Neil Birger Bloom died peacefully in Spokane with family at his bedside on April 24, 2012 at age 92.
Birger was the “constant” in his family, a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Born in Kellogg, Idaho on September 7, 1919 to Norwegian immigrants, Andrew and Borghild Bloom, he was raised in the Silver Valley, served his country in the Navy in World War II, then returned to northern Idaho where he ran a fuel oil distributorship for over 30 years with his long-time partner and friend, Steve Bilte.
Before retiring, he worked in the antimony plant at the Sunshine Mine.
Birger is survived by his sister Betty Armstrong, Boise, and his brother, John Bloom, Colorado Springs.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Jim Bloom, Woodburn, OR., his first spouse, Yvonne Splan, Spokane, and his wife of 59 years, Rose Colonello Bloom.
He was the caring father of three children: Diane Hicks, Spokane; Marcia (Len) Bourget, Springfield, VA. and Gary (Susan) Bloom, Spokane.
He was extremely proud of his seven grandchildren: Nicole (Mark) Kutny, Charlotte, NC.
; Claire (Keith) McManus, Fairfax, VA; Allison (Matt) Cribbs, Chantilly, VA.; Kate Bourget, Seattle; Molly (Jeff) Schick, Portland; Christy (Ben) Lukes, Missoula; and Andy (Karina) Bloom, Seattle; as well as his eight great-grandchildren.
Birger was a 60+ year member of the Shoshone Golf Club in Big Creek, Idaho where he played countless rounds of golf, wearing out three golf carts in his later years.
He was a frequent club champion, yet found the time to wade in Big Creek scrounging for golf balls, being the ever-frugal Norwegian.
A skilled cribbage and pinochle player, his infectious smile warmed the room.
Birg participated in many service organizations including the Osburn Lions and the Wallace/Kellogg Elks Clubs giving graciously of his time to help others.
Birger will always be remembered for his ready smile and for being, very simply, a great guy.
He will be missed by his family and many friends.
Birger’s family wishes to publically express their deep gratitude to the dedicated and caring staff at the Devonshire Memory Care Unit in Spokane.
Kim, Jessica, Andi, Samantha, Sabrina, Sonada, Marianna, Kelly, E.J., Lisa, Amanda and RNs Roxanne, Linda and Robin: you do important work with great love.
Birger’s inurnment at Greenwood Cemetery in Kellogg and a private family Mass conducted by Father Robert McNeese and Deacon Ken Dunlap will follow at a later date.
To honor Birger, his family suggests Catholic Charities of Spokane or Hospice of Spokane.