Thomas Duane Emond
Thomas Duane Emond passed away on Aug. 30, 2019 at his home in Naples, Idaho.
This bold declaration launched a life of amazing adventure for a group of friends that became family. It was in the fall of 1967, the first day of school on the playground of Mt. Hall School north of Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The unfolding of a life lived large was underway.
Tom was adopted in 1960 by Duane and Jackie Emond in Los Angeles, Calif., and as his first years went by, both parents decided a move away from the big city was the best choice. They built a new home and life together with young Thomas, west of Three Mile on Moon Shadow Road. Tom was now a country kid ready to fill his world with adventure, fun, and his uniquely powerful sense of humor.
As life went on, Tom and friends spoke often of good times, many of which fall into three main areas.
Mt. Hall Days:
Tom greatly enjoyed attending what he called “The best school in the world,” learning from great experiences such as the musical Mrs. Lavon Linnemeyer’s Trade Day, Mrs. Metz’ inspirational writing instruction, and Mr. Ray Chaffee’s philosophy of rocketry (and Life). Along the way, Tom created life-long friendships with David Frans, Craig Anderson, Terry Gatherer, Scot Anderson, Stan Grove, Tim Saunders, and Joel Wanner to name a few. Tom’s school days were filled with antics, learning, and basketball (Tom consistently shot three-pointers long before the three-point stripe had ever been painted.) To Tom and friends, Mt Hall was much more than a school; it was a family.
World of Work:
To many, work is synonymous with drudgery. Not so with Tom, whose always active imagination kept every day fresh with new ideas, new conflicts, and new ways to add spice to Life. After leaving Bonners Ferry High School in his sophomore year to become a Mountain Man, Tom worked in a cedar mill until a near-fatal work accident left him with a badly damaged left arm. Finishing his high school education through correspondence, Tom enrolled at North Idaho College where his writing ability quickly garnered him accolades and derision as his powerful sports stories, masterful photographs, and incisive exposés made continual waves on the NIC scene.
After completing his education at NIC, Tom made another splash writing for the Bonners Ferry Herald, after which he moved to Libby, Mont., to be chief editor of the Kootenai Valley Eagle, whose circulation took a sharp increase as readers picked up the paper wondering what Tom would write next.
Always in flux, Tom eventually became a long-haul trucker driving his flatbed down highways filled with rogue motorcyclists, concrete outhouses, steel archways for a hollowed-out mountain, a military submarine, and many more adventures beyond telling. And to every load, there was a story of weather, music for the miles, and interesting folks along the way. Tom drank it all in and told it all out with a humorous gusto all his own.
The mountains called to Tom. Able to quote every line of the movie “Jeremiah Johnson” by chapter and verse, Tom took to the dream like a Labrador loves water. Riding horseback with his dad on the farm, Tom soon rode the mountains with his cousins the Wallaces and MacDonalds in the Selkirk Saddle Club.
Exploration of the Selkirks with friends, coupled with Duane’s interest in the Salmon River country, led Tom and his dad to move to the South Fork for at least a year, where they worked a mining claim. Hunting, fishing, trapping and living off the land filled Tom and Duane’s souls. Looking back, Tom liked to tell the story of tracking a cougar who was, in turn, actually tracking Tom.
To Tom, his vision of Heaven was riding horseback up the Salmon Wilderness with his dad, packhorses in tow, heading up into the mountains, to the Great Beyond, heading home.
Tom Emond left us to head home on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2019. The debilitating diseases are no more, the pain is gone, and Tom is free.
Those close to Tom’s heart are: Luke Estabrook, Tim Saunders, Ray Chaffee, David Frans, Craig Anderson, Terry Gatherer, Scot and Sharlene Anderson, Stan Grove, JoAnn Price, Ray Harris, Gary Forrester, Stan Florea, Mike and Karen Spurgeon, Delton Amoth, and Joel Wanner to name a few.
He is survived by his cousins, the Wallace family and MacDonald family, his father’s sisters, and his friends that became his family.