Chester “Glenn” Simler, 96, died March 17, 2017, at Living Spring Residential Care in Lewiston, Idaho, after a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s disease. Always willing to lend a helping hand, Glenn was a true gentleman; a kind, generous guy who was a good example of living a life of faith. Many people loved his genuine, welcoming smile. Even as he aged and life slowed down, he always had that smile and his wonderful sense of humor.
Glenn was born in Woodland, Idaho, to Frank W. and Ruth M. (Moon) Simler in April 1920, in a log cabin which is still standing. Glenn attended Woodland School (Area 8, #40) when there were 10 grades and two teachers, then batch’ed and boarded in town for his junior and senior years, graduating with Kamiah High School’s Class of 1939.
Glenn married Verla Wilkins in 1947. They lived throughout their 64-year marriage in the Woodland house Glenn bought from Harley Hodson. After Verla’s death in 2011, he continued to live at home with the help of family until March 2016, when he became a resident at Living Spring due to his advanced Parkinson’s symptoms.
In the 20s and 30s the Simlers farmed with horses, always working hard.
And hard work didn’t stop when machinery and equipment became part of farming. From 1940, Glenn farmed an ever-changing Woodland acreage independently, with his father and brothers in the 50s-60s, and with his sons and son-in-law in the 70s-90s farming, raising cattle, and helping keep bees and doing Forest Service contract work. He modeled patience and a “no rush, try again” attitude when crops, equipment, or animals didn’t cooperate. At 80, he was still out there doing most of the fencing! That same patience made him an excellent lifelong gardener, too. Verla wrote in their 2003 Christmas letter: “Glenn raised a big garden as usual this year which kept us both busy canning, etc. He fills in all the ‘spaces’ and ‘places’ where help is needed doing chores, feeding cattle, working ground or baling hay. You name it and he is there! No slowing him down. He is amazing!” In the summer of 2011, Glenn, at 91, was a happy man, grinning and dusty, as he climbed off a Cat for what proved to be the last time.
He was a very active member of the Woodland Friends Church and took part in whatever needed to be done. Glenn was civic-minded, worked at the Kamiah Grange & Supply and served as a grange board member. A supervisor for 10 years of the Idaho Soil Conservation District, he and his brother, Don, were named Idaho County grassmen of the year 1960. He served on the KCCU Loan Committee, was active for decades in many aspects of 4-H, ran for Idaho County Commissioner 1970, and was an Idaho County Fair Board member. He and Verla were Idaho County Fair grand marshals in 2003. A prostate cancer survivor since 1989, they walked in American Cancer Society Relays for Life. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, snowmobiling, RVing, and travelling through several states with Verla, their families, and friends. They visited Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Israel, Bolivia, and Peru. They were Good Sam RV Club members and campground hosts 1981-2002.
Glenn’s great cloud of witnesses includes those who preceded him in death: his father Frank; son, Gordon; granddaughter, Staci Jo; mother, Ruth; sister, Naomi (Babcock); brother, Don (Debbie); great-granddaughter, Ava (French); and wife, Verla (Wilkins); and those who survive him: brother, Dean (Evelyn-deceased); sister, Janice (Verne) Shell; sons, Gary (Leslee) and Dale (Roxanne); daughter, Bonnie (Phil) Puckett; eight grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; and many children and grandchildren he and Verla welcomed as their own.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, April 8, 2017, his 97th birthday, at 1:30 p.m. at Valley View Church of the Nazarene, 102 N. Front Rd (just off U.S. Highway 12), Kamiah, Idaho. A supper will follow at Woodland Friends Church, 1993 Woodland Road, Kamiah.