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Buhl - Ervin Albert Pickrel, age 93, died Saturday, April 4, 2015 at St. Luke's Magic Valley Hospital in Twin Falls, Idaho following a brief illness.
Ervin was born on July 2, 1921 to William and Lillian (Elliott) Pickrel in Wolbach, Nebraska.
Ervin grew up on the farm along with two brothers, Earl and Ivan and two sisters, Lois and Myrtle. After graduating from Wolbach, Nebraska in 1939, he came to Idaho to farm with his parents near Lake Lowell, Nampa and then Parma. Around the beginning of World War II he traveled to Detroit, Michigan to work in the shipping department of a factory. He enlisted in the Army Air Corp in 1943 at Fort Custer, Michigan. Following training as a gunner and radio operator Ervin was sent overseas to serve aboard the B-17's in the European theater. On June 12th, 1944, Ervin's plane and crew were shot down over Northern France. Ervin was captured and interned at Stalag Luft IV for 8 months. Upon realizing that the war was drawing to a close, the POW's were evacuated and forced by the Nazi's to march across Europe for weeks in the dead of winter. During the Black March Ervin managed to escape with a fellow prisoner and were rescued by the American forces advancing upon the German military.
Upon returning to his home state of Nebraska, Ervin met the love of his life Velma Lorraine Madsen. After a courtship of three months, they were married and then moved to Idaho where they purchased a farm near Notus, (Caldwell), Idaho. Together they farmed 80+ acres for over 59 years, retiring in 1986. They remained on the farm and continued to be active with the daily operations until they moved to Buhl, Idaho in 2005.
Ervin's passion revolved around family and the soil. He was known for his home gardening and preservation of its bounty along with sharing these products with family, friends and neighbors. Ervin developed a love of woodworking in his later life and assisted his son Gary in restoring and refinishing pianos. Ervin served on the Notus school board for many years and was a member of the First Christian Church in Caldwell. Upon his move to Buhl, he continued to look after his neighbors by sharing homemade baked items. He enjoyed daily walks around the high school track and even snow-plowed a path during winter so others could have a path to traverse. He enjoyed the new friends who shared the track with him and his two dogs, Nicki and Scooter.
Family life revolved around hard work, the occasional trip to the Oregon coast or a camping trip to the mountains when the irrigating was caught up. His children Diane, Gary, and Gail learned many of life's lessons from their father and took inspiration from his honesty, patience, integrity and quiet demeanor. The joy of his later life came with the arrival of his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Many a happy day was spent on the farm riding tractors, the John Deere lawnmower (which in those days served as a four-wheeler), and playing in the yard or swinging from the sycamore tree in the homemade tire swing.
Ervin is survived by Velma, his wife of 68 years, three children Diane (Gene) Clemens, Gary (Lois) Pickrel, Gail Dion. Grandchildren include Kapla (Todd) West, Michelle (Erick) Rogers, Shawna Clemens, Kenneth Pickrel, Tammy (Nathan) Sargent, Derrick Dion. Great grandchildren include Max and William West and Kenyon and Aurora Sargent. He is survived by three nieces, Lila, Linda, Ronni, and one nephew Duane. He was preceded in death by his infant son Dennis, parents William and Lillian Pickrel, brothers Earl and Ivan Pickrel and sisters Lois and Myrtle, and one niece, Janis Weich.
Funeral service with military honors will be conducted on Wednesday, April 8th at 11:00 a.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church in Buhl, Idaho. There is no scheduled viewing and graveside services will be conducted at a later date.
Memorial donations may be made to a charity of your choice.
The Pickrel family wants to thank to all of those who have been a part of the 93 wonderful years of Ervin's life.
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