Inez Alcorn

Obituary of Inez Alcorn

Inez Alcorn, known to generations of local school children as “Senora”, died April 3, 2020, thwarted in her twin goals: 1) to live to 100; and 2) to outlive the Trump administration. Inez was born May 13, 1920, in El Paso, Texas, to Artie Evelyn Cross and George Park McLemore, and was raised in Arkansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma during the years of the Great Depression. She often said that the Depression didn’t really affect her family: “We were poor before and poor afterward.” Inez graduated first in her class and moved to Idaho where she met Bill Alcorn who proposed marriage to her on their second date. Married in Spokane, they moved into a home that Inez occupied for the next 78 years, a home she was devoted to. Inez was widowed at age 54, whereupon she learned to drive, bought a car, and pursued her interest in travel. She golfed in Hawaii, and toured in Europe, the British Isles, Greece, and China. She attended language schools in Mexico to learn Spanish. She saw plays on Broadway, flew first class, and saw her three daughters and five grandchildren graduate from college, a point of particular pride. She was a woman of abundant energy, intelligence, and ambition. Her interests, skills, and talents were many and varied. She knitted, crocheted, sewed, made baskets out of pine needles, refinished furniture, gardened, worked in stained glass, painted, and was a superb cook, having mastered biscuits at age 7. To paraphrase what was said about the legendary Alabama football coach, Bear Bryant: “I don’t know what she had, but she had a lot of it.” In her retirement after 29 years as a grocery clerk, Inez embarked on her volunteer work, teaching Spanish to second graders, the most satisfying work of her life. She volunteered for 21 years. Inez was a proud member of the retail clerks union and a lifelong Democrat. No shrinking violet, she believed in shopping locally and would not set foot in a Walmart. She knew Cecil Andrus personally and met Joe Biden in her daughter’s kitchen where he came to compliment Inez’s cooking. Ever careful in her appearance, a snappy dresser, Inez lived by her motto: “There’s no use lookin’ worse than you have to.” An avid reader, Inez was overtaken by blindness in her last years, a cruelty that was mediated by the devoted service of her friend Nancy Heim, who read to her for 90 minutes a day for two years. Her resiliency, adaptability, and indomitability were evident to the end as she endeavored to adjust to life outside her home in a skilled nursing facility. Inez was predeceased by her husband Bill and sister Martha. Her survivors include her brother, Jack, and her three daughters, Nancy, Sue, and Sarah, as well as her grandchildren, Michael, Amy, John, Kate, and the first and favorite, Molly. There are nine great-grandchildren, each more extraordinary than their parents, one of whom is named Inez. Inez was paid respect throughout her life by those who called and visited, invited her out, entertained her, and provided services. The family acknowledges with gratitude the many ways in which St. Maries people enabled and enriched her life. To quote Phyllis Diller: “I will regret my death, I know that. I know I’m going to miss me.” There will be no public service in accordance with current guidelines. Any memorials should be directed to any program that benefits children.
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