Donald Joe Spalding, 81, passed away peacefully at his Bozeman, Montana residence on Wednesday August 26, 2020, with his wife and children at his side after fighting a battle against cancer as hard as anyone could.
Don was born on September 12, 1938, at home on the Northside of Bonners Ferry to Henry Raymond and Anna Elizabeth (Lipp) Spalding, who raised nine children; two girls and seven boys.
Don was baptized and confirmed in the Trinity Lutheran Church, attended grade school in Bonners Ferry and graduated from Bonners Ferry High School in 1957. Don was in the Idaho Army National Guard from 1956 to 1966 and was honorably discharged as a Master Sergeant. Don was in the Alaska Army National Reserves in Anchorage from 1961-62.
Don and Audrey were high school sweethearts and were married December 27, 1959. They were blessed with three children, Valerie, Vance and Kirk.
Don was a role model through example to his children and those around him. Don’s independence, hard work ethic, problem solving abilities, unconditional love of others, commitment to his family and close friends, honesty and hard-as-stone integrity were some of his key virtues.
Don’s passion for music was a key attribute that he was known for. Quiet, yet fiercely competitive, Don competed in local, state, regional and national fiddle contests, with his wife Audrey accompanying him on piano. He won or placed highly in many contests from middle-age through the golden years, and is in the Idaho State Hall of Fame in Weiser.
He passed on to his children and grandchildren his love of music, many playing the fiddle, guitar, drums and other instruments to this day.
Other than music, Don loved his life-long career of logging and farming. Don officially retired from logging at 80 years old!
His passion for select cut harvest and nurturing and maintaining the health of the forest, particularly on his properties around Boundary County, was a trademark of his. Don enjoyed everything outdoors, rain or shine; he enjoyed fishing, hiking, huckleberry-picking, a stroll through the woods, playing cards with family and friends, and taking drives in-and-around northern Idaho and Montana, to Alaska and across country.
Don spent most of his life in Bonners Ferry and on the family ranch in Naples where he enjoyed raising cows and woodworking. He and his family built a cabin in 1982, fondly referred to as the “hobbit-house” by taller visitors due to its quaint nature.
Don built and furnished several more cabins over the years. In recent years, he and his wife of 60 years, Audrey, resided in Bozeman, where they had many close friendships and could follow their passion of music. Don was a member of Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Livingston, Montana.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Anna Spalding, and brothers Virgil, Jim, Frank and Ray Spalding.
He is survived by his wife Audrey (Cossairt) of Bozeman, daughter Valerie, Naples, sons Vance, Spring Creek, Nevada, and Kirk, Bozeman, brothers Robert “Bob” and William “Bill,” sisters Beth Wright and Eunice Brinkerhoff, grandchildren Casie (Figgins) Schneider, Justin Figgins, Erik Spalding, Emily Spalding, Lauren Spalding and Aspen Spalding, step-grandchildren Maria, Jacob, Megan and Raymond Michelotti and great grandchildren Emmett, Birch and Annabel Figgins, and Atigan, Ackley and Arlee Schneider.
Memorial donations may be made to MT fiddle camp or Compassus Hospice, 301 Edelweiss, Bozeman, MT 59718.
Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory has been entrusted with arrangements.