John W. Doble passed peacefully into eternity at his home in Eureka, November 30th, 2021. He was 82 years old, a loving father, devoted husband, grandfather, and great grandfather. A private family service was held on December 4th, at the Schnackenberg Funeral Home in Eureka. An internment at Tobacco Valley Cemetery will be held in June 2022 as well as a Celebration of Life Potluck for friends and family on the West Kootenai. Details will be published at a later date.
The youngest of three boys, John was born to John H. Doble and Helen (Butts) Doble, May 19th, 1939. The Doble family were among the earliest pioneers of the West Kootenai—their homestead bordering the ranch of John’s mother’s family, with both families embarking upon the booming years of the logging and cattle industries that would see them through four generations. Apart from ranching and logging, John also worked as a road building contractor who built roads for nearly everyone in the area at one time or another. It was well known that John was a conservationist at heart, and an inexhaustible resource in the knowledge of forest management and environmental cleanup. He recognized that thinning out dead timber and cleaning up the forest floor was vital not only to make room for new growth but for damage control during fire seasons. It was a logical and practical person’s version of applied theory he proved out many times in his life during numerous stints in firefighting, including excavator piling and fire lining for the Forest Service.
John spent most of his years working side by side with his sons, Jay, Mark, and Kirk in diverse and numerous roles within the timber industry. Doble & Sons—which evolved much later into Doble Enterprises—also owned and operated a Family Christmas Tree business and tree yard in which everyone worked together to export trees to companies nationwide, and beyond.
In 1973, the Doble cattle ranch was sold to the Amish, many families of whom still occupy the properties of the original Doble ranch as well as other ranches and land owned by the first occupants of the West Kootenai.
Together with the late Joyce (Schermerhorn) Doble, John raised five children, two girls and three boys. He was an accomplished pianist and a collector of history in the form of antique bottles, coin and paper currency, among others. He was also a flintknapper, a passion he derived from his love of history and the Native American culture. His intricately hewn arrowheads, chipped from blocks of raw obsidian, agate, and flint, were sold to collectors globally. It was through this portal of creative passion paired with his knowledge of Montana history—which he enriched by researching the origins of his collectibles—and his interest in both American and European cultures and peoples, that he attracted lifelong friends nationally and internationally.
With his eye for art and love of history, some of his favorite collectible pieces were his oldest daughter, Debi’s, oil paintings; his favorites were her Native American portraits on canvas, among many others. He was deeply proud and never refrained from sharing her latest work with friends. He appreciated his children’s diverse strengths and interests, loved reading and sharing the news about Suzie’s state and regional (running) race wins; enjoyed, encouraged and always humorously fed into Jay’s and Mark’s detailed, and straight up colorful, storytelling; He loved stopping by Kirk’s and grandson, Brad’s, latest house constructing project, to which he and wife, Pat, always brought lunch and no doubt some added dad-wisdom and a few choice words about the current price of lumber. He was a dad who simply loved hanging out with his kids, and especially if they brought along his grandchildren and great grandchildren, and yes, great great grandchildren.
John was also active in his community, serving on the local school board, as well as volunteering his musical prowess, playing piano, for local functions, both on the West Kootenai and in Eureka where he re-located in 1983. As son Jon (Leonard) noted beautifully, “[Papa] was a man of immense faith, deep love of family, a work ethic that cannot be matched…a deep connection to our Amish community and conservative values with the deepest respect for civil liberties.”
John married Pat (Leonard) Doble and continued ranching, or working the land, in the form of gardening. He and Pat shared a love of planting, growing flowers and vegetables, working on their property in town as well as maintaining property on the West Kootenai where they spent many hours together fishing and camping on Young Creek. For the past twenty years, the Young Creek property has staged many picnics, sparked lively storytelling and rich conversation which stalls in this world we live in now, in the false narratives and embellished exploits of social media platforms.
The mark of an authentic leader is that he makes himself an example--even a servant—sacrificing his own comfort for the benefit of others. This was always dad’s goal, and platform. There were no facsimiles of our dad (Papa) as a person, nor in his varying range of often surprising and seemingly impossible experiences—both good and bad. In all of it, he proved that a life well lived is hard won. In his face we recognized our own history.
John was preceded in death by his parents, John Sr. and Helen Doble; brothers, Keith and Dwayne; oldest son, Jay (2016); and grandson, Bryon Logue (2015).
John is survived by his children: Debi (Eric) Parrish; Suzie (Danny) Kaluza; Mark (Sandra) Doble; Kirk (Trudy) Doble; Jon (Karen) Leonard; Daughter-in-law, Karen (VanHoy) Doble.
His grandchildren, Rochelle (Travis) Sanders, Renee (Mike) Sage, John Paul (Sasha) Parrish; Charissa (Tom) Bisch, Rory Kaluza, Megan Kaluza; John Lyle (Angela) Doble, Jess (Jeff) Mueller; Alyssa Doble Shadduck, Sara (Jeremiah) Helgert, Mark Doble, Dwain Doble; Brad (Jessica) Doble, Brenden Doble, Alysha (Gerald) Lopez; Michelle Leonard, Austin Leonard; and numerous great grandchildren, two great, great granddaughters, and counting.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s name to The Tobacco Valley Animal Shelter. Among his myriad of interests, animal rescue and care were a priority.
Condolences may be shared at www.schnackenbergfh.com.
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