On August 1, 2021, our beloved mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, Ethel Roseanna Patt Vadnais, passed away peacefully at her home at the Fairwinds Assisted Living Center. Ethel was born on July 19, 1930, at the family ranch in Humphrey, Idaho to Andrew J. Patt and Delilah Stevens Patt and spent her first seven years there. She joined an older sister, Irma, and brother, Andrew Jr. Later on, two more brothers were added to the family, Derald and Pete.
After her parents divorced in 1937, Ethel spent her early years in Dubois, ID; LaGrande, OR; Mrytle Creek, OR with her dad and in Monida and Dillon, MT with her mom. In 1942, Delilah moved Irma, Andrew, and Ethel to Tacoma, WA where Delilah found work in the war effort. Ethel lived in Tacoma until she graduated from Lincoln High School in 1948. Following her graduation, she attended the Tacoma Art Center School of Art for a year from which she had received an art scholarship.
In 1949, Ethel traveled to Spencer, Idaho to stay and work for her aunt and uncle, Don and Vinnie Lemons, who operated the Lemons Lodge in Spencer. She worked the remainder of 1949 and the summers of 1950 and 1951 in Spencer. In the spring of 1952, after returning from a visit to Tacoma, she started work at the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station. Her roommate and best friend during this time were Barbara Vadnais (Ovard) of Kilgore, Idaho. It was through this friendship with Barbara that Ethel met Thomas A. Vadnais of Kilgore.
On November 8, 1952, Ethel married Thomas Vadnais in Idaho Falls, ID. They made their home in Kilgore full time until 1971. Because harsh winters in Kilgore made running a cow/calf operation hard, they moved to Hamer to stay during the winter and moved back to Kilgore for the summer. In 1980 while living in Hamer, Ethel started working at the Hamer Public Library and eventually retired as the Director in 2009 after 29 years of dedicated service. She excelled in her job as a librarian and prided herself on finding the perfect book for her patrons. Thru her efforts, she helped bring many reading programs to the school as well as creating a much-used community asset. Eventually, Tom and Ethel sold the Kilgore place, and after Tom's health failed, the Hamer place as well. Ethel moved to Rexburg, ID in 2009 to be close to Tom who was in an assisted living center and lived there until moving into Fairwinds in 2019.
Ethel will be remembered for many things - her work ethic, kindness, patience and compassion. But Ethel's artistic talent is what is most well known and much admired. Many of her creations whether it was a painting, metal artwork made from cans, painted wall plaques or clocks, molded figurines on driftwood, or sketches for cookbooks, found their way to homes all over the United States. Pieces of her artwork even went to Canada, South America, and Germany. She will always be remembered for her beautiful landscapes and has painted many custom paintings of early homesteads in the Kilgore area for their families. Ethel is also well known for her cooking ability. As a result of her childhood, she learned how to make something out of nothing. During her marriage, she cooked for ranch and haying crews and for potato farmers in the area creating huge, delicious meals on a strict budget.
Ethel is survived by three children - Steve A (Vicki) Vadnais of Rigby, ID, Lori L (Tom) Salas of Rexburg, ID, and Todd A (Livvia) Vadnais of Idaho Falls, ID, and a half-sister, Bessie Evans, Washington State. She has six grandchildren; six step-grandchildren; and 20 great grand and great step-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas Vadnais, her parents, brothers Andy, Derald, and Pete Patt; sister Irma Barenz and many dear sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, August 6, 2021, at the Buck Murphy Funeral Home at 825 E 17th St., Idaho Falls, ID. The family will receive friends prior to the services on August 5th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and 9:45 to 10:45 on Friday. Interment will follow at the Fielding Memorial Park Cemetery.
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