Last of the Wilhelm boys - all 11 of them - dies - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Last of the Wilhelm boys - all 11 of them - dies

Harold Wilhelm received two Purple Hearts during WWII

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Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 12:10 am, Tue Feb 19, 2013.

Harold Wilhelm loved to play practical jokes - and he had plenty of company doing it growing up.

Wilhelm, among 11 brothers with a household Post Falls name, died at 89 of natural causes in Spokane on Monday. He was the last surviving brother.

"This was a dynasty," said David Wilhelm, Harold's son. "This was an era. It's been special being a part of it. If one uncle couldn't do something for you, another one could."

The brothers moved to this area from North Dakota with their parents Mike and Monica Wilhelm in the 1930s.

Harold, who served as a Marine during World War II and was recognized with two Purple Heart awards, was the seventh brother. He worked as a chiropractor in Lewiston until he was 80.

"They were all practical jokesters, hard-working and intelligent," David said of the brothers. "They were all successful in their own right."

Family gatherings were a little tricky keeping folks straight, he said.

"You'd have to weed your way through the crowd - some of (the cousins) were old enough to be your parents and some were still infants," David said. "I can remember one of the meals my dad pushed the butter tray into my hand on purpose."

The brothers ranged from Franny, who served as Post Falls' mayor, to Dutch, who ran the Post Falls bus barn, to Bob, who owned the Bob's 21 Club bar.

Bobby Wilhelm, a nephew of Harold's and son of Bob, called the brothers "a bunch of hard-headed, hard-working Catholic boys who had no problems settling an argument with a fist."

That said, Bobby said Harold was one of the mellower brothers who always had good things to say about people.

Bobby recalls skinny dipping in Harold's pool as a teen with a girlfriend when Harold caught them.

"He laughed, told us to knock it off because we were going to wake up the neighbors and went back in the house," Bobby said.

Having so many uncles meant it was both convenient and tough to get by with much, Bobby said.

"You always had someone to work on your car," Bobby said, referring to the brothers' mechanical skills. "But my parents always knew whatever I did in town before the next day was up."

David said his father was full of life - much like others in the family.

"He was a kind fellow," David said. "He'd do anything for anybody."

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1 comment:

  • Ziggy posted at 3:43 pm on Tue, Feb 19, 2013.

    Ziggy Posts: 1118

    A truly nice bunch of people who added greatly to the Post Falls area. It is sad to see the last brother go. I knew one of the older ones well and several of the younger.

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