Four women have been named to the Blaine County Heritage Court, now in its 10th year of honoring women who have been an important part of the history and heritage of the region.
Each year, the court—a program of the Blaine County Historical Museum—asks community groups to name ladies to the court. The women named to the court are then honored in a coronation ceremony, which this year will be held at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 23. The public is invited. Here is a look at the honorees:
A life devoted to people and animals
Wendy Collins stays busy helping others
After serving as SETCH director for 12 years, Wendy Collins retired three years ago from the Sagebrush Equine Training Center for the Handicapped, but retirement doesn’t seem to have slowed her down any.
“Retired means you just get to choose a little more what you do each day,” said Collins, 70, who was named to this year’s Heritage Court by the Ketchum-Sun Valley Historical Society.
An interdenominational minister and an animal enthusiast, Collins has spent a good part of her life helping people and animals.
She is frequently called upon to lead services, mainly for memorials and weddings, and is a Level 5 healing-touch practitioner volunteer at St. Luke’s Wood River hospital. Collins said healing touch is an energy system that “helps people sleep better. It makes them feel better and to feel less anxious.”
Collins, along with Sheila Summers and Andria Friesen, founded the Animal Hospice Compassionate Crossings nonprofit organization in Ketchum. There is no charge for people to call or write the organization when they have lost a beloved pet or when an animal is sick or dying.
The organization provides support, recommends reading material and encourages people to share their feelings surrounding the loss of an animal.
She is also a 4-H leader, teaching shooting skills to youngsters.
In her spare time, when she has any, she has a long list of hobbies, which she described as “skeet shooting, bass fishing, horses, dogs and people and gardening and sewing.”
Originally from California and now living in Triumph, Collins along with Billy, her husband of 51 years, moved to the Wood River Valley in 1971. After 42 years here, she said she wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
“It’s the most amazing place to grow up for anybody,” she said. “There’s a base core of caring people who live here that just make it special.”
She also said the population of the valley is “multigenerational,” explaining that people here aren’t categorized by age and that different generations mix freely.
“If a person wants to be active, regardless of their age, they can be active here,” she said.
Furthermore, Collins said there is respect for older people in the valley.
“The wisdom of older people is honored by the community.”
A woman of deep roots
Laren Price to represent Hailey on Sunday
Hailey native Laren Price, 71, was nominated to the Heritage Court by the Hailey Chamber of Commerce.
Price is married to Gary Price. The couple was awarded the Bishop’s Cross for their service at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Hailey, which is fitting since Laren Price’s grandfathers helped build the church, more than 125 years ago.
They had help from the Knights Templar, a Masonic organization that laid the church cornerstone in 1885. Laren Price was a member of Job’s Daughters, a women’s masonic organization, and named state queen of Job’s Daughter’s in 1960. Following her marriage, she went on to Eastern Stars, another spiritual and social organization related to the Masonic Lodge.
Price comes from a family with deep roots in the area. Her great-grandparents on both sides settled in the Wood River Valley in 1881 to work during the mining boom.
“All of my children have been baptized in the church,” Price said. “I sang in Father Ellway’s choir during the 1950s. I have known 19 priests to serve over the years.”
Price was born in Dr. Fox’s hospital in Hailey in 1941 during World War II. She and her husband Gary raised three children and have seven grandchildren, all living in Idaho. Several of her family members work for Edgar Bronfman and provide support for the summer symphony in Ketchum, which he sponsors.
For many years Price kept books for the church and volunteered at the church thrift shop. She has also worked as a bookkeeper for several other businesses in town.
Her maternal grandfather, Francis Ensign, came to the Wood River Valley from Silver City near Boise. Her paternal grandfather, David Davies, came from Wales and worked at the Philadelphia smelter in Ketchum before moving to Broadford Road, where he worked at the Minnie Moore Mine.
Price is the daughter of Jack Davies, who served as Hailey mayor from 1957-1965. Her brother is John Davies.
Laren and Gary Price have lived on Croy Street since 1966 and have seen many changes over the years. During another era, they both participated in activities related to the Mason Lodge, located across Second Avenue from the Emmanuel Church.
The Emmanuel Church has been central to the Prices’ lives in Hailey all these years.
“We are all so close and so friendly with one another. We have been working together lately with the Catholic Church. During Easter ceremonies, we take a piece of fire from their church and walk it over to ours,” she said.
Some years ago, Laren helped to restore the church’s annex building.
“It was fun cleaning the bricks and everything. We just had the stained-glass window redone.”
County native to represent Carey
Mary Green served Blaine County for many years
Longtime Carey resident Mary Green was nominated to the court by the senior center in Carey.
“I think it is a big honor to be nominated, especially when you have lived here all your life and worked in the valley and raised your family here,” Green said.
Green, who along with her husband Dude Green was named grand marshal in 2010 for Carey’s Pioneer Days, said she knows all of the other ladies on the Heritage Court.
“It will be nice to see them,” she said.
Green said she met many people over the years while serving as Blaine County clerk, auditor and recorder. After retirement, she served on the Carey City Council for several years.
Green, 77, was born in Hailey in 1935. Hailey’s Dr. Fox, the county doctor who traveled as far as Arco to see patients, delivered her into the world. She grew up in Carey surrounded by dairy farms, sheep and cattle.
“Almost everyone milked cows. The smaller farms have been bought up now. You can’t make a living on a small farm anymore,” she said.
“Carey had a show house movie theater and there were lots of dances. Most Carey residents work in the upper Wood River Valley now, but there are still quite a few retired people who have lived here all their lives.”
“Farming never did get out of our blood,” she said. “We have 30 acres, which we thought would be good for our retirement, but it has been a lot of work and an expensive hobby. Raising children on the farm involved a lot of chores for the kids and they helped immensely.”
Green’s children were active in sports and 4H, while she and her husband served in PTA and many other organizations in town, including the LDS Church and Cub Scouts.
“We have a lot of good memories,” she said.
Green’s family’s Blaine County roots date back 121 years. Her grandfather, Albert Albrethsen, came to Blaine County from Copenhagen, Denmark, around 1891. He joined his two brothers, who had already moved to Idaho to pursue ranching opportunities. At one time, shortly after the turn of the century, Albert Albrethsen was a county commissioner and assessor.
Mary’s father, Alex Albrethsen, was born here in 1895. The family lived in the Picabo and Silver Creek area, near the location of the present Hofstetter ranch, and then moved over the hill up into Little Wood River country northwest of Carey. Like her grandfather, Mary’s father Alex was a rancher.
“We decided in high school that we would go up to work summers in Sun Valley. We would go out after work and hike or run along the golf course and never see a house around,” she said.
Green graduated from Carey High School in 1953 and a couple of months later, in October 1953, married Dude Green. Dude’s family came to Carey from Hagerman when he was 8. Dude was a couple of years ahead of Mary, graduating from Carey High School in 1951. Dude went into the U.S. Army right after the end of the Korean War, and worked for many years for the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office.
Mary had the first of her four children in 1955, and had three more children over the next nine years. She went to work, part-time, driving a bus for the Blaine County School District, then worked for Sun Valley Co. for eight years as assistant housekeeper. She then came back closer to home and worked at Silver Creek Supply in Picabo.
In 1977, she started as a deputy in the county recorder’s office. Mary became chief deputy recorder for County Clerk Marie Ivie in 1981, and then was elected to her first term as county clerk in 1986.
The Greens have 11 grandchildren, and five great-granddaughters.
You can give her a crown, but please, no more cows!
Former dairywoman gets coronation this Sunday
The tidy yellow-and-white-accented house with a wraparound porch enveloping a corner in Bellevue is always in tip-top condition, despite the years lived behind its walls. It’s a lot like its sole inhabitant now, Dolly Collier, 83, whose rosy cheeks, smiling eyes and perfectly permed silver hair belie her decades of life.
And that collection of dairy-cow tchotchkes that start at the welcome sign and occupy most every flat space inside? An accident. Like bunny making. You start with one, get another, and the next thing you know, you are overtaken and you didn’t even really want the first one.
“I don’t know how I got all these cows, but I do tell everyone, no more!”
So don’t think that slightly curved smile is fully representing the exciting news that has energized her daily life of late. If you look closer, you’ll see the glint in her eye that shows the pleased bewilderment of having been selected for the Blaine County Heritage Court.
And while the manicured lawn with the hanging baskets of plastic flowers suggest someone who prefers solitude and order, there is nothing she is looking more forward to than the havoc and commotion that will take away her harmony in the coming weeks.
On the Fourth of July weekend, her yard will resemble a campground as her four grown children, 12 grandchildren and 27 great-grandkids, traveling from Hawaii, Utah, Washington, California, and Idaho, will flood her home and yard for a reunion, this year to celebrate her.
Her biggest worry today?
“That I won’t be able to stand up long enough to do what needs to be done!”
Though the valley has changed significantly since she and her husband Lin first saw it while on a skiing honeymoon six decades earlier, Collier’s dedication to all things proper, from showing up for work on time and ready with hair brushed and no excuses, to passing on etiquette and home economics to 4H children has not.
It served her well when she agreed to move three of her four children from Hollywood, Calif., to a rundown property south of Bellevue to start a dairy that would supply locals and Kraft. It helped her to keep her sense of humor and a vision when she and Lin retired to the former “drunk house” in Bellevue that became the final home they shared.
“When we came here the weeds were taller than us and so thick we had to cut our way in,” she recalled. “When you got inside, the ceiling was so low from fires and whatever else went on in there you couldn’t even stand up!.”
But she always saw life as an adventure, she said, and one that might not have matched her dreams but about which she has no regrets.
She is sad that farming is going out of style here, but won’t opine whether that’s a good or a bad thing. It just is.
And while she prides herself on being able to drive herself to the store, she admitted it’s not as enjoyable as in years past.
“You used to be able to get out on the highway, see someone you knew, pull over and talk for hours without seeing another soul,” she said. “Now you are sitting at a stop sign for hours waiting to get into the traffic.”
She said, “I have the best neighbors anyone could ask for,” and likes that Grace Eakin, of another dairy, comes and drives her to places further than a few miles.
Her routine is simple. Three meals at a regular time each day, word puzzles and television, good sleep and no drinking or smoking. She does like to get her hair done, but the lady who does it comes to her.
Her advice to others?
“Follow your dream, if you can afford it.”