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Nature 14


Donald James Fodrea

December 6, 1925 ~ September 28, 2018 (age 92)
Don Fodrea passed away September 28 at a Boise care facility. He was 92 years old. Don was born in Lewiston, Idaho to Ormond C. Fodrea and May Williard Fodrea on December 6, 1925. He lost his father days before his third birthday. His mother and older brother and sister were quite involved in raising him. He loved the freedom of his youth running all around Lewiston and the Snake River with his friends.
When Don was fourteen, he moved to Boise with his mother for her new job. He was not terribly happy to move south, but soon found friends through sports and settled down. He graduated from Boise High in 1943 and followed many of his classmates by enlisting in the military. His enlistment was delayed when he reported for duty on crutches with a broken ankle from a pick-up football game. He later joined the Army Air Corps in December of 1943 and was eventually stationed in Moody Field, Georgia. True to form, he found the local air corps baseball team and asked the officer in charge if anyone could play. After a few practices, he was on the team and assigned to Moody as an athletic instructor. His training for combat was over. The Moody Field Raiders travelled to many army bases and Don played with and against teams that included many top college and professional players. Don’s “war stories” were not those of combat heroics, “I played baseball for the army!” He also played basketball for the army. His final basketball team started two All-Americans and three all Big 10 players; he said he sat on the bench a lot, but got to play with some of the best in practice.
After the war, Don declined a professional baseball contract with the Philadelphia Athletics and a college scholarship with Duke University. He said he was tired of the south and wanted to return to Boise. There he met his future wife, Marie Campbell. She was a resident at the Kopper Kettle, a girl’s boarding house run by Don’s mother. Don courted Marie as he played baseball and basketball and attended classes at Boise Junior College and the University of Idaho. He asked her to marry several times and she said no. He kept at it and they married on June 5, 1948. This union produced three children, sons Donald James Fodrea, Jr., Robert W. Fodrea and daughter Jo McCosh.
Don and Marie lived in temporary trailers while attending the University of Idaho. The trailer homes were brought in from Vancouver shipyards for the returning GIs. At nearly six foot four Don could not stand up straight in the trailer except in the center air vent; furthermore, the showers were nearly a block away. Their marriage survived this test of their commitments and they later moved to Wilder, Idaho, where Don started his teaching and coaching career.
At Wilder Don taught PE and coached the baseball, basketball, and football teams. In 1954, he began teaching and coaching for the Boise School District at East Jr. High. He soon moved to Boise High where he taught PE, math and coached the varsity basketball team. In 1968, he transferred to North Jr. High as a counselor after receiving his master’s degree in education from the College of Idaho. He retired from the District in 1983.
Like many in his chosen field of education, Don worked during the summers to make ends meet and avoid starvation. His summer jobs included painting, semi-pro ball, policeman, camp counselor, and finally construction. Don’s first construction job was in 1956 when the family built a cabin near Cascade, Idaho. The cabin is still standing though Don often said he wished it would fall down so he could re-build it right. It is the site for many family events. He was skilled in many trades after several remodels and home building projects into the late 1970s. He was also rock hound and drove his family all over the mountains seeking rocks, arrowheads and interesting old mines and such. He discovered the joy of woodworking and built furniture for his family and friends.
During his counseling career Don discovered golf. The natural athlete came out and Don became an excellent amateur golfer. He was part of founding groups of golfers that helped get Eagle Hills and Shadow Valley started. He eventually staffed the Eagle Hills pro shop on Mondays in the 1980s and helped with several remodels there. Don loved to travel by car, Marie did not. So they learned to travel by driving a half day followed by an afternoon of golf. They visited much of the U.S. and Canada travelling from golf course to golf course.
In 1977, Don and Marie built a retirement home on Eagle Hills Golf course. Seven years ago, they moved to Touchmark at Meadow Lake Village in Meridian. Two years ago, he lost his wife of 68 years and has missed her terribly. He was a loving husband and father and will be missed.
Don is survived by his children Jim Fodrea (Mary) of Boise, Bob Fodrea (Paula) of Cascade and Jo McCosh of Boise. He will be missed by his seven grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren. He is also survived by many nephews and nieces. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Marie, his parents, a sister and a brother and two grandchildren, Kim and Jason.
A memorial and celebration of life will be held Sunday, October 14th, 2018 at 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM at the River Heights Community Center, 3960 S. Globe Theater Ave., Boise, Idaho 83716. Don will be laid to rest at Alpha Cemetery near Cascade at a later date.
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