Lola Roberta McAllister Crea was born on July 23, 1930, in Grangeville, Idaho, to Robert Emmett Bruce McAllister and Lola Honor Mullins, the first of four children. She grew up on McAllister Bar on the South Fork of the Clearwater River about 3 miles upriver from the bridge at the bottom of Mount Idaho Grade. She attended and graduated as salutatorian in 1949 from Stites High School. She played basketball, edited the school paper and was a cheerleader. After graduation she was employed at First Security bank in Grangeville. Her full head of jet-black hair caught the attention of Lewis Crea. They wed at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Grangeville, May 16, 1950. They resided in an apartment above the movie theater in Grangeville before eventually moving to the “1903 Toennis Place”. They were poor, but the household ran thick and rich with children: David Alan (Helen), Steven Lewis, Michael Lee (Lu), Julie Ann Heath (Ian), Laurie Eileen Smith, Barbara Lynne Terpstra (Richard), Shawn William (Cindy Uhlorn), Layne Robert (Summer), and Brian Earl. Numerous grand and great-grands have been added to the family.
The years were busy with farming and children’s activities. A new home in the late 1960s was a huge help for Roberta, giving her a modern kitchen for cooking and canning and all that goes with raising nine children on a farm. A large dining table and sewing center gave plenty of space for the family to eat and Roberta to sew. But most of all, Roberta loved to garden. She could tell you the name of every plant as well as its Latin name. And she loved searching for plants, driftwood, and interesting rocks for her garden. She loved spending time at their cabin on the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River and did extensive landscaping there. Boating at Dworshak was another activity Roberta loved. She belonged to the Grangeville Garden Club, and she had an extensive gardening library and reading brought her great joy.
In 1991, Lewis and Roberta traded houses with Mike and Lu and moved to their log home in Cottonwood, Idaho. Roberta’s yard was a paradise and many homes in Cottonwood grow plants purchased at Roberta’s “plant sales”.
She also loved to travel and spent time planning trips to the Hawaiian Islands and tropical islands in the Caribbean and South Seas. They visited Australia, and New Zealand was one of her favorite places to vacation. They visited Brian in the service in Germany and toured. Julie and Ian were their travel partners on several trips. In later years they loved to go to Florida, and visiting Barbie was one of the reasons for those trips and several of the family would join them.
In 2013, they downsized and moved to one of the retirement condominiums in Cottonwood. Lewis passed in 2015, and Roberta had a part-time caregiver until January of 2019, when we were able to hire “her angels” who provided full-time care. In September of 2019, she suffered a stroke which left her bedridden and then “her angels” were most valuable. A huge thank you to all who helped take care of Roberta. We are eternally grateful.
She is survived by her children, all of her grandchildren, and her sister, Mary M. Lyons. She is also survived by sisters-in-law, Ann Crea and Virginia Crea.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and her brothers, Robert Randall McAllister and Donald McAllister.
A viewing will be held at Blackmer Funeral Home in Grangeville, Thursday, July 22, from 5-7 p.m. Funeral services will be held Friday, July 23 with Mass of Christian Burial to start at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Cottonwood with burial at Cottonwood Catholic Cemetery. A luncheon will follow at the Cottonwood Community Hall. Arrangements are under the direction of Blackmer Funeral Home. Send condolences to the family to blackmerfuneralhome.com.