Born in Tribune, Kansas the only daughter and oldest of four children to Henry and Esther Oltman. She remained in Kansas until she was fourteen when her family moved to Fruitland where she attended school and met the love of her life, Jim Atherton.
Jim and Marcella married in 1940, and started their family. By the time their oldest was beginning school they were living in Payette where they would remain to raise their three children. Marcella worked at the Blue Bird Café in downtown Payette for many years helping to supplement the family income, but in the mid 1960's it was time for a change and Jim and Marcella made their way to Cascade, Idaho where they built a store and home on the West side of the reservoir. This became known as West Mtn. Lodge, they then moved into town and purchased the Chief Café, where they were known for great food, wonderful pies, and donuts and for the kids, "Happy Face" pancakes. In 1970 it was time to move back home again. They moved to Ontario and started Atherton Kennels, the local animal shelter on Hwy 201 between Ontario and Nyssa. Marcella loved her poodles and dachshunds and often was found bottle feeding puppies that had been dumped at the kennel. Living out on the property gave her and Jim an opportunity to grow a wonderful vegetable garden, leading the way for all of her fantastic cooking and canning. They also grew peonies and roses that people would come from miles away to purchase each Memorial Day. Marcella loved her flowers, whether from the garden or the many beautiful African violets that adorned her home. Marcella's greatest love was for her family and she loved being a grandma, so every summer you would find grandchildren all over the property having fun and enjoying grandma's cooking. In 1987 Jim passed away and Marcella knew it was time to leave the property and start another chapter of her life living in town.
In 2003 she left Ontario and moved to Anchorage, AK to live with her daughter, Janice and son-in-law, Arnie. She had always loved traveling, going with a flower group to Holland, on a Cruise and trips to Japan and Korea. She loved this new opportunity to see all the beautiful sights her new home had to offer. In 2009 it was time for a change again and Janice, Arnie and Marcella all returned to Payette, Idaho to be closer to family, this is where she remained until her passing.
Marcella was considered the original "Social Butterfly" of the family and throughout the years had been a very active member of many organizations. She was an active member of the Pilgrim Lutheran Church and LWML in Ontario, the Boulevard Grange, Patch and Chat Club, the Emblem Club, Ontario and Payette Senior Centers and the Payette SOLO group. When she wasn't out with friends she was home where she spent hours crocheting afghans for all her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was a wonderful grandmother.
Marcella was preceded in death by her mother and father, Henry & Esther Oltman, brother, Ray Oltman, husband, Jim Atherton, son-in-law, Arnie Mason and Great grandson, Jeffrey Gray.
She is survived by brothers, Don (Jeannie) Oltman, Ron (Barbara) Oltman, Sister-in-law, JoAnn Atherton, her loving children, Jan Mason, James D. (Debra) Atherton, Jerry (Hisako) Atherton, grandchildren, Jana (Michael) Laughlin, Joey (Alla) Gray, Julie (Ron) Webber, James (Debbie) Gray, James (Joyce) Atherton, Sherry (Hugh) Robeson, Joyce (Mike) Sczymanski, Johnna Atherton, Austin Woodward, Kristy (Nathan) Freeman, MaShelle (Daniel) Hess and Roger (Ann) Atherton, 18 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staff of Heart & Home Hospice and a special thank-you to our special Angel, Sue for all of their help and support throughout the last 6 months.
There will be a viewing at Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel in Payette, Friday Aug. 23 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. Funeral Services will be held at Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, 112 N. 9th St. Payette, Sat. Aug. 24th at 1:00, graveside services will follow at Evergreen Cemetery in Ontario.
Family requests any donations be made to the Payette Sr. Center or Pilgrim Lutheran Church.
Condolences can be made online to the family at www.shaffer-jensenchapel.com