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Reta Gerths, 82

| December 7, 2023 1:00 AM

Reta Gerths, 82, formerly of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, passed away unexpectedly at St Luke’s in Boise on Nov. 25, 2023. The daughter of Marvin and Vilda Gertsch, she was born in Blackfoot, Idaho, on Sept. 14, 1941. 

Until age 11, Reta and her four siblings lived in Rathdrum, Idaho, in the back of the family-owned Blue Bird Cafe on Main Street. The best sledding hill in town was right outside their back door and they would battle over who could go downhill the fastest. Sometimes, they played outside all day, huddling around a smoky burn barrel to keep warm.

Everyone had a job helping out in the cafe and Reta’s job was making milkshakes. Getting the ice cream just right so the mixer wouldn’t stall took a lot of effort. When the family moved to Coeur d’Alene in 1952, she took the old mixer with her, but it was never used again!

One fall night in 1957, pretty, blonde, blue-eyed Reta caught the eye of a handsome, young Army private at a Coeur d’Alene High School football game. Back home from serving overseas, it was love at first sight for LuVerne Gerths. The couple didn’t waste any time and were married just nine days later at the Hitching Post Chapel. This was the beginning of a love story that would last for 66 years.

The couple soon welcomed daughters Lori, Loni and Leni, and raised them in Coeur d’Alene. Reta worked for the General Telephone Company until Vern’s career took the couple to Las Vegas, Nev., in 1997.

As a Slot Ambassador for the Boulder Station Hotel & Casino, Reta loved meeting people from all walks of life. In 1999, she was honored to be named “Star Performer of the Year.” Vern and Reta enjoyed living in Las Vegas, but Coeur d’Alene would always be home and they returned four years later.

Reta’s warm smile greeted every grandchild the moment they were born. She even left a turkey and side dishes on the table when she hurried to the hospital to welcome a granddaughter born Thanksgiving day.

A devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Grammy Reta was our family’s biggest sports fan. When she wasn’t cheering at one of our ballgames, she was rooting for the Seattle Seahawks and Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Grammy never forgot a birthday. Always the first to call, our special days would begin with a cheerful happy birthday duet from Grammy and Grampy.

Grammy had an endearing sense of humor that could make us laugh until we cried. She lived every day with gratitude and found joy in the simple things that others take for granted. Contentment was reading a good book in the warm sunshine, and as an Arizona snowbird, she spent many winters doing just that. We love and miss you. You will live forever in our hearts.

Reta is survived by her loving husband of 66 years, Vern, in Mountain Home, daughters Lori Curtis (Dan), Boise and Leni Hawks (Jimmy), Cataldo, and son-in-law Jon Cook, Eagle. Grandchildren and their families are Chad Curtis (Allison), Jake and Adam, Meridian; Brooke Cope (Carl), Damen, Rathdrum, and Mattisyn, Las Vegas, Nev.; Cassie Thompson (Trent), Meridian, Matthew (Charis) and Dylan (Chloe), Moscow; Amanda Tyler (Sean), Courtni, Barron, and Asher, McCall; and Ashley Palace (Tyler), Lucy and Gavin, Eagle. Reta is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews and her best friend since childhood, Ilene Tilla Benham, Spokane Valley, Wash.  

In addition to her parents, Reta was preceded in death by her daughter, Loni Cook, in 2020, and siblings Charles Gertsch, Pearl MacGregor, Marvin Gertsch and Jimmie Gertsch.

Cloverdale Funeral Home of Boise is in charge of cremation. Loved ones gathered in Boise to celebrate Reta’s life, and, per her wishes, a service will not be held. The cremains will be placed alongside those of her daughter, Loni, at the home of her granddaughter, Ashley.