Cover photo for Jon  Garfield Trail's Obituary
Jon  Garfield Trail Profile Photo
1943 Jon 2015

Jon Garfield Trail

May 25, 1943 — October 6, 2015

In the early morning of May 25, 1943, after severe thunderstorms with much hail in the valley, Jon Garfield Trail was born at Payette General Hospital to Edward Garfield "Jack" and Christine Jewell (Cox) Trail. It was the middle of the challenges of WWII; with a newly born son, the farm family with orchards were facing crop loss. Thus began Jon's life of challenges, adventures, many interests and a legacy from which Legends were made and the stories about him repeated frequently among friends. Early January, 2014, Jon was stricken with transverse myelitis, a neurological inflammation of the spinal cord, which left his walking impaired along with diabetes, arthritis and loss of vision in one eye. He had begun to say "I'm not aging with grace." On the morning of October 6, 2015, Jon passed over peacefully in his sleep, at home. Some would say he passed with the grace of the Great Masters. In his life, Jon grew up on the family farm north of Payette; he attended Payette schools, graduating 1961; graduated University of Idaho, 1965, with major in Political Science; attained Master's degree in diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Medford/Somerville, Massachusetts. When fruit harvest was completed at the farm in fall of 1967, Jon embarked on a "round the world" trip, going West from San Francisco and returning to the farm from the East July 4th, 1968 having been delayed overnight in Salt Lake City by severe thunderstorms. That fall, he purchased a 1969 red 911 T Porsche from Norm Bishop in Boise; this remained his one car throughout his lifetime. Jon then began his career as a farmer with his parents, taking over when they passed and actively supervising apple harvest the day before his passing. Together, with his parents, doing business as Trails, Inc., they were a triumvirate of successful farming, raising registered Hereford cattle, hay, grain, apples from quality stock, and in season continued the Cox family tradition of growing cantaloupes, watermelons, sweet corn and some pumpkins. Jon's love for the farmland was demonstrated by good agricultural practices and professional involvement; Leadership Idaho Ag; University of Idaho Agricultural Advisory Council; member, chair and institutional memory for the Washington County Planning and Zoning commission for some 30 years; member of Idaho Horticulture Society, serving as president in 1989. His grandparents, E.B. and Florence Cox settled on 40 acres in south Washington County in 1901. At a celebration of Jon's 60th birthday in 2003, the Cox Century Farm was recognized by the Idaho Historical Society and also celebrated. He believed in conserving fragile and beautiful places. Along with his sister, they put one third of their acreage into conservation easements: Trail Sandhill which the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley is steward; The Jewel Wetland, developed under USDA Resource Conservation Wetland Restoration program. Jon was a charter member of the Idaho Native Plant Society, Pahove Chapter, participating enthusiastically with his many cameras on field trips to special places for a dozen years in Idaho and Oregon. He was liaison from the Native Plant Society to the Idaho Noxious Weed committee for several years. What did Jon do for fun? His gift of accumulative thinking and delight in telling a current story that may have begun for him 50 or more years ago was well known. His keen intellect and fecund mind along with a quirky sense of humor was well known. He thrived on reading the NY Times, listening to NPR, reading farm/orchard magazines and for diversion, watching old movies and listening to 1940's radio programs. This kept him on top of matters political, social and silly. He was a raconteur of the highest order. Additionally, Jon collected toys. To start there was his WWII wooden pull tractor using boy-power, not energizer. Then came the cast metal road grader and concrete mixer. Jonny Trail, his cousins, Jimmy Cox, Tommy Peutz and Billy Carl Trail built many roads in the abundant sand of the farm with much imaginary concrete. As the year went by tractors, cars and trucks were added. E-Bay offered Jon many opportunities to connect with other collectors and expand his own collection which now includes many John Deere, Allis Chalmers and Massey Ferguson tractors. He added match box cars and various sizes red Porsches along with other classic cars. He did not keep a log of acquisitions therefore the count is unknown at this time. Jon had been active in the Treasure Valley Community College photography club. He collected fine cameras and related equipment, such as a bellows for macro photography and dissolve projectors which he shared with others for giving slide presentations. Notable among these were field trip programs for Pahove and a documentary of the abandoned Payette County Jail in the basement of the old county courthouse. This material was used in a Jazz and Blues class set to jail house blues music at Boise State University. While Jon relished being a native born Idahoan, he was proudly out of step with Idaho politics in recent years. When he was in step with Idaho politics he enjoyed attending such events as Governor Evans Inaugural Ball and a small snowy night winter party in 1981 at the governor's mansion featuring Lola's favorite recipes. He wisely knew that the Century Farm could come about due to FDR and New Deal land bank policies that made his legacy of a 114 year farm possible. Jon is survived by his sister, Mary Trail, Payette; aunt Rosemary Trail, Tucson, Arizona; a wealth of cousins/firsts, seconds, thirds; his three rescue Border Collie dogs, "Ike", "Spike", and "Yakima" as well as the magnificent black cat, "Prince". He was preceded in death by his parents and several close cousins. A Thanksgiving of Life Memorial open house will be held from 2 pm - 4 pm, Saturday, November 21st at the Portia Club in Payette. Condolences may be made to Jon's family at Cremation and arrangements are under the direction of Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, Payette.
Memorials in memory of Jon may be made to University of Idaho (Borah Foundation), Land Trust of Treasure Valley Inc., or an animal shelter or charity of the donor's choice, c/o Shaffer-Jensen Memory Chapel, P.O. Box 730, Payette, Idaho 83661.

Service Details.


When: Sunday, October 11th, 2015
Location: Funeral Home


When: Saturday, November 21st, 2015
Location: Funeral Home

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