Roberta Lee Simonsen, 81, of Grangeville, Idaho, unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane, Wash. She was the greatest mom and dad in the world.
She is survived by her four children: Emily Simonsen Kalagian (Marc), Jody Simonsen, Raelene Simonsen Shiosaka (Bryan), and Shauna Simonsen; five grandchildren: Lauren Shiosaka, Taryn Kalagian, Nicole Kalagian Coyne (Clayton), Tyler Flowers, and Justin Shiosaka; two brothers: Robert and Ronald Boal; and countless aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Roberta Lee Simonsen was born in San Diego, Calif., to Robert Lyle Coffey and Pearl Lee Etta Hosley on July 8, 1936. Her father died on the USS Squalus in 1939 and Pearl remarried Owen Boal in 1941. Roberta lived in various cities and states throughout her early years and teens, lastly in Ohio with her beloved (at the time) Cleveland Indians.
Mom joined the United States Army in January of 1955 and loved every minute of her service to our country. She was stationed in Japan where she met and fell in love with our father, Emil Simonsen. After a whirlwind courtship, they married in 1958. Mom was honorably discharged at the rank of E5 in January of 1959. In July of ‘59 the first of four children, Emily was born. Jody was born in 1961, Raelene in 1962 and Shauna in 1963.
The family lived in Fort Ord, California, Aschaffenburg, Germany, and finally settling in Norwalk, Calif., in 1969. In Norwalk, Roberta became an AVID Los Angeles Dodgers fanatic and a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fan. She loved going to Dodgers games with her transistor radio, listening to Vin Scully, and keeping score as the game was going on in front of her.
Mom worked very hard to support her four kids on a military salary and later child support. She worked as many as four jobs plus was a Girl Scout leader, involved with Little League baseball, Bobby Sox softball coach and took all of us to our swim meets. She loved camping, sports and biking. She also earned her AA degree from Cerritos College in 1972 while we four kids cheered her on! Roberta got a job as food service assistant for the California Youth Authority in 1976 and was quickly promoted to Group Supervisor in 1978, Youth Counselor in 1981, Senior Group Supervisor in 1984, and finally Lieutenant. She took an early retirement in 1991 to help take care of her father. Mom enjoyed traveling, going on cruises, and attending concerts with friends. She was gracious enough to baby-sit each of our children at various times. She returned to the work for Ettie Lee Group Homes from 1993 through 1998.
She again put her life on hold when her mother, Pearl, developed dementia and suffered from numerous TIAs. Pearl died in 1999 and Mom, Shauna, and Tyler moved Grangeville, Idaho, in 2000. Roberta purchased her dream home, quickly making friends and reconnecting with family. She loved canning fruits and vegetables, especially HUCKLEBERRIES! She loved making assorted breads to give to family and friends during the holidays or whenever the mood struck. She loved collecting anything Indian-related, sports-related, Star Trek or Elvis. She loved rock-hounding and collecting turquoise. She was very proud of her Nez Perce heritage.
She always helped when she could and without question. She drove down and back from Idaho to California every summer with grandkids in tow for river rafting, the Grand Canyon, rodeos, county fairs, HUCKLEBERRYING, fishing...you name it, they probably did it! She was at every graduation, birthday party, retirement, and even a wedding! She enjoyed all her grandchildren’s sporting events, church concerts, awards ceremonies and any and all special occasions.
Her smile, quick wit, and zest for life will be missed immensely.
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