Andrew Joseph Riener passed away peacefully at home in Grangeville on October 31, 2018, with his daughter Kathy Dice at his side. Deacon Don Sokolowski and Jerry Wren were also present and had just finished reciting the Rosary and Lord’s Prayer when Andy took his last breath. He was kind, thoughtful, and true to his faith. He was 101 years of age.
Andy was born February 9, 1917, in Greencreek, Idaho, the second of ten sons born to Mary Ann (Stubbers) Riener and Frank Riener and grew up on the family farm. He was a bright boy, and loved school and learning, but due to the hard times on the farm during the Depression, his formal education ended at the ninth grade. However, when he began working as a mechanic, he took correspondence courses in mechanics, and as a young man spent several months in an automotive electric systems course in Los Angeles, becoming the acknowledged expert on automotive electrical systems on the Camas Prairie.
While working as a mechanic in Grangeville, he met Evelyn Cash, his boss’ sister-in-law. Their courtship was interrupted by the outbreak of WWII, when Andy was drafted into the Army. They married on April 10, 1943, while he was home on leave. Their first homes as a married couple were in Colton, California, and Lompoc, California, while Andy was stationed there between deployments to Hawaii and Europe. When Andy shipped out to Europe, Evelyn returned to Grangeville, where she gave birth (prematurely) to Mike, in January 1945.
As soon as Andy was released from the Army, in October 1945, he returned to Grangeville, and the house that he and Evelyn called home for the rest of their lives. She and Andy spent several years off-and-on in Bend, Oregon, after their retirement in 1982, helping to care for their granddaughters, Sara and Micah, but then returned to their Grangeville home. They moved back to Bend when Evelyn’s Alzheimer’s became advanced, living with Kathy. After Mom’s passing, Dad and Kathy returned to Grangeville, where Kathy cared for Dad until his passing.
Like so many members of the Greatest Generation, he and Mom built their lives around their family. Despite the long hours he worked as service manager at Hoene Implements, they planned and saved in order to take their children to Yosemite, Washington DC, New York, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and many other natural and man-made wonders, giving us an appreciation of our nation, and a desire to travel.
Andy and Evelyn were passionate in their belief that higher education was the gateway to a rewarding life. They instilled in their children the desire to go to college and were very proud that their kids all graduated from the University of Idaho. Andy earned his GED at the age of 54, while Kathy was at the U of I.
Andy is survived by daughter Kathy Dice, in Grangeville; son Mike in Houston, Texas; son Ken (and wife Judy) in San Luis Obispo, California. He is also survived by granddaughters Andrea (Arie) Riener Perry, in San Francisco, California; Sara (Ruben) Dice Rouw, in Parkland County, Alberta, Canada; and Micah (Eric) Dice Campbell in Ferdinand; and grandson David (Valerie) Riener in Irvine, California; step-granddaughter Traci (Bill) Devor of San Luis Obispo; step-grandson Jeff (Summer) Long of Nipomo, California; step-grandson Steve Long of Rancho Cordova, California; and 8 great-grandchildren: Clay Riener in Irvine, California; Marshall and Malia Campbell in Ferdinand; Forest and Annimea Rouw in Parkland County, Alberta; Tom and Jacob DeVor in San Luis Obispo, California; Hunter and Madison Long in Nipomo, California; Ryan Perry of Chesterfield, Missouri; and Jaclyn Perry of Los Angeles, California. He is also survived by sisters-in law Mary Anne Riener in Greencreek, Margo Riener and Eloise Riener in Ferdinand, and many nieces and nephews and their families. He was preceded in death by his wife of 71 years, Evelyn, his parents, and his brothers, Lawrence, Ernest, Norbert, Herman, Rudolph, Vern, Clifford, Alvin, and Richard. He and Mom also lost an infant daughter, our beloved Barbara, to pneumonia in 1953.
A viewing will be held Sunday, November 4, 2018 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm at the Blackmer Funeral Home in Grangeville. Rosary will follow at 5:00 pm at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday, November 5, 2018 at 10:00 am at the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church with burial to follow at Prairie View Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Blackmer Funeral Home of Grangeville, followed by interment in Prairie View Cemetery in Grangeville. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Syringa Hospital Foundation, or Syringa Hospice, 607 W. Main St., Grangeville, Idaho, 83530.