Robert "Bob" Waitley, 89, of Caldwell, Idaho, went to be with the Lord on Friday, July 4, 2014. He was surrounded by family members who celebrated his independence from this life. Bob was born to Clyde and Eura Waitley on February 9, 1925, in Eagle, Idaho. Bob was the middle child with older sister, June (Dwight) Cummings, and younger sister, Beth (Dick) Howell. Bob started school at White Cross Elementary. In 1936, the family moved to the Madden Farm on Locust Grove Road. (The farm had been homesteaded by his mother's father in 1903 after the family had traveled from Nebraska to Meridian on the Excursion Train.) Bob graduated from Meridian High School in 1943 where he had lettered in football. In 1944, he enrolled in the U.S. Navy where he served as a Gunner's Mate until 1947. Upon his discharge from the Navy, Bob returned to the family farm. Later that year, he purchased a tractor, rake, and hay baler and started doing custom haying for neighboring farmers. In the fall and winter months, Bob worked several seasons for McBirney Orchards on Franklin Road. Jean Ryker was also employed there, and in the fall of 1948 they were married.
In 1949, Bob and Jean joined Locust Grove Grange so they could square dance, but along the way, became active and involved members of the Grange, of which his grandparents had been charter members. In 1951, Bob and Jean moved on to the Madden family farm and his parents moved to Meridian. Later that year, their first child, Rick, was born, and 15 months later, a second child, Linda, joined the family. Through the years, Bob milked cows, raised hogs, and did a great deal of custom hay baling. At one time, Bob operated five hay balers with the entire family involved. His father remained involved in the farming operation with Bob until his death in 1977. Through the years, Bob employed many young men and women, giving them their first work experience. There are nearly 50 names on the list of those who worked for Bob on the farm.
The Grange was more than just a place to square dance. Bob held the position of Master of the local Grange several times through the years. He eventually became active in the Ada County Pomona Grange (where he served as Master), the Idaho State Grange, and the National Grange. Bob served on the Idaho State Grange executive committee for 12 years and as chairman for four. He served as State Grange lobbyist for six years in the Idaho legislature. Bob and Jean continued their square dancing involvement until Jean's failing health curtailed their participation.
Bob was a member of Ten Mile Community Church and served for several years as Sunday School Superintendent and on the church board. He assisted the church through some major expansion projects and the building of their first parsonage. Bob later attended the Family Life Church, Meridian Gospel Tabernacle (now Meridian Legacy Church), and the Caldwell Church of Christ.
He served on the board of directors for Dairymen's Creamery Association (DCA) in Caldwell for five years and as secretary of the board. He was also a member of Cooperative Oil Association, Producers' Supply Co-op, and The Federal Land Bank Association. Bob's leadership with DCA gave him the opportunity to serve as president of Food Producers of Idaho in 1981. He also served several terms as a member of the Ada County Planning and Zoning Commission and as a member of the Meridian Sewer and Water District. He was an active member of the Ada County Agrarian Club.
Bob and Jean served as 4-H Club leaders for 12 years and led many youth in a local club, The Locust Grove Wranglers. Bob served as a member and president of the Ada County 4-H Advisory Council for 15 years. This involvement in 4-H opened the door for him to assume a role on the board of the Cascade Lake 4-H Camp in Donnelly. For 43 years, Bob volunteered and provided leadership to the camp. He served as chairman of the camp board for many of those years, helping to guide and direct the camp's mission of providing a safe and comfortable facility for youth and families to enjoy. Because of Bob's dedication, thousands of youth and adults have experienced the splendor of camping on the shores of Cascade Lake.
Bob was elected to the board of directors of Grange Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1979, where he served for 16 years, the last few as vice chairman. During that time, the company transitioned into United Heritage Life Insurance Company.
Bob stopped doing custom baling in 1975 and continued with his milking herd of around 50 cows until 1981. He sold the milking herd and began raising replacement heifers for local dairymen and was farming over 250 acres. In 1982, the Meridian Dairy Show selected him to be parade marshal for the event.
In 1993, Bob was presented the "Friend of Extension Award" by the University of Idaho College of Agriculture. The next year, he was recognized by Ada County Pomona Grange with the Award for Public Service. He was also an Honorary Chapter Farmer of the Meridian FFA Chapter.
Bob's wife of 41 years passed away in December 1989. He married Carol Madden Lowe on May 21, 1990, and enjoyed nearly 25 years of marriage which included a great deal of travel and watching many sporting events.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Jean; parents, Clyde and Eura Waitley; and sisters, June Cummings and Beth Howell. Bob is survived by his wife, Carol Lowe Waitley, Caldwell; children, Rick (Dorita) Waitley, Meridian and Linda (Dick) Lee, Ontario, OR. Grandchildren: Kendra (Glenn) Dustin, Nashville, TN; Kyra (Nic) Gibson, Nampa; Sandy (Brian) Kendall, Cascade; and Kelly (Johnny) Biddinger, Weiser. Stepchildren: Ralph (Susie) Lowe, Meridian; Rod (Diane) Lowe, Greenleaf; Rory (Mary) Lowe, Meridian; and Ronda Lowe Aubrey, Meridian. Step grandchildren: Jason (Moe) Lee, Huntsville, AL; Jill (Rob) Rollins, Coeur d' Alene; Justin (Tonya) Lee, Denver, CO; Sarah Lowe, Meridian; Torie Carlyle, Meridian; Navy Corpsman Petty Officer 3rd Class Jordan (Alex) Lowe, Meridian; Lindsay Lowe, Nampa; Ally (Dustin) Eason, Greenleaf; and Rorie Aubrey, Meridian; and 19 great grandchildren.
Honoring Bob's request, a private family service will be held. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made in Bob's name to Cascade Lake 4-H Camp, 217 W Georgia Ave, Suite 100, Nampa, Idaho 83686 or to a
. The family expresses appreciation to Sarah, David, and Brittany from Accent Hospice Services for their wonderful care and love for Bob; also to Mary Welch, night nurse, for her assistance in recent weeks. Cremation is under the direction of Accent Funeral Home, Meridian. Remembrances may be left for the family online at www.AccentFuneral.com.
Dad, Grandpa, and Great Grandpa:
You set a wonderful example of how each of us should live life. Your early understanding of putting God first and family second, of hard work, involvement in the community and investment in people helped to make us who we are as a family. While we will miss our visits, your smile, your strong and steady hands that helped in so many ways, and your wisdom, we will continue to live out the legacy that you established for each of us.
Accent Funeral Home
1303 North Main Street Meridian, ID 83642
Published in Idaho Statesman on July 9, 2014