Charelda Foss


Charleda was born on July 7, 1937 in Harrison, Idaho, thirty-five minutes before her twin sister. The family moved to Coeur d’Alene and purchased five acres and three city lots on the east side of Coeur d’Alene.

Except for two years during World War II, “Char” attended CDA schools and graduated from CHS in 1956. There were no sports opportunities for girls at the time. The family had a minifarm which provided the opportunity to “love to work”; milking cows included.

Char and Maralee were involved with 4-H for several years. Char attended Brigham Young University, graduating in the spring of 1959, with a Bachelor of Science degree; then earned her Masters degree in 1971. Again the only sports offered were intramurals.

The twins did learn how to officiate volleyball and basketball and received DGWS National ratings in these sports. Utah had a large sports program for girls, so they had an opportunity to officiate a lot of church and intramural games. BYU had three sports days a year, with BYU hosting basketball, Utah hosting volleyball and Utah State hosting softball; all limited to one day each. After teaching and working in city recreation, Char returned to CDA in 1961 and applied for a job in CDA City Recreation. She was hired by Red Halpern to start a girls softball program, to lifeguard, teach swimming and tennis. The area was so ready some of the girls lied about their age so they could play softball. She also organized the first Idaho State women’s Slow Pitch Softball Tournament held in Coeur d’Alene in 1966. This was a great time in Char’s life. The twins ran the program for ten years. Charleda taught at North Central, then Ferris High school in Spokane, Washington, where she coached golf.

She taught at CHS from 1966 to 1970. Maralee was at Rogers High School from 1964 to 1969 so they scheduled Volleyball and Basketball games with each school. Charleda also put together a golf team that was undefeated playing against the existing Spokane girls golf teams. She also scheduled Volleyball games against Lakeland High school under Alice Devers. This was the only opportunity to play that the Coeur d’Alene girls had. From 1970 to 1973 Char taught at Borah HS in Boise, ID and coached volleyball, basketball, field hockey and gymnastics. Teachers in the area exchanged softball games for fun. Sports were just beginning and were at a very elementary level. While at Borah HS, she was also the traveling basketball official for Boise State University.

The rest of Char’s career was in Coeur d’Alene at the Junior and Senior High school. Char held the very first Volleyball “officials” training clinic in Northern Idaho, under the DGWS national rules. She was also asked to coach the first girls basketball team for one year in 1973-74, which met and played in a grade school gym. Volleyball was just beginning; it was a bump-bump-bump game. Charleda spent a lot of time officiating college and high school volleyball and basketball. She also started a very fun, elective class at CHS in Advanced First Aid. She retired in 1997.

One of her greatest accomplishments was starting and watching the growth of girls softball in the area. Charleda was inducted into the Idaho New Agenda Hall of Fame in 1992 for outstanding service to girl and women’s sports; received an NIC Outstanding Educator Award for 1996-1997 for commitment, dedication and outstanding contributions to education, was honored as a Viking Legend from CHS in 2004 and was named a North Idaho Sports Pioneer in 2008. Char’s hobby has become golf. After winning the Nine Hole Club Championship six times, she decided it was time to move up to the Eighteen Hole league. She is proud of her three holes in one.

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