BOISE -- Steven Detmer was born in Cleveland, Ohio. As a child he remembers his grandfather saying that no grandson of his was going to be brought up in Cleveland. His grandfather took the family west and they settled in Cottonwood.
“That was the best move that ever happened,” said Detmer, 85. “I had never been outside the city, and Cleveland was tough. I saw the west. I had never seen a hill or mountain. I was raised in a slum area. I’ve been in awe ever since of the mountains, I’m so grateful to him for bringing us west.”
Detmer was recently interviewed for a feature series, Coffee with Vets.
Detmer enlisted in the Army during the Korean War. He said he enlisted in part because of his father. His father tried to join the Army during World War II, but was turned down because of his age. He felt led to serve for his father’s sake. In time, Detmer was on a ship heading for Korea.
“I was on a ship going to Korea,” he said, “and the armistice was signed. They stopped the boat in the middle of the ocean, and we sat there for several days.”
According to Detmer, the Army offered soldiers on the ship alternative duty assignments and he chose Germany. He went to Landstuhl and then Kaiserslautern, Germany. He was in the engineering branch. He played on the military baseball team and “got to see a good part of Europe.” Detmer said the Army taught him discipline, committing to a career and being on time.
“I was never late for anything”, he said.
Detmer served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955.
When he left the Army, he attended Idaho State University and graduated with a degree in education. He said he eventually landed a job at Bishop Kelly High School, a private Catholic School in Boise. He taught history and coached football, basketball, baseball.
“It was easy teaching at Bishop Kelly, that was a sort of no-nonsense school,” he said, “I didn’t have to extend myself too much. The good sisters took care of that. I was afraid of the sisters. The head sister came and sat in and I just kinda froze up. I was scared to death of her, and here I had been in the service!”