Earle Leeper, Born November 5, 1941 at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, WA, passed away on May 9, 2020 in Priest River, ID. Earle attended Newport, Spokane, and Cusick schools. Following school, he entered the army on December 3, 1958. While serving as a Specialist 5th class sergeant he was a cook in a tank battalion stationed in Germany for two and a half years. He was discharged on February 21, 1962.
Earle started working for PUD at Box Canyon Dam on March 5, 1962. During his time with PUD he was a journeyman operator and later became a relief operator. As relief operator Earle’s main job was to work relief shifts that were scheduled to cover sick leave and vacation leave when the regular operators would take them. In addition to this, he was the waterman’s helper when a job required two people. He would also take over the waterman’s duties when he took vacation and sick leave. This job included the regulation of the Calispel River and the Calispel pumps at Cusick and the maintaining of twelve water systems for quality water. The jobs are not done yet. Earle would also be available to help the maintenance crew and mow the lawn at the Box Canyon when needed. PUD has a powerhouse south of Calispel Lake fed by Power Lake. The power house will alarm when something goes wrong and Earle would go fix the problem and get the power plant back online. PUD is also responsible for Sullivan Lake and the dam at the North end. It was Earle’s job to maintain the level in the summer and to drain to winter level in the fall, then refill in the spring. Earl would also keep a record of the water table at the North end of the lake to see if the lake is leaking more than normal. Earle would also take water quality readings at Sullivan Lake, Pend Oreille River, Box Canyon Dam, and at the Ione Park. Earle was also responsible for the inspection of the switchyards in Newport, Diamond Lake, Cusick, Lehigh Cement Plant, and Box Canyon Dam.
While not on day shift at Box Canyon Dam, Earle worked part time for the city of Ione as town Marshall, for the fire department, and part time for Pend Oreille Mines to buy a shot gun to trap shoot in the late 60’s and 70’s. Earle was a member of the Metaline Falls rod and gun club for 25 years. As town Marshall, Earle took care of the water department, sewer, and plowed snow for the city. Earle retired from PUD in May of 1989 with 30 years in the Washington state retirement system. Bored with retirement Earle planted trees for the Forest Service and worked for the U.S. Census Bureau part time. He then moved to Priest River and worked for Mark Reynolds hauling gravel for logging trucks.
Earle was married in 1963 and had two daughters (Linda and Susan) son (Scott) and a step-daughter, Ann whom preceded him in death. He was divorced in 1975. Earle married Betty Bossio (Adams) on February 5, 1976 and made their home in Ione with Betty’s two daughters (Tammy and Tracy).
Earle started working for Albeni Falls Dam in April of 1991 as an operator in the Power House. He retired for a second time on November 25th, 2003 finally deciding to enjoy retirement playing on a pool league for four years and playing Texas Holdem’ three nights a week and at tournaments. He did a lot of RV traveling in the summer months and wintered in Yuma, Arizona. A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, May 15th at 11 a.m. for family and will be broadcast as a Facebook Live event on Sherman-Campbell Funeral & Cremation Services Facebook Page.
Sherman-Campbell Funeral and Cremation Services is in charge of arrangements. Family and friends are invited to sign the online guest book at shermancampbell.com
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