Donald Anthony Lederhos
Published in the Bonners Ferry Herald August 24, 2006
Another version was published on the website - Kootenai Valley Press - August 26, 2006
There are unique people who come into our lives. They bring humor, strength, caring, teaching, color and fun. One of those people we will always cherish was Don Lederhos. Donald Anthony Lederhos, age 78, died peacefully at home on Friday, August 18, 2006.
A Vigil Service and Rosary will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 24, at St. Ann's Catholic Church, Bonners Ferry. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, August 25, at St. Ann's Catholic Church, with internment following in the Grandview Cemetery.
Donald Anthony Lederhos was born May 7, 1928, in Vincent, Kansas, to Margaret (Wittman) and Joseph Lederhos. He was the fifth of 11 children. Don grew up on farms in Kansas until the family moved to Denver, Colorado, in 1940 after hard times during the Great Depression. Don spoke German until he entered the first grade, where classmates taught him to speak English. In Denver, Don’s father worked at Fitzimins Army Hospital. His mother was resourceful in keeping the family fed and cared for. Don attended Cathedral School, Morey Junior High and East High School. The Lederhos family were devout Catholics (Volga-German).
Don entered the U.S. Marine Corps. in 1946 at age 18. While in the service, he met and married Juanita Frances Johnson on June 5, 1948 in El Cerrito, California. Following his marriage, Don returned to Colorado where he worked in a floor covering business for his brother Damien. He later worked at Gates Rubber in Denver. Don returned to California and attended engineering school at Northrup Aviation on the GI Bill. For a time, he worked two jobs at once at Duschak Helicopter Service and Douglas Aircraft building metal fixtures and jigs. He eventually worked full time at Duschak rebuilding rotor blades and he learned to fly. From then on, Don piloted helicopters stringing power cables on high-tension power lines in the Western States. He sprayed weeds on Railway tracks and he flew for Fish and Game in Augusta, Montana. Don spent time in Guatemala and Panama working and flying helicopters.
Don and his family moved to Bonners Ferry in 1971 where he continued his construction piloting career. In 1978, he started a helicopter logging business. Later, Don started a helicopter repair and rebuild shop. He and his wife Frances ran the local airport for many years.
Don’s wife Frances died May 9, 1998, following a heart attack. He married Fredericka Florea February 22, 2002. Don enjoyed flying, watching Gunsmoke, radio controlled modeling, inventing, woodworking, and farming, but his greatest joy of all was spending time with his children, grandchildren and the rest of his family.
Don is survived by his wife Fredericka and his eight children: Toni (Doug) Chandler, Cindy (Jeff) Lederhos, Trinka Wilson, Don (Karen) Lederhos, Gretchen (Michael) Coats, Eric (Linda) Lederhos, Kevin (Monica) Lederhos, and Monique (Gary) Worley. Don had 29 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren. He is also survived by 10 brothers and sisters: Damian Lederhos, Juanita (Bob) Kersteins, Josepha Smith, Ester (Bill) Burge, Lela Neidig, Gilbert (Thelma) Lederhos, Jeanette (Wayne) Svenson, Jimmy (Maureen) Lederhos, Clarence (Louise) Lederhos, Joe (Paula) Lederhos. Don was preceded in death by his wife Frances, his grandson Brent Worley, and his son-in-law Kip Wilson.
The family suggests memorials for the St. Ann’s Catholic Church building fund 6712 El Paso, Bonners Ferry, ID 83805.