Nov. 23, 1918 – Sep. 12, 2015
Date of Service: Sep. 18, 2015
THEDA (HARRIS) FINK
Theda Harris was born Nov. 23, 1918, in Cherry Creek, Idaho, the first of six children to Stillman Joseph and Nora Dredge Thomas Harris.
In 1931, Theda’s mother passed away and the idea was raised that the family be split apart and some of the children be sent to live with other relatives. Theda was opposed to this and at 13 years of age volunteered to drop out of school and accepted the responsibility of raising her siblings.
For the next eight years she tended to the children until her father remarried and she began working at the local grocery store. During this period, it was at a local dance that she met her future husband, Ralph “Bud” Fink, and they eventually eloped and were married in Pocatello, Idaho, on Dec. 21, 1940.
After marrying, they moved to Jerome, Idaho, where Theda worked at the M.H. King store. In 1943, Bud was drafted into military service and Theda followed him to his various stateside posts. During those travels she found work at the High Fashion New York-Paris Dress Store in Madison, Wisconsin, and at an exclusive dress shop in San Francisco, California. When Bud was shipped out for combat duty in the Pacific Theater, Theda returned to Jerome where she worked at Tingwall’s Department Store and then became a bookkeeper for a bulk oil company.
In 1945, Bud was discharged from the U.S. Navy and they settled in Wendell, Idaho. While living in Wendell, Theda gave birth to her daughter, Suzanne, in 1947, and her son, LeRoy, in 1950. During this period, Theda continued working part-time in retail.
In 1954, the family relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada, where she managed two triplex apartment buildings until they returned to Wendell in 1956 and she began working retail at the Wendell Department Store as a buyer and assistant manager. After nine years of retail experience in Wendell, the family moved to Burley, Idaho, when Theda purchased a Mode O’Day franchise to sell women’s ready-wear clothing. For three decades, from 1964 until her retirement in 1994, she successfully owned and operated Mode O’Day / Fashion Crossroads businesses in downtown Burley and on “The Square” in Rupert, Idaho.
During her many years of service in retail her accomplishments included serving as the first woman on the Burley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. In 1990, she was honored by the Burley Chamber of Commerce with the Area Service Award at the annual Farmer-Business Appreciation Banquet. Additionally, she was a Soroptimist member and a member of Xi Omega Chapter Beta Sigma Phi.
Theda passed away on Sept. 12, 2015, at the age of 96, at her residence in Burley, Idaho.
She was preceded in death by her parents; five younger siblings, Dean Harris, Shirley (Virgil) Larson, Jack (Helen) Harris, Stanley (Marge) Harris, and Helen (Gerald) Thomas; and her husband, Ralph Vernon “Bud” Fink.
She is survived by her daughter, Suzanne (Leroy) Doane; son, LeRoy (Janie) Fink; grandchildren, Greg (Colleen) Thomason, Stillman Zachary (Betsy) Fink, and Gabriel Eli Fink; and great-grandchildren, Vivienne Elenora Fink, Genevieve Theda Fink, and Kenna Madigan.
She was greatly appreciated as the matriarch of our family and will be lovingly missed. BCB PO. “That’s what I thought.”
A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, at the Malad City Cemetery, 425 S. 300 E., in Malad, Idaho.
A viewing for family and friends will be held from 5 until 7 p.m. Thursday at the Rasmussen Funeral Home, 1350 E. 16th St., in Burley.
A second viewing will take place from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Friday at the LDS Church, located at 20 S. 100 W., in Malad, Idaho.
The family suggests memorials be directed to a charity of choice in memory of Theda.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Rasmussen Funeral Home of Burley.