Edith M. Stanger
June 4, 1925 – June 22, 2018
Edith Marler Stanger saddled up for the last time and rode heavenward. On Friday, June 22, 2018, she passed away peacefully in her sleep. She was granted a long life and used it all up; she celebrated her 93rd birthday on June 4th.
Born to George Ernest Marler and Edith Elliott Marler in 1925, her parents were pioneer homesteaders who had developed a dry farm in Ririe by the time Edith was born. Her father was also a fine carpenter, and her mother taught school in the Buck one-room schoolhouse during the winters.
Edith got an early start on her education as her mother took her to school with her and by age 3, Little Edith, as she was known then, was learning how to read and write. By age 13, she was ready to enter high school, and because the family ranch was so remote, her mother enrolled her in Wasatch Academy, a Presbyterian boarding school in Mt. Pleasant, Utah. Edith loved Wasatch Academy all her life, and graduated from there at age 15. The following autumn, she enrolled as a freshman at the University of Idaho in Moscow. Education was always a big priority in Edith’s life, and much later, at age 41, she returned to Idaho State University to complete her degree.
She was a college sophomore when she met her husband-to-be at a picnic at Heise Hot Springs. Richard had just completed a mission in Brazil and was wrangling horses for a Heise guest ranch, marking time until he was drafted. World War II was on, but when the time came, Dick was classified as a 4F. A good thing, too, as it was love at first sight for them both. Six weeks after they met, they eloped to Dillon, Montana and were married.
They enjoyed farming and raising cattle, but they both loved horses. Within a few years, Dick had built a nice band of Paints, but both always wanted to own an Appaloosa. When the Appaloosa Horse Club held its second National Show in Lewiston in 1951, they drove up to see the show. It was there that Dick and Edith admired Freel’s Chico, a beautiful young stallion, black with a big white blanket, from Loren Freel of Wallowa, Oregon. Dick, always keen at spotting a superior horse had to have him. By that fall, all the Paints were sold, and they picked-up Chico in Nampa.
On the way back home with him, they stopped and entered him in the Eastern Idaho State Fair. And he won. The competition was small, as there was only one other Appaloosa, but Chico had already won his first Grand Nation Champion Stallion award at the National show. It was the first of two, and he went on to win many other local, regional, and national awards. Chico was a natural show horse and turned out to be as good a sire as in the show ring. He became the foundation of the Double Arrow Ranch, and his progeny went on to also win many awards.
In time, other fine stallions and select mares joined him, and the Double Arrow bands became the largest registered herd of Appaloosa horses in the world. Horses were sold and shipped all over the nation, to Canada, and to several foreign countries, including Japan and Guatemala. The herd was filmed and used in several TV shows and movies, including a Disney film, “Run, Appaloosa, Run!” and one episode of a French documentary TV series, “The Horsemen of the World” filmed in Bone, Idaho with the Stanger boys, both musicians by then, providing the soundtrack. Dick passed away in 1988 at age 69. His passing devastated Edith. By then, their son Bruce had assumed the duties of the ranch, but the thought of retiring appalled Edith. So she entered a new life alone, one of public service. She taught school for a couple of years, and in 1990, at the urging of the local Democrats, decided to make a try for County Commissioner. She won, the only woman to ever serve as a Commissioner in Bonneville County, and was the first Democrat to win that seat in 25 years. After finishing her hitch as County Commissioner, Edith made a bid for secretary of state and campaigned statewide.
She was also instrumental in developing the Idaho Horse Council, a state advisory to the Legislature on Idaho’s equine industry and interests, established in 1975. Her connections to Congress were strong, as earlier, Dick was a long-time advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture for the equine industry in the West. She co-founded the Intermountain Appaloosa Club in 1952, one of the first regional clubs in the nation, and though she didn’t show horses actively any longer, she continued her interest in the National Appaloosa Club. The couple had both served on the National Board of Directors at different times, and Edith took over the Appaloosa Youth Foundation in the early 1990's. Of all the positions she served in for the Appaloosa Club, this was the one closest to her heart and was the most proud of. She became a deacon and elder in the Presbyterian Church, served on the local Salvation Army Board of Directors; was an active member in the United Way; and on the Board of Directors for Wasatch Academy, and as board emeritus. In 1997, she realized the 50th Anniversary of the Appaloosa Club was coming soon, so she decided to write a history of the club. It remains the only recent club history ever published, and is the authoritative account of the club’s founding, it’s early leaders and it’s most important foundational horses.
Throughout her life she received numerous awards of recognition for service including the Democratic Harry S. Truman Award, The Eastern Idaho Horsemen's Hall Of Fame Award, Idaho Horse Council Recognition Award, recognition award from The Idaho Horse Board and Idaho Horse Council, the Eastern Idaho Agriculture Hall of Fame, one of four woman ever named, and was named A Legend of Idaho. In 2011 she received the Van Ness Award from the American Horse Council.
Those who knew her remember her as a force of nature, and she will be dearly missed. She is survived by her sons Michael Stanger and Bruce (Jennifer) Stanger and daughter Kimberly Kvamme of Idaho Falls; grandchildren Darcy Stanger, Alexa Stanger (Chad) Barchard, Cyrus Stanger, Angela (Mark) Hartwig, Katie Stanger, Matt Stanger and Emily Kvamme; and great grandchildren Hanna Hartwig, Guthrie Devine, Curran Devine and Jack Barchard. She was preceded in death by her husband Richard and grandson Elias Devine. Funeral services will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Idaho Falls on Monday, July 2 at 2 pm, graveside services at 3 pm and a Celebration of Life reception at The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho from 4 - 6 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to the Appaloosa Youth Foundation, 2720 West Pullman Road, Moscow, ID, 83843 or charity of your choice.
The family wishes to give special thanks to Eden Home Health Care, River Ridge Assisted Living and Hands of Hope Hospice for their kind and loving care.
- Memorial Service Monday, July 2, 2018
- Graveside Service Monday, July 2, 2018
- Celebration of Life Monday, July 2, 2018
Edith M. Stanger
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June 26, 2018
Dear Mike, Bruce and Kim,
I am so sorry to learn you have lost your mother. Your heart's must be breaking, I know mine is. I feel so fortunate to have known and loved your wonderful parents and you three characters too! You are in my prayers and in my heart as you cope with your tough loss. There was no one like Edith! Her influence on my life runs incredibly deep. I hope she and Mom are having a cup of coffee in heaven right this minute. Love you guys very much. Ann
Dr. William P. & Ann Felice Rogers
June 26, 2018
To Bruce, Mike & Kim,
We want to express our sympathy & condolences for your recent loss of Edith.
We met Edith & Dick not long after we moved here in 1970 and immediately recognized them as fine people who represented the pioneer spirit that makes Idaho & the west such a special place.
Edith was indeed a special person who contributed her time, energy & talent toward making this a wonderful area..
She will be greatly missed by all who knew & admired her.
Bill & Ann Felice Rogers