William “Bill” Schweitzer, 97, passed away at a local care facility surrounded by family and friends on August 4, 2017. Bill was born in Fredonia, North Dakota on April 21, 1920 to Gottfried and Rosina Schweitzer. He was the 8th of 9 children born to them. After the passing of Rosina, his father remarried and Bill became the 4th youngest of a family of 16, full, half and step brothers and sisters. He was a first-generation American. Growing up in a multi-cultural community his native language was German but he learned how to speak Finnish and Norwegian from his friends and classmates. He learned to speak and write English in a one room school house. After completing the 8th grade his education ceased as he was needed to work the family farm.
He briefly served in the Civilian Conservation Corps prior to entering the U.S. Army. During WWII, he was assigned to the 129th Infantry (Feb. 1942 to June 1946) where he was a mortar platoon squad leader in the Pacific Theater. He was action in Fiji, New Hebrides, New Guinea, then Admiralty Islands, The Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal (his first Purple Heart), Bougainville and the Philippines (his second purple heart). After he was wounded the second time he spent 16 months in hospitals recuperating in Hawaii and multiple locations stateside. Bill was truly one of the many unsung heroes of WWII. He was seriously wounded while tending to the needs of a fellow soldier’s injuries while pinned down in a fox hole in the Philippines. Fortunately, his story was documented in 2013 at the War Hawk Museum in Nampa. His interview is preserved on DVD and is now part of the National Archives in Washington DC.
Once discharged Bill returned home, then headed west to make a new life. In 1947, he joined his brother “Shorty” in Boise and started his career with the United States Postal Service. He retired in 1987 after 33 years with the Postal Service and 7 years with CH2M Hill.
Bill met his soulmate Darlene Myers in Boise and they were married on September 30, 1948. Their marriage of 68 years has served as a testimony of love and devotion to each other, family, friends, and everyone who has been blessed by their example. Bill is survived by his wife, Darlene, daughter Linda (Dave) Babcock and grand puppy Odie (Boise), son J. (Diane) Schweitzer (Boise), 3 grandchildren Kyle (Hailey, ID.), Alex (Boise, ID) and Spencer (Reno, NV), and innumerable nieces and nephews.
Bill enjoyed wood working, golf, vegetable gardening, Bingo, puzzles and working around his house that he built in 1956. He particularly loved playing cards (cribbage and pinochle) with anyone who walked through his door. In his early retirement years, he and Darlene enjoyed spending winters in Arizona with friends from Boise and acquaintances from all over the United States.
He was outgoing and friendly to all he met whether human or animal. Everyone took an immediate liking to him. He touched many lives during his time on earth whether through his sage advice, common sense, hard-work ethic, selflessness, love of all people and animals (especially dogs), devotion to family and church (Boise Friends Church), and his faith in God and Jesus Christ as his Savior.
We are all blessed for having him in our lives. He will be remembered in love by his family as a wonderful husband, father and grandpa and by others he will be remembered as a fun loving, trusted and loyal friend. We know he is now known by God as a “good and faithful servant”.
The family would like to express its appreciation to all the caring and loving staff of Horizon Hospice, Homewatch Caregivers, and Valley View Assisted Living that worked so hard and diligently to make Bill’s final days more comfortable.
Friends and family are invited to a celebration of Bill’s life on August 14, 2017 at 1:00 pm, at Cloverdale Funeral Home. Lunch and snacks will be served.
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the American Heart Association or the Idaho Humane Society.