William Franklin ‘Bill’ Van Valkinburgh, 83
William Franklin “Bill” Van Valkinburgh, of Dalton Gardens, Idaho, passed away at home on Dec. 5, 2017, at age 83.
Bill was born Sept. 12, 1934, in Everett, Wash., to Leslie Dewey and Mildred Clarinda (Anderson) Van Valkinburgh.
Bill’s family moved from Everett to Coeur d’Alene in about 1936, at that time it was a two-day trip in an old white truck with carbide lamps for headlights. The family settled in at 1029 Wallace Ave., where Bill spent most of his younger years.
Bill graduated from Coeur d’Alene High School in 1952. He married his high school sweetheart, Anna Moser, in Coeur d’Alene, in September of 1955. Bill and Anna moved to Rupert, Idaho, in 1955, where their first child was born, then moved back to Coeur d’Alene in 1956, where their second child was born. Then after a short while they moved to Spokane, Wash., then to St Maries, Idaho, in 1959, where they had two more children. After moving to Eagle River, Alaska, they adopted their fifth child in 1973.
In 1956, Bill worked as a cartography aid for the Bureau of Reclamation. In 1957 he was a transit man for H.E. Bovey Construction. In 1960 he was a draftsman for the state of Idaho. Bill went on to become a surveyor with the Forest Service and then was hired to survey for the BLM in 1966, a job that took him and his family from St Maries to Fairbanks, and then Eagle River, Alaska. Bill worked on the Far North Slope of Alaska, surveying near the DEW line in 1967 and 1968. He was as comfortable in the woods as he was at home, able to walk for miles carrying all of his surveying gear. Surveying for the BLM in early Alaska took Bill all over the state from the North Slope to the Aleutian Islands, where he lived in remote villages or tent camps. He enjoyed the native people, who in turn enjoyed his bluegrass mandolin playing. In about 1968 or 1969, he was given a beautiful Athabascan beaded strap for his mandolin made by a woman at Fort Yukon, and it remains on the mandolin to this day.
Bill was a photography buff and took many beautiful photos and slides of his travels across Alaska. It was always fun to get out the projector and have a slide show night and see all of the places and faces he captured.
In 1978, the family was transferred from Alaska back to Idaho. Bill continued working for the BLM until an accident caused him to retire in 1986. Later Bill went on to work at Albertsons grocery, in Coeur d’Alene until his health forced him to retire from there as well. Bill and Anna have lived in the same home in Dalton Gardens, Idaho, since their return from Alaska.
Bill was an accomplished mandolin, guitar and organ player, and instilled his love of music to his children. He and his brother, Stan, would play and sing at family gatherings and were joined by anyone else who could sing or play an instrument. He was fond of animals, especially dogs, and was always gentle and patient with them; he would even carry spiders out of the house to release unharmed. He was also kind to people and if possible he would go out of his way to help someone that looked like they needed it. He was also known to be a prankster and joker and had a wonderful sense of humor.
Bill was a very good cook and liked to try anything edible. He always said, “all food is good, some is better.” Bill’s family has been “treated” to Beluga muktuk, scrambled moose brains and fried salmon eggs. Some dishes didn’t go over so well with his kids. Although Bill would eat anything, heaven help you if you were within earshot when he accidentally broke the yolks while frying eggs!
Bill is survived by his wife of 62 years, Anna; son and daughter-in-law, William and Kimberley (Trow) Van Valkinburgh, of Post Falls, Idaho; daughters, Jerri (Wallace) Groll, of Dalton Gardens, Michelle Millard, of Rathdrum, Idaho, Cathy (Rod) Herrin, of Wasilla, Alaska, Lucinda (Peter) Fountain, of Post Falls; grandchildren, Heather (Phil) Hottenstein, Chris (Kandi) Van Valkinburgh, Michael and Jennifer Van Valkinburgh and Hannah Millard, Tina (nee Groll) Ellis, Danial Groll, Brian (Sophie) Groll, Dustin (Beth) Groll and Josh (Teri) Groll, Matt (Courtney) Messinger, Charles Messinger and Gene`e (Riley) Youngdell; 23 great-grandchildren and brother, Stanley D. Van Valkinburgh, of Spokane, Wash. He is also survived by brother-in-law, James Moser; brothers and sisters-in-law, Mike (Lorene) Moser and Mark (Claire) Moser, as well many cherished nieces and nephews.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Gerald Van Valkinburgh; father and mother-in-law, Alfred and Ottilia (Bitterman) Moser; sisters-in-law, Carolyn Moser, June (Stan) Van Valkinburgh and Charlene (James) Moser; brothers and sisters-in-law, Jim and Gloria (Moser) House, Dick and Diane (Moser) Johnson, Allen and Shirley (Moser) West, (Allen having passed away the day before Bill) and granddaughter, Angel Lena Groll.
There will be no services. Instead a celebration of life and scattering of ashes will be planned for the summer of 2018 when the whole family can be together in Coeur d’Alene.
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