Harold James Sarbacher

Harold James Sarbacher died peacefully at his home in Washington, D.C., on May 1, 2015, from complications of a stroke that he suffered in 2013. He was 85 years old.

Harold was born on Nov. 2, 1929, on the family farm outside of Ferdinand to Anton and Rose (Riedinger) Sarbacher. He was the seventh of 10 children, and the last of them to pass away.

After graduating from Ferdinand High School in 1947, Harold attended Northern Idaho College of Education, now Lewis-Clark State College, for a short time until accepting an appointment to enter the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1949. At the time, he was one of the first students at N.I.C.E. and from this region to receive a West Point appointment. He graduated from USMA in 1953 and was commissioned a second lieutenant.

After serving a two-year tour of duty with the U.S. Army in Germany, Harold resigned his commission in the Army in order to relocate to Washington, D.C., and attend Georgetown University Law School. He was awarded his juris doctor in 1958, and later earned his master of laws in 1961 and his doctor of juridical science in 1967, all from Georgetown Law School.

After graduating from law school, Harold went to work for the Interstate Commerce Commission, where he spent his entire professional career. For several years, he worked as a staff attorney for various ICC commissioners. In 1967, he was appointed an ICC administrative law judge, the position he held with the agency until his retirement in 1985. His work as a judge took him to all parts of the country, where he heard and decided transportation cases involving railroads and trucking companies. He very much enjoyed serving his country, first in the military and then in government service.

Among his many private interests were reading, swimming, cooking and international travel. He was fortunate to travel to most parts of the world. Harold had a special love for Russian literature and the Russian people, and he traveled to the Soviet Union several times.

He enjoyed the fine arts and developed an impressive art collection in his later years. He was also an active supporter of the performing arts and was a season ticket holder at the Kennedy Center near his home for more than two decades from the time it opened in 1971.

Having purchased his home in the Watergate complex in 1967 as it was being constructed, Harold was the last original owner of an apartment in the Watergate West building. He never tired of playing host for visitors to Washington, D.C., and showing them where the Watergate scandal originated.

Harold never married, but developed close relationships with his 23 nieces and nephews. He is survived by Susan Andrews, Sharon Auer, Lori Coons, Doug Havens, Keith Havens, Mark Havens, Tony Havens, Patrick Sarbacher and Toni Whitney, all of Lewiston; Bruce Johnson and Todd Wortman, both of Ferdinand; Brian Schaeffer of Cottonwood; Mike Abraham of Athol, Idaho; Jim Abraham and Kristi Crooks of Spokane; Tom Abraham of Cheney, Wash.; Diane Reeves of Seattle; Randy Sarbacher of Portland, Ore.; Anita Epstein of Redmond, Ore.; and Gayle Schaeffer of Fremont, Calif. Harold is also survived by his friend and caregiver during his final years, Uyanga (Ugi) Irvin of Washington, D.C.

Harold was preceded in death by his parents and his nine brothers and sisters: Mildred Blewett, Cletus Sarbacher, Robert Sarbacher, Julius Sarbacher, Edna Abraham, Ada Wortman, Rita Schaeffer, Iva Sarbacher and Marlene Havens. Also predeceasing him were his nephews, Robert Blewett and Steve Johnson, his niece, Karen Edwards, and his good friend, Tim Irvin, husband of Ugi Irvin.

In accordance with Harold's wishes, cremation has taken place and his ashes will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery, with a funeral Mass at a date later this year. A memorial Mass for family and friends will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 25, at All Saints Catholic Church at 3330 14th St., Lewiston, with a reception following. Please see www.devolfuneralhome.com to leave a comment in Harold's guest book.

Donations in memory of Harold may be made to the Monastery of St. Gertrude, 465 Keuterville Road, Cottonwood, ID 83522.