My grandmother, Jessie Louella Payne Nau, passed away peacefully this morning in Payette, Idaho, surrounded by her family. She was born on September 8, 1917, in Middleton, Idaho, and lived for over 95 years. She was an extraordinary woman who lived through the Great Depression, built bombers during World War II, and raised a family in Southwestern Idaho. She was loved by everyone who knew her. She was upbeat, positive, and optimistic to a fault. She was a passionate intellectual, unparalleled history buff (especially about the American Civil War, World War II, and Idaho History), and a wonderful conversationalist. She loved baseball, kept abreast of everyone's lives, and read more voraciously than anyone I've ever met. It was an extraordinary privilege being in her family.
She was a teacher. She taught first and third grade for decades, starting her career in a one-room school in Central Idaho, before moving on to a long career teaching elementary school students in New Plymouth, Idaho. She raised her children in nearby Fruitland, where she and my grandfather, Walter, raised a family until we lost him to cancer in 1985. After her oldest son died suddenly in 1988, she welcomed his children (myself, my brother, and my sisters) into her home and raised them to adulthood.
She had a strong sense of community service, even in retirement, including serving as president of the Lower Snake River Retired Teacher's Association. She had strong words of encouragement for anybody she knew who needed them. She was a volunteer for Head Start and contributed regularly to Project DOVE (DOmestic Violence Ended).
She is survived by a large family, including her daughter, Dixie, husband Eric, son Cody (and his family), daughter Brooke (husband Roy and baby son, Jack); her son, Earl, of Payette, and his wife, Sherrie, and two sons, Walter (daughters Abigail and Victoria), and Michael (wife Kirsten and daughter Riley); three children of her oldest son, Lee Sr.; Lee Jr. (me) of the Silicon Valley (son Lee III and daughter Brittany), Brent (and son Nathan), and Brenda (husband John, her daughters Allanna, Christa, and Dax, and her step-grandchildren). Additionally, she is survived by her two sisters, twins Freda, of Mountain Home, Idaho, and Ileda of Nampa, and their extended families; two sisters-in-law, Frances and Betty, and their families, and numerous nephew, nieces, great-nephews, great-nieces, and lots of nice people who were close enough to be family.
Today, I'm donating $95.00 (one dollar for every year of her life) to Project Dove in her memory. If you knew my grandmother and would like to honor her, send a check to:
P. O. Box 980
Ontario, OR 97914
Rest in peace, Grandma. We'll all miss you more than we can express. We will never ever forget you.
When I was looking for Project Dove's website, I found DOVE Inc and made a donation to them. Afterward, I discovered that DOVE Inc, which does the same work as the Project DOVE in the Treasure Valley, is a local service in Quincy, Massachusetts. My first donation will help women all the way across the continent and I know my grandmother would chuckle at my misunderstanding. I'm really happy I can help two wonderful organizations, separated by 2800 miles.