Carma Jean Foiles, 95, was born in Loveland, CO to Earl and Mabel Worden on Oct. 13, 1922. She passed away Nov. 14, 2017. Carma met her future husband, Marvin Foiles, at Loveland High School. They attended different colleges, but did not lose touch. While growing up in Loveland, Co. Carma spent summers working with her sisters as a maid for the family’s cabins at the top of Big Thompson Canyon leading into Estes Park. Her father had built the first cabins for rent in that area. Later the family had their own cabin in Estes Park which was enjoyed by her brother and sisters families for over fifty years.
Carma went to Colorado Teachers College and Marvin attended Colorado State University on a track scholarship. WWII separated them again when Marvin and his brothers volunteered for the Air Force following Pearl Harbor. Two years later the high school sweethearts were married during a 10-day R & R from the war. They went to the Army – Navy football game during their honeymoon, before Marvin returned to the war. Carma came home and worked as a bookkeeper hoping for Marvin (aka Murf) to return from the war. They didn’t see each other for the next 18 months.
After the war, Marv graduated in Forestry from CSU and they moved to Missoula, MT with the U.S. Forest Service. His career then took them to North Idaho to the Deception Creek Experiment Station where Marv did forestry research. They lived half of every year at this remote research center up the North Fork of the Coeur d’ Alene River. Far out of town, the home at the research center had a wood stove in the kitchen, oil lantern lights and bears that liked to attack the garbage cans at night. One could barely get any radio reception, let alone television or other entertainment.
Even though Murf tried to convince Carma that they should raise Irish Setters rather than have a large family, by 1953 they had three children, Randy, Janice and Leslie. Three seemed like just the right number…. they raised six. The second group of three included Stan, Anne and Steve. By this time, the family was in Boise, ID but they still spent summers at Forest Service Research Centers. Those six kids had each other and the forest for their playground. It must have been a good formula, because they are a loving, close group to this day.
Carma was a wonderful mother. She created the classic happy home of the 60’s and 70’s. She was active in the local PTA and her church, but being Mom was always Carma’s first priority. All of her kids still feel that they had the best mother that anyone could have. She became a special, loving grandmother to 11 grandchildren and a great grandmother to 10 great grandchildren who all adored her.
The family moved to Moscow, ID in 1967. Randy started at the University of Idaho that fall and it began a long tradition of family members graduating from the UI. All six children attended the university and four met their spouses there. While living in Moscow, Idaho, Carma was a founding member of the Latah Federal Credit Union, and later became an employee for them.
Motherhood can also bring heartache. In 1969 tragedy struck, when her oldest daughter, Janice, was killed at age 19 the day after Christmas. Marvin died of cancer at the age of 61 shortly after retiring from the Forest Service. Cancer also took her youngest child, Steve, at age 49. The positive way in which Carma survived these events is a testament to the strong character that kept her smiling and a joy to be with all the way to 95 years of age.
After Murph’s death, Carma did one of the best things she ever did as a Mom for her family. She took a solo drive up to Lake Coeur d’Alene to look for “just a little cabin.” The cabin she bought is still in the family. Two more lake homes are now in the family, and the group has loved the Conkling Park area ever since Carma took that drive to the lake to “just look around.”
Carma played tennis, was a master at bridge, enjoyed watching sports, and loved a good party with her “happy hour” around 5:00. The family loved to be at Grandma’s lake house every summer and she was delighted with the whole crowd there. Having the family together with kids sleeping all over the floors is how she liked it – all together, just like the days growing up at Deception Creek Experiment Station. Carma made many friends in the Conkling Park area of Lake Coeur d’Alene. She enjoyed 30+ years at the lake with friends from Moscow and the lake neighborhood.
In the last several years Carma lived at Orchard Crest Retirement Center in the Spokane Valley followed by Brighton Court Assisted Living Center, also in the Spokane Valley.
In addition to Marvin, Janice and Steve, Carma was pre-deceased by her parents, Earl and Mabel Worden, brother Mansel Worden, and sisters Virginia Curtis and Naomi Yeager, all from the Loveland, CO. area.
Carma is survived by four married children: Randy Foiles (Mary Ann), Les Foiles (Vickie), Stan Foiles (Kristi) and Anne Frederiksen (Phil), plus Steve’s widow, Dawn (Brad Roach). She has 11 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
A small graveside service will be held in Moscow, Idaho, Saturday morning, Nov. 18. The family is planning a celebration of her life in December.
The family wishes to thank the caring staff at Brighton Court dementia care and the wonderful nurses of Kindred Hospice for their loving care of Carma during these last few months.
The family suggests that any memorial donations be made to the Vandal Scholarship Fund, or to the Janice Foiles Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of Idaho. This fund continues to grant scholarships to freshman women at the U of I, 48 years after Janice’s death.