On Friday, November 12, 2021, Billie Lorrae James, loving mother and grandmother, passed away at the age of 86 after a short illness.
Billie was the eldest daughter born to Merven and Evelyn (Thayne) Bowman on October 25, 1935 in Emmett, ID. Billie was raised, along with her younger sister Connie, in Emmett and Boise, following the path their father lead with his work as a master mechanic, even as far away as Alaska. Billie loved exploring the woods, riding horses and playing with her dog Patsy.
Billie married Thomas W. Richardson, Jr. at a young age of 16 and had three beautiful children, Gary, Michael and Tawni while living in Boise, ID. In 1968 she moved to Yellow Pine, ID where she and Tom purchased and operated the Yellow Pine Lodge and Café and then built the Corner Bar with her family. Billie delighted travelers arriving in the back country with her fresh, homemade food and warm hospitality. Many lifetime friendships developed during her years in Yellow Pine, and she was always up for an adventure in the back country looking for antiques or rocks, or to help a friend. During her years in Yellow Pine, Billie supported the Green Beret during training in Yellow Pine, housed a victim of a snowmobile accident until he could be taken out to McCall for medical help, joined friends on a midnight excursion to retrieve an old fashioned juke box, found her sour dough bread batch overflowing their bowls in the Café while she helped at a plane crash site. She was the home based for back country food, hospitality, card games, and most of all ~ warm friendship.
Years later (after a divorce from Tom) Billie met and fell in love and married Charles (Chuck) L. James, from Mullen, ID. Chuck was visiting Yellow Pine while conducting mining exploration activities in the back country, and together they began an adventure of travel and exploring the country while he worked in the mining industry. Later they moved to Osburn, ID, and then finally retired to live in Meridian, ID. Her husband Chuck passed away in 2016 and was a great loss to her.
Billie will always be remembered for her beautiful dazzling smile and her gift for making friends easily, while remaining very opinionated and having a strong determination to defend her principles. Billie had a compassionate, caring way about her, and treasured her many lifelong friends. She loved her family deeply and reached out to them often to see if they needed anything or just to catch up. She had a great love of country music and was blessed to have befriended some of the country music stars she admired most. Billie went on two Country Music Cruises to get autographs from and “rub elbows” with the stars she admired most, and when returning home- she amassed an impressive collection of country music.
Billie loved to travel, spending her earlier life planning trips with her beloved sister and mother, exploring historic family homesteads and cemeteries in the Northwest while seeing sights never experienced before. After Chuck passed away, Billie moved in with her daughter, Tawni Limesand in Kuna, where she enjoyed seeing the horses play from her window, and love her little Cairn Terrier Max. Most recently, Billie traveled with her daughter and son-in-law David on a grand tour of the East Coast, and often around the Northwest to watch them compete in horse shows, and the sport of Omoksee. Billie loved sculpting her flower beds and caring for her plants, trees and shrubs.
Throughout her life, Billie shared many similar passions with her mother and sister. She loved gardening and growing a lush variety of plants and trees that reflected her love of design and careful use of colors and textures to create a beautiful landscape Billie enjoyed researching geology of the rock formations in Idaho, while collecting a variety of interesting rocks for their beauty to augment her flower beds and walkways. Through Billie’s love of research, she collected books on Idaho History, the early settlers of the Cascade and Yellow Pine areas, Valley County, Shoshone County and the Silver Valley.
Billie spearheaded a book written by her immediate family chronicling the extraordinary life of her father, Merven Bowman ~ an early back country pioneer whose family settled in Valley and Gem counties of Idaho, and who helped to build at several significant historical sites in Idaho during his years in the CCC. This book is currently located in the Valley County Library as an historical reference. She and her sister Connie continued their lifelong work on the family genealogy and compiled many factual documents, letters and stories of her ancestors.
Billie was a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and served the church with a deep and abiding love of the gospel. She was an extraordinary person, so beloved by her family and will be greatly missed.
Billie is survived by her sister Connie J. Young, her children Gary Richardson and Tawni Limesand (Richardson), stepchildren, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents Merven & Evelyn, her husband Charles (Chuck) James, and her son Michael Richardson.