Gerald A. Lindsey, 87 peacefully passed away in his home at White Bird with his daughters and caregiver by his side on Monday, Feb 4th, 2019. Gerald was born January 30, 1932 in Boise, Idaho to Thomas and Emilie Lindsey. He grew up in a family with 3 brothers and 4 sisters, where he was the 3rd oldest of his siblings.
The Lindsey Family lived in Golden, Idaho for several years where Gerald first remembers, at age six, cutting wood with a cross cut saw with his older brother, Tucker, to help the family make a living in this remote area. Gerald was no stranger to “hard work.” He literally worked his whole life, from age 6 to 87.
In 1942, the family moved to the Riggins area and later settled on the Fiddle Cr. Ranch in 1946, where the Lindsey Family raised a very large garden and milk goats. This is where Tucker and Gerald were riding their mule bareback up the canyon to pack out a deer that Gerald had shot. As they were climbing up the trail, the mule spooked at a rattle snake buzzing and bucked the two of them off. As they were both falling off the mule, the mule kicked at the two boys and Gerald caught a hind foot in the mouth, breaking out 4 front teeth. After returning to Riggins High School as a Freshman, he soon decided he would quit and go to work and make enough money to have his teeth fixed. He worked for the Forest Service, Army Core of Engineers and the Power Company putting in power poles across all of Idaho County.
Gerald loved the White Bird area. It was there he met the love of his life. Ona Francis moved into town from Yerington, Nevada, one day in 1951 and it wasn’t’ long, Gerald swept her off her feet and married her on Feb 7th, 1952. (Or did she sweep him off his feet?) They were married in Council, Idaho and moved to California for military training, when he was deployed to Germany for service in the US Army in June 1953. He was in active duty when he arranged to have Ona travel from California to Germany via the Queen Marie and train travel, through France and Germany, to be by his side for 2 yrs.
Gerald and Ona returned to the US in 1955, driving a Chevy Coupe from New York across the states to White Bird, Idaho with their newborn daughter, Loraine. White Bird is where they settled down and called “home”. They raised four daughters and one son.
One of Gerald and Ona’s first business ventures was the purchase of the cabin rentals in White Bird. They later purchased and added a 3 room, motel trailer and a laundromat and named it the “White Bird Motel”. Later in the 70s, they hired Bob Wingfield to build more motel rooms and a set of apartments.
Gerald made a living as a sawyer in the woods for many years. He knew how to fall trees, and he was good at it. He recalls falling over 92,000 board ft in one day in the Boles area working for Idapine. Gerald recalls, “I was in good timber, it was a long day and the best day I ever had.”
Gerald continued his career in the woods. In 1974 he started his own logging operation, LT&L Logging. In 1983, he moved his logging operation, family and friends to Burns, Oregon. Many of his past and present employees followed him, and there, they logged the ‘easy timber’ for 10 years in Harney County. In the 20+ years he was in the logging business, he employed many, hard working loggers and became close friends with many of them. Gerald truly was the “Bull of the Woods”.
From 1985-88, Gerald purchased the Brust Ranch, Warren Brown Ranch, Smith Brothers Ranch and the Marek Ranch. He ran cattle from the Salmon to Snake River and on Joseph Plains for 10 yrs. During these 10 yrs, he fixed up many old ranch houses, built several sets of corrals and feedlots, installed scales, built roads and miles of new fences, developed many springs and built stock ponds, planted and raised corn silage and alfalfa. He loved making a place “better and prettier” than when he found it. His personal home was always groomed and free of weeds, clean and beautiful. He loved raising vegetable gardens, fruit trees and keeping an immaculate, green lawn.
Gerald had a passion for gold! He made a living with his chainsaw and in the woods, but his heart was in the dirt. He loved mining for gold. He had a gold tunnel near the highway by Lucile and he would spend his ‘layoff’ time in the tunnel hammering out rock and wheeling it out to the road and hauling it out.
In the mid 80’s, Gerald and Darrel Turner mined “Sherwin Bar” across the Salmon River from John Day Cr. In 2012, Gerald and Shannon mined “Taylor Bar” on the Zumwalt Ranch. When he was finished mining the bars, he would reclaim the landscape and make it look nice. Whether hard rock or placer, tunnel or open pit, sluicing or panning, hard work or just plain fun, Gerald loved gold.
Gerald always loved and respected God’s creation and life. Later in his life, he took an interest in studying the Bible and dedicated his life to his Creator. He was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2011 in Helena, Mt. Gerald and Ona moved to Helena in 2006 from their Home on Cooper Bar along the Salmon River. Ona passed away in 2016, and Gerald returned to White Bird to live near his children. He wanted to live out his life near the Salmon River and be close to his family and friends.
Gerald is survived by his 4 daughters, Loraine Robinett (Jerry) of Helena Mt, Alana Atchison (Russ) of Rathdrum, Id, Rene Lindsey of Washington, WV and Marianne Lindsey of White Bird, Id; one son, Shannon Lindsey (Kimberly) of White Bird, Id. Gerald is blessed with 12 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.
He is preceded in death by his wife, Ona Lindsey, his parents Thomas and Emilie Lindsey, sister Bonnie Brumley and brother Walter Lindsey.
There will be a Memorial Service at 1 pm at Hoots Café on Friday, February 15th with a reception to follow. A graveside service was held Saturday, February 9th by immediate family members. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home of Grangeville. You may submit your condolences online at Blackmerfuneralhome.com.