In the early decades of the 1900s Bill Mueller grew up in St. Maries, the son of mill owner Fred Mueller. The Mueller's White Pine Lumber Mill was a prosperous venture, shipping Idaho lumber to every state in the union. Then came the crash of 1929, changing life for everyone. The mill continued operation until 1934, when the family moved to Coeur d'Alene and opened Mueller's Building Supply and Fuel on Third Street and Coeur d'Alene Avenue.
Bill graduated from the University of Idaho and went to work for Lockheed in California, where he met the love of his life, Joanna. The couple moved back to Coeur d'Alene and became partners with Bill's father and brother in the building supply business and started a family. In 1947 they built a house on the corner of 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Fast forward to 2012 and the house that Bill and Joanna built and lived in for the rest of their lives, Joanna passing away in 1996 and Bill in 1999. The house was sold and now belongs to Cobi Straub and her son Bayley.
Months ago Bill and Joanna's granddaughter Brandi Krushelniski, who lives in Arizona, was thinking of a really special gift for her Aunt Jahn's 60th birthday. The family hadn't had a reunion in years so Brandi did some sleuthing and made a phone call to the woman who now owned the former Mueller home. Expecting to be rebuffed, Brandi was delighted when Cobi Straub, a complete stranger, embraced her idea, inviting the family to have their reunion at the house.
On Saturday the planets aligned and there in the backyard of the house on 10th and Penn was a glorious gathering of Muellers. Bill and Joanna's children Mark Mueller, Jahn Mueller Schmitz and Jon Mueller, 10 of their grandchildren and four great-grandchildren from Washington, Oregon, Arizona, California and New York were there. Assorted spouses brought the total to more than two dozen family members. Joining them were their hosts, Cobi and Bayley. The potluck picnic included childhood favorite dishes once lovingly prepared by Joanna. Mark, Jahn and Jon posed on the backyard steps, built by their father decades before, his initials still visible in the cement. Stories were told, with much laughter and a tear or two.
Bill and Joanna Mueller built so much more than a house over six decades ago. They built a family, a family that carries on and continues to honor their roots, celebrating a future that was nurtured within the walls of a home and in their hearts. From heaven they must have been smiling down on their family on a sunny August Saturday for sure.
The London Olympics are in Day 12 and the world is watching. Interesting to learn that a local man, Don White, 82, earned a place in the 1956 Olympic Winter Games by qualifying in four skiing events ... ski jumping, downhill racing, cross country and slalom. Don didn't get to wear the Team USA uniform as he was called up with the United States Marine Corps, serving in Okinawa, Japan, where he built a Marine camp and an airport serving as an emergency field for planes coming back from Korea. A different kind of gold medal was earned by those who served their country in uniform if not in competition. Semper Fi, Don!
Last week's special presentation of "Over the River" for the Coeur d'Alene Summer Theater was so exceptional I'm still swooning. What a gift our neighbors, Patty Duke, Dennis Franz, Ellen Travolta and Jack Bannon gave to the community in the form of a staged reading. Such talent it boggles the mind. Oscars, Emmys and decades of incredible bodies of professional work in the industry, all on display right here on stage. Seattle actor Dane Stokinger achieved far more than just holding his own in such an accomplished cast and his real life wife, actress Jessica Skerritt owned the stage when she was on it. The sold-out event was a real gift that benefited live, professional theater in the Coeur d'Alene area. Count me as a grateful convert.
My love/hate relationship with August continues. Summer is so short and the list of places to go and things to do is so long. Winning tonight's $212 million Powerball could make summer last forever ... one would just have to travel around the world to wherever summer is at any given time. :)
Happy birthday today to Roberta Larsen, Sara Meyer, Jodi Anderson, Eli Yates, Bob Perry, Kent Means, Virginia Griggs, Jim Hollingsworth and Patty Collins, who's turning the big 6-0. Tomorrow Anne Anderson, Terry Morris, Jack Havens and Christian Strailman are putting on their party hats. On Friday Caryl Johnston, Sydney Sales and John Hammon celebrate. Saturday birthday girls are Ann Seddon, Phyllis Berry and Edith Uhl. Joe Paisley, Jennifer Pitts, Ed Collins, Claudia Hurt, Roger Satefiel (60!) and Nevaeh Witherspoon will blow out the birthday candles on Sunday. Tery Garras, Michelle Coppess, Mike O'Brien, Donna Flom and Bryan DeKeles celebrate their birthdays on Monday and best wishes for a happy birthday on Tuesday to Erin Elliott, Gene Mann, Marla Lewis, Peter Faletto, Erin Reasor and George Boifeuillet.
Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. She was voted Best Local Writer for 2012 by the readers of the North Idaho Business Journal. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri is on the air Mondays and Wednesdays on 1080 ESPN AM (KVNI). Find her on Facebook!
Woman sought on drug charge
The North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force is seeking information leading to the apprehension of Breain Ki Briggs aka: Breain Lincoln.
Briggs, 32, is being sought based on a Kootenai County felony warrant charging her with felony probation violations. She is on felony probation for drug possession charges. This is a $40,000 bond warrant with United States extradition.
Briggs is a white female, 5-foot-4, 140 pounds, with green eyes and blonde hair. Briggs was last known to be living in the Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls areas.
Anyone with information on this subject or other fugitives being sought for violent crimes should call the NIVCTF at 665-4455. The identity of callers will remain confidential and reward money is available.