Zelma Lee Oldham was born May 17, 1939; the fourth of eight children born to Casper Earl Lee and Alverna Kristine Christensen Lee. She was born in her family home in Heyburn, Idaho.
As a young girl, Zelma loved to play in the water and in the mud around her family farm. Her brothers and sister also say she disliked wearing shoes. Whether inside or out, she loved the feeling the texture of the ground, or the smoothness of a clean floor under her feet. She could easily chase after her family running barefooted over the rock-strewn roads.
As the family grew, so did the garden which was planted and fed her entire family. All the children were asked to help plant, weed, and harvest the garden. Zelma could plant with fervor, weed quickly, and could create the most beautiful bottles of veggies and fruits. Many people were gardeners in those times, but Zelma did more than just work; she shared the proceeds of that work with others-- especially with her family.
Everyone has talked of her delicious canning, her love filled candies, and her thoughtfully shared homemade chicken noodle soup.
Zelma went to elementary school in Heyburn. She would have graduated from there, but consolidation required the closure of Heyburn High School after her sophomore year. The last two years she attended the “new” Minico High School, graduating in 1957.
After her two years at Minico, Zelma went to Twin Falls Business College, successfully completing school. She then went to work at the M.H. King Company in their main office in Burley. “Greener pastures” called her and she moved to the big city of Sacramento, California. She lived in Sacramento for eight years where she was employed by Raley’s Supermarket and Drug. While living in Sacramento area, she met and married her husband Ronald Oldham in 1967. They sealed that marriage in the Oakland Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1968. Ron and Zelma relocated back to Idaho where she worked for Ore-Ida Foods-- later called McCain Foods-- for the remainder of her professional working career, retiring in 1999.
Since retirement, both Zelma and Ron have enjoyed the home they built together. Until the spring and summer of this year Zelma continued gardening, yard work, and canning. During retirement, she also did volunteer work at Park View Rehab Center working in the snack bar. She also loved being an integral part of the Heyburn High School alumni board, appreciating the yearly visits with friends from her past.
Over the years Zelma has faced, with courage, a number of medical challenges that could have taken her life, or worse, her spirit. As family has tried to support her, she has turned the tables and been the one to encourage all of those around her.
Zelma has always been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Her service included working in the Relief Society, Young Women’s Program, and the Primary.
Zelma is survived by her husband Ronald Weldon Oldham; her step children, Debra Nelson (Tom) of Oregon, and Thomas Oldham (Maria) of California; three step grandchildren; her sister Mary Etta (Richard) Wright of Nampa, Idaho; her brothers Stanley of Sacramento, California, Donald (Irene) of Burley, Idaho, LaVere (Susan) of Twin Falls, Idaho, and Dale (Phyllis)of Layton, Utah; and 20 nieces and nephews whom she considered to be her children. Preceding her in death are her parents, one sister Ramona Okelberry and her husband Donald, her brother Darrell Lee, and a sister-in-law Joanne Lee.
The family would like to thank Dr. Joseph Ippolito, the nursing staff at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Regional Medical facility, and especially the staff at Serenity Rehabilitation Services for their kindness, support, and thoughtful care.
Funeral services will take place at 11:00 a.m. Friday, September 6, 2019 at the Heyburn Ward Chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 300 South 500 West in Heyburn. A viewing will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Thursday, September 5, 2019 at the Morrison Payne Funeral Home, 321 East Main Street in Burley and for one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will take place in the Riverside Cemetery in Heyburn immediately following the funeral service.
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