Wilburt “Bill” Robert Rathke of Halfway, OR and Hailey, ID passed away on Monday Aug. 22, 2021 at the Shoshone Care Center in Shoshone, ID. He was 98 years old.
Bill was born Sep. 27, 1922 in Hailey, Idaho to Charles and Hilda Rathke. He grew up in Hailey hunting, fishing, and skiing. In the winter you could find Bill on the ski slopes. He couldn’t afford a ski ticket so he and his friend Lonnie Linderman built a ski lift between Green Horn and Timber Gulch where they and many friends spent countless hours skiing. Bill won the downhill at the Harriman Cup Race in Sun Valley in 1947
Bill graduated from Hailey High School as valedictorian of his class. He was in the Engineering Program at the University of Idaho when he was drafted for WWII. He served 3 years in the 85th Mountain Infantry, 10th Mountain Division and was an expert infantryman. He was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, American Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and a European African Middle Eastern Service Medal.
After returning from the war, he married his high school sweetheart Louise Barr and continued the family business, Rathke Plumbing, in Hailey. He and Louise had 3 children together. After their divorce Bill married Faye Hurt and moved to Halfway, OR. He worked for Idaho Power as the pump foreman building Brownlee Reservoir, along with two other reservoirs in Hells Canyon. Bill loved working as the owner of Rathke Plumbing in Halfway, where he worked almost every day until he was 96 years old.
Bill was preceded in death by his wife Faye, his son Steven Rathke, two siblings George and Hilda, and his parents. He is survived by son, Bruce Rathke of Carey, ID, Daughter Susan (Don) McCoy of Weiser, ID, 4 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren.
A private celebration of life will take place at a later date.
Creamation arrangements are under the care and direction of Demaray Funeral Service - Shoshone Chapel.
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