CLEARWATER TRIBUNE HOME

FEBRUARY 18, 2010

Obituaries for February 18, 2010

Charles “Red” McCollister, 92, Lewiston

Red is wearing his ‘safety hat’ on the log drive.
He painted a number on his hat for every day with no lost-time accidents.

   Charles James McCollister, 92, known as Charlie “Red,” passed away Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010 in Lewiston at Royal Plaza Care Center.

   Red was born in Gooding on July 5, 1917 to Hiram Franklin McCollister and Martha Elizabeth Lincoln McCollister. The family soon moved to the Clearwater River area.

   After attending grade school in Lenore, Red graduated from Peck High School in 1936. From 1936 through 1941, Red worked for the U.S. Forest Service, did highway construction, grain elevator construction and some farming.

   In 1941, Red went to work in the woods for Potlatch. He began driving the dozers that were replacing horses to skid logs and then became a cross-cut sawyer. Red rose through the ranks to saw boss, skidding boss and camp foreman. He served as logging production superintendent at Headquarters at the time of his retirement in 1982.

   In 1943 Red met June Huffman from Cleveland, OH when she spent six weeks working as a flunky in the cookhouse at Camp 54. June and Red were married on May 10, 1944 in Lewiston and enjoyed 65 years of married life.

   From 1947 to 1950 Red took a break from the woods and he and June lived on their ranch on Canyon Creek Road, north of Orofino, farming and raising cattle. They had three children, a son, Jim, and daughters, Patty and Sandra.

   In 1950 Red returned to work for Potlatch. This was also Red’s first year on the Clearwater River log drive. He soon became the foreman of Camp T and the foreman of the log drive.

   The 90 mile log drive down the Clearwater from the river logging camps on the North Fork to the Lewiston Mill made news every spring. Red became the iconic lumberjack. In 1962, Red appeared as the foreman of the log drive on the television show “To Tell the Truth.” Red and other members of the log drive crew were featured in Walt Disney’s movie, “Charlie, the Lonesome Cougar” in 1967.

   Red also contributed to and appeared in “The Last of the Log Drives,” a documentary. Red had a knack for telling stories with humorous understatements, a reputation as a person who was good to work for and an appreciation of history in the making. His friends teasingly called him “The Legend.”

   During retirement, Red and June enjoyed traveling near and far. They often wintered in Yuma, AZ and were members of the Good Sam Club. Red and June also enjoyed trips to Mexico, Alaska, Canada, and China, always learning new things about the cultures and economies.

   Red was a wonderful family man. He is survived by his wife, June, at home in Lewiston; his son, Jim McCollister of Orofino; his daughter, Patty Pabst and son-in-law Rob of Camas, WA; and his daughter, Sandra Goffinet and son-in-law John of Orofino. Red’s grandchildren are Meridee Pabst and husband Dave Hajek of Washougal, WA, Alison Pabst of Seattle, WA, Matt Finlayson and wife Emika of Vancouver, WA, and Ross Finlayson of Bellevue, WA. Red’s three great-granddaughters are Lily and Jayla Finlayson and Lainey Hajek.

   Red is also survived by his sister, Bonnie Delaney of Spokane, WA, and several nieces and nephews.

   Red was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Mattie McCollister, and a sister, Elsie Onstott.

   Cremation has taken place, with a private memorial service planned for the future.

   The family appreciates all the old-timers who stopped by to visit Red and also the family, friends, neighbors, and caregivers who offered comfort and assistance.

David L. Tarola, 88, Lewiston

July 31, 1921 Feb. 14, 2010

   David passed away Sunday evening at the Royal Plaza Nursing Home. He was 88.

   In 1921, David's parents Julius E. Tarola, from Italy, and Nina Grace Wylie sold their home in Elk City to buy land six miles northeast of Orofino. Julius built a sawmill and the house where David was born. The doctor told David's older brother Gene that he had brought Gene a baby brother in his black bag. For years Gene believed that was where babies came from. Julius developed several sawmills that provided plenty of work for the two boys.

   David attended high school with Gene in Orofino, both playing in the band. During summers and after high school, David manned a lookout for the Forest Service, worked in a mill near Pierce, and played trumpet and trombone in Orofino's best dance band, known as "The Blake Brothers Band." David also developed into a fine vocalist.

   In his younger years, David was very athletic, playing football and engaging in competitive boxing. When World War II began, David left the University of Idaho to join the U.S. Navy. He attended boot camp at Camp Elliott near San Diego then was sent to Guam for the remainder of the war. His parents turned to defense work - Nina as an aircraft welder and Julius fueling new planes for test flights.

   After the Navy, David became an Idaho State Police officer, stationed in Moscow and later Orofino. But the country was suffering budget cuts. Jobless, David and Gene pooled their savings to buy the Richfield Service and Gas Station at 13th and Main streets in Lewiston.

   Both licensed pilots, they soon purchased a 1947 Taylorcraft BC 12-D airplane. They enjoyed watching their much younger brother Robert in school become a very good athlete, playing football, basketball and particularly baseball.

   The brothers sold the service station in 1950 and Dave became a Lewiston city police officer, and later a Nez Perce County deputy sheriff.

   On Sept. 14, 1952, David married Phyllis Sturman. They had sons Michael and Douglas - losing Douglas at age nine to brain cancer. Michael followed David's "hi-fi/stereo kit-electronics" and flying interests, becoming an electronics engineer and commercial pilot.

   David began his career work at the Lewiston Airport on March 16, 1954, as a station agent - meaning he did everything, from fueling and de-icing the DC-3s, selling tickets and smashing baggage, to radio-managing emergencies.

   Phyllis, a registered nurse, worked at St. Joseph Hospital and St. John's Clinic, retiring in 1970. David retired from Republic Airlines in 1981. David and Phyllis had been married 56 years at the time of her death in 2008.

   In the family's active years, David owned several power boats that kept the family amused while he pursued his primary interest - fishing. David and Michael often went on lengthy back-woods fly-fishing adventures, took fly-tying classes together, and shared the stick when flying loops in Michael's aircraft.

   David and Phyllis were professional musicians, enjoying occasional "jam sessions" with their friends. In David's later years he enjoyed recording and cataloging big band music, woodworking and fly-rod building/repairing. David was a great outdoors-man. He loved the woods and streams of Idaho and incidentally was a very accomplished swimmer.

   David was a life member of the Nez Perce Eagles Lodge No. 631, the Kelly Creek Fly Casters Club, The Elks Lodge BPOE 896, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

   David is survived by brothers Eugene and Robert, son Michael, and Michael's adopted daughter Mary.

   His funeral service will be conducted at 2 p.m. Friday at Vassar-Rawls Funeral Home in Lewiston, with burial at Lewis-Clark Memorial Gardens.

   Please join David's friends gathering to visit at Vassar-Rawls from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday.

   Grateful thanks to our many helpful friends, particularly to sister-in-law Claudine Weiss, a saint among us.

   In lieu of flowers the family suggests that donations be made to the Lewis-Clark Animal Shelter, 6 Shelter Road, Lewiston, ID 83501, (208) 746-1623; or to the Salvation Army, 1835 G St., Lewiston, ID 83501, (208) 746-9653.