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Obituary, Ned Pence, 78


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Ned Pence

Ned Pence, 78, passed away January 15, 2016 peacefully at home.

Ned was born on July 21, 1937. He grew up in Mackay, Idaho, with his parents and four brothers.

In 1955 he left Mackay to attend the College of Forestry at the University of Idaho to study Forest Management. He received his B.S. degree in Forest Management in 1959 and married Arleen Westfall, the love of his life in Salmon, Idaho. After graduation he worked at many jobs as a professional forester in Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and Montana. He returned to the University of Idaho in 1966 and received a Master of Forestry degree in 1967.

Ned believed and practiced active forest management. The high point of his career was his position as District Ranger for the Island Park Ranger District on the Targhee National Forest from 1976 to 1980. The Island Park Ranger District was experiencing an infestation of the mountain pine bark beetle and becoming a dead forest. Ned supervised the harvest of about 150,000 acres of dead and dying lodgepole pine. The 1988 wildfire in Yellowstone National Park stopped at the District boundary where there was no ground fuel to burn. Over thirty years later the area is stocked with rapidly growing lodgepole pine. Today few people would understand what happened in the 1970s.

There are thousands of acres of new forests growing in Washington State, the Boise National Forest, Payette National Forest, Targhee National Forest and the Tongass National Forest as a result of active forest management that involved Ned.

Ned was a Fellow and Golden member of the Society of American Foresters.

In 1980 Ned transferred to the Petersburg Ranger District of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. He resigned from the United States Forest Service in 1990 to become a forest consultant working with his wife, Arleen, and son, Don. In 2005 he recognized that the mountains were too steep and the brush too thick to continue and retired.

One son, David, preceded him in death.

Ned leaves his wife, Arleen at their Moscow, Idaho home; his son, Don (Deb) Pence in Hauser Lake, Idaho; his daughter, Tammy (Tim) O'Connor of Deary; three grandsons, four granddaughters, and his four brothers.

A vigil service will be held on Monday, February 1 at 10:30 am at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Moscow. The funeral service will begin at 11:00 AM. A luncheon for family and friends will follow at St. Mary's Family Center.

In lieu of flowers, Ned asks that donations be made to the Steel House Inc. Building Fund, 501 (c)3 Charitable Organization, % Zions Bank, 105 S. Main ST., Moscow, ID 83843. Online condolences may be sent to


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