Lenora Bethke

Lenora Santa Rossi Koompin Bethke, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend was 91 when she died unexpectedly, yet peacefully at home on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.

She was the youngest of five children born to Gustino and Marie Rinna Rossi in Pingree, ID, on Nov. 1, 1930. Lenora was a member of the first graduating class of Snake River High School. She loved sports and was a talented athlete. Her mother died when she was young, and so she spent many hours at her father Gus’ gas station/convenience store in Pingree.

She married Pete Koompin in 1949 and they had two sons, Kenneth and Klaren. The family farmed in the Grandview/Springfield area until purchasing a farm in American Falls and moving there in 1959. Lenora was widowed at age 34 and went to work in town, sometimes working two jobs, while renting the farm to Wilbur Krein. She appreciated Wilbur and the continual support of her brother-in-law Melvin Koompin and his son (her nephew) Bob. Close friends and local teachers, Marilyn Lewis and Charlie Bearup really supported her during those first challenging years as a young widow with two sons.

She married Vernon Bethke in 1972 and he built her a new home on the farm two years before Kenneth and Klaren returned from graduating from the University of Idaho. Lenora eventually retired from her last place of employment of over 25 years at the Power County Assessor’s office. She and Vernon enjoyed trips back east to historical sites, to Hawaii and many road trips to Arizona with Dave and Marla and other family and close friends.

After retirement Lenora was a precinct poll worker during the voting season for many years and she also enjoyed volunteering as a Pink Lady at the Power County Hospital.
Lenora enjoyed many years spent in league bowling at Melody Lanes, golfing, and occasional trips to Jackpot.

A lifelong joy was her weekly baking. Family and friends probably gained more joy from her homemade biscotti, cinnamon rolls and various other Italian cookies and pasta. This lovely little Italian lady will truly be remembered for her love of baking and cooking and sharing it with family and friends.

She often spoke of how proud she was of her two boys and their accomplishments in furthering their education and then having a successful farming operation after such a tough young life. She also spoke of how she was never so happy as when they got rid of the milk cows. Many conversations centered around how blessed she was that she still got to live on the farm close to see her grown boys, their wives, and to watch her four grandkids and her six great-grandkids grow. She cherished them very much.

She also loved her “adopted” grown kids, Stan and Karen Gortsema and Margaret and J.P Kruckeberg, and appreciated them thinking of her as family.

She commented frequently on how much she appreciated her kids help especially in these later years of life that brought a few more health issues for her and Vernon. Nephew Bob and his love and support with frequent visits were a blessing as well as the close friendships of Nancy Anderson and Lois Cluff.

Family and friends will miss dear Lenora tremendously. She was a courageous, fun loving and above all, faithful person and we can’t wait to meet up with her again.

Lenora was preceded in death by: her husband Pete, granddaughter Stephanie, siblings Joe, Lucy, Louie and Charlie. She is survived by her husband Vernon, sons Kenneth (Kathy), Klaren (Cheryl), grandchildren, Kamren (Brianna), Kael, Amanda (Eric), Pete (Amber) and great- grandchildren Stetson, Kwin, Owen, Evie, Oaklee and Kami Jo.

She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in American Falls.

A graveside committal service took place at Falls View Cemetery on Monday, May 9, at 11:30 a.m., officiated by Father Henry Carmona, with a visitation and brief life sketch memorial at Davis-Rose Chapel at 10 a.m.

Thanks for reading!

Read more in this week's print edition.Subscribe Today!