Elizabeth E Hess

September 1, 1944 ~ June 7, 2022 (age 77)


June 7, 2022, Elizabeth E. Hess drew her last breath while holding the hand of her husband, Larry. Elizabeth was ready to leave the pain behind and enter into eternal life in the arms of her lord Jesus Christ. Her family draws comfort knowing she is no longer suffering after fighting a courageous battle.

Elizabeth was born September 1, 1944 to Lynn Wilkes and Ellen Thompson Wilkes in Portland, Oregon. The youngest of Lynn and Ellen's children, Elizabeth joined siblings Roy, Marilyn, and Ronald. After Lynn's death, Ellen married Wilfred Waters and at the age of six, Elizabeth moved with her mother and brother Ronald from Long Beach, Washington to Nezperce. A few years later, sister Cheryl was born. Farm life was a big change from living at the beach but living in Nezperce brought the opportunity for the family to be close to extended family in Ellen's hometown. She would tell the story about being told she was moving from Washington to Idaho and mom was convinced she was moving “out west”. Elizabeth went to school in Nezperce graduating from high school in 1962. On December 21, 1962, Elizabeth married her high school sweetheart, Larry Hess. Daughter Rhonda was born in December 1963 followed by Karen in June 1966 and Lindsey in December 1982.

An active member of St. John's Lutheran church, Elizabeth served on the church council, led Sunday school classes and vacation bible school over the years. Her labor of love as the church steward included making the communion bread, preparing the wine, and changing the altar cloth. She would read scripture when asked or stand in for the pastor as needed. A proud Norwegian, Elizabeth enjoyed preparing for the annual lutefisk dinner, often making rosettes and krumkake. Like any good Norwegian, she looked forward to the lutefisk and lefse. She helped organize activities of the women’s group, worked on quilts for the needy abroad and later had a large role establishing the secondhand store, Thrift on 5th, where the proceeds are channeled to the needy. Elizabeth was always available to open the thrift store for those in need. She enjoyed the fellowship working at the thrift store brought her and was happy to bring home a trinket or two herself.

While her girls were growing up, Elizabeth led the local Girl Scout troop which meant many camping trips to Winchester Lake. She was a 4-H leader, Lewis County Fair Board secretary and for many years served as superintendent of the open class and parade during the Lewis County fair. In 1999 she received recognition as 4H Outstanding Leader of the Year and received a Distinguished Service Award in 2001. She participated in the SRO for many years and manned the ice cream social and bingo during Prairie Days.

Known for her service, Elizabeth collected donations for the American Cancer Society for many years. She was a member of the Jaycettes and the North Nezperce Club. Elizabeth volunteered at the Nezperce school and as the library story hour leader and taught “fit and fall proof” exercises at the senior center. Elizabeth received Volunteer of the Year from the City of Nezperce in 2010. She was president of the Lewis County Historical Society and the Nezperce Historical Society and Museum which she helped organize in 2009. Elizabeth was especially proud when she joined the Daughters of the American Revolution in 2010.

In addition to her volunteer work, Elizabeth also worked as an insurance agent at Idaho First National bank, and later went to work at the USPS as the postmaster relief. She enjoyed traveling with Larry as he worked construction, oftentimes pulling the camper or flagging when needed. Reading, camping, genealogy, scrap booking, antiquing, collecting angels and spending time with her friends and family were things she enjoyed.

Elizabeth was preceded in death by her grandson, Christopher; brother, Roy; father, Lynn Wilkes; mother, Ellen Thompson Wilkes Waters; stepfather, Wilfred Waters; step-sister, Margaret Nell Waters Longeteig; her father-in-law, Howard Hess and mother-in-law, June Hess.

She leaves behind her husband of 59 years, Larry, daughters Rhonda (Phil) Schmidt, Karen Hess, Lindsey (Chris) Woltering. Grandchildren Jordan, Keely (Jake), Carson, Parker, Avah, and bonus granddaughters Alex, Sam and Isabelle. Great grandchildren Kaden, Haisley and Jason. Sister, Marilyn Marvin, Junction City, Oregon; brother, Ronald Wilkes, Portland, Oregon; sister, Cheryl Waters, Boise, Idaho; and sister-in-law, Dorothea Wilkes, La Grande, Oregon, along with numerous nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Service will take place Friday, June 17th at 10:30 am at St. John’s Lutheran Church with inurnment at the Nezperce Community Cemetery and lunch to follow at the Nezperce Legion Hall. The family suggests donations be made to the Nezperce Historical Society and Museum.

Blackmer Funeral Home in Grangeville is handling the arrangements. You may submit a condolence to the family at

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Memorial Service
June 17, 2022

10:30 AM
St. John's Lutheran Church
206 5th Avenue
Nezperce, ID 83543

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