The man with the larger than life personality, most affectionately known to so many, as Heavy Macfarlane, passed away at the age of 69 on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, from complications of esophageal cancer.
He was born on July 26, 1945 to Robert Walter “Bob” and Harriet Elizabeth Taylor Macfarlane in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Bill and his family lived in Canada until he turned nine. The Macfarlane family then moved to the United States. They lived in Montana, New York, Indiana and finally made their home in Blackfoot, Idaho, when his dad, Bob, came to work at the Atomic Energy Commission, known today as the Idaho National Laboratory.
Bill attended junior high and high school in Blackfoot. While in high school, Bill worked at Okay’s Grocery Store. It is here that Bill’s love of working with people and retail would be born.
Bill graduated from Blackfoot High School in 1963. Bill enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1964. He served a four-year tour of duty as an Aero Medical Evacuation Tech during the Vietnam War. He spent countless hours caring for thousands of injured soldiers as they made their way back home. During his tour of duty, he flew to Vietnam, Japan, Alaska, Hawaii and California.
After returning stateside in 1968, he worked for various line contractors as a groundman. Bill earned the nickname that would last a lifetime, “Heavy”, by Kenny McDonald.
In 1970, while working in Pocatello, Idaho, Heavy met the love of his life, Brenda Brashear. The two married in Elko, Nevada on Nov. 22, 1970.
Heavy completed a four-year apprenticeship with Local #449 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Pocatello, Idaho. After completing his apprenticeship, Heavy worked as a journeyman electrician from 1970 until 1983. In 1983, Heavy began working at the site as a Quality Inspector for Exxon Nuclear. As much as he liked working construction, he felt his time would be better spent closer to home so he could be with his family.
Heavy and Brenda moved to Blackfoot in 1972. In June of 1973, their oldest daughter, Nicole Ann “Nikki” Macfarlane, was born. In June of 1977, their second daughter, Brandi Kay, was born.
Heavy spent the next 24 years working at the Idaho National Laboratory. His time there would include working for subcontractors, Exxon, Westinghouse, Lockheed, LMITCO, Bechtel, CWI and Hukari.
Heavy retired as a Quality Engineer for the first time from CWI in 2008. He returned to the site again in 2009 and stayed through 2011. He chose to put off retirement yet again when he went back in June of 2013. This would be his last return as he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer on Dec. 23, 2013.
One of Heavy’s greatest joys would come to be in 2009 when Mike Boot joined his family. Mike married Heavy’s daughter, Brandi, on March 5, 2009. Having gotten to know Mike in previous years leading to the engagement and marriage, Heavy considered Mike to be the son he never had and still does to this day. He never let an opportunity pass to introduce Mike to people he knew.
Another one of Heavy’s greatest joys came on Sept. 15, 2010 when grandson, Zackary William Boot, was born. Zackary or Zacky as he is best know as, is the spitting image of his grandpa, Heavy. Papa, as Zacky would call him, spent lots of time together. Papa Heavy taught Zacky his love of cars, especially Chevy trucks. Papa Heavy and Zacky would go every Friday morning to breakfast at Martha’s Café.
Heavy’s family was completed with the addition of his beautiful granddaughter, Kaylee Nicole Boot on March 8, 2013. Heavy was able to see Kaylee through the first year of her life. She is and will always be Papa’s little princess.
Besides work and family, Heavy loved to be in Island Park. He, along with his family, had built a cabin years ago. His best times in Island Park were spent on a four-wheeler with an agenda to nowhere or around a campfire with family and friends.
Heavy also loved to do log work. He has built many tables, chairs and beds in his time. Some turned out, some turned into kindling!
Many hours were spent in his shop with good friends, Lee and Dell Mangum as they conspired to build their next project--or maybe it was just to tell a few lies!
Heavy always had a love of cars and the need for speed from early on. He was an avid fan of NHRA drag racing. He took great pride in keeping up his 1970 GMC and 1999 Chevrolet Silverado. Heavy was known around town if not by name, then by the truck he drove.
Heavy will be greatly missed. He was and always will be a commanding presence in all of our lives. We love him more than words can express. He was a loving husband, father, Papa and friend.
He was a member of the Elks Lodge #1416 for 41 years as well as a lifetime member of the Mason’s Grove City Lodge No. 33.
Heavy is survived by his wife of 43 years, Brenda of Blackfoot; daughters, Nikki Macfarlane of Blackfoot and Brandi (Mike) Boot of Ammon; and grandchildren, Zack and Kaylee Boot.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Bob and Harriet Macfarlane; sister, Lorna Lortie; brother-in-law, George Lortie; nephew, Mike Lortie; and best fishing buddy and honorary grandpa to his two girls, John Hernandez.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 at Hawker Funeral Home, 132 South Shilling Avenue in Blackfoot. Family will meet with friends from 10-11 a.m. prior to services at the funeral home. A luncheon will follow at the Blackfoot Elks, 123 N. Ash Street in Blackfoot. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.hawkerfuneralhome.com .
The family wishes to extend their appreciation to dear friends as well as those who gave loving care. A special thanks to the Knodle family for being there in the final weeks.