Farming Rural 13

H. Reed Cammack

December 23, 1928 ~ November 12, 2020 (age 91)

Obituary

     Henry Reed Cammack, 91, passed away Thursday, November 12, 2020 in Pocatello, Idaho. He was living at The Gables Assisted Living Home at the time of his passing.  He was born on December 23, 1928, in Pingree, Idaho, to Henry Atwood Cammack and Mabel Virgia Packer.  He was the oldest child in a family of five...4 boys and 1 girl.  He grew up working with his father on the farm in Pingree, Riverside, and on a dairy farm in Fort Hall where his father was employed to teach the dairy business to Native Americans.  He also was required to help his mother one day a week in the home learning how to clean, do laundry, prepare meals, can produce, work in the garden, and bake bread.  All the children were required to work one day a week in the home when they were old enough to be helpful.  Reed always tried to trade his day at home with Byron who didn’t mind helping with household chores.  He watched his parents work hard 7 days a week, and he knew what it took to be self-sufficient.  But his parents were fun-loving, too, and there were many fishing and camping trips that he enjoyed with his family. They were also dedicated to serving the Lord and taught their children to pray and serve others.  These were lessons learned, and Reed lived them well throughout his life.

     As a young boy, Reed was crowned Marble King and Freckle King at the county fair, got thrown off a horse and landed in a patch of cactus which required extraction of cactus needles while bending over his mother’s lap for hours, had to run from angry bulls, got bunted by mad mother cows, chased by roosters, rode a runaway team bareback, and even had a shotgun drawn on him by Catherine Harkness who thought he was trespassing…..and he survived! He dearly loved the farm life!  

     Reed and Jeanine met when Reed was a teenager attending McCammon High School.  His family had recently moved to McCammon, where they had purchased farmland that was originally part of the H.O. Harkness Ranch.  Reed was a good student and active in sports, lettering in football.  He graduated from McCammon High School and attended two years of college at Utah State Agricultural College in Logan before serving an LDS mission in the Atlantic States, headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia.

     When Reed returned from his mission, Jeanine was waiting for him, and they were married in the LDS temple in Logan, Utah.  They were blessed with four children, Sherry, Don, Jeff, and Alan Gene (died in infancy).  They taught their children a strong work ethic, a love of family and country, and an appreciation for the beauties of nature and love of God who created the world in all its splendor.

     Reed began his career as a special agent for Farm Bureau Insurance Company shortly after they were married.  He was also an agency manager during part of his career, retiring after 46 years of service to Farm Bureau Insurance.  During these years he made many life-long friends in Marsh Valley, Pocatello, Tyhee and Fort Hall areas as he took care of their insurance needs.  Often they would leave their doors open for him and leave a note telling him they would return shortly, to sit down and relax, or make a sandwich if he was hungry.  They fed him at their tables and sent warm loaves of bread and canned fruit home with him.  They knew they could call on him at any time if they needed his help. 

     He served on the Marsh Valley School Board for over 25 years, part of that time as Chairman of the Board.  In 1965 Reed had the rare privilege of visiting schools in Russia and three satellite countries -- Bulgaria, Hungary and East Germany (in company with 133 other school board members and school administrators). They also visited schools in Switzerland for Western Europe educational contrast.  This tour was sponsored by the American Comparative Education Society,  Kent State University, The American School Board Association, and the National Educators Fraternity.  At this time, East Germany was behind “The Iron Curtain” and Bulgaria and Hungary were Soviet bloc countries.  Reed and his fellow travelers were detained only once in Sofia, Bulgaria, where they had to get off the plane, hand over their passports, and line up in a barracks.  The soldiers then matched each passenger with their passport pictures.  When they came to Reed, he had his glasses on in the passport picture, but left them on the plane when they disembarked.  There were some tense moments and shouting among the soldiers. Finally, he was allowed to board the plane again…...the very last passenger to get back on.  Whew!!!

     He has held many leadership and teaching positions in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, serving as bishop counselor, bishop,  stake president, Young Men leader, life-long Sunday School teacher, and faithful home teacher.  Always a friend of the youth, they have been his main concern in his church and community service.  For 30 years, Reed spear-headed scout trips into the Idaho Wilderness areas for boys of all ages and sizes from 1951 to 1984.  Hiking, camping, packing, and floating down rivers to places with names like -- Ship Island, Frog Lake, Alice Lake, Fourth of July Lake, Redfish Lake, Boulder Lakes area, White Cloud Area, Yellowstone Park, Snake River and Green River have all been a part of the activities he has participated in and loved enthusiastically!  He has watched “his boys” grow into manhood and become responsible, valued, contributing citizens of various communities.  His “boys”, now men, are talented, skilled and dedicated to the same attributes they learned under Reed’s  inspiring leadership.

     Reed has a great love for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He was a missionary until his final days and tried to be a true disciple of Christ by teaching prayer, inspiring faith, living truth, and honoring God.  He followed President Russell M. Nelson’s advice on hard work: “Get on your knees for instruction, then get on your feet and go to work. Have the faith to try and then exhibit endless enthusiasm.”   He loved people and always was the first in the neighborhood to welcome a new move-in.  He was a familiar sight on his tractor plowing out family and neighbors’ driveways and shoveling sidewalks for widows. He planted huge gardens so he could share the produce with others.  He always took time to listen to those who were troubled or needing a friend.  

     Reed continued to farm the same 400 irrigated acres of hay and pasture land that his father farmed.  He was 85 when he finally would accept some help on the farm, but things had to be done a certain way…..his way!!   It was a common sight in McCammon to see Reed riding his bicycle back and forth through town or on the highway to irrigate his fields or check livestock.  When he could no longer ride his bike, he drove his white car all over the farm to check fence or pull a dam.  He finally relented after much persuasion and taught his great-grandson, Jacob, the carefully-guarded secret of correct irrigation techniques!  

     Reed loved the farm and his home.  He loved this poem Jeanine wrote for him when she could no longer shop for a birthday gift. These last three stanzas describe Reed’s gratitude for home:

I have enjoyed your garden and the fragrance of your blossoms.

I have rested in the shade of your trees,

And watched the clouds from the softness of your grass.

I have been nourished by the bounty of your harvest,

And my soul has been filled and refreshed again and again from your well of beauty.

The ground on which you stand shall ever be hallowed to me,

And with others who may call you “home”,

We will share your goodness,

For you have much to give.

And when all time is spent and eternity is here, 

I shall still have remembrance of you.

I will always pay homage for the good and honorable things you have given me.

And your spirit will forever be with me,

For you are Home…..dear, dear Home.

     The most important things to Reed were his wife, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  He has enjoyed his grandchildren in all their school activities and accomplishments. Swelled with pride when they have chosen to serve missions or graduated with honors from highschool or college.  He loved to have his grandchildren and great-grandchildren on the farm exploring caves, riding horses, snowmobiling in the fields, catching frogs, minnows, and finding Indian writings on the lava rocks.      

     Reed is survived by his three children and their spouses - Sherry and Brad Barnes, Don and Nancy Cammack, and Jeff Cammack - 10 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, his brother and wife, Dewey and Leanna Cammack, his sister and husband, Lyle and Shanna Andersen, a sister-in-law, LaRae Cammack, a sister-in-law, Elaine Cammack.  

     He was preceded in death by his wife, Jeanine; his parents, Henry and Virgia Cammack; his brother, DelMar Cammack; his brother, Byron Cammack; an infant son, Alan Gene Cammack.

     Private graveside services will be held for family.  A celebration of his life will be held at a later date when we are able to gather together.

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