Kay Viste

Obituary of Kay Lynnette Viste

Kay was born on March 22, 1933 in Cumberland, Wisconsin, to Melvin and Laura Fornell. She was the second of six children, the first of three girls. During her early years, the family lived in a log cabin in rural Barron County, Wisconsin. By the time she was of school age, they had moved to a larger farm house. She and her brother, Peter, walked to the country school a mile from their home. The family moved again when her parents bought the farm where they lived when she was in the later grades, only half a mile from a school. She went to high school in Barron, Wisconsin and graduated as valedictorian of her class in 1950.

Kay went William Penn College, in Iowa for one year. In 1951, she accompanied a friend to Montana where they worked on a dude ranch in Gallatin Canyon for the summer. That fall she enrolled at Montana State College in Bozeman. There she met Kenneth Viste on a blind date in the spring of 1952. They were married on July 10, 1953. They moved to Davis, California when Ken was accepted at the University of California, Davis for graduate study. Kay completed her B.A. at UC Davis. Ken got a position with the USDA in Davis so it was there that they started a family. Three daughters – Raelene, Glenda, and Lynnette – were born there. The family moved to Pennsylvania in 1963 when Kenneth took a position with a chemical company. The fourth daughter, Karen, was born in Pennsylvania. Kay was busy with her family and also very involved with the League of Women Voters. She served as President of the local LWV organization.

After ten years in Pennsylvania, they moved to a farm near Shoshone, Idaho, where they raised farm crops and beef cattle. Kay went to work at the Community Action Agency in Twin Falls, where she served as executive director. In addition, she helped Ken with the irrigation and raised dairy goats. Kay was a farm girl at heart and was happy to bring her family out of the city to Idaho. In 1988, Kay and Kenneth moved to Barron, Wisconsin so Kay could be near her mother who was in failing health. Interestingly, their house there was next to the first country school she had attended 50 years earlier. The building still stood but was no longer a school. In Barron, she worked with Human Services. When Kay’s mother died, Kay and Ken both retired and moved to Boise, Idaho, where they have lived since 1996.

They joined the Treasure Valley YMCA, the Scandinavian Society, the Golden Eagle Audubon Society, and the Tanglefoot Square Dance Club. Never a strong swimmer in her early years, Kay started swimming regularly at the Y and achieved recognition when she reached her 300 miles and then 500 miles.

She enjoyed crafting and creative hobbies for many years. She joined the Woodcarvers Guild as she continued her woodcarving and chip-carving hobby. She was also a quilter and made quilts and wall hangings. She was active in Threadbenders, a needlework group. She enjoyed designing quilt blocks on the computer. She also painted in watercolor, enjoyed music, was an avid reader, and worked a daily crossword puzzle. Kay loved to travel. When her daughters were young, the family would go on road trips around the country, visiting family, historic sites, national parks, the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, and Expo ‘67 in Montreal. In later years, the family traveled together to places such as Victoria, B.C; Astoria, Oregon; and northern Wisconsin. A highlight for her was in 1998, when she visited the town in Sweden from where her grandparents emigrated. There she met many of her second cousins, descendants of siblings of her grandparents. She kept in touch with some of the Swedish family and went for a second visit in 2004. In other years, she also visited Italy, Spain, Morocco, and Hawaii.

Kay was a loving mother who raised four independent daughters. She made sure they all learned to express their creative side, in music or crafts, and that they all were well educated. She also taught them all to be kind to others and to care for those less fortunate.

Kay is survived by her husband of 65 years, Kenneth; her four daughters, Raelene, Boise; Glenda (Stephanie Sheppard), Boise; Lynnette (Jay Thompson), San Jose, Ca; and Karen (Stuart Sparkman) Des Moines, Ia. She is also survived by five siblings: Peter (Marge), Texas; Dennis, Eau Claire, Wi; Natalie (Mike Nelson) Texas; Larry (Marlene), Barron, Wi.; and Pamela (Spencer Black), Madison, Wi.; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins including April (Tom Althouse), San Diego, Ca, who was especially close to her.

Services will be at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb 19 at Summers Funeral Chapel, 1205 W. Bannock St, Boise. The family asks donations be made to Treasure Valley YMCA in lieu of flowers.