Our beloved Dad and Grandpa Lawrence Wassmuth, 97, of Grangeville, Idaho died Aug. 7, 2018, at Syringa Hospital, encircled in love by his family.
Lawrence Anthony Wassmuth was born to Clemens and Elizabeth Schmidt Wassmuth on Dec. 12, 1920 at the family farm in Greencreek, Idaho. Lawrence attended school in Greencreek and graduated in 1939 with the first class to attend all four years at Greencreek High School. He was a pitcher for the Greencreek town baseball team. As a young man he worked on the family farm and at his father’s sawmill on Cottonwood Butte. During WWII, Lawrence served in the Pacific War Theatre with the US Navy as a radar operator on the air carrier USS Sitkoh Bay.
On Dec. 29, 1948, he married Dorothy (Dot) Isabel Wilson and together they built a home and raised a family in Grangeville. He also provided a home next door for our Grandma Mary Wilson. Dad and Mom were the proud parents of nine children and celebrated 66 years of marriage before Dot’s death in 2008.
Dad worked in the sawmills at Grangeville from 1940-1983 – except for the two years he was in the service. He was a skilled sawyer and maintenance man, who missed only 6.5 days of work in his 40-year career.
Dad was a jack-of-all-trades when it came to working with his hands, and his grandchildren claimed, “Grandpa Lawrence can fix everything!” Dad repaired small engines and household appliances, filed sawblades, tuned-up bicycles and created toys and household items for their home. He installed the tallest swing in the neighborhood and built a trampoline out of bedsprings and a canvas tarp. He installed an elevator in their home to make it easier for Mom to do the laundry in the basement. He mowed lawns and tilled gardens for extra income – and when he wasn’t using the garden tillers himself, he rented them out to others. He and his brother, Clarence, put an addition on our house to accommodate a growing family – then he built a double garage. He gave generously of his time and talent to St. Peter and Paul Church and School. He was a founding member of the Pine Tree Credit Union and served on the board of directors for 33 years. In retirement, Dad and Mom enjoyed shuttling river rafters and their vehicles, as they met so many interesting people.
Dad loved fishing for steelhead and hunting with his sons and friends. Dad loved to “make wood” and was careful to keep a two-year supply on hand. Every year Dad and Mom looked forward to family fun over Grangeville Border Days, and they always sat in the same spot on Main Street, so friends could easily find them. Dad and Mom raised a big garden, so they could fill the freezer and pantry. In his later years, he raised tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and rhubarb, so he could give them away. He did not eat vegetables. Dad was a prankster and was known to play practical jokes on his coworkers and others. He and Mom enjoyed potlucks and pinochle with their longtime friends.
Dad was a humble man who took pride in his children and grandchildren’s sports events, studies and accomplishments – but he never bragged about them. He loved people and a good story. Dad and Mom taught their children the value of hard work, thrift and having fun together. They graciously welcomed new members into the family.
Dad is survived by his nine children: Marilyn (Phil) Irvine, Jim (Susie Barnett), Lila (Pat) McBride, Steve (Lynnel), Rosalie (Jerry) Jessup, Patty (Jim) Bemrose, Mike (Lori Mader), Carla (Dan) Redline, and Julie (Chris) Tverdy. He also leaves behind 21 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Additional survivors include brothers Tony, Vince, and Leonard Wassmuth, his sister Elizabeth Wassmuth, a large exended family and many, many friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy; his parents; his brothers Joe, Nick, Clarence, and Clemens “Slim” Wassmuth; his sisters Bernadine Bruegeman, Christine Winkler, and Hilda Wassmuth; and son-in-law, Earl Hamm. He was also preceded in death by two infant sisters and an infant brother.
A special note of thanks is extended to Sheri Northrup, Anna Fisher, Amber Chicane and Lorna Hitchcock who assisted our parents in their home. They gave Dad and Mom love and friendship in addition to exceptional care. Appreciation is extended as well to the staff at Syringa Hospital for their skilled and tender care for Dad in his final days and hours. Thanks, too, to the good people with Meals on Wheels and all the neighbors and others who telephoned, visited Dad, or assisted him in any way. He loved your every gesture of love and friendship and talked about it for days.
Dad was a man of faith. A rosary was recited on Friday, Aug. 10 at 7:00 p.m. at the St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated on Saturday, Aug. 11, at 2:00 p.m. at St. Peter and Paul Church in Grangeville, followed by burial at Prairie View Cemetery. Arrangements were under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home of Grangeville. Send Condolences to family at Blackmerfuneralhome.com.
Memorial donations may be made to St. Peter and Paul School, St. Peter and Paul Parish, Camas Prairie Food Bank, or the Northwest Children's Home at Lewiston.
"In lieu of flowers, take a kid fishing...teach a kid to plant a garden...help a kid learn to ride a bike."
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