William “Bill” Marr died on October 19th, 2022 on what would have been his wife’s 91th birthday.
Bill was born December 30th, 1930 in Montpelier Vermont to Irene and Robert Marr, however his father died less than 2 years later. Irene later married WWI veteran Harold Hewitt, who helped raise Bill and his older brother in the height of the Great Depression and WW2 years.Bill graduated from Montpelier H.S. in 1948 and began studies in Forestry at the University of Vermont later that year. Already an avid skier, Bill came west for the legendary snow quality and to continue his Forestry Degree at the University of Idaho. His native Vermont was always in his heart, he produced a small batch of Maple Syrup each year after moving to Potlatch in 1980 by tapping the trees on nob-hill.Lettering as a Nordic ski-jumper on the U of I ski-team, Bill met his future wife “Maggie” on a practice outing to the WSC (Pre WSU) owned ski-area “North-South” near Emida. They married Feb 5th, 1955 and in 56 years they were only separated by Bill’s active deployments in the Navy, and the occasional forest fire until Margaret’s death in 2011. Bill continued to downhill ski well into his 80’s and enjoyed hitting the slopes with his grandsons. After graduating from the U of I with his degree in Forestry, he attended Navy Officer Candidate School and flight school to become a pilot. He selected the anti-submarine warfare Lockheed Neptune P2-V, always joking that its best feature was that it did NOT have a tail-hook (Land-based only). After active duty, he transferred to reserve status where he served for over 23 years. He was a founding “Plank-Owner” member of VP-69, Whidbey Island NAS and saw the transition from radial piston engines to turboprops, to the P3 “Orion”, and recently to the Poseidon. While under Bill’s command, the reserve squadron achieved 100% combat readiness, a first for a reserve squadron. The squadron was very much like a family, especially his 13-man aircrew. Scattered all over the Northwest, visits and camping-trips were common along with hunting, fishing and travel together, which only increased in retirement. Bill retired as a Navy Captain in 1977. If you slept well during the cold war, it was partly because Captain Marr and others were flying WW2 designed aircraft, 50 feet off the water, day and night, in all weather. The Russian “fishing” (Spy), and submarine fleets hated these guys.
When not flying for the Navy, Bill was hired by Potlatch Forests Inc. as a Forester, working out of Headquarters, Lewiston, and as one of the last employees to leave the Potlatch office before it was moved to Bovill. In the later 1960’s he was heavily involved in the preparation of the North-Fork of the Clearwater River for the building of Dworshack Dam. He witnessed the last few white-water log drives, and saw the end of the company logging camps. Occasionally filling in for fire-patrol pilots, Bill also flew a Disney film crew for the opening scenes of the 1967 film “Charlie the Lonesome Cougar”. He flew the Potlatch Lear-Jet for a couple service runs to Reno. Bill was a member of the Elks, Masons, the Society of American Foresters, and was active in the Boy Scouts as a youth in the Green Mountain Council (Vermont) and as an adult in the Lewis and Clark Council for over 20 years until the councils merged with Spokane. He was particularly fond of Camp Grizzly, and organized tree-plantings, helped clear hazards, and formalized the land use agreement between Potlatch Corp and the BSA.
Bill is survived by his Brother Clifton Marr of Columbus, OH. Two sons, Robert Marr of Potlatch and James “Cliff” Marr of Moscow, ID; his grandsons, Michael of Pulman,WA and Geoffrey of Mt. Vernon, WA. He also leaves nieces and nephews: Tom Marr, Lynda Puvogel, and Steve Marr and their families. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, and his wife.
There will be a remembrance service at the Potlatch Grace Community Church at 10:00 am on Saturday October 29th. Our former Pastor and friend Larry Veith will be Officiating at the family’s request.
The family asks for stories to share, and requests that in lieu of flowers, consider donations to: The Brunswick, ME Naval Aviation Museum, The BSA Green Mountain Council (VT.) camp improvement endowment, or the Potlatch, ID Ambulance company. The family also wishes to express their gratitude for the entire staff at Aspen Park nursing home for the dedicated care our dad received there.
Small in stature, he was a mighty large presence. His take-offs now equal his landings. Fair skies Dad.
Bill will be inurned with his wife Margaret and other family in the Berlin Corner Cemetery, Berlin, Vermont, in the Spring of 2023.