SALLEE, Robert W. Bob died in the Sacred Heart Hospital, Spokane, WA on May 26, owing to complications from open heart surgery. He was born Aug. 18, 1931, in a farm house near Willow Creek, Mont. He was the last living survivor of the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire in the Gates of the Mountains, Mont. His escape from that tragedy that killed 12 of his fellow smokejumpers and a fire guard was described in Norman Maclean's 1992 best selling book Young Men and Fire. Bob graduated from high school in Sandpoint, ID and attended the University of Idaho before graduating from Eastern Washington University with an accounting degree in 1973. Over the course of his career he farmed, ran a hardware store and farm implement company in Fairfield, WA., helped build a paper mill in Missoula, MT, where he learned that industry, then went on to set up paper mills in New Zealand, India, South Africa, and Algeria before settling down in Spokane to work at the Inland Empire Paper Co. for which he was employed for 24 years, eventually becoming the company's production manager before his retirement in 2000. An avid outdoorsman, Bob was a skilled hunter and fisherman. In addition, for the past six years he participated with other retired smokejumpers restoring historic buildings and maintaining trails in the forests of Idaho and Montana. He is survived by his wife, Bertie, her son and daughter Garth Jones and Jackie Hansen, his son Eric, his sisters Theodora Sallee, Patti Henderson and Cyndy Gray, and brothers Richard and Norman. He was preceded in death by his parents, Pearl and Noel Sallee, his former wife Alberta, and a son, Devin. Private interment will be at Mica Peak Cemetery on Saturday, May 31, followed by a Celebration of Bob's Life at 2:30 pm at the LDS Church, 21022 E. Wellesley Ave. Otis Orchards. Those in attendance are encouraged to bring photos and stories of Bob's life and adventures. Donations in Bob's memory may be sent to the
or the National Smokejumper Association, 10 Judy Lane, Chico, CA 95926. Those who wish to donate to the NSA should indicate on the check whether they wish the funds to be designated to the Good Samaritan Fund or for scholarships. The Good Sam Fund supports the general welfare of the organizations and jumpers in need or their families.
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Published in Spokesman-Review on May 30, 2014