Fayesther Waegelin
Fayesther Waegelin

Obituary of Fayesther Russell Waegelin

Fayesther (Terry) Russell Waegelin, 90, a long-time Twin Falls resident living in Idaho Falls, passed away May 31.

Fayesther was born on Aug. 16, 1928 in Ardmore, Oklahoma, to Elmer L. Russell and Lilian Moseley Russell, The second of 5 siblings, she moved to Idaho as an infant and graduated from Salmon High School at age 16, having twice completed two grades in one year. During World War II, she worked in the naval shipyards in Portland and San Francisco. She was the first woman to be admitted to the School of Accountancy at the University of Denver. She graduated from UD with a degree in accounting and became a fully licensed Certified Public Accountant in 1953.

Settling in Twin Falls, she married Jack Waegelin of Filer, Idaho in 1951. He preceded her in death in 1980. Frequently asked if she was a native of Idaho, she always responded that she “was a native by marriage” knowing that Idahoans take their status as natives very seriously.  She was the first woman elected to the Idaho State Board of Accountancy, and the first woman to serve as its president. She practiced as a CPA in Twin Falls for her entire career.  She retired from accounting in 1993, after which she devoted herself to her children and grandchildren with the same energy and boundless enthusiasm that she had displayed for her clients and colleagues in her professional life. When she surrendered her license, she held the lowest active CPA license number in the state (152).

During her life she was active in many local and civic groups including Boy Scouts of America, AAUW, Altrusa, 4-H, Jobs Daughters, DeMolay and other Masonic organizations. She was a lifelong member of Twin Falls Episcopal Church of the Ascension. Fayesther had an inquisitive mind and an adventurous spirit.  An avid traveler, skier and reader, she especially enjoyed time with family.

Fayesther was preceded in death by both of her parents and her husband as well as her brothers Elmer L. Russell Jr., Scott J. Russell and Don L. Russell. She is survived by her brother William A. Russell (Catherine), of Las Vegas and her sister by marriage Jacqualine Russell (Mrs. Scott J. Russell) of Parsippany, New Jersey. She is also survived by her loving daughter, K. Ellen Baxter (Brian Herman) of Idaho Falls; and son Russell (Betsy) of Rochester, MI. She is survived by granddaughters Jacqueline Baxter and Katherine Baxter Biagi (J.C.), grandsons Jeffrey (Jessica), Matthew and Christopher Waegelin, and her four much adored great grandchildren Ariana, Francesca and Giovanni Biagi, and Emilia Waegelin as well as many nieces and nephews.  

Arrangements are under the direction of Rosenau Funeral Home of Twin Falls.  A graveside service open to all will be held at 3 p.m. on June 17, at Sunset Memorial Cemetery in Twin Falls with the Rev. Lauren Schoeck officiating.  A reception at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension on Eastland Avenue in Twin Falls will immediately follow the service. In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests donations be made to the Ronald McDonald House of Spokane, Washington (1015 W. 5th Avenue, Spokane, WA 99204) with grateful appreciation for their service and care of Francesca Biagi and the Biagi family or to the Ronald McDonald House of your choosing.

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