DelRay Pehrson, 86
DelRay Pehrson, 86, a man loved and adored by all, went on that never-ending fishing trip in the sky July 10, 2017, to search for that elusive monster Dolly Varden trout. DelRay graced this world with his presence April 6, 1931, in Shelley, Idaho. He was born to George and Luella (Dredge) Pehrson, a farmer and his lovely wife.
DelRay joined two big brothers, Wayne and Ralph, as well as their little sister, Loralee. George and Luella raised their family in Teton, Idaho.
DelRay had six children with his first wife, Connie Hatch-LaRae, Randy, Sheila, Tony, Shawn and Lynn. On Nov. 25, 1953, DelRay joined the U.S. Army and served in an occupation he was very proud of — “cook.” He could make a mean breakfast. He was honorably discharged on Nov. 23, 1955. He was always a patriot at heart.
DelRay came to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in the late ’50s and started his 40-plus-year career in the grocery industry. He notably worked at Albertson’s and Buttrey Food and Drug stores, where he became well-known in the community. He ran the dairy department at Buttrey Food and Drug and worked in management in both companies.
DelRay unexpectedly found the love of his life in 1979, when he met Alberta (Riggs) Heilman. The two fell in love and married Aug. 3, 1986, in Coeur d’Alene. DelRay happily became a wonderful stepdad to Ella, Raymond, Robert, Richard and James. Together, DelRay and Alberta had 11 kids. Their families beautifully came together to create one big happy family. DelRay and Alberta shared 31 lovely years of marriage. They got along tremendously, always enjoying each other’s company. They traveled in their motor home to camp and fish, playing many cribbage and pinochle games. They traveled through Arizona, California and Oregon and made many friends along the way.
The Pehrsons were always crafters. There are many wooden butterflies, memory boxes, trivets, walking sticks, crocheted scrubbies and other unique craft items they made that are in people’s homes all over the United States. They participated in many craft fairs across the Northwest. DelRay was an avid fisherman, but yet didn’t like the taste of fish. He would always catch and release or give his bounty away. He loved to fly fish. He went with his sons to Alaska on fishing trips that he enjoyed immensely. Their adventures were once even featured in the Coeur d’Alene Press. These trips made a lifetime of memories for DelRay and his boys.
DelRay loved a good steak and lemon meringue pie. He always thought of others, each winter snowblowing the driveways on the whole block. For the last five years, DelRay and Alberta went on weekly dates to the Coeur d’Alene Casino. He also had an impeccable green thumb, growing the most beautiful roses. Each year, family and friends admired the attentive work Alberta and DelRay put into their flower gardens. Even the birds and butterflies were happy when DelRay and Alberta’s flowers bloomed. DelRay will be dearly missed by all those who met him. He had an infectious smile and personality that we will never forget.
DelRay was preceded in death by his parents and siblings. He is survived by his wife, Alberta; his six children and her five children: LaRae Olesberg, Randy (Cynthia) Pehrson, Sheila (Orville) Kellmer, Tony (Dawnette) Pehrson, Shawn (DeAnne) Pehrson, Lynn (Sindra) Pehrson, Ella Strong, Raymond Heilman (Lori), Robert Heilman (Shelene), Richard (Vicki) Heilman and James (Christian) Heilman; and a happy bunch of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. DelRay is also survived by his beloved, Missy Socks, a one-man cat who will miss her daddy very much.
A celebration of DelRays’s life will be held from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, July 29, 2017, at Lake City Center, 1916 N. Lakewood Drive, Coeur d’Alene. Fishing and hunting tall tales are encouraged. English Funeral Chapel is handling final arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Hospice of North Idaho, 9493 N. Government Way, Hayden, Idaho; and/or Lake City Center, 1916 N. Lakewood Drive, Coeur d’Alene.