2017/10/15 - Boise, ID, AEB
August 20, 1937 - October 15. 2017
Gordon D. Colburn, 80, passed away on Sunday, October 15, while elk hunting near his home in Valley County. He was born August 20, 1937, to Ralph E. and Beulah Himes Colburn at Emmett, Idaho. In 1940, Dad was joined by a sister, Monette. In 1941, the family moved to Stibnite, Idaho, where his father worked for the Hubert Martin Construction Co. and the Bradley Mining Co. In 1945, the family grew with the addition of a brother, Phillip, and again in 1947 with the addition of twin sisters, Shirley and Sharon.
Imprinted at an early age with pine trees, mountains, streams, lakes, and an outdoor lifestyle, Dad developed a lifelong love to fish, hunt, camp, and participate in winter sports. After spending nearly 10 years as a boy in Stibnite, he always believed it was a great place for a kid to grow up. Dad frequently told stories of the mining camp becoming snow-bound in the winter as the road to Stibnite would almost always snow shut. One particularly bad year, the Idaho Air National Guard air-dropped food for over 100 families. During one pass, the pallet of bread broke open on the way down and slices of bread came floating down like snow. The kids were tasked with running out on the runway to pick up the bread.
In late December, 1949, the family left Stibnite and had short-term residential stops in Emmett and Kooskia, Idaho, and Eugene, Oregon, before settling in Boise, Idaho, in 1951. Dad attended North Junior High and Boise High School. In his senior year at BHS, he met his soulmate & life-long partner, our mother, Inez Elguezabal. Both Dad and Mom graduated from BHS in 1955, and then attended BJC (now BSU).
In high school and while at BJC, Dad held several part-time & summer employments at Riverside Grocery, Vanderford's (36th & State), and Schubach Jewelers. He also served on an engine crew with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), wildland firefighting. During the school year, Dad was a "pick up firefighter" and would go out on call when he was available. He was the head cook on a fire in Adams County when a retardant plane crashed, just missing the firecamp.
Dad was hired by Idaho First National Bank on March 1, 1957, which began his long career with the bank. His initial assignments were in the bookkeeping department and the teller windows of the Head Office at 10th & Idaho Streets.
Dad and Mom were married on June 15, 1957, and his introduction to the Basque culture began in earnest. Between Inez's mother's Basque cuisine and her father's tales of his emigration from the Basque Country and his early life in the U.S. as a sheepherder in the Idaho mountains, Dad felt he was going to fit in very well. The young family began to grow in August of 1958, with the birth of their daughter, Tammie.
Dad also served in the Army Reserve from 1958 through 1962. His basic training was at Fort Ord in Monterey, California, and he served in the 755th Engineer Company in Boise.
In December of 1960, Dad was placed in the bank's trainee program, and transferred to the Parma office. At the time, the Parma branch was known as one of the bank's training offices because of the experience and expertise of then VP & Branch Manager, Clarence J. Kniefel. Clarence proved to be a good mentor for Dad, who quickly received promotions and additional responsibility. In 1964, the Colburn family grew with the addition of their son, Richard (Ric).
By 1965, Dad became Assistant Manager of the Parma office. With Clarence Kniefel's tutelage and a good staff, the office saw excellent growth through the late 60's. In October of 1969, Clarence Kniefel retired and Dad was promoted to Branch Manager. He was blessed with extraordinary Assistant Managers and Loan Officers, a steady flow of trainees, a stable staff and effective marketing, allowing the Parma branch to expand its customer base and continue its exceptional growth through the 70's. During his 23 years in Parma, Dad had a profound sense of pride and gratitude in being able to serve the community and assisting the businesses and farms in the area. He took great pride in the employees at the bank, many of whom went on to manage their own branches, become executives, and run their own companies. Dad was active in community affairs and organizations including the Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce, Parma Industrial Corp., Parma Lions Club and served a seven-year term as a trustee of the Parma School District.
In 1972, Dad and Mom purchased property at Cascade Reservoir, building a cabin in 1974 that would become the center of our family's activities, including fishing, hunting, wood gathering, snowmobiling, cook-outs, card games and singing around the camp fire. The cabin became Mom and Dad's full-time home, where they live today. Our family also took numerous trips in the camper over the years to fish for steelhead on the Salmon River and help with spring roundup at the Alzola Ranch, south of Grasmere.
Never one to pass up a chance to teach a life lesson, in 1973, on a family road trip to California, we stopped at a diner/casino for lunch in Winnemucca. Seeing us kids enamored with the lights and sounds, after lunch he said, "Come here, I'm going to teach you kids something." He pulled some dimes from his pocket and started playing one of the slot machines. He plugged in the first dime and said, "See? The machine just eats your money." With the second dime he said, "See? You just waste your money when you gamble." On the third pull, he hit a $20 jackpot and the lights and bells started going off. Dad turned to us and said, "Get in the car, lesson over." Mom quickly took us out to the car to wait for Dad. We snickered in the back seat all the way to California and we never let him forget that lesson.
In 1975, the family hosted Heather Gemmell, the American Field Service (AFS) exchange student at Parma that year. Heather and her family have been close extended family ever since with mutual trips to and from Idaho and South Africa over the years.
During Tammie's college years, her roommate, Lynn Miller, became an extended part of the family, coming home with Tammie on school breaks, and eventually living with Mom and Dad, while she did her student teaching in Middleton. More recently, another friend, Chickie Schroeder, was "adopted" into the family, sharing in our common Basque heritage. Chickie, Lynn, and Lynn's husband, Tom Kelly, recently traveled with all of us for a big family trip to Alaska. Dad always considered Lynn, Tom, and Chickie as part of the family.
In the early 80's, Dad faced a medical challenge, causing him to request a sabbatical from the branch environment. The bank granted him the transfer, appointing him as a Training Officer in the Training & Development section of Human Resources in the Administrative Office in Boise. In time, the medical challenge stabilized and was controlled. In 1985, he requested the bank's consideration for another branch assignment. In mid-1985, Dad was appointed to the McCall office as Branch Manager.
Dad and Mom quickly became immersed in the community. Dad loved serving in both a professional and personal capacity. He was active in Rotary and served on the airport and hospital boards. He was one of the founding board members of the Shepherds Home Foundation, which provides a home for neglected children in McCall. Dad considered coming to McCall a homecoming, given his roots in Stibnite.
Dad retired from the Bank after exactly 40 years on February 28, 1997. In the winter of 1997-98 they decided to go "off grid" and were the winter caretakers for the Shepp Ranch on the Salmon River. While it was an "experience of a lifetime", Dad said he had never worked so hard and could "check that one off the list."
Always wanting to see and experience more, Dad made several trips into the back country with the aviation service that carried the mail to the ranches along the Salmon River.
For several years the folks lived the "snowbird" life and commuted to the Parker Dam area in Arizona, with their 5th wheel trailer, visiting family and making friends along the way.
Mom and Dad traveled to Euskadi (the Basque Country) to see Mom's ancestral home and the house of her father. Dad had quite a knack for the eating and drinking part of the Basque culture. The relatives affectionately called him "Gorka", and had him tending bar at a couple family events, though he knew only a few words in Basque. On one trip to see Richard, Rosa and the grandkids at their home in Euskadi, the family also traveled to Rome, toured the city and Vatican and saw Pope Benedict in his weekly audience with the people.
On Easter Sunday, 2017, we saw Dad baptized in the Catholic Church in Cascade. It was a major moment in his spiritual life, and we were so proud of him.
The entire family took a trip this summer, to celebrate Dad's and Mom's 80th birthdays and 60th wedding anniversary. We spent two jam-packed weeks beginning in Fairbanks. We visited Denali National Park, and rode the Alaskan Railroad all the way to Anchorage. We had a family dinner in Anchorage with our Alaskan cousins, toasting Mom and Dad. The trip concluded with a 7-day cruise from Alaska, through the Inside Passage to Vancouver, BC. Dad reveled in his first sighting of a grizzly bear, and constantly marveled at the scenery.
Gordon is survived by his loving wife and 60-year soulmate, Inez; his children, Tammie Colburn and Richard (Rosa Mari) Colburn; his grandchildren, Nekane and Josu Colburn; his aunts, Mary Bishop and Loreta Himes; his sisters, Monette (Clare) Baldwin and Shirley (John) Elicker, and his brother-in-law George Traughber; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, and their families.
Gordon was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Beulah; his brother, Phil; and his sister, Sharon.
A Rosary Vigil will be held on Tuesday, October 24, at 12 Noon, at St. John's Cathedral, downtown Boise, 775 N 8th St, Boise. A Funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday, October 24 at 1pm, at St. John's Cathedral, downtown Boise, 775 N 8th St, Boise. Immediately following the funeral, a reception will be held at the Basque Center, 601 W Grove St, Boise, ID 83702. All are welcome to come share their stories of Dad and meet with the family.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that memorials be made to any of the following: Euskaldunak, The Basque Museum and Cultural Center, or the Shepherd's Home Foundation, PO Box 2011, McCall, ID 83638.
Services are under the direction of Summers Funeral Home at 1205 W. Bannock St., Boise, ID 83702.
(2017ko urriaren 22an Idaho Press Tribune, Legacy.com-en argitaratutako hil-oharra)