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Blaine County Heritage Court Fetes Four New Women
Jane Drussel and Kelli Young welcome Betty Brooks to the Blaine County Heritage Court
Wednesday, May 29, 2024


One woman helped organize the first Search and Rescue in the Sun Valley area, utilizing bloodhounds to help with searches. Another introduced wind surfing to the Wood River Valley, culminating in wind surfing regattas on Magic Reservoir.

These are two of the four women who will be inducted during the Blaine County Historical Museum’s Heritage Court’s 21st annual Coronation Ceremony. The ceremony, open to the public, will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 9 at The Community Campus in Hailey.

Entertainment will be included and a reception will follow. The women also will ride in Hailey’s Fourth of July Parade, Bellevue’s Labor Day Parade and Ketchum’s Wagon Days Parade. And they will be honored with a luncheon at The Senior Connection and Carey Fair Board.

Dianne Parke shares a smile with Larraine Davis.

They were introduced on Tuesday at a tea hosted by Ketchum’s Community Library as women who have given back to the community through ranching, teaching and other means.

“What you have done does matter,” said Rebecca Cox, director of the Blaine County Historical Museum.  “You are women who have made a difference. The stories of your lives show perseverance-- you take life as it comes and continue to have a good attitude about it.”

BETTY BROOKS, of Hailey, is the third generation in a family that owned the Liberty Theatre at one time.

This family also owned the Brooks Hotel next to where Johnny’s Peruvian restaurant is today, an auto repair garage and the Liberty Rock Shop. And grandmother Winnie Brooks founded Marinello’s Beauty Salon and cosmetology school in the days that few women opened businesses.

Jerry Ann Heaney will be inducted into the Blaine County Heritage Court on June 9; Linda Vinagre was inducted in 2021.

After graduating from Hailey High School, Brooks went to beautician school and joined her father Bill Brooks—a barber, her grandmother and her sister at Marinello’s. She married an out-of-towner who lived way down the road in Bellevue and they had two children—Laura, who lives in Seattle, and John, who lives in Boise.

During her 40s, she went to the College of Southern Idaho, then rode a scholarship to Idaho State University in Pocatello where she earned a Master’s degree in psychology before getting a degree in counseling at Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa. She worked for Head Start as a family advocate, then for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. She also counseled adults experiencing depression, anxiety and anger for more than 30 years.

She met her second husband Ron Foster while dancing with the High Country Swingers. Now retired, she still dances in the Senior Connection’s line dancing class. And, when not dancing, she bikes and skis along the bike path and Quigley Nordic.

And she would hard pressed to leave the Wood River Valley.

Ann VanEarly shares a moment with Mary Bird, a member of the Blaine County Heritage Court committee.

“We have good weather—no tornados or hurricanes—and we have easy access to the outdoors,” she says.

JERRY ANN HEANEY grew up as Jerry Ann Fehrenbacher, the daughter of a Union Pacific Railroad worker. She visited Sun Valley Resort several times with her Pocatello ski club and after college came to Sun Valley for an idyllic summer in 1962 and never left.

She lived in the women’s dorms at Sun Valley and worked at the Sun Valley Inn’s Continental Café, the Sun Valley Drug Store and the Lodge Newsstand. After Bill Janss bought Sun Valley Resort, she put on an apron, waitressing at the newly opened Boiler Room, the Ram and Trail Creek Cabin.

She married John Heaney, a fellow Sun Valley employee, in 1966 and the two moved to a cabin along Trail Creek where they had two sons—Spyder, who lives in San Francisco, and Adam, who lives in Newport Beach.

Linda Vinagre, Joann Walker and Jane Drussel were feted with gifts since no teas and lunches were held the year they were inducted into the Heritage Court.

After seven years at Sun Valley, Jerry Ann went to work for Christiania restaurant where she worked for the next 26 years while John traveled as a rep for K2 and Solomon skis. Eventually, the couple started a ski repair and consignment shop so John could be home as the boys grew, and he supplemented that by working as a painting contractor.

In 1979 when they decided that Ketchum needed a new toy, they introduced wind surfing to the valley in the form of a Boston Whaler, leading to wind surfing regattas at Magic Reservoir.

Taking up bicycling, they bicycled from Ketchum to Boise over Mores Creek Summit and they cycled from Seattle to Portland twice. They eventually traded bicycles for long-distance motorcycle rides across Canada and down the West and East coasts.

A member of Our Lady of Snows Catholic Church, Heaney served on the cemetery board for 12 years and volunteered with local elections for 43.

“God has been good to us,” she says.

ANN VANEVERY of Bellevue was born in Arapaho, Neb., but grew up in Rupert, graduating from Minico High School in 1966. Her first husband Ed VanEvery was an electrician and one of the first radio announcers in the valley. They lived on 6th street when there was nothing but pasture, horses and cattle.

The two joined with neighbors to form the valley’s first Search and Rescue in 1973, becoming the first to introduce bloodhounds to aid in searches.

In the early days Ann worked at First Security Bank when it was in the Lane Mercantile Building in Ketchum; she also worked at as head cashier at Sun Valley Resort from 1974 until 2020 and still remains a close friend to Carol Holding.

She and Ed had a daughter named Sonya, and VanEvery is proud to say that most of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren live a stone’s throw away to this day.

She met her second husband Michael Douglas while working as a bartender at the Silver Dollar Saloon. They married in 1982 and she became mom to his two children Michael and Brenda and an adopted daughter Sara Johnston.

An usher at St. Charles Church in Hailey, Ann helped raise funds for the church’s 140th anniversary celebration in 2023. And she volunteers on the Wood River Toy Run.

“My grandma uses her experience to help raise funds for unsupported families that help give children fantastic Christmases,” said her step-grandson Gabe.  “Retirement has been anything but relaxation.”

Ann also has been a consummate caregiver, starting with her daughter Sonya and carrying through with her stepchildren, whose disabilities required frequent visits to specialists and doctors. When her stepdaughter died in 2022, she took in her children Gabe and Vannessa, helped Gabe complete high school and supported him through college.

DIANNE PARKE of Carey moved to the Wood River Valley from Heber City, Utah, when she was 5 as her father was serving in the war and her mother wanted to be closer to family. The strong sense of community and the beautiful surroundings have kept her from leaving.

“I love the people, the changing seasons and the stunning natural beauty of the area,” said Parke, whose mother Margaret Murdock was also named to the Heritage Court.

While in high school Dianne’s husband-to-be Darwin had his twin brother call Dianne and pretend to be him to arrange a date. The two tied the knot as soon as she completed her freshman year at Brigham Young University in Provo, and they will celebrate their 61st anniversary on Aug. 28.

Darwin farmed and worked in the oil and gas business, while Dianne taught second and third graders in Dietrich before teaching fourth grade in Carey. She taught for 19 years before retiring from the Blaine County School District in 2007.

She and her husband also spent 18 months on an LDS mission to the Navajo Indian Reservation, where they taught career workshops and employment skills. She helped one young man obtain his GED and a job, then helped his mother obtain her GED, as well.

Today Parke spends her time baking bread, visiting the elderly and volunteering in various capacities. And, of course, her five children, 22 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren demand a little time, as well.

Betty Brooks, is taking water and computer classes in retirement.

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