Sunday, September 19, 2021

Ervin Elmer Madson, 84

| July 8, 2021 1:00 AM

Ervin Elmer Madson passed away on June 26, 2021, at his home near Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 10, 2021, at the Madson family barn, with burial to follow in the Grandview Cemetery in Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

Ervin was born Nov. 6, 1936, to Ilmer Madson and Zylpha (Geier) Madson at the Bonners Ferry Hospital. He was raised by his parents and five older sisters on the family farm in Paradise Valley that his parents had purchased in 1934.

From the age of 5, Ervin was helping his dad on the farm. By age 10 he insisted on buying a tractor because he disliked farming with horses. Also at age 10, while driving into town he ran into the back of a school bus. His teacher for the first six years at the Paradise Valley country school was his aunt, Doris Geier, and then the students were moved to Valley View School. 

As a teenager, Ervin would take a truck full of pulp wood to school in the morning, dump it, and load another in the afternoon. He understood the benefits of commerce early, building and selling slingshots and candy bars at school for extra money. He graduated from Bonners Ferry High School in 1955. After graduation he started a logging company with his dad.

On Feb. 28, 1959, after a courtship of four months, he married Carolee Schluter from Chewelah, Wash. They moved around to wherever he secured logging jobs, always returning to the family farm, which they had purchased from his parents in 1960.

In the spring of 1967, the same year as the Sundance Fire, Ervin bought Piper 180 airplane. He was flying solo within 6 hours of training. While working on the Sundance Fire, when a machine broke down, Ervin would fly to Spokane for parts and drop them out the airplane window to the crew waiting below — before landing at home on the landing strip. The neighbor man worried that Ervin would crash into his trees upon the landing approach, so he cut down the trees.

In 1970, Ervin and Carolee flew to the Lake Tahoe area to start logging. They traded their Piper 180 in on a twin-engine Aztec. They added land that was bordering their farm in 1961 and in 1975, which increased the farm to over 500 acres. By 1970, his business grew to 100 employees in five western states. He built roads, raised cattle, did contract farming, and still found time to fish and hunt, all the while focused on the safety and security of his growing family.

In 1985, Ervin and Carolee, with son Eric and Jim Ansley, founded Selkirk Seed where he worked until he retired in 2010. Ervin continued working on the farm helping his son Eric, enjoying fishing in Alaska where he helped build a fishing boat, and traveled with his loving wife Carolee — making friends and enjoying fellowship everywhere they went.

Ervin enjoyed his daily 6:30 a.m. coffee group with his son Eric; his brother-in-law, Virgil Schluter; Bradd Smith, and various other friends. Their dogs Jenny, Buddy, Lonesome and Walker joined in for many treats.

He was known for daily, early morning phone calls with his beloved sister Marcella, and welcomed visits both in person and also over the phone from friends far and wide — as well as his children, grandchildren and his great-grandchildren.

Ervin chose to serve God at the age of 10 and said it was the best choice he would ever make. He spoke often of how glad he was that God had directed his life and that he had chosen to follow God’s leading. He never wavered from that choice and served the Lord with all his strength to his last breath.

He felt honored to host the annual church convention on the family farm which had first been held the year before he was born and will continue after the COVID pandemic. He cherished the privilege of one-on-one visits over a cup of coffee with God’s servants who gathered at the farm for fellowship formal over the United States and many parts of the world. 

While he had a hugely grateful heart and expressed his thankfulness daily for what God had given him, he was ready for his heavenly home.

Ervin is survived by Carolee, his wife of 62 years; his children, Monika (Jerry) Buell of Cody, Wyo., Norita (Dave) Dahlin of Walla Walla, Wash., Janis (Steve) Habner of Poulsbo, Wash., Eric (Eileen) Madson of Bonners Ferry, and Heidi (Brock) Williams of Tenino, Wash.; his grandchildren, Douglas Buell, Mindy (Buell) and Eddie Upham, Duane Buell, Letitia (Dahlin) and Lyle Webb, Lance Dahlin, Jake Dahlin, Sally Dahlin, Andrea (Habner) and Dan Ulshafer, Stephanie (Habner) and Isaac Hamilton, Amanda (Habner) and Brady Nelson, Jordan Habner, Caleb Madson, Damon Madson, Braxton Williams, Brynn Williams, and Dawson Williams; and great-grandchildren, Donovan Buell, Darien Buell, Mya Webb, Meri Webb, new baby Webb, and Emerson Ulshafer. Ervin has two surviving sisters, Eileen Kimber of Bonners Ferry, and Marcella Nelson of Sandpoint, in addition to many other cherished relatives and friends. Ervin was preceded in death by his parents; three sisters, Annabelle Buell, Doris Dutton, and Arvella Blackstone; and his beloved granddaughter, Janaleah Madson.