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Lillian Virginia Brackebusch

March 9, 2023

My family is saying goodbye to our mother, and it’s not an easy thing to do. Lillian Virginia Brackebusch, 92, passed away peacefully on February 14, 2023, at Sunset Home in Bonners Ferry. We were blessed to have her for so many years ...so many good years. But this life is not forever, and now we must accept that God decided it was time to call her home. No services are planned at this time.

Lillian Brackebusch was born Lillian Virginia Rau, the last of 14 children, to Phillip and Margaret Jurek Rau near Sauk Rapids, Minnesota. She lost her own mother when she was only a child of seven.

Her father owned and operated a dance hall and got help raising his youngest daughter from her older sisters. There aren’t many photos of her growing up, and in the few I’ve seen, she looked to me like a young Judy Garland, with her serious face, dark hair and her saddle shoes. A bit of a rebel, she quit school during her senior year. She traveled to Pasco, Washington, and worked as a waitress at Rosie’s Café until she met her first love. Then she and Tom Puckett were married in November 1948. They eventually raised three children on the farm that our grandfather bought years earlier in Samuels, Idaho.

Mom never shied away from hard physical work. In fact, she found virtue in it, and anyone who knew her could see that. Rarely would she wear sleeveless shirts, even in the hayfields on the hottest days so those despised biceps would remain hidden. But she vowed that her daughters would never buck bales or unload sacks of grain, so as never to have muscles like hers; and they were impressive!
She was up early every morning; cows must be milked. She still took time to wake us gently for school, sometimes with a back rub. But woe and a sprinkling of water to the reluctant kid who didn’t heed the wake-up call!

She had a great sense of humor. I can still recall coming home from elementary school one afternoon and finding my favorite doll seated in the middle of my bed, her usually unbound hair braided in neat pigtails.

She taught the parakeet to talk while she did the family ironing, and I’ll never forget those phrases, repeated over and over: “Bobby, Chores! Cheryl, Dishes! Kathy, time to get up!” There was always lots of ironing, so that bird had quite a repertoire.

She met the tough times — there were plenty — with determination and quiet strength. Her life was tragically impacted with the premature death of her dearly loved husband, Tom. It was haying season, and friends and neighbors arrived unasked to collect the hay he had already baled from the field and stored it in the barn.

Mom’s work at the Samuels Post Office for many years helped keep the farm’s finances sound. Her record keeping there and at home was meticulous and in her careful longhand. Each year’s farm receipts were wrapped in recycled plastic bags, the year clearly marked on each. And I think there were still breadcrumbs in some of them, though my siblings dispute this.

Her neighbors these days remember her name from her second marriage to Leonard Brackebusch, a farmer, until she was again widowed in 2000.

She was so proud of the lovely ranch style home she had built for herself after many years in the drafty old farmhouse. She surrounded the new house with pretty planted islands and what seemed like acres of green lawn that she was pleased to mow by herself until her 80s; always that work ethic!

She leaves behind children Robert (Susan) Puckett, Cheryl (Michael) Seitz, and Kathy (Terry) Oliver, nine grandchildren, 18 greats and five great-greats.

And she leaves every one of us with so many memories of shared joys, with great respect for the life lessons she instilled in us and with gratitude for her unconditional love. She was everything a mother should be. Rest peacefully, mom. And all the love right back to you.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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