Elmer F Wessels, 82 of Greencreek, Idaho, died peacefully at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center on October 7, 2021.
Elmer was born on July 22, 1939, to Albert and Magdalena (Nuxoll) Wessels, the eighth of nine children. He grew up on a farm outside of Greencreek, Idaho, where he enjoyed playing baseball and helping his dad on the farm. He went through the Greencreek school system where he graduated from Greencreek High School in 1957. After graduation, he worked in the lumber mill and drove truck for Burkeland’s. He then enlisted in the Army and spent most of his enlistment at Fort Ord and Fort Lewis before he was honorably discharged in 1960. He appreciated his time in the Army because it changed him from being a boy to a man.
After the army, he attended LCSC for two years and pitched on the LCSC’s Warriors first baseball team. After LCSC he played baseball at Eastern Washington University for one semester before transferring to the University of Idaho where he completed his bachelor’s and later his master’s degree in education. It was during this time at the U of I that he became an avid Vandal fan.
After graduation, he took his first job at Weippe High School where he coached football and basketball for three years. These were very special years as he loved the Weippe community and his coaching job. Weippe and the people were always very special to him. During the school year of 1968-1969 Elmer and “his boys” won a state football and state basketball championship, respectively. When Weippe High School merged with Pierce to form Timberline Elmer went along to coach the Timberline Spartans basketball team for two years before moving to the Cottonwood School district for one year. There he taught in the middle school. After one year at Prairie, he moved to Clearwater Valley where he coached and taught. He loved coaching but retired from coaching in 1976 to pursue other adventures. He was honored and thrilled years later when his daughter, Tina, was in junior high and he began coaching her AAU and Hallissey basketball team. He continued to coach Hallissey teams for the Prairie Catholic Youth until 2001. Elmer taught for 29 years, at Clearwater Valley, retiring in 2001, with a total of 35 years of teaching. Elmer loved teaching and always enjoyed running into and catching up with former students, many of which he now calls friends.
On June 1, 1968, he married Irene Stubbers at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Greencreek. While living in Weippe Elmer and Irene had their first daughter, Maria, in 1969, and then a son, Joe, in 1970. They moved to Greencreek and purchased the Greencreek store in 1976, which they owned until 1984. In 1978 they had their youngest daughter, Christina (Tina). Elmer and Irene also owned and operated a bee business, Wessels Honey, that they started from scratch. They slowly expanded from a few hives in 1974 to more than 600 hives at its peak. Elmer and Irene sold honey throughout the local area into Couer d’Alene and Spokane, before retiring from the business in 2013.
After retirement from teaching, Elmer found his passion for bowling again, spending many hours at Lancer Lanes with his bowling family. He was an accomplished bowler. Not only did he bowl three 300 games and five 800 series, but he was also awarded Bowler of the Year in 2008. Elmer also still holds the record at Lancer’s for the highest sanctioned series (856). For as much as he loved bowling, he loved his bowling family more. He made many friends over the years at the bowling alley and missed them terribly in his later years when he no longer bowled.
In addition to bowling in his retirement years, Elmer continued his love for teaching and astronomy by working in his daughter Tina’s classroom, helping her with a yearly rocket launch. He was also an avid Dodgers fan since he was a little boy and was excited when his beloved Dodgers won the World Series last year. Go Dodgers!
Amongst all of his accomplishments, Elmer’s favorite title was Grandpa. He was the proud grandpa of 13 grandchildren. Elmer loved his family and grandchildren more than anything and enjoyed watching their activities and nonsense!
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Harold, Don and John and sisters Rita (Clarence) Wassmuth, Marcella (Bob) Uhlenkott, Sr. Edward, OSB, and Sr. Bernice, OSB.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Irene, in Greencreek, his daughters, Maria (David) Wren and Tina (Chris) Jackson and son Josef (Eugenia) Wessels. He is survived by his grandchildren Nicholas, Natalie, Jacob, Emily, Matthew, Zachary, Mary, Michael, and Katie Wren; Maddilynne and Jossilynne Jackson; and Nate and Lena Wessels; his childhood playmate and sister Dorothy (Don) Keuter of Tacoma Washington; and his beloved sisters-in-laws Bernadine, Rita, and Teddy. In addition, he is survived by 39 nieces and nephews who he loved dearly.
A Rite of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, October 29, at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Greencreek, ID. There will be a public rosary beforehand, starting at 10:30. Burial will follow the funeral Mass with a dinner at the Greencreek Hall. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home, Grangeville. Send condolences to the family to blackmerfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers please send a donation to All Saints Catholic School, Lewiston, ID, or St. Jude.