John Suhr, 80

‘The battle is over, and I won’. Herman John Suhr passed away May 6, 2019 at his home in

Grangeville. John was born to Henry Herman Suhr and Minnie Rylaarsdam Suhr in Grangeville on August 25, 1938. Following his graduation from Grangeville High School in 1956, he served in the National Guard and worked as a clerk at JCPenney.

Shortly thereafter in 1957 he was struck with paralysis and remained wheelchair bound for the remainder of his life. Medical experts diagnosed him with multiple sclerosis, but John was determined to not let that keep him from his goal of going to college. He did not give up on life and was determined to make the best out of his situation with a very positive attitude. John took correspondence courses from the University of Idaho in accounting and worked for small businesses around Grangeville doing bookkeeping, and opened John’s Accounting Service in his home in 1963. He completed thousands of tax returns over the years. John started work in 1968 for the United States Forest Service in Grangeville and retired from there in 1997 after 29 years. During this time also he was the bookkeeper and treasurer for several of the local Highway Districts and retired from the Union Highway District after half a century at the age of 75.

He was nominated as the Outstanding Handicapped Person of Idaho in 1964 and in 1965 as the Junior Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Man of the Year. In 1968 he was given the Gallantry Award by the Easter Seal Society.

John enjoyed doing cross stitch pictures and made numerous table clothes, which always looked as good on the underneath side as the topside. Although he was righthanded at the time of his paralysis he became very proficient using his left hand for these projects. When he didn’t have a stitching hoop in his lap you could often find him enjoying the fresh air outside and keeping up his strength using his walking bars (which his nieces and nephews enjoyed too!). John was a very kind and gentle soul, always thinking of someone else. His family was very important to him and he always enjoyed the times he was able to get together with them. After his mom passed away in 2005, he continued to live on his own. He could often be seen around town taking his dog for a walk or making a trip to the grocery store in his wheelchair (snow, wind, rain or shine). He was very self-sufficient, as he once commented to an employer in accepting a position, “l said I’d give it a try, and I’ve been trying ever since”, and it took a lot of convincing before he finally accepted help in his final years.

He was preceded in death by both parents, a brother-in-law and nephew. He is survived by his sister, Hilda Johnson and brother Jim Suhr (Patty), as well as numerous nieces and nephews who he loved as if they were his own kids.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to Misty Johnston, her daughter Alicia, and Dr. Matthews for their loving care of John.

There has been a private burial and a graveside memorial service is being planned for Saturday, June 15th at 11:00 at Prairie View Cemetery. All are welcome to attend. Services are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home. You may submit condolences online to

Condolences to the family of John Suhr, 80

  • Mary Rotz says:

    Beautifully written journal of the life this incredible man. He set the bar high for all of us in work ethics, kindness, and making your best effort to persevere through things life throws at you. He was a joy to know and be around. Mary Rotz

  • Nona Donaldson says:

    John was always a bright light in the neighborhood. We so enjoyed visiting with him as he was walking his dog by. He always had a smile. He will be missed. He is now running with his beloved dogs.

  • Vickie Peterson says:

    I enjoyed knowing and working with John for many years. I am sorry for your loss.

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