Cover photo for Darrell Richard Ewing's Obituary
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1922 Darrell 2023

Darrell Richard Ewing

April 25, 1922 — December 19, 2023

Darrell Ewing was born in tiny Hunters, WA on April 25, 1922 to Richard and Clarice (Morgan) Ewing.  The family soon moved to Bonners Ferry, ID where the family originally hailed from.  Darrell was the great grandson of Richard Fry, who was one of the first white settlers in that area and who built the first trading post in Bonners Ferry prior to 1880.  
Darrell grew up in Bonners Ferry graduating high school in 1940.  After high school, Darrell and some friends decided to go to Alaska to work.  They made it as far as Seattle where Darrell lived for a year, then returned to Bonners Ferry.  
With the outbreak of WWII, Darrell was drafted into the Army.  After basic training, he was trained as a refrigeration specialist, then was dispatched to north Africa.  But soon after the troop ship departed its final port in Trinidad, the war theater in north Africa changed.  The troop ship turned around and distributed all of the troops to other destinations.  Darrell wound up serving WWII on the Caribbean island of Antigua, which was a critical refueling stop for civilian and military trans-Atlantic air traffic.  
Since the air base on Antigua didn’t need a refrigeration specialist, Darrell had to find something else to do.  The crane operator there said, “If you learn how to operate heavy equipment, you’ll never have to look for a job.  They will come looking for you.”  So, Darrell learned how to operate the crane and other equipment.  He became the heavy equipment operator on the base.  He had a gift for it.  This served him well as he later spent most of his life operating cranes and other heavy equipment in the logging industry.  
After WWII, Darrell returned to Bonners Ferry.  As ex-military personnel, he and his buddies were candidates for the G.I. Bill.  Darrell and friends decided to use that money to learn how to fly airplanes.  So, for the next few years, Darrell became an avid flier acquiring his private pilot license and half the hours toward a commercial license.  But then, tragically, one summer there were five different small plane crashes in north Idaho.  This prompted Darrell to discontinue his flying activities.  
At his parents’ house in Bonners Ferry, some new neighbors moved in next door.  The Schultz family had a daughter, Alice Mae (literally, the “girl next door”).  Darrell and Alice struck up a relationship.  They were married on April 18, 1948.  Oddly, that was the same year that downtown Bonners Ferry was flooded by the Kootenai river.  (Darrell and Alice always hoped this wasn’t a sign.)  They had three sons while living in Bonners Ferry:  Paul (1949), Kenneth (1956), and Darrell Keith (1957).  
Darrell worked a variety of jobs in Bonners Ferry.  Eventually he started work at Pack River Lumber Company.  After some years at the Bonners Ferry mill, Darrell transferred to the mill at Colburn where he worked until retiring at age 65.  In the summer of 1962, the Ewing family moved from Bonners Ferry to Colburn to be closer to Darrell’s workplace.  Darrell thus lived within easy walking distance from work.  
A lot happened during the Colburn years.  One significant story is about the stock car.  Someone opened a stock car track just south of Colburn.  The weekend races became a significant regional attraction for many years.  Darrell, son Paul, and close friend Bob Puckett ran a car at these races (car number 131).  All of the mechanical work was done at the Colburn place in Darrell’s shop (which, by the way, Darrell built himself).  The crowning achievement was the third car that they raced, a bright red ’57 Chevy.  Among the innovations that Darrell added to this car were welded frames over the front wheels for mounting double shock absorbers, and a 24-volt starter system to crank the engine.  The guys spent so much time working on this car that Alice and the wives had them write “The Other Woman” on the side of the car alongside the names of the sponsors.  
As the town of Colburn was much closer to Sandpoint than to Bonners Ferry, Sandpoint became more of a central focus.  In 1976, Darrell and Alice moved from Colburn into Sandpoint.  Their home was a large mobile home with additional rooms added on.  Right off, Darrell planned to build a decorative roof and carport over the home.  Being an avid do-it-yourselfer, he designed the roof, purchased the materials, and began construction.  The structure was up and the metal roofing was nearly completed when (believe it or not) a tornado passed through Sandpoint.  The tornado touched down at three spots, one of which was right over the Ewing house.  The tornado pulled the partially completed roof straight upward, tumbled it around in mid-air, then crashed it alongside the house leaving the home itself untouched.  Darrell was able to get insurance money for the damage and then built the roof again this time fixing design flaws that he had noticed on the first roof.  
Darrell retired from the lumber mill in 1987.  Not one to sit and do nothing, Darrell and Alice went on an adventure.  They mounted their camper onto the pickup truck, drove to eastern Washington, and spent a season picking apples with the migrant fruit workers.  They worked well with the Mexican crew.  At the end of the season, the orchard owner invited Darrell and Alice up to the big house for an end-of-season party.  But Darrell and Alice chose to celebrate with their Mexican compatriots instead.  
Retirement did not keep Darrell at home.  Right away, Darrell and Alice went to work for Ryder Truck Rentals.  Rental companies need people to redistribute vehicles to the different outlets.  So, for the next seven years, Darrell and Alice ferried Ryder trucks across the Pacific Northwest.  
Yearning for a little less hectic life, Darrell and Alice quit Ryder and started working for the Ford and GM car dealerships in Sandpoint.  Dealerships often trade cars with other dealerships, and they need people to ferry these cars to and from different locations.  So, for the next 14 years, Darrell and Alice continued their highway travels by moving cars between dealerships across the Pacific Northwest and sometimes far beyond.  
Darrell kept roadmaps of the states in which they travelled.  He used a yellow highlighter to mark the roads they had driven.  He said they had driven every mile of paved road in the state of Washington plus most of the roads in the surrounding states.  
Many people don’t know that Darrell was quite musical.  Over the years he played the harmonica, the guitar, and the console organ.  He was completely self-taught.  He was rather shy about it and would not play if anyone other than family were present.  
In 2010, Alice passed away on her 81st birthday.  Darrell and Alice had been married for 62 years.  The household felt empty for some time.  Then, Darrell met Sally Sacht at the Senior Center and the two became close companions for the rest of Darrell’s life.  
Even at age 101, Darrell continued to live independently in his house in Sandpoint.  Though he had become quite thin and with an arch to his back and diminished stamina, he still would mow the lawn in summer, pick up the leaves in autumn, and use his riding snow blower to clear driveways in the winter (still ever the heavy equipment operator).  At his 100th birthday party at the Senior Center, he danced with Sally for three hours.  He often spent days sharing puzzles from the newspaper with Sally and evenings playing solitaire on the computer while listening to music via YouTube (that is, when he wasn’t watching Ice Road Truckers or Gold Rush or Ancient Aliens on TV).  
In November 2023 Darrell contracted COVID.  Though he recovered from the disease, the physical and mental strain tipped the scales.  Darrell knew he was declining.  With an outpouring of support from family, friends, and neighbors, and outstanding care and support from Hospice, Darrell said good-bye to the people who were part of his life.  Over a month’s time, he progressively declined.  On the morning of December 19, 2023, Darrell passed away peacefully surrounded by family and still in the same house where he had lived for one half of his very long life.  
A celebration of life will be held on April 20, 2024 at the Sandpoint Community Hall, doors open at 1:00 pm and the service will start at 2:00 pm.


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