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MAIN STREET: Full circle of life on Cougar Bay

by KERRI RANKIN THORESON/Main Street
| August 16, 2023 1:00 AM

Roberta Graves Larsen was born on Aug. 8, 1936, at the home of Dr. Blackwell, which is now known as the Blackwell House on Sherman Avenue. She grew up in the home of her grandparents, Richard and Iverina Rasmussen, with her mother Joyce on Cougar Bay. The Rasmussen legend on the Heritage Wall at the Coeur d’Alene Library describes them as among the first settlers in Cougar Bay in the early 1920s.

In the 1990s, Roberta and her husband, David retired and moved into the family lake house full time. David passed away in 2021 and Roberta remained in her beloved home on the water. On Tuesday, Aug. 8 she enjoyed a gathering of friends and family to mark her 87th birthday. On Sunday morning Roberta did go gently into that good night.

While she is and will be missed by many, including her children Ward, Christine and Ross, to have lived such a life of beauty, joy, love, service to others and the community and to simply drift off to sleep surrounded by all the comforts of a lifetime of family memories is such a blessing. If anyone deserved such an artful bon voyage it was our dear, sweet Roberta.

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Over the weekend we camped with friends, Rod and Susie Heitstuman, up the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River so we were in a perfect place to settle in for the Perseid meteor showers on Saturday. With no light pollution from the city, the night sky, including the Milky Way, was stunning. Between the four of us we saw a handful of meteors but nothing even close to resembling a shower of them. It might be because we turned in at 10 p.m., tired from a day of kayaking the Coeur d’Alene River near Cataldo.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been kayaking exactly three times including Saturday and I’m not very good at it. Not at all. So when the wind came up and it was hard for me to steer my kayak in a specific direction, my husband, Bert, hooked a strap to the back of his kayak and to the front of mine and towed me.

His only instruction, “Don’t paddle.” So I took photos instead. Note: my arms weren’t tired when we returned to the Cataldo boat launch. And, yes, I plan to practice on a calm lake like Fernan or Twin before winter comes.

On Sunday we enjoyed panoramic views from mountain tops via our side-by-sides on Forest Service trails. It still boggles the mind that we can swim in a mountain river, ride to mountain tops, kayak in the shadow of Idaho’s oldest building, sleep under the stars and not have gone more than 45 minutes from our front door.

On Monday, our daughter and I spent the afternoon in the Spokane River at Q’emiln Park, just five minutes from our front door.

Counting my blessings that we get to live in such a place, not just vacation here.

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Post Script: My favorite day of all is today.

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Happy birthday today to Jeff Drew, Susan Selle, Brian Kirk, Jennifer Ross, Cindy Wagner, Andrea Fulks, Kim Brown, Serena Carlson, Sarah McCool, Paul Sullivan and Brandia Young. Tomorrow Amber Malloy, Jenna Morrison, JR Conrow, Kristin Largent, Cynthia Rayner, Terri Seymour, John Gertenbach, Brandee Peacock, Linda Mannschreck, Christina Gardner and Lugene Broadsword take another trip around the sun. On Friday Jim Hail, III, Brandi Meeks, Jaqueline Dickinson, Jake Medlock, Jasmine Preckle, Sarah Andrews, Toni Prince, Marissa Davenport, Corrine Larsen, Keva Wolfe, Andrea Sadler, Julie Pierce and Althea Carpenter put on their party hats. On Saturday Barrett Herman, Vicky Jo Carey, Scott Noordam, Amy Elder, Peter Woods and Frank Garcia blow out the candles. Mary Condie, Nancy Scofield, Elaine Carda, Louise Gillespie, Christina Gardner, Gene Colley and Art Elliott share Aug. 20 birthdays. Celebrating on Monday are Crystal Shofner-Moore, Jared Phay, Matthew Behringer, Doris McCaulley and Kelly Chadderdon. On Tuesday Brett Seright (40!), Leanne Campbell, Mary Gomer, Cathy Smith, David Walrath, Cecilia Peterson and Lilliana Raynor blow out the candles.

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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.