Cover photo for Herbert Dean Huseland Sr.'s Obituary
Herbert Dean Huseland Sr. Profile Photo
1938 Herbert 2023

Herbert Dean Huseland Sr.

March 23, 1938 — October 18, 2023

 

HERB HUSELAND 1938-1941

Herbert Dean Huseland was born on March 23, 1938, in Foster, Washington. His parents Amos Huseland and Nina Barton met at the South Fork Grange near Colville. Nina was the teacher at a nearby one-room school and Amos lived and worked on the Grace Ranch. The married couple had Stan, born in Chewelah, and then Herb, Donna, and Colleen once they moved to south King County. An early memory when Herb was three years old was seeing adults run into the street shouting and crying because Pearl Harbor was just bombed. Herb attended school in Kennydale and was an active member of the Boy Scouts.

In 1956 Herb joined the U.S. Air Force, training at Sheppard AFB in Texas. While stationed early on in New York, his mother wrote the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball player Jackie Robinson and asked him a favor. Robinson dutifully wrote Herb a happy birthday letter as it was Herb’s first away from home. He worked chiefly as a mechanic for MATS (Military Air Transport Service) both in California and overseas… and was deployed to Nouasseur Air Base in Morocco for over a year. He worked on both B-47s and the Douglas C-124 Globemaster II. Air Force assets in North Africa and Europe were part of the Strategic Air Command’s plan to have bombers in the air within 15 minutes in the case of Communist aggression. The Cold War was frosty even in the desert!

Once Herb was honorably discharged in 1960, he resumed civilian life in southern California where he had been stationed previously. He met and married Dolores Olavarri and started working in sales. Soon Debbie, Sussie, and Herb Jr. were born. One highlight of Herb’s life at this time was his work for the Young Republicans in Orange County. He helped organize rallies for speakers like Ronald Reagan in his bid for Governor of California and became a personal friend of Maureen Reagan and her husband David Sills.

By the late 60’s Herb and Dolores had divorced and the kids visited their mom on the weekends. In one of these visits, Dolores took the three children and fled to Mexico, where she hid with relatives. This was a deeply discouraging time for Herb as he wondered where they could be. By 1970 he had started a new chapter in his life back in Washington state, marrying April Hills. He was stepdad to April’s son Chris. Soon afterward the children were found south of the border and repatriated to the States, joining their dad and new mom.

Herb and April moved to a small farm in eastern Washington where they had horses, goats, chickens, and pigs. These were hard times financially, and the Huselands moved to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho for work. Herb found an insurance job to provide for his big family. But although outwardly they were joined together, the different child-raising methods caused too much friction to overcome. Before they separated in the fall of 1972, April discovered she was pregnant. They chose to keep the baby, and she moved back to her parents in Seattle where her son Brian was born.

The next decade was difficult for Herb, as the demands of a traveling salesman were incompatible with single parenting; soon the kids went back to their mom Dolores. It did not get easier… Herb was married briefly a few more times, and his mother passed away in 1975. The mortgage crisis of 1981-82 was the last straw: it bankrupted Herb. It was time to start fresh as he managed to buy some rural property in Federal Way, and got married to Jan. Jan’s son Bruce was adopted by Herb and joined the family. One summer when Herb was able to have his own 3 kids with him, Herb and Jan drove over to Idaho to pick up his youngest son Brian and head to Uncle Elmer’s farm near Chewelah for a week. The five kids loved it and had a rare chance to bond together.

Herb and Jan divorced amicably in the late 1980’s. Herb later would say, “I wish I had not tried so hard to prove myself to my dad… I wasted decades of my life being defensive and angry.” Herb’s dad Amos, now 90 years old, passed away in 1991. With both parents gone, Herb decided to trade in his insurance career for a new life back in Coeur D’Alene. He tried his hand as a taxi driver and owned a used bookstore in Dalton Gardens called “Herb’s Paperback Exchange.” As a lifelong reader, this was fun for Herb but it was not really sustainable. So in 1995 he made his final move and came up to Bayview, a small town nestled at the southern end of Lake Pend O’Reille. He moved into a trailer overlooking Scenic Bay, and put down roots for the next 28 years.

Herb made many friends (and a few enemies) with his friendly banter and stubborn insistence on the truth as he saw it. He cared a lot about the community. He used his talents in Bayview by writing for the Spokesman-Review, contributing to Huckleberries Online, and writing on his blog since 2005. He helped celebrate the centennial of Bayview by reporting on local history. He also worked a stint at the Walmart in Sandpoint and as a ride operator at Silverwood. He would play his 1974 Stelling Bellflower banjo on the old locomotive as it chugged around the Park. One of the things he did to benefit Bayview was back in 1996 when he challenged the right of the Idaho State Park system to control access to Highway 54 between Athol and Bayview. It is largely because of Herb’s efforts that the access points to Farragut State Park were changed so that local people could drive straight through.

Herb loved his view of the lake. He enjoyed watching the seasons change, the Naval mini-sub on its maneuvers, and the beautiful 4th of July fireworks over the water. And just as Bernard Peak changed over the years due to landslides, forest fires, and snow, Herb changed too. The last three years of his life were the most challenging for his health. Caregivers and friends tried to help him be comfortable, but the most encouraging help of all was found in the Bible given by a friend in 2020.

In that book, Herb discovered the gospel with new eyes: that no matter what you have done or how badly you are broken, God loves you and sent His son to provide forgiveness and a new life. If Herb had had more time or been saved at a younger age, I believe he would have rebuilt the bridges he had burned, and tried to make amends as best as he could. Herb joined Bayview Bible Church where real people let down their guard to find hope, glorify God, and serve their community. His church friends meant a lot to him. On October 18th, 2023 Herb Huseland passed from this world to the next. After many restless years, he finally found his rest in Jesus Christ.

He is survived by his children Debbie Gibson, Michaella (Sussie) Olavarri, Herb Huseland, Jr., and Brian Huseland; grandchildren Yvette, Linda, Shelly, Josh, Wendy, Mark, Jonathan, Manuel, Athena, Ben, Stephen, Natasha, Dean, Alice, Mercy, Irene, Patience, and Lana Kay; and almost 20 great-grandchildren.
He will be missed by so many. The Herb’s Garden sign will now be displayed at the Captain’s Wheel Bar & Restaurant. If you swing by, please raise a toast to Herb.
 
Condolences for the family may be sent to Brian Huseland at bhuseland@gmail.com
 
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