Neil Everett Martin, 79, passed away on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, after receiving wonderful care at both Gritman Medical Center and Aspen Park Kindred Healthcare.
Neil was a four-pound preemie born to Everett and Stella Martin in Osage, Iowa. He was baptized by the medical staff at birth because of his prematurity, but thankfully recovered to grow into a corn-fed farm boy. Neil was confirmed at the Rock Creek Lutheran Church of Meroa, and attended Rock Township #1, a one-room country school. After getting home from school, he was responsible for milking one cow, a Brown Swiss named Peanut Butter. He graduated from Osage High School in 1956, then received a B.S. in Botany from Iowa State University. Neil then attended South Dakota State University where he earned a M.S. in Plant Pathology. It was there that he met a sweet nursing student, Janet Marie Chisholm. They enjoyed numerous study dates at the library, research data collection locations, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and youth group gatherings. They were married at the First Baptist Church of Pierre, South Dakota, in 1963.
After their wedding, Neil and Jan moved to Pullman, Washington, so Neil could pursue a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology at Washington State University. Some of his research is still used today in screening for plant disease resistance. He spent his 25-year scientific career at the Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station in Moscow. He retired from USFS and had follow-up careers at Moscow High School, teaching biology, geometry, algebra, and calculus, and working at Creighton’s Clothing Store for his good friend, Steve Nelson.
Neil was an active member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Moscow. He served on the church council, as a regular usher, and as a skilled handyman to keep the church and preschool in good order. Projects included lighting upgrades, playground repairs, and building the retaining walls around the church. He enjoyed completing these projects with good friends Dean Vettrus, Steve Fountain, Tim Fountain, Vern Kinnison, Mark Wemple, Martin Rathbun, Leo Greenwalt, and Craig Greenwalt.
Neil was known for his broad knowledge, insatiable curiosity, quick wit, generous spirit, and willingness to lend anyone a helping hand. He lived a life of service and integrity.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Everett and Stella Berge Martin, and his sister, Audrey Salden. He is survived by his wife of nearly 54 years, Janet Martin of Moscow, ID; children Marie Duncan (Dave) of Oak Hill, VA; Sara Lawrence (Torrey) of Viola, ID; Andrew Martin of St. Paul, MN; Ben Martin (Becky) of Bothell, WA; grandchildren Sarah, Lauren, Grace, Sean, Sammy, Abby, Jacob, Thomas, and Jane.
He is also survived by nieces, Linda Meyer (Marty) of Denver, CO; Dawn Salden of Park City, UT; nephew, Danny (Gina) Salden of Detroit, MI; cousins, Loren (Barb) Berge, Arthur (Connie) Berge, Lois (Chuck) Ruehlow, and Elizabeth Vulk, all of Osage, IA; Margaret Lattimore of San Antonio, TX; Gerry (Jim) Christiansen and Robert (Lorraine) Martin, of Manly, IA; Elsie Dutcher of Clear Lake, IA; Yvonne King of Gladstone, MO; and other extended family.
A viewing will take place at Shorts Funeral Chapel on Monday, June 19, from 6:00-8:00 pm. Neil will be buried at the Moscow Cemetery at 11:00 am on Tuesday, June 20. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm, Tuesday, June 20, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Moscow, Idaho, with a light lunch to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Emmanuel Lutheran Preschool or the Janet Chisholm Martin Scholarship through the Gritman Medical Center Foundation in Moscow, Idaho.