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Steven Ray Gorton

February 7, 2023

Steven Ray Gorton died suddenly on February 4, 2023. He was born to Ray and Alene Marie Gorton on February 21, 1961 in San Jose, California, where his father worked for Qantas Airlines. A memorial service will be held at Mountain View Mennonite Church in Bonners Ferry at 2 p.m. Friday, February 10. Out of town family and friends can call (208) 427-2040 to listen to the service.

When he was three, his parents moved the family back to Kansas, where both his mother and father were born. He lived in Lawrence, Kansas until he was 12, developing a lifelong love of the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team.

His family then moved to Platte City, Missouri, a rural town north of Kansas City. He was a long-distance runner in high school and also ran several marathons. However, he longed to live in the forest and be near the mountains.

So when he was 18, he drove a beat-up truck as far north and west as needed until he found a forest. He also knew if he drove much further north, he would be in Canada. In October of 1979, he pitched his tent up in the mountains in Troy, Montana, and began to fish, hunt and trap. He lived in Troy off and on for several years, occasionally coming back to the Midwest to earn money so that he could go back to the mountains and the forest.

He worked as an owner/operator of a semi-truck over the road for seven years, driving just about everywhere in the United States, but continuing to be based out of Troy. He worked as a reporter/editor for The Montanian Newspaper and as news reader/news director at KLCB radio station, both in Libby, Montana. Along the way, he made many lifelong friends in Troy and Libby.

In 1996, his father asked him to come back to the Kansas City area and work in the family business. He returned and began to work as a freight forwarder for Direct Air Transport. When his father retired, Steve took over the business. After the move back to Missouri, he met Leslie Lancaster and they fell in love. Steve and Leslie were married on April 24, 1999, and they had two children, a son, Samuel born in 2001, and a daughter, Abigail in 2002.

Unfortunately, Leslie died of cancer in October of 2010, leaving Steve with two young children. He cut back on his business and concentrated on raising Samuel and Abigail. Steve was the best father and his two children are a testament to that. In 2012, he met Mary Pickert. Mary had two sons and was also widowed.

They fell in love and Steve told Mary he wanted to "revolutionize" their lives, as living in the suburbs of Kansas City was not for him. He still longed to live near the forest and the mountains. In the summer 2013, Steve, Mary and the kids all went to North Idaho and Montana for a vacation.

In the fall of that same year, they bought a house with some acreage just north of Bonners Ferry. Steve and Mary were married on October 3, 2013, and moved to Bonners Ferry with Samuel, Abigail and Mary's youngest son Matthew. Steve took care of their chickens and cows and loved being back near the mountains and forest. He was a weekly visitor at the Mountain View Mennonite Church and cherished that congregation.

Steve was a wonderful father, husband, son, brother and friend. He was also a great writer and would have written a much better obituary than this one.

He is survived by his mother Alene Marie Gorton, wife Mary, son Samuel, daughter Abigail, stepsons James and Matthew Pickert, stepmother Gail Gorton, mothers-in-law Ruth Lancaster, Ann Hott and Connie Pickert, sisters Vicki (Dean) Richardson, Kathy (Roger) Maxwell and Liz Gorton Shrestha, brother Randy (Amy), uncle Carl Gorton, best friend Steve Fee and the entire Fee family; and many, many much loved aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and friends. He never knew a stranger and was always ready to lend a hand when someone needed help. He was preceded in death by his father Ray Gorton; his wife Leslie Gorton; and his father-in-law Bill Lancaster.

Steve's favorite hymn was "It is Well With My Soul." He carried the lyrics to this song in his wallet, which include:

"When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul"

His family and friends will try to abide with and trust in those words, but we will miss him so much. He is now with his Lord and Savior and we need to trust in Him.

The family wants to thank the Mountain View and Woodland congregations, and all of our friends in Bonners Ferry for their help during this difficult time. A celebration of life will be scheduled in Kansas City later this summer. In lieu of flowers and contributions, please just reach out and help your neighbors when you see a need. Steve always did.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

A 9B Media LLC publication
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