Robert Murray Layne 1949 — 2021
Robert Murray Layne died from complications with pneumonia on Feb. 4, 2021, at Trinity Memorial Hospital in Minot, North Dakota.
Bob and his twin sister, Becky, were born June 19, 1949, after a speedy ride across the Arco desert from Mackay to Pocatello in Fred and Louise Diers’ brand new Cadillac. When the news that Murray and Virginia Layne were expecting twins got around town, everyone in Mackay was excited and wanted to help. Murray accepted Fred’s offer gratefully, not confident that his old Chevy would reliably get them to the hospital 150 miles away. When the twins decided to come, in the wee hours of the morning, Fred made sure they made it just in time to the Bannock Memorial Hospital. It was a wild and eventful ride!
Bob’s early years were spent in Mackay in the shadow of Mt. McCaleb rising majestically in the clean, clear air. The town, nestled in the green valley with the Lost River restlessly running through, was a young boy’s dream. The freedom to explore and imagine great adventures filled Bob’s spirit with an affinity for the great outdoors that guided his life’s choices right to the end.
His family moved to Challis where they lived on an 80-acre ranch with small streams and lakes and pools that attracted birds, wildlife and Bob. He had his first swimming “lesson” when a nail he was pulling out of a wooden plank of the bridge near their house suddenly gave way and sent Bob headfirst into the river. He developed his own style of dog paddle much to the relief of Becky and his big sister Dianne, watching frantically from the banks.
Bob had quite an adjustment from “country” life to “city” life when his family moved to Pocatello. Not one to be daunted by a challenge, Bob thrived, finding new interests and lifelong friends, but his heart never left the wide-open spaces of the Lost River Valley. Over the years Bob spent his summers in Mackay, honing his horsemanship skills while working with his ranching friends and moving cattle in the Copper Basin and the Pahsimeroi Valley.
When Bob graduated from Highland High School in 1968, the Vietnam War was going strong. Rather than being drafted, Bob enlisted in the US Air Force. Thankfully, he came home safely with three stripes and a beautiful set of Noritake China for his mom. The china was proudly used for every special family occasion.
Bob became certified in custom application and agricultural sales after he came home from the service. With his personable and easy-going manner, he was chosen top salesman and was rewarded with an unforgettable trip to Acapulco.
Bob married Jeannie Bell in 1975 in Pocatello. Jeannie’s daughter, Kim, held a special place in Bob’s heart. She became his riding partner and training helper. When Bob was working on cutting horses, Kim would often be running around the arena, “standing in” for a calf, while Bob trained his horse. Kim fondly remembers picking up her first and favorite horse, Old Tom, and riding him on camping trips with Bob in the Copper Basin above Mackay.
Bob began working at ISU as the Idaho State Farm manager. In 1980, Bob became an instructor in the ISU Crop and Soils program until May 1981, when he left to find gold in Alaska.
After Jeannie and Bob divorced, Bob moved back to Mackay. There he met Tammy Smith. They were married in 1997, and later moved to Gooding in 1998. Tammy’s three daughters became Bob’s world. He shared with them his love for riding and fishing and hunting. He had a special connection with each. Kara became his hunting and fishing partner. Years later, Kara and Bob could be found in town on Saturday nights celebrating the week’s end with good friends and good music with Bob entertaining all with a lively story of an adventure that gave everyone a good laugh. Kori Dawn (Kori, to everyone else) was his football partner. Every Sunday they would spend the day either watching the games together, or texting all through the games when they were apart. Shawna shared Bob’s interest in reloading ammunition and happily remembers the time Bob spent with her in the school gym working on her basketball skills. Bob was always encouraging them to keep improving and to never give up.
Bob and Tammy adopted their grandson Brendan when he was 4 years old. Brendan and Bob were kindred spirits sharing the love for the outdoors. Bob was especially proud of Brendan’s marksmanship, who was winning trap shooting contests in the Buhl area at the young age of 8.
Bob married Pam Schwiewe in 2015. They were living in North Dakota when Bob fell ill with double pneumonia.
Bob Layne had his own way of doing everything. He studied and explored every facet of whatever had captured his interest. He was always figuring how to make things better.
His ability with animals had the family calling him the Horse Whisperer before it was a thing. He was especially proud of his award-winning palomino cutting horse, Oly Gold. His dogs were trained to do everything but speak in complete sentences, though surely they spoke with Bob in a language only he could understand.
From bull riding in the Mackay Rodeo, to panning for gold in Alaska, to working in the oil fields of North Dakota, to running his own industrial spray business, Bob worked hard, and he played hard. More importantly, he loved his family and friends with a generous, gentle, and caring heart. We will forever cherish his memory and carry it closely with us … only wishing for one more story, one more playful wink, one more moment with Bob.
Bob was preceded in death by his grandparents Jack and Pauline Chaney, his parents Murray and Virginia Layne, and his beloved Blue Heeler Zeke, border collie Millie, and his English setter Louie. He is survived by his wife Pam Layne, Noonan, North Dakota; his loving daughters, Kimberly Ann (Paul) Edgington, Gold Camp, Arizona; Kara (Steve) Mason, Gooding, Idaho; Kori Dawn (Chuck) Rumple, Gooding, Idaho; Shawna (Evan) Arrington, Jerome, Idaho; his much-loved son, Brendan Layne of Minidoka, Idaho; his grandchildren, Perri Lynn, Korbin, Kaymin, Ryker, Waylon, Cassidy, Justin, Tayson, Karlee, Trinity, Braxton, Lexi, Brylee, and Rory; and his great-grandson Jayden, his sisters, Dianne (Clark) Parker, Mackay, Idaho; Rebecca “Becky” (Dan) Vestal, Caldwell, Idaho; Michelle Layne of Pocatello, Idaho; his brother, Mark (Angela) Layne, Caldwell, Idaho; his nieces and nephews, Nicole (Marty), Amanda, Patrick, Katy, Christopher (Ashlyn), Mallory, and Cole and Crue. Last but not least, Kara’s 8-month-old calf, Bob, born on Bob’s birthday last summer, and Bob’s new little hunting dog, Daisy.
The family thanks the doctors and nurses and staff of the Minot hospital ICU unit for their kind and compassionate care of Bob.
The family is planning a Celebration of Bob’s Life later this summer in Mackay Idaho. We invite all who knew and loved Bob to join us. Contact Dianne Parker at P.O. Box 397 Mackay, ID 83251 if you would like to attend or be notified of the time and date. A notice of this event will also be published at a later date.