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Former Idaho State Sen. Ann Rydalch dies at 86

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IDAHO FALLS – A beloved member of the community died early Tuesday morning at the age of 86.

Ann Rydalch passed away due to complications of a stroke that occurred on Friday evening.

Rydalch, a former Idaho state senator, served her community in more ways than one over her long career as a public servant. Rydalch was a historian, educator, mother, grandmother, senator, Idaho National Laboratory advocate, legislator and more.

Many remember her as an incredible leader and someone who was passionate about her community and how to improve it.

“Ann Rydalch was possessed by boundless energy and leadership talent. I mean, she was just an incredible woman,” says Former Idaho state representative Linden Bateman. “She was just so versatile in her interests, and she promoted significant projects as a teacher, as a state senator, as an INL advocate, and of course as president of the Bonneville County Heritage Association.”

Rydalch served as an Idaho state senator (1983-1990), Idaho House representative (2002-2008), chair of the Bonneville County Heritage Association, chair of Region 7 for the Republican Party, and working for the Idaho Federation of Republican Women and National Federation for Republican Women.

Rydalch also worked as board advisor for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on the recommendation of then-President Ronald Reagan, and in 2019, was honored by Ammon Mayor Sean Coletti as the Ammon Citizen of the Year.

“She was a relentless force for good and had a sharp moral compass. Not afraid of anything,” said Coletti in a tribute to Rydalch on his Facebook page. “She lived the hymn phrase, ‘Do what is right, let the consequence follow.’ She cared and served, right up to the end. Our community has lost a giant.”

Rydalch also worked as a teacher at Bonneville High School, where she was awarded the Idaho Journalism Teacher of the Year award. In 1979, Rydalch began working at the Idaho National Laboratory, where she worked until 2010. Her work focused on building a sustainable energy plan for Idaho and the nation.

“Ann was a generous and intensely loyal friend and mentor to so many leaders in the East Idaho community and in Idaho politics. Her unique combination of experience in the Idaho Senate, House, and Republican Party, in addition to professional experience at the INL, brought an unmatched breadth of knowledge and relationships to any consequential conversation or decision,” says former Chair of the Idaho Republican Party Stephen Yates. “She will be missed. The bar is set high for those of us who follow.”

On top of all of this, Rydalch was fiercely dedicated to her role as a mother and grandmother. A mother to six who are affectionately known as the “Super Six,” a grandmother to 16, and a great-grandmother to 22 with one on the way she is remembered as someone who always made time for the ones she loved most.

“My grandma was always happiest when we were all together in her house, having some sort of family celebration when there were kids running all over, and everyone was talking all at once,” says Rydalch’s granddaughter Jessica Donnelly. “A lot of us didn’t know the extent of all of the projects and committees that she was working on because that wasn’t her personality. When she was home, she wanted to be with family, and work was this separate thing.”

Ann Rydalch’s obituary can be read here.

According to the obituary, funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday at the Ammon 8th Ward building, 2055 South Ammon Road in Ammon. A visitation will be held from 6 to 8:00 pm on Friday at Coltrin Mortuary, and one hour before the service. Interment will be in the Ammon Cemetery.

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