Luretta Jean Kelso entered the world in April of 1944 in Ontario, Oregon and left us on August 22, 2023.
Luretta will be remembered for her feisty attitude, adventurous spirit and independence. She was always on the go as she planned the next journey or trip. Even as a child, her family remembers her as funny and outdoorsy. Luretta loved to spend time in her family’s orchard, where she climbed the trees and ate apples until her stomach hurt. Her cousins were a big part of her younger life. Her cousin Judy was not only family but a great friend, as were her double cousins Sauni, Leslie, Marcia, Dallas, Dave and Don. Not only would they find their own fun at the orchard, but they also used to sit in an old car in their grandpa’s garage and pretend they were on an amazing road trip. Luretta always pretended she was driving to the mountains, and the mountains remained her love and passion. She stayed close to all her cousins throughout her life.
The love of adventure steered Luretta to become an avid hunter. She started as her dad’s hunting partner and downed her first elk at a young age. Her love of the outdoors continued into her high school years, where Luretta’s cousin Judy and her best friend Laurel used to ride their bikes to the river or a ditch so they could spend the summer swimming. She loved fun but was also a hard worker, performing all kinds of jobs with her friends to earn money.
A young marine named Bennie would capture her eye and they would marry in 1963. The two lived in California for a few years, before returning to the Treasure Valley. Luretta was not a fan of California and was so happy to come home. Together, Ben and Luretta would have two sons, Scott and Kevin. Eventually, they found their way to Harper and Willow Creek and, finally, Vale. Along the way, Luretta lived in an old, haunted house, bucked many a bale of hay, and started working at Bi-Mart, where she would stay for many years.
Between Scott and Kevin, Luretta would get five grandkids and would add five more bonus grandkids when Scott married Krystal. They were her world! The grandkids have many great memories of their grandma, including sleepovers full of blankets on the floor and as much candy as they could eat. They fondly remember how grandma almost killed them when she drove the wrong way down a one-way street in Boise or had the 5 kids “double buckle” so they all could sit together in the back seat of her car. She especially loved camping with the grandkids and even got to take a motorhome trip to Redfish Lake with all the younger grandsons.
Luretta loved to travel and took many cruises and trips, visiting Mexico, the Caribbean and even Alaska. She would think nothing of jumping in her car and heading to her next adventure. She must have owned 1000 camp trailers through the years, always on the hunt for the perfect one! Her favorite place included anywhere she could camp, with her beloved spot being a quiet area in the Wallowa Whitman Forest. The family sends out a huge thank you to the kind nurses and staff at Pioneer Place who gave Luretta her last camping trip and to her friend Laurel, who took her to see the ocean one final time.
When family and friends were asked to describe Luretta, they remembered her as fun, spirited, bossy, a bad cook, and a person who loved her family. She will be missed by us all and we hope she is enjoying a heavenly campfire. We can’t wait to see you again.
Luretta was preceded in death by her parents, Beryl and Opal Martin, her husband Bennie Kelso, her brother Dean and many friends and family. She is survived by her sons, Scott Kelso (Krystal) and Kevin Kelso (Anne-Marie), her sister Evelyn Dentinger, her grandchildren, who were her pride and joy, Kayle Kelso, Grace Kelso, Sable Kelso, Greta Kelso, Payton Kelso, Katelynn Stewart, Trevor Stewart, Zachary Stewart, Brandon Stewart and Alex Stewart, her nieces who were like daughters, Brenda Murdock Femrite (Mike Vogelmore) and Terry Sower, Daughter-in-law Cresta Kelso, and, again, a host of family (all those cousins!) and friends.
Services will be held on September 8, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. at the Senior Center, 100 Longfellow St S, Vale, OR 97918