Body found Tuesday morning amid ashes of destroyed homes in Southeast Boise : comments

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1219760653 Body found Tuesday morning amid ashes of destroyed homes in Southeast Boise : comments Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

A Very Sad Day For Our Community......

We can only pray to God that this is the only victim of the dreadful fire that engulfed the homes in Boise. Much has been said about the people living there that they built their homes as if asking for it. That is a crass and rude thing to even think. So what if they did? We need to be compassionate and sympathetic for them now no matter what their economic status. The loss of your home is no small matter. Even the tiniest little momentos are gone. Memories that can not be brought back. We can not even begin to imagine the heartache and sadness they're experiencing. Our prayers are with all of them. And God Bless those in pubic service who were there to help throughout the night and today. Boise needs to stand together in this time of crisis. Do not condemn or judge. Let the love flow...........

Indeed, she had an amazing library

Indeed, she had an amazing library of irreplaceable literary works of art, as I've been to her house (she was good about hosting student social gatherings). In some sense, I can understand how she simply could not let go and run from the impending danger. Those precious books were her life's work.

My sympathy and condolences to the family. Very saddened by the loss.

Are you suggesting that she stayed longer to protect her books?

Man, what a waste. I haven't read one negative thing about this woman, so she obviously touched a lot of lives.

I hope that the reason she stayed longer was not to save her books. No book was so valuable that it was worth her life.

I don't think they had time

If you read the latest it said they were helping her husband out whose clothes were on fire and when they went back to get her out the house was engulfed. As fast as the fire spread I doubt they had much time to react.. From what I have read about her she must have been a joy to have as a friend, teacher and family member.

I heard....

there was a small child who died in the fire but they aren't talking about it. Why would they not talk about it if it did happen? We are all here to help.

I Agree, Robert...

I was looking at Channel 7's website and they preliminarily identified the person found as a BSU instructor. As a matter of fact, the woman identified was supposed to be my instructor for a linguistics course beginning today. They've since taken down her name from their website. I'm extraordinarily saddened by this fire, and am wishing everyone affected all the best. No criticism, no harsh judgment - I'll save those comments for other articles. I want only the best that the Boise Community can offer for those affected by this tragedy.

I Agree, ElaineMT...

it's a very, very sad day. I went to bed late last night thinking there were no loss of life victims only to read this article this morning. Tragic and sad knowing where this woman was to be this morning!


yes it is not the time for crudity. we have suffered a frigntening loss as a community. those of you who are incline to criticize, please be respectful of this loss.
my mother died of liver disease due to alcoholism. a nurse said to me 'well that was expected - she asked for it". (as if this made me immune to grief).
i wanted to smack her in the head. here i was suffering from the loss of my mother and it didnt matter the cause.
same thing goes here. we make choices. period. i do wish this community would put a water system around the edge of these communities that back up to sage.


What a horrible thing for that nurse to say to you! I am sorry she treated you that way. It obviously didn't hurt your mother, it hurt you. She does need to be smacked.

Bad deal Spoof,

we thought everything was fine last night. Tragic. Houses can be replaced,but not people. Condolences to the family.

Sad day

Very sad day! Prayers to all.

Much better thread

than the trash on the previous one.

This country will not survive, if we continually find ways to degrade others, especially in time of tragedy.

Let's pull together as a community, and get behind those that have lost so much last night.

Put the idiotic bickering to the side.

Thoughts and prayers. (yes, I do believe they work)

My thoughts and prayers to all affected

Thoughts and prayers are all that I can offer.

To those writing the mindless comments of the other blogs, there are a time to keep those thoughts to yourself. Reading the other blogs I was beginning to doubt myself for choosing this community to live in over 10 years ago. I moved here because this was the closest feel to home (Western NY) that I could find. Friendly people who gave a darned about others. But, I still believe the negative folks are the minority here.


My condolences for the family & friends of Mary Ellen Ryder and

for all who have suffered a loss of property and possessions. I had prayed late last night for Mary Ellen Ryder's safety. And this morning to read that she probably is a victim of this conflagration is so very sad. My heart goes out to all who have suffered due to this tragic fire.

Terrible tragedy

I don't personally know anyone affected by this tragedy, but was shocked and saddened by the story. I can only imagine what all these people are going through, especially this woman's family.

As many of you, I am tired of seeing all these judgmental posts by Monday morning quarterbacks. Boise is a very compassionate and close knit community from what I can tell from my 5 years living here. Unfortunately, these types of tragedies can bring out both the best and worst in people.

God bless all those families whose lives have been turned upside down.

I wanna know

What the cause of the fire was. They said last night that it might have been caused by an electrical transformer blowing but that was never confirmed. If it was set by a careless person I hope they are found and charged with murder. What a sad day in the community. Its nice to know that Boise has always been a tight knit community that will pull together and help those in need.

Mary Ellen Ryder

I took a linguistics class from Mary Ellen Ryder and I have to say that she was one of the best and most interesting professors I had at Boise State. A tragic loss for the community and the university.

Ditto that.

...Mary Ellen Ryder would have liked that one.

She was a fine professor and a fine person.


I took three of her courses. She was one of the best instructors at BSU. She was passionate about teaching and will be greatly missed.

Great, great woman.

First, I want to tell all of the victims of the fire that I am just heartsick for them. I can't imagine losing my home to a fire that suddenly.

Not only have numerous families been affected by this fire in terms of material loss, but we've also lost a wonderful woman.

I'm sitting here, trying to think of the words that could pay a great tribute to Mary Ellen. She was my linguistics teacher too, and like others, found sheer delight in her passion for all things that had to do with her subject area. I'm just starting my final semester at Boise State, and even though I am done with my coursework, I enrolled in one of her classes. I enjoyed Mary Ellen that much. I'm supposed to be in class with her right now.

I'm just another English student from Boise State; and I just hope that I'm able to affect my students the way she's affected all of us.

We're going to miss you, Mary Ellen.

Deepest condolences go out to my fellow students, her colleagues, friends and family, (especially Peter).

Mandy Hardan

Bury the Powerlines

An entire town of 2,500 people and homes almost burned in Idaho 20+ years ago.

It was saved by a borate bombintg at the last minute. People were evacuating.

When burning embers come out of the sky orignatin from a half-mile away, you ain't seen terror.

Idaho Power can forgo its profits for a few years. Frankly, the IPUC can order the burial. Otherwise IP is providing false financial statements--a form of securities fraud by not including powerline burial costs in its bookkeeping.

Before commenting read about the Oakland Hills fire.

I have no idea what relevance your comment has

But it really doesn't belong here. If I knew how to do it, I'd request that this be removed and posted to the story about the fire itself.

Mary Ellen was a wonderful

Mary Ellen was a wonderful professor and an even better person. She will be missed.

Our prayers are with

the victims of this tragic fire.

So sad

I'm so sad for everyone affected by this fire. What a tragedy. Good people lost a lot, including someone who appears to have been a very distinguished professor at BSU. I can't even imagine how the victims of this fire are feeling, but my heart goes out to them. They are all in my prayers. God bless them.


a horrible tradgedy.
My families thoughts go out everyone
affected. No doubt we will do what we can
to help. Be it food, or money or whatever.

the liberal arts

I don't know what to say about this loss. ME Ryder was utterly selfless and wholly enthusiastic. She delighted in her students' immersion in poetry, discourse analysis, etymology. As well-rounded a person as I can hope to claim to be, I can directly cite her as a cultural and academic influence from the four courses I took from her. I just saw her in the department mailroom the other day...all flustered with the copy machine

"Twas brillig and the slivey toves/Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.." RIP

Poem from Mary Ellen Ryder...

... I found this poem from Mary Ellen Ryder on one of the Boise State websites just this morning. It sounds like she has survived a couple of cancer scares in her life and has courageously battled and won.

Mirror, Mirror—
I always hated my body.
My mother hated hers.
It’s an old family tradition
handed down
to daughter
along with the genes
of hefty Yorkshire farmwomen
and strong Irish washerwomen.
“Your body is a temple!”
mine was
just a pedestal
to put my beautiful brain on
and not even good at that.
a routine mammogram
five white dots
at the first glimpse
of bombs dropping
from a clear sky
“—abnormal calcification
usually indicate cancer cells”
my body abnormal
of course

“—exceptionally lucky
to be given such an earlier warning”
my body?
again I look at the dots
a message from a castaway
hoping I would notice
in time
and in time
I did.

I hug my lovely body.
thank god I say
thank god
we’re in this together.

—Mary Ellen Ryder


...that was fantastic. Thanks for sharing. Condolences to Mary's family, she was a wonderful person.

Fantastic Post -- thank you

Mary Ellen will be missed. A wonderful woman -- a true pleasure to be around her.

I sit here in utter disbelief

Mary Ellen Ryder was the most wonderful of all of the professors I ever had while attending Boise State. Her courses, while difficult, were very engaging. She had a way of teaching that made students want to learn. I had four courses from Mary Ellen while a student, and enjoyed each one thoroughly. I cannot believe her dynamic spirit will no longer be singing "Jabberwocky" to her students at BSU. Future linguistics students will really miss out -

I feel lucky and a better

I feel lucky and a better person for just having taken a single class from her. Indeed, it is so sad that her spirit will not be touching the lives of future students.

Here, here, newslover

Mary Ellen Ryder was my Linguistics professor my last semester at Boise State, which was this last spring. Along with her Jabberwocky and wombat stories, her incredible spirit will be sorely missed. Like the poem said, she survived breast cancer in her life, and she talked about it in class - she urged the women and men to take notice of their health and be aware of the signs of breast cancer.

Dr. Ryder's class was a difficult one for me, and she was really spectacular about making herself available to students who needed extra help. Often times she gave up her Sundays to hold study groups for students. Linguistics is a complex subject; one which Dr. Ryder was proficiently brilliant (although her humble nature would disagree). Her class was the one to make or break my graduation goals. She extended her services and eagerness to help more than any other professor has done in my 6 years at BSU.

She had so much to teach the world, and I'm honored and lucky to have been a recipient of what she had to share. Even as I'm writing this, I'm examining my sentence structures and the origins of some of my words. Our community is truly at a loss for such a worldly and unselfish woman.

Lisa Semmler


America is resilient! Look at everyone coming together on this tragic day and acting civil in the face of tragidy.

Mary Ellen Ryder

Mary Ellen Ryder will be greatly missed by this community. She was one of the best professors I had at BSU over the years. Her eagerness to be helpful to students and her obvious love of teaching kept me excited about linguistics and motivated me to study. Her excitement seemed to be contagious. She had a wonderful gift and I'm so glad I had her for a professor. I'll never hear the word wombat without thinking of her. Godspeed, Mary. You will be missed.

I didn't know her

but from reading her poetry and reading what others say about her, I wish I had known her. How lucky everyone was to be a part of her life while she was here! An amazing women with amazing character! She will be missed terribly but the world is a better place because she was here. Lets celebrate the people in our lives who make a difference and not take one minute of being with them for granted!

Mary Ellen Ryder--An amazing woman and professor

I was in Mary Ellen's Linguistics course this past summer. She was an incredible person and teacher, full of humor and an immense knowledge that went beyond Linguistics. She made a sometimes-difficult subject easier through her contagious enthusiasm and her above-and-beyond availability. Her students will attest that she was never out of reach by phone or email, and she devoted so much of her personal time to students who needed her.

Her love of animals, her love of family, her joy of traveling, and the excitement she had for all things Linguistics was evident in everything she did. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to have known her, and to have had the privilege to learn from such an amazing professor. The positive impact she had on her students' lives, as well as the lives of her colleagues and family, will be felt for many years to come (lifetimes, in fact).

What a tragic loss for her family, for our community, and to all the future students of Linguistics that will not have the chance to know her. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family during this very difficult time.


My husband is in utter shock, he had considered her a mentor. She once said to him "Those who study English literature are in a constant state of individual mental masturbation." He was angered by that statement, but now after he has done and gotten his degree in English Lit, feels bad he didnt truly understand the meaning of her words. She will always remain in his mind a mentor and full of guidance.
I hope her family knows that she left a thumb print on all who had the privilege to be her students. May God rest her soul.


If anyone has any idea of when the funeral is, please let the community know so we may honor a profound member of the Boise State family.

RIP Dr. Ryder

It sickens me to think that future linguistics students will be robbed of their experience with Dr. Mary Ellen Ryder. I was fortunate enough to take her Linguistics class my last semester of college (Spring of 2008) and enjoyed her class so much that I considered pursuing a Masters degree in linguistics from a Bachelor's degree in Communication.

Dr. Ryder will be greatly missed. She was an amazing woman and mentor.


Unfortunately, BSU does not have a Master's program in Linguistics. When I rec'd my Bachelor's, the college and the university (pre-Kustra) had been trying to shut the program down for years. The English department always voted to keep Linguistics, but I wonder now if it will still be protected without such a strong advocate taking the lead. BSU will never be able to find a professor as talented, student-oriented, and downright fun as Mary Ellen was. She will be missed.

So Sorry to Hear the News ...

I was a student of Mary Ellen Ryder's for two years while obtaining my undergraduate degree at Boise State in the mid-90's. I LOVED HER CLASSES! As a student-athlete who was often exhausted when I arrived to her night class, I vividly remember her linguistics lectures and infamous "workbooks". I'll never forget the lasting impression she made both in my life and in my current teaching style. What a great loss!

Is photo necessary?

Is it really necessary for the Statesman to try and capitalize on the death of a wonderful professor and woman by publishing a photograph of her grieving husband? Where is your compassion - He made a statement to the press, now let this man grieve in peace!

Peter, I am very sorry

to hear of your great loss... even of the cats you both loved. I am glad that Christine and her husband are able to offer you a place to stay as well as everything else they are so kind in giving.

Jabberwocky will never be the same...

Dr. Mary Ellen Ryder was among the very finest professors from whom I took courses. I remember very few professors now but I always will remember her. I remember her nearly every day as I recall the stylistics lessons she taught. I constantly consider them as I create worlds in my mind while reading. She was, simply, fabulous.

As for Sadbuttrue's comments above... Shame on you. Peter, I am sorry for your loss... and ours.

Future BSU English and Linguistics students have been robbed of a truly amazing, and intellectually tasking, experience.

Mary Ellen Ryder


It has been some time since I have seen either of you. I have always cherised the friendship of both of you and the times you hosted me (and us) at your house.

My thoughts are with you.

Tom Talboy

What a horrible loss.......

The poem is priceless and just this alone tells me something about this woman...a lot about her actually. I can totally relate to the poem and I wish I could thank her for it.

Prayers for strength to her family and friends and to all the fire victims.

An exceptional teacher, mentor & friend

I consider myself blessed to have had Mary Ellen Ryder as a teacher at Boise State University (BSU). Mary Ellen was extremely knowledgeable in her subject and taught it to her students with a true love and passion for Linguistics and the English language.
She had fascinating little anedotes to share with us, her stories about the love of her life, Peter and her cats, stories about her sister and friends and her life in general would come out in parts of her teaching. This is part of what made her special, she didn't seem above her students, she was approachable, fair and was an asset to teaching and BSU.
I consider myself lucky to have had her influence, her lessons and to have crossed paths with such a great person.
I will forever remember her love of Moxie Java, t-shirts with English & Linguistic humour and her consideration of life and everything it has to offer. She would never pressure her students to think ONE way, she gave everyone an opportunity to THINK. She was supportive of many causes, but gave her students the information and let them take it from there.
To Peter, her family and friends my deepest condolences. You are in my thoughts and prayers, May God bless Mary Ellen and all of you. --Terri Scofield & family

Sorely missed...

I had the pleasure (and pain, at times) of taking several of Mary Ellen's courses back in the early '90s, and it didn’t take long to see that she was one of those rare people who has a natural ability to teach. Unlike many university professors who might see teaching as secondary to research and furthering their academic careers, Mary Ellen was a teacher—first and foremost. She was demanding, but fair.

However, she was, in a sense, not just teaching us, but learning with us, as well. A fellow traveler on the academic journey.

I remember a particularly grueling psycholinguistics exam. As a class, we scored badly. However, since the entire class was in the same boat, she did something I’ve seen few professors do: she climbed into the boat with us. She acknowledged that, if the entire class did poorly, then something must have been wrong with the way she’d taught the material. As captain of our craft, she took upon herself some of the responsibility for our bad performance and adjusted the scores accordingly. While not a total bailout, it was fair.

As a fellow traveler, she treated us all with respect. There was no reason why we couldn’t succeed. It might take a bit of effort on our parts—and it might require her to sacrifice her time to conduct study sessions and one-on-one tutoring—but we could succeed. By having faith in us, she taught us a lesson most valuable: she taught us to have faith in ourselves.

My sympathies to Peter, her family and friends, and all those she touched.

Rest forever in peace…

Rhett Tanner

Mary Ellen was one of the best

This is so hard...I've been sitting here stunned for about 30 minutes.

I was a student in Mary Ellen's History of the English Language course when she was battling breast cancer. She spoke so openly about her fears, her surgery, etc., and made it through in such winning fashion that you had to believe this was a person who would live forever. So to find out that she's's just hard to absorb right now. In my mind, and I'm sure in the minds of many other students, she was an icon, even a hero, simply for the way she forged ahead in her journey through this world.

And on top of that, she was a fantastic teacher, hands down the best one I had at BSU, and I had some good ones (Warren Harbison, Wally Kay, Shelton Woods). Her ability to connect with and inspire students was as strong as any teacher I ever had, from Kindergarten on up...maybe off the scale. Add that to the fact that she was teaching Linguistics (a subject that alternates between painfully boring and simply painful) and could make it interesting, even fun, and you have a truly unique and amazing individual.

She will be sorely missed. Condolences to her family, friends, and co-workers.

Josh Casten