Feb. 22, 1930 – Aug. 2, 2013
Ida Terkildsen Garrett was born in Carmel on Feb. 22, 1930. Her journey through life ended in Davis on Aug. 2, 2013, with her family present. Ida’s parents were Danish immigrants who met and married after their arrival in the United States. They had two children, Ida and James. The marriage ended after a few years, but both parents continued to live in Colusa County.
Ida spoke Danish fluently, having spent two years in Denmark; one year as a young child and another as a teenager. She became well acquainted with many of her Danish relatives on both sides of the family. She maintained those relationships with many trips to visit the Markussen family in the North and the Terkildsen family near the German border in the South. She was also hostess for many Danish relatives who came to visit her and spend a few days in California.
Ida’s mother was an entrepreneur who was able to purchase and move to a ranch on Freshwater Road near Williams. The ranch prospered and is now known as the Terkildsen Ranch. The move enabled Ida to attend Williams High School where she graduated in 1947. She then continued her education at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and later obtained a teaching credential at San Jose State. She was hired in the fall of 1953 as the first kindergarten teacher at the recently opened Valley Oak School in Davis.
It was then that she met her future husband, William N. Garrett, a Penn State alumnus. Bill was a UC Davis graduate student employed by the department of animal science and enrolled in the Ph.D. program in nutrition. They had an agricultural background in common, began dating, fell in love and were married in June 1954 in a small Danish church in Solvang.
Ida’s brother became the major decision-maker for the jointly owned ranch, but she maintained an active interest in its management and made many trips to visit her brother and follow the progress of the crops being grown. Ida lost her brother six years ago. Her sister-in-law Jean Terkildsen survives.
Ida had many interests and activities. As very capable seamstress, she made draperies and shades and an exceptionally fine quilt for a granddaughter. With her passion for music, a recording of a symphony orchestra would be in the background as she worked on her projects. She also joined a group of ladies interested in stitchery who met frequently to enjoy this tedious work together. This group made a trip to Japan to learn about similar activities in that country.
Although always eager to get back home, she has been in many of the 48 states as well as Hawaii and Alaska. Other countries visited include New Zealand, Korea, Morocco and most countries in Europe. Ida also enjoyed cooking especially, but not limited to, Danish dishes like æbleskiver (pancake balls) and frikadeller (meat balls) and the delicious kringle (pastry). She rightly received many accolades from family and friends for her culinary skills. Her grandchildren and nephews remember most of all her cream cheese brownies — definitely not Danish, but a favorite of theirs.
Besides the homemaking skills, Ida found time to use her teaching ability and volunteered to assist adults with English as a second language to improve their skills. For many years she was a teacher’s aide in the Winters School District.
Ida would greet people with a warm, gentle smile and a welcoming personality. She was especially at ease with children but also met friends or new acquaintances in a friendly, congenial manner.
Ida and Bill were married for almost 60 years. She is also survived by her children, Joan Gerriets (Wesley) of Davis and W. Karsen Garrett (Cara-Lee) in South Lake Tahoe. The grandchildren, Valerie and Allison Gerriets and Kyle and Christopher Garrett, knew Ida by the Danish word Bedste (a nickname for grandmother). Ida used the word BEDSTE on her car’s license plate. She is also survived by nephews Quentin and Michael Terkildsen and their families.
Like a finely cut diamond with many facets, memories of Ida’s journey through life will be reflected to many of those who knew and loved her. Those are the real treasures she left for us.
Her immediate family thanks all of their relatives and friends for their continued support throughout Ida’s long illness; it was very much appreciated. Private services will be held at a later date.