Orrin Lee Kambitsch, 80, of Plummer, died May 20, 2019. Orrin was born on Nov. 5, 1938, in Moscow, to Frank “Hank” and Mary (Grieser) Kambitsch. Orrin was the youngest of three children, joining his sisters Maxine and LaVonne “Vonnie.”
Orrin attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Genesee High School and graduated from Colton High School in 1957. He was very active in sports, playing baseball, basketball, football and track.
Following graduation, he enlisted with the U.S. Marine Corps and served until 1959 at Twentynine Palms and Camp Pendleton, Calif. He served a deployment to Lebanon and worked on 8” howitzer guns. He later worked on the Titan Missile Program as an electrical and hydraulic technician at Vandenberg Air Force Base (Lompoc, Calif.) and Larson Air Force Base (Moses Lake, Wash.). He was active in football and boxing for the Marine Corps. He was a proud Marine, but he was thrilled that three of his grandchildren joined the Armed Forces. Semper Fidelis (“always faithful” or “always loyal”).
While at home on leave, he met the love of his life, Mary Cole, at the Asotin County Fair dance. They were married in Kennewick. in the fall. They initially made their home in Lewiston.
When Frank and Mary retired in 1963, Orrin and Mary took over farming the land. His great grandfather, Jacob Kambitsch, established their family farm near Genesee in 1872. They farmed until 1981, and his land is still owned by the family.
They owned and operated Eleanor’s Corner Bar in Uniontown from 1979 through 1985, followed by their 1986 purchase of the Silver Saddle Saloon in Potlatch. They later retired in 2000, when Kevin purchased it from them. As bar owners, they enjoyed sponsoring men’s and women’s summer softball teams and cherish the many friends they made.
Orrin was very sociable, rarely forgetting a name or a face and he kept a detailed calendar to call people on their birthdays. He easily met new people anywhere he went. He was soft-hearted and would help anyone. He collected and restored old cars and boats, and enjoyed trap shooting, boating, camping, four-wheeling, fishing, hunting, remodeling buildings, farming, dancing the jitterbug, telling stories of Big Red, treasure hunting, cooking, hosting parties, drinking cocktails for any occasion, M-80s, fireworks, Community Days and parades. Orrin had a love for speed. He raced snowmobiles with his family and he loved watching car and boat races. He loved doing fishtales in his Chris-Craft boat, and everyone knew to hold on tight when he put the throttle down.
Orrin and Mary enjoyed many summers at their float house on Lake Couer d’Alene with their family, and later enjoyed snowbirding in Quartzsite and Parker, Ariz., and Big River, Calif. He enjoyed their many trips to Mexico, often bringing shrimp and tequila home for his family. He also was a big Gonzaga fan.
He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Elks, Moose and Eagles.
He is survived by his soulmate and wife of nearly 60 years, Mary, at their home in Plummer. He is also survived by his three children, Kevin Kambitsch (Cassie Schraufnagel), of Onaway, Shannon (Dean) Ayers, of Deer Park, Wash., and Kandi Kambitsch (Larry Chambers), of Potlatch, along with six grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, brother-in-law Larry (Angela) Cole, and his sister Vonnie Richardson. He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Mary, sister Maxine Goedde, brothers-in-law Dick Goedde and Jerry Richardson and his grandson and fellow Marine Jerrod Campbell.
Services will be held Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 10 a.m. at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 138 Jackson St. in Genesee with Father Joe McDonald officiating and urn burial will follow at the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery with Potlatch Post No. 10300 VFW and the United States Marine Corps Honor Guard Participating.
A celebration of life will follow the burial at the University Inn Best Western Plus in Moscow. Memorial donations can be made to a charity of choice. Kramer Funeral Home of Palouse has been entrusted with funeral arrangements. Online condolences may be left at http://palouse.kramercares.com.