William Vern Studebaker, 61, of Twin Falls, Idaho, drowned July 4th, 2008 while kayaking on the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River near Yellow Pine, Idaho. Even though he might have wanted a few more years in this world, he would not have wished for a more appropriate end to his life.
He was born in Salmon, Idaho on May 21, 1947, to Robert Roland Studebaker and Betty L. Silbaugh. Bill grew up in the wilderness of Idaho. His childhood was characterized by long days in the woods while his father was employed as an assistant ranger with the US Forrest Service. He learned to be self sufficient outside and developed a love for Idaho's outdoors. He graduated from Salmon High School in 1965 and attended Idaho State University, graduating with a BS in History and MA in English. On August 23, 1969 he married his high school sweetheart and love of his life, Judy K. Infanger, in Salmon, Idaho. They moved to Twin Falls when Bill began teaching for the College of Southern Idaho in 1972.
During his years at CSI he taught English, History, conceived the Honors Program, and later founded the Outdoor Program. At the start of the technological era, when most people were pushing pencils, he urged the administration to set up computers for students in the classroom. He put his stamp of excellence on every hall he walked.
Bill was a man of letters—an accomplished writer of both poetry and prose—and a widely published author of diverse works, including several books: EVERYTHING GOES WITHOUT SAYING, THE CLEAVING, FALLING FROM THE SKY, TRAVELERS IN AN ANTIQUE LAND, SHORT OF A GOOD PROMISE, PASSIONS WE DESIRE, and RIVER RELIGION, to name only a few. Also, countless poems, stories, and articles of his are scattered in publications throughout the country.
He served on the board of the Idaho Writer's Connection, as a commissioner for the Idaho Commission on the Arts, and as a councilor for the Idaho Humanities Council. He received the 2005 Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities.
Bill believed one should participate, not spectate. He was not one to watch from the sideline or the shore. He participated with full intensity and infused a passion into those who were with him to share his love of the activity.
Bill was preceded in death by his father. Survivors include his wife, Judy, and their children (who remain Bill's living legacy), Tona (Gary) Casella of Boise, Robert (Barb Brazier) Studebaker of Boise, Tyler (TJ) Newton of Twin Falls, and Eric (Bethani Frantz) Studebaker of Twin Falls. Grandchildren include Marissa Casella, Alex Studebaker, Piper and Skeet Newton, and Sophi and Phoebe Studebaker. He is also survived by his mother, Betty Silbaugh of Jerome, his sister, Penny (Fred) Hodges, of Buhl, and his brother, Dennis (Leah) Studebaker, of Kenai, Alaska and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service is planned for 2:00 p.m. Saturday, July 12 at the CSI Herrett Center. The family will visit with friends from 1:00 p.m. Memorials may be given in Bill's name to The Cabin Literary Center, 801 S. Capital Blvd., Boise, Idaho. In lieu of flowers bring rocks for a rock memorial garden for Bill.