Wilmetta H. Meadows was born in American Falls on July 8, 1918 to William and Agnes (Burns) Hartley. Her early years were spent on the Hartley ranch in Landing, ID. She attended the Landing country school, where her mother was the teacher. As she reached the secondary education level, she and her younger sister, Eleanor (Slusser), attended St. Teresa Academy in Boise, ID, for two years. She finished her secondary education and graduated from American Falls High School in 1935. She attended the University of Idaho, southern branch, now Idaho State University, in their education program. She began her teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse in Rockland, teaching all six grades. For that she was paid $80 per month. In 1940 she moved to American Falls and taught school for two years.
Wilmetta married Melvin Meadows on June 7, 1941. They lived and farmed on the Meadows homestead. In 1945, Melvin joined the Navy Seabees. They were based for a short time in San Francisco. When Melvin shipped out overseas, Willie came home to American Falls and worked for the sheriff’s office and the Power County Ration Board.
Gary Meadows was born on June 6, 1945. As the war drew to a close, Melvin returned home. They returned to farming. On Dec. 8, 1947, their second son, William, was born. They built a house in A.F. where they spent their winters.
On May 9, 1965 Mel died suddenly from a heart attack. Willie and the boys continued to run the farm for the remainder of 1965-1966. She leased the farm out so the boys could finish their educations. Willie returned to the business world and worked in the Power County Clerk and Assessor’s offices. In 1967, she went back to work at the American Falls School District for the Superintendent of Schools where she worked until her retirement in 1978. She then became a fulltime grandma, helping to raise her four grandchildren.
She was active in the American Legion Auxiliary, Idaho School Board Association, Idaho Association of Educational Office Personnel, Pocatello Community Concert Association; civic fund drives for heart and cancer foundation, A.F. Ladies Golf Association, and several bridge clubs. She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. She developed a passion for ceramics. Willie was a gourmet cook and consummate entertainer. She particularly was devoted to etiquette, a trait that she strenuously endeavored to pass on to her children and grandchildren.
Willie is survived by her sons, Dr. Gary (Kathleen) Meadows, William (Vicki) Meadows and her grandchildren, Sarah Meadows, Philip (Kathryn) Meadows, Erika (Marcus) Kettl, and Kacy (Jordan) Gehring, as well as four great-grandchildren.
Blessed be the memory of “Willie” Meadows: teacher, nurturer, hostess, chef, lover of the arts, decorator, crafter, beloved mother, grandmother and friend.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to the American Falls Education Foundation, AFSD #381, 827 Fort Hall Avenue, American Falls, ID 83211.
Funeral services were held 11 a.m., Monday, July 27, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 656 Tyhee in American Falls. A viewing preceded the funeral service at 9:30 a.m. in the fireside room at the church. Interment was in Falls View Cemetery in American Falls. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.davisrosemortuary.com.
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