Bennie Kircher, 87
Bennie Ray Kircher, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, went to heaven as the sun set over the lake on July 6, 2018. He was 87.
He was born Feb. 13, 1931, in Longton, Kan., to Benjamin and Erma (Tice) Kircher. The oldest of 7, he was raised in Cocolalla, Idaho and attended high school in Sandpoint, Idaho and Port Townsend, Wash. He married his high school sweetheart Carol Kateron of Careywood, Idaho, on Aug. 5, 1949. He worked for White Pine Sash in Spokane, Wash.
Ben joined Washington Air National Guard, and in 1951 the 141st Unit was activated for the Korean War. The train took the unit to San Francisco where they boarded the USS Badoeng for Alaska. Upon reaching Whittier, Alaska, they rode the train to Fairbanks. Ben was a “radar guy,” monitoring airspace until 1953.
He always had at least one second job to supplement income, working construction, lumber yards, janitorial or farming. Upon discharge from the Air Force he drove down the Alcan Highway to Spokane with his wife, Carol and longtime friend, Don James. He worked for Brown Trailers, owned a construction company before owning gas service stations and later worked for Comet, Clark Equipment, and Roof Trusses as a purchasing agent. He enjoyed bowling, softball and waterskiing.
In 1960, property was purchased on Kidd Island Bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene. He and Carol raised a daughter and son while spending weekends and vacations working on their lake place. In 1981, they moved to their lake home and Ben worked for RC Worst in Coeur d’Alene until he retired in 1993. Upon retirement he continued as the maintenance person and “historian” for the local sewer district, as well as serving on their board. He was the go-to person when there were questions and received calls often.
Ben loved the outdoors, being on the water and traveling. He was an avid hunter, usually in the Clearwater National Forest, where his family has a cabin. He loved the cabin and drove 7 hours to be there this Memorial Weekend. He also took a number of 30 mile snowmobile trips into the cabin. He took his last winter trip into the cabin at age 80. He loved to travel and plan trips, often heading to warmer climates in the U.S. during January and February. He visited more than 40 countries and took more than 15 cruises.
His full head of curly hair, blue eyes and smile were his signature, along with his wink to let you know he had your back. He was always eager to help others no matter what the need. From mechanics, construction and water management, he could fix anything. There are many who benefited from his helping hands over the years. He had a great sense of humor and kept us all laughing through his last day.
He is survived by his wife of almost 69 years, Carol; daughter, Cheri (John); son, Doug (Karen); four granddaughters, Andrea, Dana, Mariah (Cameron) and Rachel; siblings, Donna (Don) Simon, Ron (Elvia) Stalnaker, Doris (Bob) Skubinna. He was preceded in death by sister, Erma and brothers, Art and Don.
Graveside service will be at 11:15 a.m. on July 19, 2018, at the Washington Veterans Cemetery, and a memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. on July 20, 2018, at the Lake City Center in Coeur d’Alene.