Terry John Slette, a.k.a., TJ, a longtime Lewiston resident, passed away at the age of 82, due to the infirmities of age (and mileage), with his children by his side Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.
He was born July 12, 1938, in Sandpoint, Idaho, to Osborne and Olava Slette. Terry and his parents moved to Bovill when he was 6. He attended grade school in Bovill and graduated from Deary High School in 1956. He spent one year at the University of Idaho, then married Gayle O’Keefe of Bovill in 1957. They had four children. They divorced in 1975. In October 1985 he married his true love, Mary Kay Huck (Bopp) of Sandpoint.
Terry began working at the Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association in 1957-1958. He then began his 41-year career with Potlatch Forest Inc. in 1959 as a camp clerk at Camp-X on the North Fork of the Clearwater. He moved to Lewiston in 1962 and held several positions in accounting for Potlatch, including time in Lewiston, Fort Wayne, Ind., St. Maries and finished his career back in Lewiston, retiring in 2000.
Terry is survived by his wife of 35 years, Mary Kay Slette; his four children, Michael Slette (wife Lauren) of Boise, Patricia Legard of Kennewick, Cynthia Hines of Kennewick, Dana Branim of Nashville, as well as six grandchildren, Jonathan (wife Erin), Jillian, Matthew (wife Kallie), Brandon (wife Hannah), Troy, Heath and three great-grandchildren, Luke, Hudson and Erik.
Terry is also survived by his adult stepchildren, Chris, Richard (wife Michelle) and Matt Huck, all of Boise, and seven stepgrandchildren, Carson, Madison, Brandon, Livia, Katelyn, Brielle and Mya.
Terry loved the outdoors and he shared that passion with his children and grandchildren, spending priceless time camping at Priest Lake, fishing and camping at Dworshak Reservoir with his family and his lifelong friend Floyd Marshall, steelhead fishing on the Clearwater and Snake rivers, and water skiing on the St. Joe River and Coeur d’Alene and Chatcolet lakes. He introduced his children to snow skiing in the 1970s, taking several snow skiing vacations to McCall and Sandpoint. His children continue to carry on those outdoor traditions with their families, passing down the legacy of his love of the outdoors.
Terry was very proud of his Norwegian heritage and took his four children to Norway in 2013 and enjoyed a wonderful visit with relatives who reside there. In 2015, three cousins from Norway came to Idaho and Terry treated them to a jet boat tour up Hells Canyon. Terry was thankful to be able to remain in contact with his family in Norway via email. Terry loved making and eating the traditional Norwegian foods: Lutefisk, Lefsa and Potatas Korv. He was a proud member and past president of the Sons of Norway and his children became active members participating in several “Pancake Breakfast Fundraisers.”
He was chaplain of the Elks in St. Maries.
Terry was the type of man who never knew a stranger. His warm and friendly nature and gift of gab were his trademarks. He was always willing to share stories of his trip to Norway, his children’s and grandchildren’s activities, and fun camping and fishing trips. Terry became known as “Salsa Man” during many years of camping trips at Priest Lake, Idaho. He would make gallons of his homemade salsa and share it with anyone in camp that was willing to try it. Most brought back empty containers to him begging for more. What we all wouldn’t give for one more batch of his homemade salsa.
Heaven has gained a champion, and we will dearly miss his big warm hugs and kiss on the cheek. We love you, dad.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Sons of Norway in Lewiston. And, due to the risks posed by COVID-19, a “direct family only” graveside will be held at 11 a.m. Oct. 10 at Pinecrest Memorial Park in Sandpoint.
A celebration of life will be held in Sandpoint over Memorial Day weekend in 2021.