Morning coffee chats and “Hey, hey, Jenny. I’m home” announcements.
That’s what Jenny Faulhaber said she will miss the most about her “loving” and “strong” husband, Aaron.
Aaron J. Faulhaber, 49, of Laclede, Idaho, was one of four men who died after their boat capsized Tuesday night on the Pend Oreille River near Priest River.
Gregory J. Daiker, 59, of Laclede, Jason L. Maxson, 51, of Laclede, and John R. Schulte, 59, of Sandpoint, were the other three retrieved from the river between Tuesday and Friday, according to a news release from the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office. The cause of the capsize remains under investigation.
“He was an amazing man,” Jenny Faulhaber said of her husband, who was born and raised in Spokane.
The couple spent 20 years together and would have celebrated their 16th wedding anniversary Friday. Aaron Faulhaber’s body was found Thursday night, and Jenny Faulhaber said she got to see her husband Friday.
“It was just the most amazing experience, and I found peace with it and I let him know that he could go,” she said.
She said she knew she would marry him after three months of dating.
“I won the lottery and I got 20 special years out of it,” she said. “I am going to embrace that.”
Her husband loved dirt bike riding, mountain biking, skiing and boating. The couple liked to ski and ride mountain bikes together.
“He loved the outdoors and he loved to live life to the fullest,” she said. “He wouldn’t choose a hill to hike, but the tallest mountain.”
Jenny Faulhaber said her husband pushed her outside her comfort zone, taking her on incredibly difficult outdoor adventures. At the same time, she said he always calmed her when she felt overwhelmed.
He pushed his friends, of which he had many, to the limit in outdoor experiences as well, but ensured they were safe, too.
She said he touched many lives.
The neighborhood called him “Volunteer Aaron,” she said, because she and her husband would show up for the “dirtiest jobs” to help their neighbors.
“There wasn’t a person that met him and didn’t like Aaron,” she said.
She called his laugh “contagious” because she and other people would start laughing in response to his chuckle.
When asked what his laugh was like, she said, “It was Aaron’s laugh. Everybody knows Aaron’s laugh.”
For 15 minutes in the morning, the two would sit.
She drank coffee and he drank a smoothie while the couple looked out at the river and planned their days and weeks. Then, he walked her to her car and they hugged and kissed.
“The times I miss the most are coffee time in the morning,” she said.
She said she will also miss him walking in the door after returning from a dirt bike ride or other outdoor adventures with friends.
Before he did anything he’d say, “ ‘Hey, hey, Jenny. I’m home,’ and those are the moments I’m going to miss the most,” she said.
He worked as a merchant seaman, transporting cargo in the Pacific Ocean.
She said he traveled for months at a time early in his career. Going down the western seaboard from Tacoma to Honolulu, then Guam and Taiwan before returning to the U.S., was one of his routes.
Later in his career, he traveled for only a couple months at a time, riding back and forth from Long Beach, California, to Honolulu.
He worked hard, but he played hard, too, she said.
When he arrived in Hawaii, she said her husband and some of his crew would surf at Waikiki Beach.
“He always looked forward to the fun times,” she said.
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