Obit Laurence Burrell Oldham

Lawrence Oldham

Laurence Burrell “Skip” Oldham died June 24, 2020 in Boise, age 88.

He was firstborn of Volney Lee and Elda Mary Burrell Oldham, in Rexburg, Idaho on Nov. 18, 1931. His sister, Mary Lee Oldham followed. 

Owing to his abundant energy, his father began calling him “Skippy” very early and the sobriquet stuck. Nobody ever knew him by anything but Skip.

His chronically ill mother’s health forced a family relocation to Hollister, California, where Skip made pharmacy bicycle deliveries and played baseball.

With Elda’s subsequent passing, young widower Volney moved Skip and Mary Lee back home to Rexburg.

Volney soon married prominent Rexburg attorney, Mary Smith, who raised the two. Volney and Mary added two more blessings to their family, sisters Francie and Nancy.

Skip graduated from Madison High School in 1950, where he excelled as a pitcher on Madison’s baseball team.

He served in the US Navy, then as a USMC Corpsman during the Korean Conflict. He was stationed at Naval Training Center, San Diego, California, Yokosuka and Iwo Jima, Japan where his unit trained for an amphibious assault on Korea until 1953.

In 1952, he married a lovely blonde, Joan Sutherland and together they had four beautiful daughters: Susie, Barbara, Donna, and Diane.

They resided in Rexburg, where Skip built, co-owned, and managed the Rexburg Bowling Alley, where the Rexburg Senior Center stands today.

Skip was a very accomplished bowler and rolled a 700 Series on a few occasions. He attended Ricks College, fished at Henry’s Lake and Island Park Reservoir, played Pinochle at the Rexburg Boat Club, coached a championship little league team and zealously hunted Jefferson County rabbits. Skip and Joan divorced in 1969 and Skip moved to Whitehall, Montana.

He married Arlyce Kunz Holley in Anaconda, Montana in 1970. Skip took her son, Steve Holley and daughter, Linda Holley and raised them as his own. Their daughter, Gena Lynn, was born in Sheridan, Montana.

Skip began a career in road construction, eventually becoming a summertime heavy equipment operator and wintertime fur trapper. The construction family stayed at long-term, austere, summer campsites. This included places like Hoback, WY, Quake Lake, Wise River, and Lolo, Montana.

Skip and Arlyce moved the three children to Peck, Idaho in 1975 where he was employed by Nez Perce County. Skip launched a 20-year career with the U.S. Forest Service working in the Clearwater National Forest.

They moved with Gena to Orofino, Idaho in 1984, until their retirement in 1998.

They moved to Meridian, Idaho following children, but they left their hearts in Orofino. He frequently stated that he had the perfect job because he was paid to camp in the most beautiful forest in the world.

His hobbies included woodworking, fishing, bowling, baking (especially bread), and model airplanes and ships.

Skip was the consummate devoted caregiver to his wife, Arlyce, until she passed in 2009. He recently moved to an assisted living facility.

Skip was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Arlyce, and daughter, Diane Perkins (Brent).

Skip is survived by: Sisters: Mary Lee Sellars (Dee) of Rexburg, ID; Nancy Atwood (Roger) of Rexburg, ID; and Francis Murphy (Steve) of Surprise, Arizona. Daughters: Susie Brittell (Rick) of Meridian, ID; Barbara Hirschi (Mike) of Rexburg, ID; Donna Nelson (Wendel) of Nampa, ID; Linda Holley of Meridian, ID; and Gena Case (Doug) of Boise, ID; Son: Steve K. Holley (Dawn) of Provo, UT; 17-Grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren.

The family extends profuse thanks to MorningStar Memory Care of Boise, ID for the outstanding care and compassionate love they provided Skip. 

A memorial is planned at his final resting place with Arlyce, at the Cedron Cemetery in Victor, ID in beautiful Teton County, Idaho, summer 2021.

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