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Rita Hurst

Rita Hurst

Sunday, August 24th, 1930 - Friday, June 21st, 2019
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Rita Hurst, 88, was born in 1930 to May and George Green of Hailey, moved with her mother and stepfather, Walter Wade, to Beaver Creek in the Sawtooth Valley in 1936. Her father built the Beaver Creek Store, and owned the surrounding 10 acres, the family ran a logging company, providing timber for the mines and sawmills and supplying power poles to the local utilities. At a young age, Rita began cooking for the miners at the nearby Silver King and Eureka mines, along with sheepherders and trappers. As soon as she was old enough to drive she would help out by driving a 10-wheel logging truck up and over the narrow, dirt-covered hairpin turns of the old Galena Highway in the 1940s and ‘50s.

She married, Arthur Hurst, in 1953. The couple bought the timber operation from Rita’s folks and continued to log until 1958. They also tended sheep, living out of sheep wagons at times.
“I didn’t need to do it, but I loved it. I liked the smell of the pines and being my own boss.”
Eventually Art and Rita moved to Bellevue and ran the Bellevue Café for several years, luring customers in with her homemade cinnamon rolls. Off and on for over 20 years Rita also worked at the Silver Dollar Saloon.

In the 60’s she opened a second-hand antique, thrift store in one of the oldest houses in Bellevue. She ran the Thrift Store near the bike path that runs through Bellevue, until the 1990’s.

She was honored to be selected as Woman of Year and to be part of the Heritage Court in 2009. For 19 years she rode her horse in the Bellevue Labor Day parade and was Grand Marshall in 2018.
When Rita could no longer operate the Thrift Store she still kept busy in her later years, frequenting yard sales looking for more treasures for her home and yard.

Rita’s life was not an easy one, and to those that did not know her well, she often came across kind of gruff, but she had a tender heart, especially for those in need. She was a very giving person and ran a food pantry out of her home for a number of years.

Snippets of Rita’s colorful life over the summit can be found in the book Galloping Ghost of Galena by Pete Wyman. The public library in Ketchum and Hailey have copies of the book.

There will be no funeral or memorial service. Friends are invited to leave condolences at woodriverchapel.com.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Cremation under the care of Wood River Chapel
    403 N. Main Street
    HAILEY, ID 83333
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Jana Orchard

Posted at 10:33pm
Rita has always been here. I will miss running into her at the post office and the grocery store. I bought many an item from her when we were just getting by in our early years of adulthood. Rita always had kind words and a generous heart. RIP dear lady by your dear Art's side.

Dennis Haynes

Posted at 10:28am
I first met Rita in the late 40's, she was working at the Beaver Creek store, and driving logging truck over Galena. I also remember the two twin Bear Cubs she had as pets. Rita was a character, and when you met her, you would never forget her. I was fortunate enough to have had her as a friend throughout my life, and I for one will always have her memory in my heart.
A little side note, she was a heck of a cook and I enjoyed her home style meals.

Jo Howard

Posted at 08:21pm
You were one of a kind dear Rita. I appreciate what you did for others and I honor your memory. Rest in peace dear heart, I am happy to have known you, if only just a little.

Dennis Wright

Posted at 11:06am
One of Bellevue's truly colorful characters. If you didn't know Rita, you didn't know Bellevue. My personal memories of Rita go back to my own childhood and watching her ride in the Labor Day parades. After Art died one of her biggest struggles was with the city over zoning laws which didn't allow her retail operation on Railroad St. I believe the City got tired of that fight and eventually gave up the struggle, rightfully so. Another fond memory of Rita is seeing her with her trusty companion Violet Sisiam in her new Ford pickup, hitting the yard sales of Bellevue and the central valley. Seldom did the pair leave without something in hand that neither needed, but couldn't refuse because of the price.
Few residents in Bellevue were more community minded. She joined whatever effort needed her at the moment. Rita was a part of the city's fabric that is disappearing fast. Her era is history now. Hopefully the memories will live on.

Stacy McLaughlin

Posted at 09:16am
Rita's story is incredible ~ so much history and so many adventures. Rita might have been rough around the edges but she had a kind soul. I loved to hear her stories and appreciated her honesty. It didn't matter where it was if we would see each other she always said hello and asked how I was. I loved that she would stop in and see us at West Magic, she wanted to make sure we were doing well. What an incredible hard working woman she was; something I admired and am inspired by. I am grateful to have known her and to call her a friend. Rest in peace.

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