Laurence Austin Brower (Larry), 91 passed away on August 8, 2017 at The Willows in Blackfoot from complications of emphysema.
Laurence Austin Brower was born on February 22, 1926 in Ora, Idaho to Austin George Brower & Velta Cherry Brower. He was raised on the family farm in Ashton, Idaho the oldest of nine children.
In 1944, at the age of 17, Laurence left school in Ashton, moving to Bremerton, Washington to work in the Naval shipyards. While working in the shipyards, he decided to enlist in the United States Navy as he knew he would be drafted for military service during WWII.
Upon his graduation of boot camp at Farragut, Idaho; he served in the South Pacific Theater aboard the USS Hocking & the USS Algol. He was honorably discharged on May 23rd, 1946. His personal awards include the Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal with 2 stars, the American Area Campaign & the World War II Victory Medal.
After his discharge, he joined his family who had moved to Firth, and started working for the WP Wilson potato warehouse, where he met his future wife, Sarah Jane Wernette who was the bookkeeper. They were married on June 19, 1948 in Shoshone, WY. A later ceremony was performed, to include family members, at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Blackfoot, Idaho.
Laurence and Sarah lived and raised their family on the Wernette farm east of Firth. Laurence farmed during the summer and fall months of the year. During the winter months he drove school bus for the Firth School District and worked at what had become Woodward Brothers Potato Warehouse.
In 1949-1950 he & Sarah moved to Pocatello so Laurence could attend Idaho State College, which is now Idaho State University, where he earned a certificates in the welding and diesel mechanic programs and his GED.
In 1957 Laurence started working for Leo & Carl Hobbs, building the prototype potato piler that would become the design for the Spudnik potato piler. He worked for Spudnik in Blackfoot and Burley, Idaho. He also worked for French’s Potato Company in Shelley, and then worked many years at the Firth Blacksmith Shop, when it was sold, he returned to Spudnik, retiring from there in 1991.
Laurence & Sarah lived in Firth for 47 years, before moving to Blackfoot. After Sarah passed away in 1995, Laurence moved back to Firth living in senior citizen housing for 13 years. He moved into The Willows in 2010.
Laurence enjoyed the outdoors; he was always taking his family camping. He was an avid hunter and fisherman who rarely missed catching his limit. Summers would also find him tending and enjoying his yard and a large garden. Every spring and fall he took part in annual cattle drives and roundups. He and Sarah enjoyed square dancing and were always ready to play a game of pinochle.
Laurence was involved in many social, civic clubs and organizations including; The Shelley Riding Russets, American Legion Steward Hoover Post No. 23, where he was a Past Commander, and the Firth Lions Club. He was also a member and Past Master of the Riverview Grange #243, where he helped establish the Little Buckaroo Rodeo, which celebrated its’ 52nd anniversary this year.
Laurence is survived by his children; Laraine Shafer (Steven), Firth; Gail Walters (Leon), Idaho Falls; Clay (Dahl), Idaho Falls; Teresa Reidlinger (Kenny), Paul, Idaho; Stephen (Beverley), Jacksonville, NC; USMC retired; Michelle Crider (Joe), Firth. Sisters, Bernnadee Elders, Port Orchard, WA; Marva Clark (Glen), Idaho Falls; brothers, Ralph, Hyrum, UT; Clifford (Pat), Highland, UT. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Sarah Jane, his parents, Austin & Velta, brothers Dean, Verl, LG, Ben and a grandson, Nicholas.
Our family would like to thank the entire staff at The Willows for their care of our Dad especially over the last few months. We’d also like to thank all the staff from Access Hospice, including Loy Schroeder, RN, Candace Moss and Sara Bingham, his former Hospice RN and all the others who helped care for him. The family would also like to recognize and thank Dell Young for being such a good friend to our Dad! Without everyone’s help at both facilities, he couldn’t have lived the life he did!
Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. Thursday, August, 17 2017 at Nalder Funeral Home (110 W Oak) in Shelley. The family will meet with friends Wednesday evening from 6:00 till 7:30 p.m. and Thursday morning from 9:30 till 10:40 a.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be in the Firth Cemetery with military rites.