Elmer Stecklein, 88, a lifelong resident and an icon in the Bingham community, farmer, trucker, and business owner, died Monday, March 30, 2015 at his home. Elmer was born in Hyacinth (Hays) Ellis, KS, to Theodore and Philomena Dechant Stecklein on May 3, 1926.
Elmer came to Blackfoot with his parents and his younger sister, Alice, when he was a little shaver. They lived out on the reservation across from the radio station. His brother, LaVerelle, completed the family. When he was around 10 years old Elmer drove the tractor and scraper. He was too small to pull the ropes on the scraper so his father welded an old rake seat on the fender of the tractor so his mom could sit and pull the ropes while Elmer drove the tractor. Elmer graduated from St. Margarets and attended Blackfoot High School. In 1944 he was drafted into the Army during World War II and entered Basic Training at Camp Roberts, CA. He was discharged in November, 1946.
He married Lucile McDaniel on July 10, 1947 in Blackfoot, ID, and their marriage was later solemnized in the Logan LDS Temple in Logan, UT.
Elmer was a convert to the LDS Church. He served in various positions in wards around the Blackfoot area. He and Lucile were Dance Directors in several wards, he was a Sunday School Superintendent, supervised the booth at the Eastern Idaho State Fair for the Lakeview Ward, was a dedicated home teacher, served on the fundraising committee for the renovation of the Pingree Ward Chapel, a Sunday School teacher and was the Second Counselor in the Bishopric of the Pingree Ward.
Elmer was very involved with his community. He served as a board member for Bingham Co-op, President of the Pingree Local Farm Bureau, and PTA President for Springfield Elementary and while President of the PTA he was in charge of the hot lunch program. He said if the cook was sick, Lucile would be the perfect fill-in. There were 100+ students at the school.
A few of his hobbies included working, working and more working, dancing until dawn, singing, fishing with his father-in-law, and enjoyed large family gatherings. One of the highlights of his life was visiting Europe and his daughter and her family. He and Lucile visited Holland, Denmark, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. He engineered a float for the Lakeview Ward Primary which included a world that revolved and the float won first place as well as the grand prize in 1966.
Elmer and Lucile worked side by side in all their business adventures. When they were first married Elmer worked for his parents on the family farm, then worked for the Union Pacific Railroad in Pocatello, they operated the Burns Triangle grocery and gas store in south Blackfoot, Blackburn Merc in Springfield, worked with his father-in-law on a sheep ranch in Ellis while Lucile helped her mother at the Challis Hospital, moved back to Blackfoot and worked with his father on the family farm in Riverton, purchased and operated a 360 acre farm near Springfield-Pingree area, acquired more property in the Pingree area, during the winter drove a semi-truck and trailer hauling loads in the western states, and opened Elmer’s Imports in 1986. Elmer ran the farm as well as the store in Blacfoot, eventually changing the name to just Elmer’s and worked at the store full-time up until June 2014. One of his special skills was computing all of the receipts and tickets in his head. He didn’t use a calculator.
He is survived by his wife, Lucile of Blackfoot; three daughters, Beverly (Shelton) Beach, Blackfoot; Mary Lou (Evan) Paulsen, Shelley, ID: and Patricia (Greg) Perry, Fort Collins, CO; sister, Alice Tauscher, and brother LaVerelle (Deanna) Stecklein, both of Blackfoot; 21 grandchildren, 43 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents Theodore and Philomena Dechant Stecklein, grandsons Michael Jay Fuhriman, and Jared Evan Paulsen and granddaughter Jackie M. Paulsen, In-laws John Milton and Leona Johnson McDaniel.
A viewing was held Friday, April 3, at Hawker Funeral Home, 132 S. Shilling Ave., Blackfoot, Idaho from 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral services were held Saturday, April 4, at 2 p.m. with a viewing from 1 to 1:45 p.m. at the Blackfoot LDS 10th Ward Stake Center building at 900 Riverton Road. Interment was in the Springfield Cemetery, Springfield, ID, with Military Honors.
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.hawkerfuneralhome.com.
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