Floyd K. Heimgartner
Floyd Kenneth Heimgartner broke through the dementia
cloud layer into glorious sunshine Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020,
five days short of his 96th birthday.
Born Jan. 19, 1924, on Potlatch Ridge near Juliaetta, to
Johann Albert Wilhelm Heimgartner and Mystie Belle
Hoisington Heimgartner, Floyd would remain in the area
for most of his life. In the early 1900s, Mystie and Albert
settled on the family farm to raise Floyd and his seven siblings.
The challenging Depression lifestyle grounded Floyd with a
strong work ethic, great loyalties to family, friends and causes,
and a very conservative financial outlook that would serve him
well the rest of his life.
Graduating from Juliaetta High School, Floyd attended the
University of Idaho before enrolling in the U.S. Navy during
World War II. His flight training began at Naval Air Station Livermore, Calif., then NAS Corpus Christie, Texas; NAS Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for torpedo bomber training; and lastly he became carrier qualified at NAS Glenview, Ill., on the USS Wolverine. As a lieutenant, junior grade, he was assigned to a fleet squadron at NAS Livermore. The war ended before deployment, and he was released from service in early 1946.
He married Elizabeth “Betty” Jane Burns on June 15, 1947, at the Baptist Church in Lewiston. Four children followed: Carol Heimgartner; Kenneth (Ida) Heimgartner, RADM (ret.); Mark Heimgartner; and Joyce (Michael) Godbolt. In the late ’50s, Floyd and Betty moved to an old farmstead on the Juliaetta outskirts. Floyd built a beautiful family home, where they raised their children and continued to reside for more than 50 years.
Floyd retired after 30 years as Juliaetta postmaster. Elizabeth then followed him as Juliaetta postmaster. He also served as Juliaetta City Council city clerk and on the Kendrick-Juliaetta school board (which his kids remember fondly and not-so-fondly). He also was what is now known as a first responder with the J-K ambulance service. Several years ago, Floyd and Betty were honored to serve as grand marshals of the Kendrick Locust Blossom Festival parade.
Floyd and Betty attended every event in which their kids were involved, including, but not limited to, year-round sports (football, baseball, basketball, track — girls and boys), cheerleading, music performances, 4-H, drama, etc. Then it was attending grandkid events. After the grandkids graduated, Floyd and Betty followed Kendrick High School athletic events. Finally house-bound, Floyd switched to TV sports and never, never missed a Mariners or Gonzaga game.
In the late ’90s, Floyd devoted hours to a rough baseball field across the street from his Juliaetta home. The first field washed away in a flood. With dikes in place, Floyd and others went to work grooming the second field, eventually including a fence, covered dugout and bleachers. Floyd and Betty’s 50th anniversary donation gifts went to buy 14 trees for a future park area next to the field — some of which survived and are now towering shade trees. That first small field, now named “Heimgartner Field,” developed into an amazing baseball complex supported by the efforts of two communities, more than compounding Floyd’s initial efforts.
Floyd and Betty’s 11 grandkids are Rachel Heimgartner (Keino Sasaki), Audrey Heimgartner (Jason Brown), Stacia Heimgartner, Jeremy Bartelson (Shadan Kapri), Alicia Heimgartner (Dane Hupp), Glenn Heimgartner (Michelle Morris), Marnia Bartelson, Erin Lefler (Franklin Hopkins IV), Andrew Heimgartner (Cassie Schaefer), Brian Heimgartner and Jenna Lefler.