Cover photo for Natalie Ednie's Obituary
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1933 Natalie 2023

Natalie Ednie

August 14, 1933 — August 4, 2023

Natalie (nee Allen) Ednie, of Sandpoint, lover of the woods and reading, has passed away in her home on the 4th of August 2023, just 10 days shy of her 90th birthday. She was proud to say that she made it well into her 90th year.

With roots that began in Ashland, Oregon, and meandered to Billings and Roundup, Montana, via train, she grew up in Detroit, Washington, D.C., and finally Salt Lake City. It was just herself and her single working mother in the 1930s and 1940s, and Natalie was often alone in the company of strangers who boarded them, and who were charmed into looking after her. She picked up on a lot from being around grownups so much.

An adept student, she skipped her last two years of high school and went straight to the University of Chicago at age 16. She volunteered for the college radio, and that is where she met Thomas Ednie, a medical student and radio buff. While on official radio business, she noted that he had feet, and because she was practicing her knitting, offered to knit him a pair of socks.

Little did she know then that his mother and grandmothers were expert sock-knitters who had sent him off to college with a drawer full of amazingly crafted socks — some of which are still alive and worn today! The joke was on her if she had been thinking an offer to knit socks would be anything other than mundane to Tom, but nevertheless, the months and months that it took her to complete the first pair were ample time for the two of them to get to know each other.

They had a small wedding but went on to have a big family and build an enormous life together. A perpetual learner, life took her away from college after two years there, and she was happy to go.

The Air Force would see to it that all of their eventual seven children were each one born in a different location. They moved and had babies in places like Maryland, Quebec, Maine, Pennsylvania, Guam, Texas and California. It was while they were in Texas in the mid-1960s that they bought some mountain land, site unseen, in North Idaho … and so began the romance with steep hillsides, slipping on beargrass, bug bites, sap stains on clothing and cars, huckleberries, summerlong campouts, and the view from their fire pit of the valley. It wasn’t until 1980 that they eventually decided on settling down permanently in North Idaho.

As a student of life, Natalie soaked up whatever, wherever, whenever and whoever came next. She was often heard using the phrase, "bloom where you are planted," and would do more than make-do and really absorbed the general atmosphere, charmed by the nuances, art and scenery of places, but mostly by the people of wherever she found herself.

In the meantime, Natalie took on all kinds of roles and duties: an officer’s wife during the Korean War and Vietnam War, a den mother, a Sunday school teacher, ballet teacher, office secretary, Jesuit volunteer, billing clerk, hobby gardener, chicken keeper, poet; she became something official when she completed training as a sensory awareness therapist. She was a lifelong student of spirituality in many forms, the fine arts, hymns, folk songs and history. She never quite mastered speaking French and was hopeless with Spanish — as well as with texting. She traveled until almost the end, spending time this last winter with daughters Lorna and Becca in Mexico, as well as with family in Butte.

She had ticklish feet, always kept a cat and had a lifelong love of train travel.

She was also almost always reading a book or a newspaper. She read mystery stories, humor and science fiction. She also enjoyed music and sang with a soprano voice up until the end, even teaching new songs to whomever would listen.

She was a lover of children, and after rearing seven of them and getting 12 grandchildren, she became a court-appointed advocate for children (CASA) and guardian ad litem for numerous North Idaho kids. She did this with vivacious energy, careful, and compassionate nurturing for years after "retirement." She would not have quit doing this work if her children had not suggested that she might "stop and smell the roses" around age 80. Now she has a dozen or so great-grandkids, and more are on the way.

A few years after Tom died, Natalie was re-acquainted with her first love from Salt Lake City, Bart Smith (now of Arizona). They were an item at 14 years old, and their reconnecting took everyone by surprise. They tried to spend time together when they could travel, emailed frequently and spoke almost daily on the phone. Bart is a big part of Natalie’s earlier life story, and again in her later life; as she is in his.

The Ednie family would like to thank all of the lovely people who made caring for her at home a possibility, especially her grandsons, Theo and Pace.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Thomas F. Ednie; and her daughter, Gail H. Ednie, LCSW.

She is survived by her sons, David and Bruce (Karen) Ednie of Connecticut, Adam (Linda) of Sandpoint; daughters, Lorna Ross of Sandpoint, Becca Titus of Chiapas, Mexico, and Lucy (Jack) of Butte, Montana; as well as her grandchildren, Darrell (Sharon) Ross, Eli and Blair Ednie, Roslyn (Tom) Garrett, Nathan, Theo and Nina Titus, Kendra (Lee) McEwan, Amanda (Will) Fancher, Logan (Kasey) Ednie, Pace Ednie-Gloege, and Buck (Kayla) Ednie, as well as a gaggle of great-grandchildren, born and unborn.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 1 p.m. at the VFW on Pine and Division.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Natalie Ednie, please visit our flower store.


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