Rick Largent, 55, went home to be with his Lord Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Rick was born July 13, 1957, in Spokane, to Gary Lee (John) and Ardis Lavoy Largent of Potlatch. He grew up on the family farm north of Potlatch and graduated from Potlatch High School in 1975.
After working at various jobs, Rick went to night school to obtain his journeyman's license while working for an electrical firm. Exuding the confidence in himself he had from early childhood, Rick started his own electrical contracting business, Largent Electric, in the mid-1980s, initially out of his home but ultimately relocating to a site on Robinson Park Road near Moscow.
Largent Electric continued to grow, and in time had more than 30 people on the payroll. Among the many projects Rick's company completed were the Lewiston Walmart store, the Tri-State Memorial Hospital expansion in Clarkston, the Jennings Elementary School remodel in Colfax, and numerous jobs on the University of Idaho and Washington State University campuses.
Rick was married in Potlatch and adopted his new wife's two children, Jason and Angela. A third child, Sarah, was born to that union. The marriage later ended in divorce, and Sarah died of cancer at age 17.
In 1995 Rick met with a freak accident, breaking his neck and paralyzing him from the chest down. Officially considered a quadriplegic, he had limited use of his hands and in time was seen "pushing" up and down Robinson Park Road to keep in shape. With his indomitable spirit and determination he was able to eventually return to running the electrical business, but his physical limitations and medical challenges eventually forced him to close it.
Rick found other ways to fill his time, including guitar playing, writing songs, trying his hand at inventing, and spending endless hours on the computer. He even learned to drive a specially equipped van that would accommodate his powered wheelchair. Despite his many setbacks and life-changing trials, Rick never wavered in his faith in God and trust in Jesus.
From early childhood on, Rick had a sense of adventure about him. As a youth he accompanied his mother, Ardis, on a trip to Spain, reporting back that he really liked those "time-outs" those Spaniards took in the early afternoon. As a young adult, Rick joined with two other men to form a country/western band that played frequently at local bars. When Sarah was about 13 she and Rick went to Nashville, Rick recalling that trip in ensuing years as a highlight of his life.
At 23 Rick was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, and after his accident became a spokesman for diabetes research and treatment. He was a guest speaker - from his wheelchair - at conferences in Florida, Denver and San Diego, and was presented the Lilly Diabetes Journey Award for 25 years of successfully managing his diabetes.
It is impossible to capture the essence of Rick's character, determination, heart and inner strength in a few words. He loved family more than life itself, and he relished family reunions and long visits with friends. He was always interested in what was going on in the lives of those close to him, even though he himself couldn't always participate.
Rick Largent is survived by his father, John Largent and wife Lois of Moscow; his son, Jason of Portland, Ore.; and his daughter, Angela Helmke of Moscow; his sister, Sharon Montgomery of Potlatch; brothers Terry Largent of Potlatch and Todd Largent of Lewiston; four grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews, and his longtime friend and caregiver, Betty Knight, of Elk River. He was preceded in death by his mother, Ardis, and his daughter, Sarah.
Memorials may be given to the Potlatch Ambulance Fund, Box 63, Potlatch, ID; or to the Freeze Cemetery, Sharon Stoll, 6220 U.S. Highway 95, Potlatch, ID 83855.
Arrangements are being handled by Kramer Funeral Home in Palouse. A celebration of Rick's life will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Kramer Funeral Home, Palouse, with his uncle, Ed McBride of Colfax, and the Rev. Lee Nicholson officiating. Burial will be at Freeze Cemetery north of Potlatch, next to his beloved Sarah.