Gordon L. Nine, 85, died at home April 18, 2023 from a stroke suffered earlier in Riggins. He was in St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise before getting his wish to come home to Mt. Idaho.
Gordon was born June 28, 1937, in Hood River, Oregon to Roy and Gladys Nine of Lakeview, Oregon. He was the third child but the first son. His mom went home to Hood River to have her babies near her mother. The family moved from Lakeview to Tamarack, Idaho, six miles south of New Meadows, when Gordon was nine years old. His father had purchased the sawmill there with Jerry McCatrin, who was in charge of logging. Gordon had small jobs to do about the mill from then on. There was no electricity to the company houses and ice blocks were sawn from the log pond for the “ice boxes.” The neighborhood boys hauled the ice blocks home to their moms in their wagons. Perhaps this was Gordon’s first trucking job.
Gordon had mechanical instincts like his father the millwright, which lasted his whole life. He started learning to drive his dad’s pickup truck at nine years old and could drive the straddle bug for lumber very well at age 12. He drove his mother to Weiser to get her new appliances when the houses got electricity (his dad was too busy at the mill). At 14 years old Gordon helped his dad build a new house for the family in Old Meadows. He would later build his own family a home in southwest Boise (with his dad’s and father in-law’s help). He shot his first elk not far from home at 14 with his sister Pat tagging along.
Gordon graduated from New Meadows High School as Valedictorian in 1955 and worked at the sawmill loading boxcars. The harder the work the better. To please his parents, he finally enrolled at Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa, Idaho, but only stayed one and a half years. He wanted to work! At age 21, his dad cosigned for a loan so Gordon could buy his first logging truck, an old Mack, and he was “off and running” … actually driving!
On a rainy day in September 1959, the trucks were shut down due to mud and he saw a football game going on in town. He went and met his Fate; a curly headed brunette, Sharon Knight, who was cheerleading for Greenleaf Friends Academy. He knew her brother Alan a little and when he talked to her, she wasn’t too impressed, so he drove 120 miles to Greenleaf, Idaho, and knocked on her door later that evening. After serious thought (Sharon had just turned 16 and he was six years older), she went on a double date to a Boise State Football game the next day with him. The rest is history. He’s been driving her places ever since.
Gordon and Sharon were married June 16, 1961, two weeks after she graduated from high school. He had been in the Army for six months at Fort Lewis, Washington, because of the draft. He was assigned to transportation but had a chance to attend a clerk typist school and ended up serving his two-year commitment as aide to the General of Fort Lewis. Sharon got a clerk typist job in the same building, downstairs from Gordon. Because of his Mack truck sitting back home and the logging work was seasonal, he was granted an early out to go back to his chosen work.
Gordon and Sharon were blessed with four wonderful children along the way. Nicola Arlene was born in Afton, Wyoming. Jon Eric was born in Walla Walla, Washington. Angela and Camelia were born in Boise, Idaho at home in the 1970s. This was the only way Sharon could guarantee, “Daddy would not be out of town working when the babies came.”
Gordon owned 24 trucks in his career of 47 years. He changed from logging to highway trucking, and eventually started his own company, Nine Truck Line. He always drove a truck and had some wonderful drivers that drove for him. His company trucks were leased to Shoemaker Trucking for twenty years in Boise. He did much of his own maintenance and took pride in keeping his trucks clean and shiny. Gordon semi-retired at age 48 and the family moved to Grangeville in 1985 when the older children were in college and the Navy. He worked for many years for Stegner Grain (later Columbia Grain, hauling about eight months a year.
The event that stopped him from trucking was prostate cancer in 2003. The treatment was worse than the disease for him. He later celebrated his 75th birthday by hauling logs for one more summer in 2012. After that he continued to be Sharon’s maintenance man at the Riggins Manor Apartments in Riggins, Idaho (their family business purchased from Sharon’s father, John Knight). The past 38 years were very happy ones, back in North Idaho, which Gordon loved.
Gordon was a fine athlete in high school and always loved football and basketball. Add to that his hobbies of buying cars, riding motorcycles, boating, hunting, getting wood and hiking. Hiking was the last to go; it was a good life. God is good… all the time.
Gordon was preceded in death by his parents, his sisters Donna Jones of Riggins, Idaho, and Pat Whitmarsh of Reno, Nevada. He is survived by his wife, Sharon Knight Nine, of Grangeville, Idaho; his siblings, Richard Nine (Sue) of New Meadows, Idaho, Jerry Nine (Janie) of Canon City, Colorado, and Lanette LaVigne (Greg) of Arkdale, Wisconsin; his children Nicola Zielke (Steven), Albany, Oregon, Jon Nine (Paula), Clarkston, Washington, Angie Edwards (Robin), Grangeville, Idaho, and Camelia Rushing (David), Albuquerque, New Mexico; and his grandchildren David and Rachel Zielke, Breanna and Austin Nine and Emma Edwards.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, May 6, 2023 at 10:30 am at the Grangeville Christian Church. A luncheon will follow. Interment will be held at Riggins Cemetery following the meal. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home, Grangeville. Send condolences to the family at blackmerfuneralhome.com.
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