in love.

“The family joke is that Jim couldn’t afford to pay me, so he had to marry me,” Peterson said.

In 1950 the Petersons bought their first farm, and spent the next few years picking rocks and burning sage from 80 acres. They had three kids: Jim Jr., Karl and Carol, and eventually added cattle and sheep to their operation. Electricity came to Muldoon in 1962.

Mary drove a school bus for 20 years and served as president of the Idaho State Wool Growers Association for three years, promoting sheep, lamb and wool products around the country and the world. She also served as president of the American Legion Auxiliary for 10 years and as a visiting teacher for the Mormon Church.

Mary helped bring the Boys Scouts to Carey, serving as a den mother for three years. She gathered signatures in support of the Blaine County Recreation District and was active for many years in the PTA. For 50 years, she has been a member of the philanthropic Progressive Club of Carey, and for 35 years has raised the flags on Main Street for Veterans Day.

At 81, Mary Peterson is spry and sharp, something she attributes to an active lifestyle.

“I stay busy. There’s always something to do,” she said.

The Petersons celebrated 60 years of marriage in 2010 at the Muldoon Ranch home that they built in 1952. They wintered for 25 years near the alfalfa fields of Blythe, Calif., on the Colorado River, during lambing season.

In 2000, the Petersons sold the last of their flock to the Lava Lake Land and Livestock Co. In 2001, they were honored by the Idaho Wool Growers for many years of support, dedication and commitment.

Despite living all their lives in Carey and Muldoon, the Petersons also found time to travel, including a train trip through Canada and a family trip to Jamaica.

“We also went on an unforgettable trip to Australia and New Zealand where we were able to see up close how sheep operations are managed Down Under,” she wrote.

From their deck in Muldoon, the Petersons can see deer grazing in the front yard each morning. During the summer, they are joined by as many of their six grandsons and eight grandchildren as they can gather.

“We enjoy them tremendously,” she said.

Carey native to take seat on Heritage Court

Mary Peterson helped build a ranch out of sage and rocks

by TONY EVANS

Carey native Mary Peterson will be honored as part of the Blaine County Heritage Court on Sunday, June 24. Photo by Willy Cook

The Blaine County Historical Museum will welcome Carey native Mary Peterson to the Heritage Court this summer, celebrating her many years of public service and participation in the agricultural heritage of Blaine County.

“I was flabbergasted and surprised by the honor,” said Peterson, whose family cleared land, farmed and ranched in Muldoon Canyon near Carey before the era of mechanized agriculture.

“She is known worldwide for her rolls and sweet rolls—everyone wants her to bring them for picnics,” said her daughter-in-law Deb Peterson.

Mary was born Jan. 7, 1931, in Carey to Myrl Patterson Carlson and Leonard Carlson. She is one of six children. She learned to drive when she was 14 in a Model A Ford, and drove a team of horses to load and stack hay, using a slip and derrick.

“During World War II, farmers had trouble getting help to put up their hay, so we kids were recruited,” she wrote in a letter to the Blaine County Historical Museum.

Peterson has kept a daily journal since 1952, detailing her life in Muldoon and in Carey.

After the war, Peterson drove a tractor for her next-door neighbor Jim Peterson, a farmer’s son with deep roots in the region. They soon fell in love.

“The family joke is that Jim couldn’t afford to pay me, so he had to marry me,” Peterson said.

In 1950 the Petersons bought their first farm, and spent the next few years picking rocks and burning sage from 80 acres. They had three kids: Jim Jr., Karl and Carol, and eventually added cattle and sheep to their operation. Electricity came to Muldoon in 1962.

Mary drove a school bus for 20 years and served as president of the Idaho State Wool Growers Association for three years, promoting sheep, lamb and wool products around the country and the world. She also served as president of the American Legion Auxiliary for 10 years and as a visiting teacher for the Mormon Church.

Mary helped bring the Boys Scouts to Carey, serving as a den mother for three years. She gathered signatures in support of the Blaine County Recreation District and was active for many years in the PTA. For 50 years, she has been a member of the philanthropic Progressive Club of Carey, and for 35 years has raised the flags on Main Street for Veterans Day.

At 81, Mary Peterson is spry and sharp, something she attributes to an active lifestyle.

“I stay busy. There’s always something to do,” she said.

The Petersons celebrated 60 years of marriage in 2010 at the Muldoon Ranch home that they built in 1952. They wintered for 25 years near the alfalfa fields of Blythe, Calif., on the Colorado River, during lambing season.

In 2000, the Petersons sold the last of their flock to the Lava Lake Land and Livestock Co. In 2001, they were honored by the Idaho Wool Growers for many years of support, dedication and commitment.

Despite living all their lives in Carey and Muldoon, the Petersons also found time to travel, including a train trip through Canada and a family trip to Jamaica.

“We also went on an unforgettable trip to Australia and New Zealand where we were able to see up close how sheep operations are managed Down Under,” she wrote.

From their deck in Muldoon, the Petersons can see deer grazing in the front yard each morning. During the summer, they are joined by as many of their six grandsons and eight grandchildren as they can gather.

“We enjoy them tremendously,” she said.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com