Nicholas Keith Ogle was born in Gritman Hospital on November 3, 1950, to Ivan James Ogle and Ruth Evelyn Morton Ogle, fourth of their four children. He died in Gritman on August 21, 2022, his wife and children by his side, from metastatic prostate cancer, diagnosed in 2017, that eventually triggered a fatal bout of pneumonia. An organ-donor advocate, his corneas have already given sight to two people.
Nick grew up on the family farm in the Blaine Community, driving tractors and doing fieldwork from the age of 10. As an adult, he served as the unofficial mayor of Blaine, maintaining the one-room schoolhouse where his aunts, uncles, and neighbors attended school.
His mother’s sister, Alberta Morton Phillips, was the school organist and eventually became the top academic-achieving student (and only woman) accepted into the University of Idaho College of Law in 1938. Nick grew up in a farm kitchen with a wood cookstove and hand-crank wall phone that used telephone lines installed by his father and nearby neighbors, who also used horse-drawn equipment to plow and maintain the county roads surrounding the once-thriving community of Blaine.
In 4-H, Nick raised chickens and lambs and learned about electricity. As a teenager, he was active in FFA. A man of expansive interests, he was plowing through Janson’s voluminous History of Art book prior to his death. Known for being thrifty and making do and capable of repairing anything mechanical, his true love was digging in the dirt with heavy equipment. As a child, he and his sister spent hours on a dirt bank in their horse pasture, building roads and digging caves for their toy trucks and soldiers. As an adult, he used his tractor to accomplish the same things but on a much larger scale, building roads, digging ditches, plowing snow, and without hesitation, pulling out the cars of neighbors and strangers alike who got stuck in snowdrifts or ditches. Schooled in the era of the neighborly hand wave and handshake, his word was his bond.
Nick graduated from Moscow High School in 1969 and attended the University of Idaho for two years, where he met his first wife (now Susan Ryan Irvin of Moscow). After living in Boise, they moved back to Blaine to work on the family farm in 1974. Sons Samuel and Brian were born and raised there. After his divorce, he married MaryJane Butters. During their 30 years together, they created a diverse farm enterprise that includes a mail-order organic food business; an outdoor B&B; a small dairy; the Pay Dirt Farm School; a 115-acre native prairie and pollinator sanctuary; and MaryJanesFarm magazine, now in its 23rd year of publication. Employing their adult children and spouses, friends, and neighbors, their union and endeavors were immortalized in a 1995 National Geographic feature called “A Farming Revolution.”
Like his mother, who volunteered for many years at Gritman, Nick was active in his community, serving on the board of the Pea and Lentil Commission and the Moscow Food Co-op. Nick took on whatever responsibility life handed him, including being the primary caregiver for his parents in their final years. He met every challenge with composure; determination; and a steady, easy-going nature and is a hero and role model to his family and countless employees who have worked with him. To know Nick was to love Nick.
Nick is survived by his wife, MaryJane Butters; his children, stepchildren, and grandchildren, Samuel Blaine (Natsue) Ogle and son Ryo, Hachiochi City, Japan; Brian Grant (Ashley) Ogle, and daughters Adria and Alina, Moscow; Megan Butters (Lucas) Rae and children Stella, Mia, and Tristan Nicholas, Moscow; Emil (Kate) McCarthy and children Frank and Edith, Rathdrum, Idaho; and siblings Joan (William) Nelson, Layton, Utah; Richard (Carol) Ogle, Houston, Texas; Sandra (John) Cruise, Boise, Idaho; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews in the Moscow area and around the world.
A memorial service will be held at the Blaine schoolhouse at a date yet to be determined once Japan’s Covid restrictions are lifted, allowing son Sam’s reentry to Japan after traveling to the U.S.