Fred Herman Guenther
Lifelong St. Maries resident Fred H. Guenther, age 86, passed away on October 12, 2021 from complications of Covid/pneumonia. He was born August 8, 1935 to Carl and Elsie (Vetter) Guenther in St. Maries.
Fred got an early start in the woods helping his dad make firewood when he was five years old. At eleven years old he was skidding logs with a team of horses on Thorn Creek on the weekends. He attended school in St. Maries and enlisted in the Army in 1954. He was honorably discharged on November 12, 1956.
In 1958 he married Martha Mueller and they had one daughter, Judy. Fred drove truck for Robinson Brothers and in 1959 bought his first logging truck. Soon that one truck grew into an entire logging operation known as Guenther Logging Inc.
He logged in the St. Maries area and in 1969 moved to Pierce, ID to log for Clearwater Lumber Company for three years. In 1972 he sold his complete logging operation and moved the family back to St. Maries where he retired and bought his first helicopter. He learned to fly it and got his commercial pilots license and formed Two Rivers Helicopter Service. He loved flying into remote lakes to fish and count elk. Many times he flew Santa Claus to town, gave rides at Paul Bunyan Days and did powerline surveys.
After getting bored with Heli fishing he started Guenther Cedar Produces where cedar shakes were manufactured and sold. After three years he retired again. Being a “workaholic” and not one to sit around, Two Rivers Logging Inc. was formed. That business included demolition of old buildings including the former St. Maries High School, the Frandon Hotel, the Kootenai Inn and the Spokane Library. In 1988, Two Rivers demolished the Rutledge Saw Mill in Coeur d’Alene to make way for The Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course.
He continued to work with his cranes and dozers right up to one month ago. He especially enjoyed developing his property west of town known to family as “Tonka Town.” He built roads, made home sites and created a beautiful area on the river for family and friends to enjoy. Fred loved Country & Western music and was a very good dancer. He was also a big John Wayne fan and had most of Wayne’s movies which he watched endlessly.
Fred was a member of the Associated Logging Contractors since its inception. He also served on the Benewah County Planning & Zoning Board for a couple of years.
Fred is survived by his wife Martha at the family home, his daughter Judy (Paul) Barden, a sister Bonnie (Ed) Haskins, granddaughters, Marlana (Bryan) Martin, Courtney (Kyle) Joiner, three great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. He is also survived by Jody (Cara) Hendrickx, whom he mentored and loved like a son. Also surviving are Linda Mueller, Ken (Connie) Mueller, Don (Rita) Mueller and Barbara Balsiger. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Don, and sisters Betty Kingsley and Arlene Pentland, and his brother in law Keith Mueller.
Memorial services will be held on Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 11 a.m. at the St. Maries Nazarene Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the St. Maries Cross Light Fund, c/o Ginny Oakes, 1117 Main Ave., St. Maries, ID or the Benewah Humane Society, PO Box 642, St. Maries, ID 83861
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