Charles W. La Fontaine, 81

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Charles "Chuck" Walter La Fontaine, 81, of Mountain Home, died Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006, in a Boise hospital, with his family at his side.

A memorial service was held Thursday, Dec. 7, at Rost Funeral Home, McMurtrey Chapel in Mountain Home. Arrangements were under the directions of Rost Funeral Home.

Charles was born on Nov. 15, 1925, in Tacoma, Wash., to Walter J. and Esther (Johnson) La Fontaine. At the age of 15 months, the family traveled by train to Twin Falls, Idaho, to take up farming.

Chuck attended country grade schools in the Twin Falls/Filer area, finishing eighth grade in 1939, at Park Lane Country School.

Chuck graduated from Twin Falls High School in 1943, at the age of 17. The next day he left to work at a CCC Camp near Boise. Later he traveled to California, to drive truck in the vineyards near Lodi, Calif.

At the age of 18 he entered the Army Air Corps, receiving gunnery training in various parts of the U.S. After arriving in England, he participated in 35 missions as a tail gunner on a B-17. His first and most memorable mission was with 1,200 bombers that flew over Cologne, Germany. He had completed 11 missions while still only 18 years old.

Chuck attended the University of Idaho for two and half years, then took time out for marriage and the Korean War.

He married Rosalie Mack on June 19, 1949, at the Mack home on their farm in Twin Falls. Their first child, Linda, was born in 1953 in Moscow, Idaho, just 2 1/2 weeks before graduation day that year. Their second child, Stephen, was born in 1958 in Boise.

In 1951, he was recalled for the Korean War, this time as a tail gunner on a B-29, participating in 34 missions over Korea. At that time he was stationed in Japan. He never dreamed that 25 years later he'd have a daughter stationed in Pusan, Korea, as an Army medic. Later she would be married to a Navy man who was stationed in Japan.

After the Korean War, Chuck returned to his studies and in 1953, he received a BA degree in history, followed by a Masters Degree in Education in 1954. In 1954 the family moved to Mountain Home, to be employed as a social studies, government and history teacher at Mountain Home High School. After six years of teaching he continued as counselor. He retired in 1986, after 32 years in education.

"Chuck thoroughly enjoyed working with young people," his family said. Some of his students still live in Mountain Home and their children attended MHHS before 1986.

His own children benefitted, his family added. "Chuck passed on his love of social studies, history and current events to his son, Stephen. They spent many hours of sharing and discussing. Linda spent many long evening walks with her dad, while getting academic counseling."

Chuck and Rosalie enjoyed traveling during his time off. Besides travel, he also enjoyed gardening and studying current events. He also loved following BSU sports, especially the Broncos.

Chuck is survived by: his wife, Rosalie, of 57 years; a daughter, Linda Marie; a son, Stephen Douglas and his wife, Janey, a step-granddaughter, two step-great-grandchildren, and a brother, Paul, of Caldwell.

He was preceded in death by both his parents, an infant brother, Curtis La Fontaine, and his sister and brother in-law, Edith and Arlie Hamilton.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Heart Association, 270 S. Orchard St., Suite B, Boise, ID 83705, or any favorite charity.