Harry Martin, 96, passed away peacefully with his daughter Bonnie and caregivers at his side at Whitman Senior Living Community in Pullman on Sunday, February 8, following a long, slow decline in health. He was a lifelong Latah County resident.
Harry was born on June 12, 1918, to August and Olga (Siegrist) Martin at Viola, Idaho. Harry attended Flannigan Creek School at Viola and graduated from Moscow High School in 1937. After high school he worked in the timber industry and for Bonneville Power clearing the way for power lines in the Portland, OR, area. He later worked for Boise-Payette Lumber in Council, ID.
In April 1940, Harry met Marian Smith at a public dance at the Eagles in Moscow. They were married on June 14, 1941, at her parents’ home. In 1942 they began farming one mile east of the Blaine community. During his 50 years of farming he was active in the Federal Land Bank, elected as a Director in 1969. He worked extensively with the Soil Conservation Service to learn and practice newer and improving farming practices. Harry was featured several times in the Daily Idahonian, Moscow, in articles outlining his practice of the then-innovative strip cropping, and then later, the extensive hog production facility he developed. Over the years he successfully raised wheat, peas, barley, oats, hay, sweet clover, cattle, pigs, sheep and laying chickens. Harry was proud to be a Palouse country farmer and well known in his community. He was also happy to lend a helping hand to neighbors as needed.
Harry was also a Director of the Latah County Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and later Secretary and then Vice President of the Jolly Goodfellows dance group in Lewiston. His daughters remember Harry was always talking with friends, neighbors, and often brand new acquaintances, teaching his daughters that a useful, even essential, part of conversation was listening. At the fairgrounds and around town, he seemed to talk with someone new every few feet, resulting in a lot of time for his daughters and Marian standing and waiting.
In later years Harry and Marian traveled throughout the United States in their camper, and later their motor home. They also did some traveling outside the States, especially enjoying a trip to Europe with a farmers’ group and another group cruise around the Hawaiian Islands. In semi-retirement Harry and Marian enjoyed dancing with The Jolly Good Fellows and other dancing groups in the Lewiston area and playing pinochle and rummy games when they weren’t dancing, often getting home after three o’clock in the morning. Harry enjoyed growing large gardens and sharing the produce with their dancing and card-playing friends. In his retirement years Harry enjoyed trading cars frequently, with Marian joking that one year their cars went from A (Audi Fox) to Z (Lincoln Zephyr).
Harry is survived by his three daughters, Dawn (Virg) Edwards of Sandy, Oregon, LeNelle McInturff and Bonnie Martin of Moscow; four grandchildren, Cindy (Jeffrey) Smith, Reed (Erin) Mueller, Lisa McInturff, and Debbie (Andrew) Reed; one step-grandson, David Edwards; nine great-grandchildren; three step-great-grandchildren; a nephew, Marlin (SheilAnne) Smith of Moscow, and a niece Nadine Sharpe and nephew Charlie Cunningham, both of Colbert, WA. He was preceded in death by his wife Marian in 2008, his sister Lena Cunningham, grandson Bruce Mueller, and step-granddaughter Laurie Van Winkle.
The family wishes to thank the many staff at Whitman Senior Living Community and Gentiva Hospice caregivers for their loving care during his final months.
Memorial donations may be made to the Idaho Youth Ranch in Rupert or to the charity of the donor’s choice. Harry will be buried in the Moscow Cemetery in a private family graveside ceremony. A celebration of life will be held later in the spring.
Short’s Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements and online condolences may be sent to www.shortsfuneralchapel.net.