Bill was born in the summer of 1935 in Cortez, Colo. He was the oldest of six sons born to Jack and Margaret Baird. During his early years the family moved back and forth between Colorado, California and Oregon but primarily lived in many of the small communities in the heart of the Idaho mountains.
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As a teenager, Bill worked for Morrison Knudsen company and joined the U.S. Naval Reserves. While working for Davey Tree Company, Bill was transferred to Billings, Mont., where he met a girl from Minnesota who was looking for a cowboy. Bill married Joyce Negaard, the love of his life, on Feb. 4, 1956. They made their first home in Billings. Bill taught Joyce to drive a car. Their first child, Brad, was born in Billings.
The family moved back to Idaho where Bill would work on the Brownlee and Oxbow Dam projects. While Bill would be at work in Hells Canyon seven days a week, Joyce was barefoot and pregnant in Kuna, Idaho. Although Bill had taught her to drive, he left her with no car! Their second son, Brian was born here. Joyce tired of the isolation and the family moved back to Montana and then eventually to Minnesota where daughter Brenda was born.
Bill worked in an optical shop making lenses for the next several years. Bill then went back to construction and worked many years on Interstate road construction then eventually starting up his own company. After 25 years in Minnesota, Bill grew weary of the cold winters and returned to Idaho where he started W-B Contracting with Denny Weaver of Ola. Dad always warned us that a "D" on a report card meant you would grow up to be a "Ditch Digger." We teased him that that's was what HE was! Bill loved his work and felt blessed to do what he called "playing in the dirt" his whole life.
Bill also loved farming and ranching. Along with his strenuous work schedule, the family owned a farm. Dad taught us to work for sure. Dad said that he tried to "make a million" but he laughed and said that "the Lord must have figured I couldn't handle it."
He taught us to ride horses and motorcycles and to work with cows and drive fast cars. Dad taught us to shoot guns and he loved to hunt and fish. He could make most anything and fixed everything. He loved the spring and hated the winter, especially the fog and haze.
Bill and Joyce loved to travel. They went all over the United States and Canada on their Gold Wing motorcycle. They took their RV as far away as Arizona and Alaska. Bill loved family reunions. He loved his brothers, his in laws and "outlaws," his many nieces and nephews and was very proud of them when we would all get together.
And most of all, Bill loved Jesus. Grandchildren came a close second. Our workaholic taskmaster dad turned to putty with his 10 grand-kids and one great-grandson. He invested countless and selfless hours in their lives.
Our special thanks go to Heart n' Home Hospice Care. These women will forever be in our hearts and minds for the tender and loving care they gave to Dad. He loved them! Mom would tell dad "his girlfriends" were coming over. He thought that was great. Thank you especially Gwen, Evie and Julie who spent the most time with Dad. In the last few years, Mom and Dad had to face the biggest challenge of their lives. Alzheimer's Disease is a challenge of untold proportion. But Mom and Dad faced it together positively and with amazing grace. They prayed and read their Bible more than anytime in their lives. They got through many trials and difficult days leaning on Jesus and singing His praises they could truly say "It is Well With My Soul."
Bill was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Jake and Terry.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Joyce Baird of Emmett; son Brad and wife Julie of Walker, Minn.; son Brian and wife Kim of Emmett; daughter Brenda Folwell and husband, Roger of Emmett; grandchildren Reed, Kate and Gabriel Folwell of Texas, Zachery, Mariah and Leah Baird of Minnesota, Shay Folwell of Riggins, Idaho, Lucas and Paige Bicandi, Ashlyn and Katelyn Baird, Jill and Abby Folwell, all of Emmett; brothers Stan, Hurley and Steve; and a large extended family remain.
Services will be held Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 at 2 p.m., Calvary Chapel, 498 W. Idaho Blvd., Emmett, Idaho.
Published in Emmett Messenger Index from Jan. 31 to Mar. 2, 2014