Valley County, IDGenWeb Project

Howard and Ethel Koskella

Howard Raymond Koskella, 86, and his wife, Ethel A. Yensen Koskella, 83, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, in a traffic accident on Idaho 55 south of Banks.

Funeral services were held Saturday, Jan. 29, 2012, at the Donnelly Community Bible Church in Donnelly.

Ethel was born near Roseberry on Sept. 25, 1928, of parents Hulda and Chris Yensen.

Howard was born on the Koskella homestead on Oct. 21, 1925, of parents Gustaf and Hannah Koskella.

The Koskellas were among the earliest European settlers in Long Valley. Howard’s career began in his late teens when he joined the U.S. Navy. He often told stories of carrying mail across the epicenter of Hiroshima after the U.S. occupied Japan following its surrender in World War II.

He also witnessed the upturned debris of Admiral Halsey’s fleet after it went through a major typhoon off the Philippines. Sent on a U.S. tugboat to rescue crewmen after the storm, he said his boat was unable to find any survivors.

Howard graduated from the University of Idaho School of Forestry in 1958. He also attended classes at Michigan State and Boise Junior College.

Ethel worked frequently while Howard completed his forestry degree at Moscow. Howard was a leading forester, well known throughout the country for introducing key safety measures to the fire service operations of the U.S. Forest Service.

His forestry career required numerous moves for the family. Ethel was an expert at packing up the family on short notice and getting them resettled in a new location.

The family lived in McCall, North Fork and Challis in Idaho; Heber City and Ogden in Utah; Moraga, Calif.; and Washington, D.C.

Howard worked for the Southern Idaho Timber Protection Association before joining the Forest Service. Upon retiring from the Forest Service he served as a Valley County Commissioner during the early 1980s.

He ran for the state senate shortly after leaving Valley County office, served the Gold Fork Irrigation Commission, and supervised the operations of Valley County cemetery sites.

Ethel’s fame began with her leadership in high school basketball. The Donnelly High School women’s basketball team won the Idaho State Women’s High School Championship in about 1944 or 1945.

Sweethearts throughout High School, the couple married on June 12, 1946, after Howard returned from military service. They remained devoted sweethearts during their entire married life.

Ethel participated regularly in Finnish Ladies Aid organizational work. According to her peers, she hosted the best annual parties.

She and Howard were also very active in a popular Valley County square-dancing troupe during the 1970s. Upon retirement, the couple moved to their ranch near the Gold Fork River south of Donnelly, on a portion of the original Koskella pioneer homestead.

They enjoyed golf and traveling in their fifth wheel. Their door was also open to welcome friends and family. They lived their lives for their children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces.

In Finnish tradition, there was always coffee and huckleberry pie for anyone who wanted them.

Ethel leaves one surviving sister, Iva Edmondson of Boise. She was preceded in death by her brother, Jack Yensen.

Howard leaves four surviving siblings, Ethel Niemi, Esther Runyan, John Koskella, and Irene Muir.

He was preceded in death by brothers Arthur, Theodore, August, Matt, Emlen, Andrew and Martie, and sisters Elsie Ruhkala and Helen Chacartegui.

Surviving children include Dr. Kenneth R. Koskella of Bremerton, Wash., (Julie); Kathy A. Stamy of Boise (Mike); Kristin M. Koskella of Boise (Floyd); Kim J. Woodhouse of Boise (Rod); and Kevin L. Koskella of Boise (fiancé Jen).

Any philanthropic donations in their name would be appreciated by the Finnish Ladies Aid Society of Valley County.

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