Howard William Ihrig 'Bill' was born in Condon, Oregon, May 22, 1935, to Jason George Frost Ihrig and Goldie Elmira (Cook) Ihrig. Bill had two older sisters: Joyce Elaine Ihrig and Lorraine Bessie Ihrig and two younger brothers: Robert Roy Ihrig and John Frost Ihrig.
Bill was a sickly baby and not expected to live through his first night. The doctor in attendance asked if there was a place to put him to keep him warm. A makeshift bed was made under the wood stove and he survived. His survival skills would serve him well all through his life as he cheated death multiple times. Through the age of 16, Bill was raised on a farm in Condon where he enjoyed hunting, fishing and breaking horses. In 1951, the Jason Ihrig family moved to Goldendale, Washington.
After graduating Goldendale High School he volunteered for the Army doing his basic training at Fort Ord, California, and served two years active duty (19 months of that in Germany) and then was in the reserves for the next six years.
Bill married Donna Rae Hutchins July 24, 1958. To this union two sons were born, William Jay Ihrig and Ronald Scott Ihrig.
On October 10, 1967, Bill married Sandra Gregg Emick. He had a ready-made family with children, Lon Kimpen Ihrig and Wendi Lou Ihrig, whom he immediately adopted. Later Mark William Ihrig was born, growing his family to five children. Love of his family was his highest priority.
Bill worked at variety of different jobs. Some of those jobs included working for SP&S Railroad as a Fireman, highway construction work and he was a carpenter on the John Day Dam. Bill joined the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) in 1966, starting out as a Groundman. He then applied for the IBEW apprenticeship program with Local 77 in Kennewick, Washington, and received a Certificate of Completion receiving his Journeyman Lineman ticket on September 26, 1972. In April 2016, Bill received recognition as a Fifty-Year Member of the IBEW. On July 12, 1976 Bill went to work for Consumer Power Inc., Philomath, Oregon which served five counties (rural) electricity. During his career there he was assigned special jobs as a Working-Foreman, and in November of 1977 he became Line-Foreman. In 1989 he was promoted to Line-Superintendent, for all five counties. After 22 years of service he retired in February 1998.
Bill's passions were genealogy and outdoor activities such as fishing and hunting. Bill and his wife did genealogical research for family, friends and strangers with over 300 projects completed. It was very gratifying watching each family's story unfold. His Ihrig family came to America from Germany where a 'nest' of Ihrig families remained in a small village called Falkengasse for over 200 years. Bill had a photographic memory for genealogical details and was best known for his contagious sense of humor and dry wit. When he got together with his brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews he kept the whole family laughing continually by telling adventure stories of their ancestors and of his colorful youth.
Bill was a member of The Mayflower Society, The Jamestowne Society, American Legion and the IBEW. He has made friends with Ihrig families all over the world. Bill's dad always told him if they carry the name 'Ihrig' they are probably a relative. Bill didn't know if that was true or not; however, he was forever trying to find out.
Bill and his wife Sandra lived in Granger, Washington; Wasco, Oregon; Culver, Oregon; Philomath, Oregon and later moved to The Dalles, Oregon in 2000. Then in 2013, they moved back to Culver.
Bill passed away November 17, 2020, in Madras, Oregon, from heart failure. Preceding him in death were his parents, Jason and Goldie Ihrig; and his sister, Joyce Elaine (Ihrig) Wilkins. He leaves behind his wife, Sandra after 53 years of marriage; five children: Bill Jr., Ron (Liz), Lon (Bonnie), Wendi, Mark (Izzy) - Grandchildren: Adam (Stacey), Jessica (Greg), Amber (Kyle), Karissa (Bret), James (Jennifer), Chris (Mandy), Ryan (Sara), Rebecca (Jordon), Kylie and Luke.; ten grandchildren: Adam (Stacey), Jessica (Greg), Amber (Kyle), Karissa (Bret), James (Jennifer), Chris (Mandy), Ryan (Sara), Rebecca (Jordon), Kylie and Luke.; and nine great-grandchildren: Asa, Kam, Rylee, Royce, Noah, Cal, Jack, Lainey, and Sophia.
Bill Ihrig was a kind gentle soul who will be missed dearly.
A celebration of life ceremony will be held May 22, 2021, at Goldendale, Washington City Park – Potluck at 12 p.m. following a short private graveside service at 10 a.m. at Spring Hill Cemetry with military honors.
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