Cecil Ray Shurtleff
May 28, 1920 – June 20, 2019
As the spring blooms faded, Cecil Ray Shurtleff was born on May 28, 1920 on the family fruit ranch in Payette, Idaho to Raymond and Esther (Purcell) Shurtleff. His oldest sister, Alice, was two at the time. Four years later twin girls, Betty and Peggy were born completing the family. Cecil would be the third of four generations of Shurtleffs to live and work on the same ground growing apples, watermelons, cantaloupes, cherries, peaches, prunes, plums, pears and grapes over the years.
Cecil attended elementary school at the Ammon one-room schoolhouse north of Payette. He remembered coming home from school everyday to eat an entire jar of home canned peaches and a plate of fresh-baked sour cream cookies. Cecil and his younger sister Betty shared a similar sense of humor and had a special bond. Even in their later years they liked to pull a prank on one another and tell jokes until their laughter turned to tears. We can only imagine the hassle they caused their mother Esther when they were kids!
Known as “Cece” to his classmates, Cecil attended Payette High School where he was popular and enjoyed playing baseball. He reported that he played every position on the field, but he preferred to pitch. He was a good batter who could hit a home run. He graduated from P.H.S. in 1937 and headed off to The College of Idaho.
Cecil was in his first semester at C of I when he planned a grand romantic gesture. He decided to hitch-hike home to visit his sweetheart of four years, Cathleen Harland, whom he called Kay. But on the trip, his brand new shoes rubbed a blister on his foot which resulted in blood poisoning. Miraculously, in the days before antibiotics, he survived the infection. And, though he had missed too much time to return to college, he got the girl! The couple was married on June 16, 1940 at the Payette First Baptist Church where they both attended.
Cecil and Kay raised three children, Shawna, Cheryl and Ronald. They first lived in what’s known to the family as the “little house”. It was little, but it was filled with big love. The couple taught their children the value of hard work and play. Cecil was a dad that liked to make everyday activities fun and his kids remember going on picnics and playing homemade games when the work-day was done.
In the early fifties, with the help of his father, Cecil began building a new home for his family from plans he drew himself. Once completed, the house and it’s yard became the hub of the farm where fruit was sorted and loaded onto trucks headed for Henggeler Packing House. Their home was also the location of countless family dinners and holidays as well as a place to entertain their neighborhood friends such as the Cahills, Coxs, and Durhams, Again, work and play intersected.
Cecil and Kay loved to dance and listen to music. On Saturday nights they went to the Eagles Hall Dance in Weiser. Cecil bragged on Kay for being a wonderful dancer. Ron’s family remembers hearing the deep booming bass of a big band record coming from Cecil and Kay’s house on many evenings. Sometimes they stayed home to dance.
Cecil was a leader in the fruit growing industry serving on many boards and committees such as the Idaho Horticultural Society and Farm Bureau. He is especially known for his decades of leadership in managing Idaho’s water supply. In 1993 he was honored with placement in the Idaho Water Users Association Hall of Fame.
Later the Shurtleff’s welcomed four grandchildren. “Pop” (as the grandkids call him) was very proud of them and their individual talents. The grandkids loved being with him on the farm to go irrigating or to climb the hill. Pop taught them to drive tractor, play Mexicali Rose on the piano, and even how to carry birds eggs home in their pockets. Always the joker! Pop was a master popcorn popper and dished up the largest servings of ice cream you’ve ever seen!
Cecil lost his beloved Kay in 1985 when he was only 64. He has missed her dearly for these 35 years. In 2015 he experienced a new version of loneliness with the loss of his daughter, Cheryl.
Over the years since he’s kept busy farming and discussing water use issues with Ron. He was extremely proud when Ron became Watermaster of District 65. Cecil’s favorite pastimes included watching baseball and BSU Football, searching out the area’s best chicken-fried steaks with his nephew and friend, Dennis Weipert, listening to KBOI talk radio, going out for a Burger King Whopper, and enjoying Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights.
His children and their spouses deserve much thanks for the wonderful care they’ve given him in his later years, especially after he lost his vision due to macular degeneration and could no longer drive.
After 98 years on the ranch, and many years of living alone, it was time in 2018 for Cecil to move to The Cottages. The family would like to give heartfelt thanks to the staff at the Weiser and Payette locations. Cecil expressed high praise for their care and friendship in his last year. While he was reluctant to move from his home, his time there was good.
His was a long and fruitful life.
Cecil is survived by his daughter and son in law, Shawna and Gary Forsdick; son and daughter in law, Ron and Jo Shurtleff; Son in Law, Richard Young; grandchildren, Craig and Sheri Forsdick, Sheri and Bob Bamrick, Sidni and Gary Mordhorst, and Adrianne and Brant Meckel; great-grandchildren, Jake, Josh, Kyle, Samantha, Haiden, Jack and Claire; Nephews Dennis Weipert and Raymond Coates; and Nieces Johnna Jewell and Ginger Carlton.
Cecil was preceded in death by his wife Cathleen “Kay” Shurtleff, his daughter Cheryl Shurtleff-Young, his nephew Jerry Webb, his three sisters, and his parents.
Memorials may be sent to World Vision, PO Box 78481, Tacoma WA 98481-8481 or The Payette Cottages 1481 7th Ave N, Payette ID 83661.
- Cathleen "Kay" Marguarite (Harland) Shurtleff, Wife
- Raymond Harrison Shurtleff, Father
- Esther Pearl (Purcell) Shurtleff, Mother
- Shawna (Shurtleff) Forsdick, Daughter
- Gary Forsdick, Son in law
- Cheryl Shurtleff-Young, Daughter
- Richard Young, Son in law
- Ronald Shurtleff, Son
- Jo Ann (Grace) Shurtleff, Daughter in law
- Craig Forsdick, Grandson
- Sheri Forsdick, Granddaughter in law
- Sheri (Forsdick) Bamrick, Granddaughter
- Bob Bamrick, Grandson in law
- Sidni (Shurtleff) Mordhorst, Granddaughter
- Gary Mordhorst, Grandson in law
- Adrianne (Shurtleffe) Meckel, Granddaughter
- Brant Meckel, Grandson in law
- Jake Bamrick, Great Grandson
- Joshua Bamrick, Great Grandson
- Kyle Forsdick, Great Grandson
- Samantha Forsdick, Great Granddaughter
- Haiden Mordhost, Great Granddaughter
- Jack Meckel, Great Grandson
- Claire "Tootsie" Meckel, Great Granddaughter
- Alice (Shurtleff Weipert) Coe, Sister
- Betty (Shurtleff) Webb, Sister
- Peggy (Shurtleff) Coates, Sister
- Dennis Weipert, Nephew
- Jerry Webb, Nephew
- Johnna (Webb) Jewell, Niece
- Raymond Coates, Nephew
- Ginger (Coates) Carlton, Niece
- Cecil is also survived by the families of his nieces and nephews.
- Gary Forsdick, Casket Bearer
- Brant Meckel, Casket Bearer
- Jack Meckel, Casket Bearer
- Craig Forsdick, Casket Bearer
- Dennis Weipert, Casket Bearer
- Gary Mordhorst, Casket Bearer
- Richard Young, Casket Bearer
- Funeral Service Wednesday, June 26, 2019
- Viewing Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Cecil Ray Shurtleff
June 22, 2019
In deepest sympathy for his immediate family, I offer my prayers for their comfort and peace.
Uncle Cecil was a wonderful man, always liked to laugh and talk. I remember when I was young and went to visit my cousins, they always showed me the woodwork characters that their Dad had made for them, I was so fascinated and I loved the train set he had in the basement. Uncle Cecil was so very good at everything he did. Not only was he very knowledgeable about growing fruit, he built his home, built the large shed for fruit storage and selling fruit directly from the ranch, kept the farm machinery going and maintained the land in a professional manner. He was always busy, the ranch required 24/7 maintenance. I remember in the evenings he and Kay enjoyed a bowl of popcorn as they watched tv together.
Uncle Cecil was respected and loved by everyone that knew him and he will be missed. I am confident he is now in heaven enjoying God's glory and being with his beloved Kay and family.
Love Jonna Jewell (niece).