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Posted: Dec 7, 2009  11:44

Jesse Donald Vanhorn

September 9, 1923 - December 2, 2009


Jesse Donald Vanhorn, 86, passed away in Kootenai, ID on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 from complications of a massive stroke. A memorial service will be held in the spring at the Pack River Cemetery.

Jesse was born September 9, 1923 in McCool Junction, Nebraska to Lee William and Bowverdia Vanhorn. He started working on the farm at the age of 13. He then went on to work for the railroad and laid line for the telephone company before enlisting in the US Army Air Corp at age 19. He served in WW II in Nome, Alaska as a Corporal for the 1469 Farren Group. After leaving the military he, and his family, moved to Kettle Falls, Washington to become loggers.

Jesse married Bertha Johnsen on July 31, 1946 in Wilson Creek, WA. They were married for 60 years before Bertha passed away in November 2006. They raised 3 sons and a daughter together.

At the age of 23, he started working in the planer mill in Colville, WA. He then moved to Kootenai, ID where he continued his career in the planer mill as a millwright, planer set up man, and certified grader. He was considered one of the top lumber graders in the Pacific Northwest by the grading association. He retired in 1986 from the planer mill and went to work for Murphy Saw Shop in Sandpoint, ID. He later opened his own small engine repair shop where he worked until the day of his stroke.

Jesse loved music, playing musical instruments, and dancing. He and his wife won several jitterbug contests. Jesse especially enjoyed taking cross country trips on his motorcycle with his son Gene. He also earned his pilots license at the age of 50.

What he valued more than anything was his family. He enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

He is survived by his three sons Gene (Arlene) Vanhorn in Spokane, WA; Gary (Linda) Vanhorn in Kootenai, ID; Dale (Kim) Vanhorn in Kootenai, ID; his daughter Alice DeVries in Snoqualmie, WA; 15 grandchildren Darren (Belinda) Vanhorn, Coeur d’Alene, ID; Donnie (Kim) Huggins Rathdrum, ID; Randy Schell, Spokane, WA; Clayton Schell, Steve Schell, Portland,OR; J.P. (Marnie) Schell, Boise, ID; Jeremy (Danille) Vanhorn-Brown, Hope, ID; Jason (Debin) Vanhorn-Brown, Wiggins, MS; Lee Vanhorn, Spokane, WA; Aimee (Zach) Libby, Snoqualmie, WA; Thys DeVries, Santa Ana, CA; Ben Vanhorn, Newport Beach, CA; Abby (Ryan) Leisy, Sandpoint, ID; Alicia (Bill) Mueller, Kootenai, ID; and Tina Van Den Berge, Bonners Ferry, ID. 15 great grandchildren Felicia and Dylan Schell, Andy and Emma Schell, Amanda and Devin Huggins, Issac Vanhorn-Brown, Dakota and Sidney Vanhorn-Brown, Kendal and Kenzie Libby, Owen and Wil Leisy, Alexus and Olivia Mueller, and one more on the way.

He was preceded in death by his wife Bertha, his parents, four brothers, and one nephew.


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