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Saturday, May 7, 2022
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Lawrence (Dick) Edinger passed away peacefully on Friday, April 22, with his three girls by his side, wife, Jeannie, and daughters, Lori Kaye and Heidi.
Dick was born May 22, 1936, to Lawrence and Reva Edinger in Aberdeen, South Dakota. In his early years, he and his parents, along with brothers Ron and Jim, moved to Southern California, where he attended school and graduated from Bell Gardens High School. Right after graduation, the whole family packed up and moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where he created his adult life for the next 67 years.
Dick met his wife, Cd’A native, Jeannie (Teall) in 1960, when their families became neighbors on 17th Street in Cd’A. Having only one house between each of their own, they were destined to run into each other regularly. And so the big city guy, with the cool car and the small town girl from Coeur d’Alene, ID, hooked up and began dating. They had fun with family and friends, ice skating on Fernan Lake, hanging out at Ratskeller’s where Dick would sneak Jeannie a few cocktails, as she was underage at the time, and getting to know one another. Soon, Dick proposed to Jeannie and the story of their love started their journey.
Dick and Jeannie were married on April 23, 1961, and the next year became the proud parents to Lori Kaye, and two years later welcomed the birth of their second daughter Toni. Dick worked for General Telephone as a lineman and Jeannie was fortunate to be able to stay home with their two children. Four years later, Dick was promoted and accepted a job with General Telephone and they moved to Wenatchee, WA. Loving the life they created there with their little family, they still missed the comfort of being close to family. They moved back to Coeur d’Alene in 1967, and began building their future, surrounded by both the Edinger and Teall families, and creating life-long friendships. In 1968, their youngest daughter, Heidi, was born.
Dick worked for General Telephone for several years, retiring in 1985 to spend more time with his family, after losing their daughter Toni, in a tragic car accident in 1981. Wanting to go back to work, he chose “the best job he’s ever had”, as a school bus driver. He loved the laughter, the fun conversations, and giggles from the children when they would call him “Mr. Dick”. He was dedicated to ensuring that each child’s first connection to school every morning at pick up time, would be safe, fun and happy. He often found himself comforting crying little people not wanting to leave their mommy’s or daddy’s, re-assuring them that they’d see them again at the end of the day. He loved those children and the children loved him, as shown by the colored pictures they would draw for him, homemade goodies they would bring, and “The Best Bus Driver” coffee cups, pins, etc. that would come home. He was known to sneak a few dollars now and then to needy students who he thought should be able to buy a snack at school with their friends. Coming home at the end of the day, usually with a few less dollars and change in his pockets, he would walk through the door with a smile on his face and fun stories to share with Jeannie about “his kids on the bus”. The second best part of his favorite job was that between routes, he’d have the opportunity to chat a little and have coffee with his brother, Jim, at Canfield Middle School, where Jim worked.
“In his spare time” as they call it, he was the Eastside Highway District Commissioner for Kootenai County for over 35 years. He worked hard once again, to ensure that citizens from his jurisdiction received the best road services around, and that their questions and concerns were met with honest answers and help to find resolution to their problems.
Dick was a kind, honorable, good-natured man, with an undying love and loyalty to his family and friends. He had a genuine love for the people in his life, especially the little ones, the grandchildren, great-grandchild, nieces, nephews and their children as well. Dick was dedicated to making this world a better place by being humble and kind. He would easily turn a stranger into friend after only knowing them a short time. People were drawn to his good nature, wide smile and his gift of gab. Most people, after first meeting Dick, would find themselves answering dozens of questions about themselves, just so he could learn about them, before he would ever talk of himself. And even then it was usually about his family, local politics and the goings-on in the Coeur d’Alene community. He was confident and committed to serving people and was never afraid to stand up for the underdog. While he was gentle soul, election time brought out a passion in him, like no other. He was a proud Democrat and never afraid to honor that commitment to his party of preference, even in a community where they were the minority. Although his convictions were strong, he remained respectful to the people he disagreed with politically, showing that he was a man of integrity and the ability to honor differing opinions. Starting in September, you could find him all around town or county, depending on the type of election, tirelessly putting up yard signs and walking door to door encouraging people to get out to vote, no excuses. On Election Day, he would drive elderly and disabled people to the polls, even if he knew their vote would differ from his, because he believed that EVERYONE should have a voice in who would represent them. He would speak on behalf of the candidates he thought would best represent the citizens of Coeur d’Alene, but he was never more proud or dedicated than when he worked on the elections for his twin brother, Ron. He tried hard to provide and ensure a voice for the working class residents of Kootenai County and was not afraid to share his opinion if there was ever a question of injustice. Dick’s sense of right and wrong made him a strong advocate for blue collar workers and underprivileged/underserved people.
Far beyond any work-related or community related accomplishments, Dick’s life was dedicated to his family. Together Dick and Jeannie traveled in their motor home, took Caribbean and Alaskan cruises, and spent vacations, camping with children and grandchildren at the North Fork of the Cd’A River, along with family vacation to Hawaii, hanging out at “the dock” and enjoying visits from family and friends. During the summer months, Dick could be found umpiring softball games at all the area fields, often times, beside one or both brothers. Their nickname in the Cd’A softball world among men and women alike, was “The Three Blind Mice”, where often times a player would disagree with calls being made on the field. The three brothers were fine with that name, and actually chuckled as it became a widely used term during softball season. Most importantly Dick and Jeannie were proud parents in the stands, attending every game, performance or event that their children were performing. However, during sporting events, usually Mom and Dad would end up sitting opposite from each other, as Dick was a fierce parent, making sure that any call made against a daughter or her team, was one that he agreed with, and when it wasn’t, he was sure to let officials know his displeasure.
He took pride in everything he did, from meticulous yardwork, usually with a cigar hanging from his mouth, to participating in all immediate and extended family events, to community participation. Although their life was difficult at times, as everyone’s is, Dick and Jeannie made a solid commitment to each other to face the trials and tribulations of life together, as a married couple, as parents and as a life time partners. Their dedication to each other, to their family and friends, and to their community, along with the many recent calls with love and support to our family, during this difficult time, is a true testament of a life well-lived and the positive impact he made in the lives of others.
Dick’s daily calls to his daughters, his grand-daughter, and his “checking in” on his brother’s wives, after their passing’s, will be sadly missed. Although they were not connected by blood, he thought of his brothers and sisters in law, Randy, Kathy, Martin, Debi and Tootie and John, as his family too. The smell of his cigar and the “Hey, Hippie-Jiver” welcome he gave to the younger generations and daughter’s friends, will be missed, but as we know, if he cannot be here on Earth with us forever, his next choice would have been, to be reunited with daughter, Toni, his brothers, Ron and Jim, and all of the family and friends who have passed away before Him.
Dick Edinger was well liked, well loved, well respected and will be remembered as a man with a kind, humble heart and the deepest of love for those he held close to his heart. What Dick would say, if he was here now, is to treasure your loved ones, be kind to everyone you meet, advocate for those less fortunate and underprivileged, and make this World a better, more peaceful place for our little people to live, now and in the future! Rest east, Dick, Daddy, Grandpa, Dickie, Brother, Uncle, Friend and “Hippie-Jiver”!
Dick served in the Army reserves, several local community committees, member of local organizations, and was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and Maple Street Community Church. He was a devout Christian who took his faith very seriously and tried to live his life according to God’s word and plan. His personal relationship with the Lord gave him strength and strong conviction when he struggled during difficult times.
Survivors include: wife, Jeannie, daughter, Heidi Hyta (Chris); Lori Kaye Gaboury (Mike), as well as his grandchildren: Jessica O’Bleness (Ian), great-granddaughter, Georgia; Mike Gaboury Jr. (Ashley), great-grandchildren, Logan and McKenna and Sean Adams (Josh), and their children, Andie, Alex and Ashton. He is also survived by sisters in law, Nancy Edinger and Marie Edinger, Sister-in-Law, Mardel (Tootie) Reynolds and husband, John, Brothers in Law, Randy Teall and wife, Kathy, and Martin Teall and wife, Debi. Survivors also include the many nephews and nieces of the Edinger and Teall families, who he loved as his own.
Dick was preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Toni; parents, Lawrence and Reva Edinger; parents in-law, Gard and Margie Teall; twin brother, Ron, and younger brother, Jim, who were his best friends; grand-daughter, Kelley Hyta, and nephews and nieces from both sides of the family that were very special to him.
The family would like to thank the following people and organizations who assisted Dick and Jeannie in recent months: Valarie Pilling, special friend and caregiver from Home Instead; CenterWell Home Health Care Therapists: Angie, Keagan, Steven, John and especially his dear friend and helper, Donna. You all treated him with love and kindness and maintained his pride, with all that you helped him with at home.
And to the nurses, Matt and Blaine, from the CCU at Kootenai Health, thank you for your kind, compassionate care for Dick and his family during his short time with you.
Memorial contributions can be made in Dick’s honor to: Maple Street Community Church.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 1:00 p.m. at Maple Street Community Church, 9485 N. Maple Street, Hayden, Idaho, 83835, with Pastor Jack Nemeth officiating, and short reception afterward.