“Bob” (Robert Irvine) Carpenter passed away Tuesday, October 15 at the Hospice House in Coeur d’Alene after a short illness. He was born September 19, 1927 in Independence, OR, to Idabel (George), and Raymond Carpenter. He lived a full life, years longer than he or anyone anticipated. His Father died when he was young while searching for jobs during the Great Depression, and Bob moved around and lived in several north central Idaho towns with his widowed Mother who was a school teacher. Growing up an only child gave him no experience for what was to come.
At 14, he worked as a bell-hop at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane. He ferried customers to the state line for a night of ill-repute, then waited to drive them back. Bob left high school at 17 to join the Navy during WW II, but served in a Marine detachment on Okinawa. He received the Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Metal; American Area Campaign Metal, and World War II Victory Metal, after proudly serving his country.
Bob met Mary (Zellerhoff) at a dance and they were married May 5, 1947 at Coeur d’Alene. Their first home was in Lewiston. In 1953, they moved to the Thorn Creek area at Uniontown. In 1956 they moved to Mary’s Father, Henry Zellerhoff’s, farm at Colton, where they farmed and raised a family. In 1968 they moved to Hatter Creek at Princeton, ID, and ranched there for more than 40 years. He worked in construction for a time, but after moving to the farm at Colton, and Princeton, his life was spent farming and raising cattle. In the summers it was fishing; in the fall, life centered around hunting. For many years he took the boys on a three-week, do-it-yourself pack-trip up on the St. Joe or the north fork of the Clearwater for elk. He was an accomplished horse packer and excellent camp cook. His sons will cherish memories of those trips for the rest of their lives.
“Grandpa Bob” was known for his frugality and dishing out advice. He did not hesitate to tell you when you had paid too much for something, or how you should invest your money. He and Mary raised 11 kids; he could pinch a nickel hard enough to make it bleed. When other farmers were buying air-conditioned, self-propelled combines, he managed to get by with ‘51’ pull combines. His haying season was three times as long as neighboring farmers due to his ancient equipment, but it got done every year; and the kids were more often than not rewarded with a fishing trip when the harvest was done. Mary didn’t drive, and a pickup was more practical around the farm. That meant when going to church, 4-H functions, or anyplace else, two trips were usually made to transport everyone there and back. Kids were packed in the single-cab pickup and opening the door at a destination had to be done with caution. Several of his children believe the most valuable thing he taught them in life was how to live comfortably on very little money. But no one who came to the Carpenter house went away hungry. He had a generous side too: one year he paid for all his children and their spouses to go fishing in Alaska. Well over a thousand pounds of flash-frozen salmon and halibut came back with the family. Bob particularly loved that part of the deal. Mary and Bob were married 63 years when she passed in 2010.
In 2012, Bob met Leona DeMonnin through an online dating service. Leona says she was impressed on their first date because he also ordered chicken-fried steak, and he was a “big tipper.” They were married in December of that year (she now knows the “big tipper” act was a ruse to win her over because gratuities got MUCH smaller after they were married). Leona had 12 children (10 still living), which made a large blended family with some duplicate first names, and birthdays. That lead to some interesting conversations: “Oh, you’re the other Bill, okay I’ll let you talk to Leona.” After a honeymoon cruise to Alaska, Bob and Leona divided the past six years equally between her home in Liberty Lake, WA, and his on Hatter Creek at Princeton. They particularly enjoyed going to senior lunch in both Potlatch and Deary. Leona loved the fellowship, and Bob loved the low price of the meal. All of Bob’s children know the only reason he lived to be 92 was because of Leona. She earned the title of Mom # 2 in short order.
After 92 years Bob moved on to his well-deserved rest in heaven. His sage advice will be sorely missed by all. Bob is survived by his children; Trish (Bob) Munnoch of Sumner, WA, Mike (Gale) Carpenter, Ray (Ellen) Carpenter, Tim (Fran) Carpenter, Tom (Val) Carpenter, Marilyn (Lonie) Austin, and Laura (Darren) Johnson, all of Princeton, John (Ruthie) Carpenter of Harvard, Dianne (Dale) Amberson of Snohomish, WA, Linda (Jim) Louie of Colburn, WA, Bill (Julie) Carpenter of Taylorsville, UT, and step-daughter Julie (Mel) of Gold Bar, WA. He is survived by Mary’s siblings; Jeanne Schrempp, Patricia Grimm, Nettie Burnett-Crane, Rita Moneymaker, and James Zellerhoff. He is survived by Leona’s children; Michael (Natasha), William (Ivone), Daniel (Paige), Jeffrey (Lehua), Gary (son-in-law), Diane (Mike), Souxsie (Rick), Jennifer (Ben), Frankie (Julie), Gina, and Kenny (Kim). Bob is also survived by a whopping 131 grand, great-grand, and great-great-grandchildren. He was proceeded in death by two great-grandchildren, and four of Mary’s siblings; Rose Schrempp, Vonnie Coopeland-George, Joseph Zellerhoff, and John Zellerhoff.
A rosary will be recited at 7:00 PM Thursday October 24 at St Mary’s Catholic Church Potlatch, ID. The funeral Mass will be 10:00 AM Friday October 25 at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, 628 S. Deakin, Moscow, ID. Following the service, the burial will be at Freeze Cemetery, Potlatch, ID, which will be followed by a dinner at the Nazarene Church, Princeton, ID. Kramer Funeral Home in Palouse, WA is in charge of arrangements. The family suggests memorials be made to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, PO Box 143, Potlatch, ID 83855.
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ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH
BOX 143, POTLATCH ID 83855