Milton “Lee” Archer, 95 of Nampa, passed away on October 22, 2017, with his daughters by his side. He was born September 17, 1922 to Pete and Ila Archer, having four brothers (Charles, Millard, Don and Wilbert) and one sister (Marguerite). He moved around a lot growing up as work was hard to find for the family. He finished the 8th grade, but his love of learning and reading stayed with him throughout his life. During the depression, the family joined the fruit tramp trail, put all their possessions in a trailer and headed out not knowing what was ahead. It was a hard life but Lee was proud to have been part of a life depicted in the movie “Grapes of Wrath”. He spoke about it at his granddaughter Hailey’s school once. The family settled in Nampa, Idaho and on a trip to visit family in Missouri a cousin introduced Lee to Wanda Lea Bryant.
After Lee came home to Idaho they wrote letters back and forth and love bloomed. They were married in Missouri on September 1, 1946. Back in Idaho they bought an acre of ground and while living in a trailer Lee built their home. It was added to off and on through the years and Lee resided there until 5 months before his death. Lee and Wanda had 3 girls, Cathy, Anita and Lois. They raised their family with love. Lee would make pancakes on Sunday mornings while Wanda got the girls ready for church. Lee was active in the First Baptist Church in Caldwell and then later enjoyed going to Middleton Baptist Church. Lee and Wanda were very supportive of the church camp at Warm Lake, spending summers helping to put up buildings and then cooking for the camps.
Lee worked for the Pacific Fruit Express, the maintenance shop for Union Pacific. When he was laid off for a time, he worked at Meridian Wood Products. He was able to go back to PFE and retired from there in 1984. By this time his family had grown with Anita and Lois married and giving him 6 grandchildren. He spent his retirement working in his garage making whatever he could dream up out of wood. He would make something for Mom and then of course everyone else in the family would have to have one. One more granddaughter was added just before Christmas 1991 and Lee loved picking Hailey up from school and being her “cartoon buddy”.
On July 1, 1993 after several months of heart related health issues, he had bypass surgery. It was hard for him to slow down but he recovered and was back in his garage and spending time with family. When Wanda had her first stroke, Lee kept her at home, taking care of her and the home with some help from his daughters. When she had her next stroke, he could no longer take care of her. He spent almost every day at the nursing home by her side. Wanda passed away January 9, 2005. Lee remained in the home spending time at Karcher Mall visiting with friends and drinking coffee. It was a great source of comfort for him. Lee remained active until his 90th birthday when he had to give up driving. It made it harder for him to go places but his daughters took him whenever they could. In May, Lee had slowed too much for the family to care for him at home so he moved to Kindred Nursing where the staff, who called him “Papa” loved him like family. The family would like to thank them and the two care givers, Corina and Jena, he had while still at home, for the loving care and the support to the family.
Our father was an amazing man. His blue eyes had a twinkle that expressed his love and devotion to Wanda, his daughters, grandchildren, and extended family. He loved a good joke, whether he was telling or hearing. He loved to tease the kids and had nicknames for them. Weekly visits from Kimberly, and her daughters Grace and Avery, were something he looked forward to. He always asked about family, what they were doing, where they were, and if they were happy. He never knew a stranger, he would talk to anyone, sharing stories. He will be deeply missed but remembered with love.
Lee was preceded in death by his loving wife, Wanda.
He is survived by his daughters, Cathy Archer, Anita (Victor) Sims, and Lois (Darel) Holcomb; 7 grandchildren, Spencer (Amanda), Patresha (Tobin), Mykel (Mary), Matthew, Adriene, Kimberly (Scott), and Hailey (Ryan); 12 great-grandchildren; and his sister, Marguerite (Dale) Ayers.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Warm Lake Camp c/o First Baptist Church, 221 E Linden, Caldwell, ID or Black Oak Cemetary C/O Arthur Holder, 8211 SE Kirkpatrick Rd, Braymer, MO 64624
Written by Lee in 1996
I grew up all over the place. I never went two years to the same school. We lived in Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, California, New Mexico, Idaho, Arizona, Oregon and Texas. In about 1931, I was hit by a car in Rincon, New Mexico. I had a cracked skull, a hole in my leg and the side of my face drug off. My guardian angel sure had his hands full with me. In 1936, we were living in Missouri when I developed Osteomyelitis (bone infection) in my right shoulder. I was take to Kansas City to the Children’s Mercy Hospital, where I spent 4 ½ months. I lost part of my shoulder blade because of the infection. I lived but I wasn’t supposed to. My guardian angel came through again. In the fall of 1936 we moved to Fowler, Colorado, where we lived for two years. Then we moved to Alamosa, Colorado. I never finished high school but I did get through the 8th grade. When we left Alamosa we went to Yuma, Arizona, with my mother’s sister and her family. They left Missouri for my Uncle Lee’s health. Then we started on the ‘Fruit Tramp’. We picked cotton, peas, lettuce, hops and all kinds of things. We came to Nampa, Idaho, to pick peas, we liked it and stayed. My mother died in 1957 and my Dad in 1964. In 1946, September 1, I married Wanda Bryant in Chillicothe, Missouri. We have 3 girls, Cathy, Anita and Lois, we have 7 grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter. I went to work for the PFE-Pacific Fruit Express shops in June 1948 and retired in 1984. I enjoy my retirement and go walking every morning at Karcher Mall, where I have made a lot of friends. I had bypass heart surgery on July 1, 1993. I’m doing O.K. I hope to live till I die.