April 6, 1925—May 8, 2019
“Lo, here came an angel from Heaven on horseback!” This was Lawrence Zeyn Tews’ observation of his future wife in 1945. That angel, Marie Elizabeth Tews (Bethy) joined her cowboy, Larry in Heaven on May 8, 2019.
Bethy started life April 6, 1925 at 6 o’clock in morning in Laramie, Wyoming. Bethy was born at home and delivered by her grandmother, Emma B Merrill, which gave her a close connection to this tough suffragette of the 1900’s. Bethy attributed that connection to her strong independent and sometimes stubborn spirit.
The third child of George and Marie Higgins, she joined siblings—Emma and George and later—Garnet, Eunice, and Inez. Baby brother—Hallie completed the family.
Born in the Roaring Twenties, Bethy was a poster child for the Greatest Generation. Her family went from the carefree days of post war America to the grit of the Depression. As a child, the family moved often. These moves revolved around farming seasons and winter work. They lived on ranches from Wheatland, Wyoming to northern Colorado and on to Southern Idaho’s Magic Valley. Grandpa George raised sheep, wheat, cattle and kids, supplementing the harvest freighting with his teams of horses and later with his Diamond Reo trucks.
Moving became so common that Grandma Higgins could cook breakfast on the wood burning cook stove in the morning, load it on the truck and feed the kids supper in a new home before the stove had a chance to cool. Bethy started in a new school 24 times. Being the new kid taught her to stand her ground and, from an early age, taught her about hard work and how to start over.
Bethy graduated from Jerome High School in 1943. In 1944, the family moved to a ranch north of Shoshone. During the war, she worked as a long-distance operator in the Jerome telephone office, and helped connect soldiers overseas with their loved ones back home in Jerome. It wasn’t easy. She would receive notice that a call would be forthcoming for a local family, then the phone company would send someone to notify them to come to the telephone office to receive the call because few rural homes had phones at that time. Some of these calls were families she knew.
With her telephone money, Bethy bought cattle to pasture at the Shoshone ranch. The fences were poor and the cows escaped. Out rounding up stray calves one day, she rode into the life of Lawrence Zeyn Tews, the handsome rancher next door. They married April 22, 1947. They ranched with the Tews Brothers in north Shoshone and south of Hailey, and later started a ranch of their own, the “Long Hike Ranch.” There they raised three children Richard, Laurene and Heather.
An independent spirit, Bethy attended night school and received her office assistant certificate. Later she worked as a secretary for the Soil Conservation Service in Lincoln County for 11 years. Never one to stand still, Bethy took the Real Estate exam in the early 80’s and sold property in Magic Valley for the next 35 years. Chances are, if you bought a house or farm in Lincoln County during that time, Bethy was your agent. She maintained her license at Canyon Trail Realty in Jerome up until a year before her 94th birthday. She was an active member of the community, a member of the Magic Grange for 50 years, and even became an activist to protect local water rights and air quality from the encroachment of factory farms.
Bethy and Larry lived on the Long Hike Ranch in north Shoshone from 1954 until Bethy sold the ranch in 2015. Larry died in 1998. The ranch was called Long Hike, because in the early days there weren’t any crossings over the ditches, so she and Larry walked a mile across the fields twice each day to change irrigation water for the alfalfa and wheat crops. After Larry’s death, Bethy was one of the first in north Shoshone to install a center pivot system to simplify this irrigation chore.
Always a country girl at heart, at age 90, she refused to move to town to retire. Instead, she moved to Emmett where she found a piece of country life on a bluff overlooking the Payette River valley and above a working ranch where she could watch the cattle and the cowboys at work. In her last years, she traveled extensively, made good neighbors, took evening drives for Chinese food and explored the “north country” of Gem and Boise counties.
94 years is a lot or years to cram into an obituary. If you want to know more of this amazing story, and to find out what Larry meant when he said, “Oh what could Heaven have in store for us?” come to Bethy’s Celebration of Life Ceremony at the Shoshone First Baptist Church at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 17, 2019. Interment to take place immediately at the Shoshone Cemetery next to Larry’s Rock.
Funeral arrangements are under the care and direction of Demaray Funeral Service – Shoshone Chapel.
Condolences, memories and photos can be shared with the family by following the obituary link at www.demarayfuneralservice.com