On the evening of January 13, 2021, Loretta Belle Lopez Fritzler, 98, passed peacefully from this life.
Loretta was born June 25, 1922, in Delta, Colorado, to David and Myrtle Lopez. She lived in multiple places during her early childhood, including Olathe and the Tomboy Mine above Telluride in Colorado, Park City, Utah where her father worked for the Silver King Mine, and where she received her First Holy Communion at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Her family ultimately settled in the Magic Valley when their car broke down on the way to Oregon and they were forced to find work. She graduated from Twin Falls High School in 1939 and after attending business school in Salt Lake City, Utah, came back to Twin Falls where she married Stan Fritzler at St. Edward’s Catholic Church on October 15, 1941. She and Stan lived out of state for the first 9 years of their marriage (California and Ohio) before moving back to Idaho in 1950, settling on the Fritzler family farm in Jerome where she lived until 2019.
Like many of the women of her generation, Loretta was a very capable woman. She grew a large vegetable garden every summer, then spent hours in the fall canning produce that would last throughout the winter. She was a talented seamstress, crafting school clothes and prom dresses out of patterns purchased from Tingwall’s or JC Penney that were often handed down through the sisters. She was a gifted cook and was never afraid to try something new in the kitchen. She milked cows, raised chickens and calves, and as if she wasn’t busy enough, she took Girl Scouts camping to places like Redfish Lake - complete with the Army/Navy Surplus canvas tent that weighed a ton and which she erected just fine - and taught young adult religion classes. Simply put, she was a force of Nature.
There were other facets of her personality that made Loretta shine as well. As a young girl in Park City, she learned to play the pump organ from the nuns at St. Mary’s, paying for lessons with a fresh bucket of milk each time. As an adult, she used this talent to accompany various choirs at St. Jerome’s Catholic Church, home to her spiritual family; however, occasionally after breakfast on Sundays, she would play the piano for her own enjoyment, losing herself in the music for several hours at a time. Her love of music was lifelong and while she was drawn to classical, she could be counted on to play a rousing version of “The Stars and Stripes Forever” from her record collection on the 4th of July. She was a sharp dresser when out with Stan or going to church (and never without lipstick) and yet, at the same time, she could get dirty camping or rock hunting without missing a beat. She loved eating breakfast out on Sunday mornings but instead of taking the family to a restaurant, she would get them up early, go to Mass at St. Benedict’s Chapel, then load kids, the Coleman stove, cooler, and dog into the car and head to “Our Favorite Spot” (Federal Gulch) to cook breakfast and read the paper in relative peace while the kids played themselves out. She made birthdays special, Christmas magic, and growing up on a farm the best life possible.
Perhaps in no other areas did Loretta shine more brightly than in her marriage to Stan and in her faith. In their 73 years together, they shared many interests including reading, music, travel, cooking, camping, and rock hunting (to name a few) which, in turn, they passed down to their family, especially their love of good food, camping, and the Sawtooths. Their commitment to each other, their family, and their faith served as a North Star growing up and will continue to guide their family even though they are gone.
When asked how she met Stan, Loretta described rushing into the high school in Twin Falls one winter evening with her girlfriend, afraid that they might not have a ride to the ice-skating pond by Filer. Spotting a group coming down the stairs, Loretta asked if there was still a ride available and described a handsome young man who detached himself from the group and said, “The last ride is leaving now.” Her family would like to think that on the evening of January 13, that same handsome, young man, Stan, her husband, came down the stairs and took her home.
Loretta is survived by her children, Mark (Pam) Fritzler, Towson, MD; Chris (Larry) Coonts, Orofino, ID; Kathy (Dave) Burgess, Jerome, ID; Kurt (Andrea) Fritzler, Portland, OR; Claire (Mark) Annis, Boise, ID; Denise Matthiesen, Meridian, ID; and Michele (Ron) Bonneau, Caldwell, ID; 14 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, David and Myrtle Lopez; siblings, John, Raymond, Irene, Charlotte, and Phyllis; and her husband, Stan.
Funeral Mass and Celebration of Loretta's Life will be held at 11:30 am, Thursday, June 24, 2021 at St. Jerome's Catholic Church, 216 2nd Ave E, Jerome.
The family would like to thank the staff at Creekside Assisted Living Center in Jerome for surrounding Mom with much love and care during these last 19 months. They also wish to thank Idaho Home Health and Hospice for the compassion that Mom was given during her final days. To all her caregivers: You were and are true angels.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Loretta’s name to Save the Children, 899 North Capitol Street, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20002 (please designate for U.S. emergencies), Catholic Charities of Idaho, 7255 W. Franklin St., Boise, ID 83709, or St. Jerome’s Catholic Church, 216 2nd Ave E, Jerome, ID 83338.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Loretta’s memorial webpage at www.farnsworthmortuary.com.