Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Sunday, September 18, 2011

my Papa

My Papa, Leroy Altmiller, passed away unexpectedly on Friday morning. He'd been struggling with lung cancer for the last couple of years and had been getting weaker, but we were all taken by surprise when Grandma called me (I was out grocery shopping with Sam and Andie) and told me he was dying. Joe raced home, I dropped off Sam and Andie, and was able to make it to the hospital to say good-bye. It happened so quickly, though, that Amy and Mandi, in spite of jumping in their cars as soon as they found out, arrived after he'd passed. He went peacefully and that was a blessing.

We've spent the weekend crying, reminiscing and planning. I wanted to share a little bit about my Papa with you all, so I'm including some pictures and a draft of his obituary Amy and I are working on.
Kate, Jen, Papa, Amy, Glory at Amanda's wedding last July

Papa was born in Ahsahka, ID, October 9, 1934 to Albert and Ruth Altmiller. He was the oldest of 4 children. He spent his youth working in the woods and exploring the North Fork of Clearwater River. He graduated from Orofino High School, where he lettered in boxing, baseball, football and track.

5 generations of our family: my great-great grandma Phoebe Liedke, my great-grandma Ruth Altmiller, my Papa, my dad, Amy and me
Leroy met his future wife, Janice Maxwell, when he was 9 years old, on a trip to visit his cousin. When Leroy returned from his service in the Marine Corps during the Korean war, the two married in 1955 and moved to Bremerton, WA , where they welcomed their oldest son, Jon. They soon moved back to Kamiah, ID, where Leroy served in local law enforcement as an officer and then, later, as Chief of Police. There, they welcomed their second son, Jerry. The family moved to Headquarters, ID, and then later, Orofino, after Leroy was elected Clearwater County Sheriff and served for 10 years. The family then moved to Lewiston, where Leroy acted as Security Director of Potlatch Corporation for almost 20 years. He was a respected member of the law enforcement community nationwide and is remembered as a just, strong man.

Amy, Papa, Jen, Grandma, Mandi c. Christmas 1988
He loved the outdoors and spent as much time as he could fishing, hunting, and camping. He shared his enthusiasm and knowledge of archery and guns with many in the community, running an archery shop after retirement and offering hunting advice. Leroy was a master-class competitive shooter and taught many law enforcement officials and young shooters (including all three of his granddaughters) this skill. Leroy was a loving husband and devoted father and grandfather.

Papa meets Andie, April 2010
He was a member of St. James Catholic Church and active in the Knights of Columbus until his health began to decline.
He is survived by his siblings, Darla Alteneder, Sharon Walk, and Robert Altmiller as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his wife of 56 years, Janice Maxwell Altmiller, and, his daughters-in-law, Jean Cleto Altmiller and Carolyn Altmiller Copeland, his granddaughters Amy Altmiller Eddy (husband Kevin Eddy), Jennifer Altmiller Kaufman (husband Joe Kaufman), Amanda Altmiller Wilkins (husband Jerry Wilkins) and grandson Jacob Denny. He is survived by his great-grandchildren Noah, Kate, and Glory Eddy, Sam and Natalie Kaufman, and Jolie Altmiller. Another great-granddaughter, Peyton Wilkins, is due to arrive near what would have been Leroy’s 77th birthday.
Papa, Great-Grandma (Jen on lap) and Great-Grandpa (Amy on lap), Grandma, c. Christmas 1984

He is preceded in death by his two sons, Jon and Jerry Altmiller. We know the three of them are having a joyful reunion up in Heaven.
Grandma and Papa, October 2010

A vigil will be held 6:30pm, Friday, September 23, 2011 at St. James Catholic Church and a memorial service will be conducted at 11am, Saturday, September 24, 2011, also at St. James. Memorial gifts may be made to American Cancer Society or the charity of the giver’s choice.
Papa and Sam, October 2009


susie said...

Sorry to hear about your Papa! Sending you all many hugs and prayers. Hang onto your memories.
Love you, Susie and Dwight

lorettapox said...

I'm sorry for your loss. God bless you and your family as you move through your grief. We will keep you in our prayers.

Laura said...

Jen, what a lovely tribute to a great man. I was very sorry to hear the news. You all will continue to be in my prayers. Love always, Laura

Deanna said...

Thank you for sharing. Prayers are with you guys and your grandma. Can't image in the party going on in heaven with your Papa, Dad, and Uncle!

Kaelene Reel said...

Sorry to hear of your loss, Jen. My thought and prayers are with your family.

Rae said...

I enjoyed reading about your Papa's life. Wishing that your memories bring you all comfort and healing.

Anne said...

Jen - I'm so sorry to see this when I checked the blog today. My grandmother talks about her days working at Potlatch as a secretary fondly and never failed to mention those "tall, dark and handsome" Altmiller men from when she grew up in Peck and then later at the mill. :)

Ida said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Jen. You and Amy are in my prayers. What a wonderful man he was!
Ida Graham

Gus and Jen said...

What a beautiful tribute.