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Felix Robert Vandewiele Jr.


1925 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Felix Robert Vandewiele Jr. Obituary
Felix Robert Vandewiele Jr., of Idaho Falls, Idaho, passed away quietly on December 16, 2017. He was 92 years old. Born November 21, 1925, in Durango, Colorado, Felix was the son of Felix and Annie Vandewiele. He attended elementary school in Durango, and graduated from Durango High School in 1943. He played the violin in junior high and high school orchestras. He joined the Army Air Force in 1944 and served in the China, Burma, India (CBI) and South Pacific theaters during World War II. He remained in the Reserves and served in the Korean conflict in 1950 and 1951. Felix attended the University of Denver (UD), Colorado School of Mines, and graduated in 1953 with a BS in Chemical Engineering. He married Betty Maurine Helco of Vernal, Utah, in 1947 at Heber, Utah. Their marriage was solemnized in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple in 1967; however, they divorced in 1976. He married Dauna Walker in 1977, and they divorced in 1978. Following graduation from UD, Felix and Betty moved to Borger, Texas, where he worked for Phillips Petroleum Company. In 1957, Felix transferred with Phillips to Idaho Falls, Idaho, and went to work at the Idaho National Reactor Testing Station, currently known as the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). He began as an engineer in Project Engineering at the Test Reactor Area and retired as a manager in 1991. He is survived by two sons, Felix (Rob) Vandewiele of Idaho Falls, ID, and Michael Vandewiele of Boring, OR; four daughters, Carol Murrin-Kennedy of Benton City, WA, Lynda (Mark) Nelson of Palisades, ID, Sherri (David) Jensen of Draper, UT, and Trish (Jerry) Cromer of Kaysville, UT; 22 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters, and five stepbrothers. Felix enjoyed traveling, snow and water skiing, hunting, fishing, hiking, and boating, especially boating with his family in northern Idaho where they spent 2 weeks almost every summer camping on Kalispell Island in Priest Lake, beginning in 1964. He was an avid skier and a lifetime member of the National Ski Patrol (NSP), which he served for 45 years. He formed the Taylor Mountain National Ski Patrol (Idaho Falls, ID) in 1963. When Taylor Mountain was sold in 1973, he transferred to Kelly Canyon (Ririe, ID). He served in many positions with the NSP: patrol director, section chief, regional director, first aid advisor and instructor, avalanche advisor, and NSP national avalanche instructor. He was awarded the NSP Green Merit Star for avalanche rescue at Skyline Ski Area (Pocatello, ID) in 1967, now known as Pebble Creek Ski Area. He was awarded national number 3377 in 1969 and was awarded the Taylor Mountain Outstanding Ski Patroller for the ski year 1971-1972. Felix received an Outstanding Service Award for 41 years of Exemplary Service to the NSP-2 years before he retired from the NSP. Felix was an active and avid ski patroller until the age of 82, when he finally hung up his skis due to advancing neuropathy in his legs. He served the Atomic Workers Credit Union (later renamed Westmark Credit Union) on the credit committee and on the Board of Directors as director, vice president, and president. He started with the credit union in the early days when the office was in the manager's basement and loan files were in a cardboard box under her bed. Felix was instrumental in the location of the first street branch. In his early years, he was active in Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts as well as the local Toastmasters Club. Following his retirement in 1991, he joined the INL Retired Employees Association and served as a member of the Board of Directors and in several other capacities, including vice president and president. He was raised as a member of the Catholic Church, but joined The in mid-life. He served in several positions in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and the Idaho Falls Stake Singles. He also served as a ward clerk for 12 years in his later life. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, December 20, 2017, at Wood Funeral Home East Side, 963 S. Ammon Road. The family will visit with friends from 10-10:45 a.m. prior to services. Some of his children and grandchildren will speak and perform music during the funeral. Burial will be in the Ammon Cemetery where Military rights will be performed by the Bonneville County Veterans Memorial Team and Idaho Honor Guard. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.woodfuneralhome.com.
Published in The Durango Herald on Dec. 18, 2017
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