Josephine (Harvey) Killgore, 96, passed away at her home on the family farm along the Salmon River near White Bird, Idaho Thursday morning May 17, 2018. Josephine H. Harvey was born December 5, 1921 at Sweetwater, Idaho, a short distance South of Lapwai, Idaho. Her parents were Jesse Harvey and Annie Jackson. At the time of her passing she was the oldest living tribal member of the Nez Perce tribe. She was raised and baptized as a Catholic. Her parents later moved and lived along Webb road (for the locals, it is the house and buildings that the paved Webb road goes “out around”, there used to be a rather large general store at this sharp curve in the road also). To her family she was affectionately known as “Bug”.
Mom attended school in Lapwai and went on to attend teacher’s college at the Lewis Clark Normal school in Lewiston, Idaho in the early forties. While there she met and made some close college friends while living in Talkington Hall on campus. After receiving her teaching credential, she went on to teach at several schools and places, the last of which was at the one- room school on the Doumecq Plains above the Salmon River. It was here at a schoolhouse dance that she met James Killgore, her future husband. They were married at Dayton, Washington in 1945. They lived together on the family farm along the Salmon River for some 65 years (Jim Killgore passed away in the spring of 2011).
One of the “crops” they raised were children, 6 altogether. As it happened in the family of 8, four of us had birthdays in the month of December, all before Christmas. Mom and Dad could be tough taskmasters, but like most parents it was for our own good. One constant source of potential danger and concern besides all the farming activity was the uncontrolled Salmon River, particularly during high water. We were reminded often to “stay away from the river” or “do not go near the river by yourself”.
The farm already had some fruit trees back then, so the idea of selling fruit for supplemental income was worth a try. It took off and turned out to be more successful than expected.
As most farm wives and mothers of the time, her work taking care of the house and children was never done. She had 6 children but the first 5 were all boys. As was common at the time when they became old enough to really be helpful at the house they instead were expected to work in the fields and orchard, away from the house. Mom never really had help with housework until the youngest child, a girl, came along.
Mom never learned to drive and did not have a strong desire to do so. Dad tried to teach her but as can happen with married couples it just led to frustration for both of them.
She cooked three meals a day seven days a week, cleaned, did the sewing, laundry, took care of the chickens and the house vegetable garden, preserved or canned peaches, apricots, plums, cherries, tomatoes, green beans, corn, beets, sauerkraut, etc. We had Holstein milk cows that the boys milked twice a day. The milk was taken to the house in large milk cans where Mom would filter it through cloth then run it through the “separator” that separated the milk from the cream (this separator was an International Harvester brand). Large jars of milk were kept on the back porch in a refrigerator for customers to stop by and purchase, which was mostly self-serve. Some of the cream was kept to churn into butter for us, the rest was taken in cans to the “creamery” in Grangeville. It was fun for us kids to go to the creamery because often we would get to have an ice cream cone!
Shopping was done only about once a month back then, some in White Bird and some in Grangeville over the old “switch back” highway. In the early years when the fruit business was only at the home place, Mom was also the business secretary. She kept the books, took orders and placed phone calls to customers, paid the bills and kept a written record of all the checks that came in.
In addition, she worked for the federal government for over 30 years. The Salmon River meter gauge (which reads the depth) along the river across from White Bird Creek needed to be “read” monthly. Inside the concrete structure was a purely mechanical device at the time (today it is electronic and at least partly solar powered). A trace of ink was left on a large long scroll of paper which had to be removed and replaced and restarted each month. The “trace” was then folded (it must have been 12 feet long or more) and sent in to the Department of Commerce.
Mom was a world class worker and seldom complained. In later years she and Dad took time to travel with friends several winters to Mexico, the land of her father. She also enjoyed taking care of her roses and other flowers, as well as reading.
She is survived by her six children: Keith, Les, Carl, Steve, Bill, and Camille, as well as her youngest sister JoAnn, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A viewing will be held Thursday, May 24, 2018 from 3:00 to 8:00 pm at the Blackmer Funeral Home in Grangeville. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place Friday, May 25, 2018 at 2:00 pm at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in White Bird. Burial will follow at White Bird Cemetery. Following burial, all are invited to the International Order of Odd Fellows Hall for a light dinner. Send condolences to the family to Blackmerfuneralhome.com. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home of Grangeville.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in her name to any of the following: Monastery of St. Gertrude, Development Office, 465 Keuterville Road, Cottonwood, Idaho 83522, or Animal Rescue Shelter Inc., P.O.Box 72, Grangeville, Idaho 83530, or White Bird Community Library, 245 River Road,White Bird, Idaho 83554. Thank You.