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Clayton Lee Unruh, 73

| January 20, 2022 1:00 AM

Clayton Lee Unruh was born to Orville and Mary Giesbrecht Unruh on May 23, 1948, in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, during the notorious 1948 flood.

God called him home during the night of Jan. 12, 2022, after a year-long battle with non-small cell lung cancer. He was 73 years old. Dad was always a strong support to us as his family, and it was difficult to watch him lose his strength.

Dad was a native to North Idaho with the exception of two years he spent in California as a child. His school years were spent in Boundary County. At an early age in his life, he had a desire to be a Christian and answered the Lord’s call and found forgiveness. He was baptized into The Church of God in Christ Mennonite on Jan. 8, 1962, by Min. Curtis Dirks.

He grew up with his brothers and sisters on a farm. Putting up hay in the summer with his grandpa, uncles and cousins were especially good times. Later, his Dad grew potatoes which resulted in endless hours spent in the potato shed. Don Howe employed his family thus experiencing valley farming with new John Deer equipment. Those were the golden years of the 1960s. During the Vietnam War, he was called to serve in lieu of military service in Reedley, Calif. He often reminisced about his service experiences and made lifelong friends of his service buddies.

On March 26, 1971, he married Dorothy Regehr in Linden, Alberta. Their life was blessed with 50 happy years. They suffered the loss of their first child, a son, Kenton, born prematurely. They rejoiced in each of their four daughter’s healthy births.

Clay enjoyed many avenues of work. Carpentry was his first love but he took over his Dad’s hay farming and drove a logging truck for 25 years before setting up his shop to build cabinets and furniture. This was truly his happy place.

The church was precious to him. He involved himself in any way he could whether it be song leading or building committee. Singing was a big part of his life. His cancer diagnosis was hard to accept but his resignation to God’s will was impressive. He often prayed for humility and to be held in the hollow of His hand.

Those left to cherish precious memories are his wife, Dot; daughters Danette and Ryan Unruh of Greensburg, Kan., Becki and John Minden of Bonners Ferry, Colleen and Chris Toews of Ringwood, Okla., and Willa Unruh of Bonners Ferry; nine granddaughters and one grandson; brothers Lyle and Rose Unruh of Bonners Ferry, Maynard and Daryla Unruh of Buhl, Idaho, John and Barb Unruh of Othello, Wash., Emery and Sara Unruh of McIntire, Iowa, and Verle and Denise Unruh of Fredonia, Kan.; sisters Kathy and August Peters of Murray, Ky., and Velda and Harlan Williams of Bonners Ferry; Dot’s family, her father, Walt Regehr of Ringwood; brother-in-law Rawlyn Thiessen of Chilliwack, B.C., Canada, Lyle and Karen Regehr of Pincher Creek, Alberta, Canada, Benita and Dean Reimer of Ringwood, Connie Regehr and Cordell Cull of Okotoks, Alberta, and Don and Katie Regehr of Linden, Alberta; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his infant son, mother-in-law and sister-in-law, and close family friend, Marj Day.

Funeral services were held Jan. 17, 2022, at Woodland Mennonite Church in Bonners Ferry. Ministers Roger Unruh, Frank Mastre, Shane Ensz and Glenn Ensz officiated. Burial was in the Woodland Cemetery.

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