Born on August 26, 1918 in Reno (near Woodland), Alvin W. Luhr was known his whole life as “Tuffy”. He was raised by his mother (Lucy Berg) and step-father (Peter Berg) on a farm in the Clayton area,, along with two brothers and four sisters. He graduated from Deer Park High School in 1936, and attended Washington State College (now WSU) for three years before going into business partnership at a gas station in Deer Park.
In 1940, Tuffy married Marjorie Kathryn Johnson of Deer Park. They were together for 67 years before she passed away in 2007. Tuffy was one of the early aviators in the Spokane area, and flew for the Civil Air Patrol during the early days of World War II. He entered the Army in 1944 and saw heavy action in Europe as part of General Patton’s Third Army. He was a survivor of the Battle of the Bulge, and was among the first soldiers to liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp.
After the war, Tuffy began working in sawmills, which would be his profession for over 60 years. He moved to the Colville area in the mid-1950s, building and eventually owning the Kettle Falls Lumber Co. In the 1970s, he built and owned a sawmill in Evanston, WY, then built and operated the Arden sawmill for Plum Creek Lumber Co. In the 1980s and 1990s Tuffy worked as a consultant in the sawmill industry, and was on the Board of Directors of the Colville Tribal Enterprise Corporation. Most recently, he was on the Board of Directors of Borgford Bioenergy.
Tuffy and his wife Marjorie enjoyed square dancing and were active in the First Congregational Church in Colville, where Tuffy served as a Deacon. In later years, Tuffy and Marjorie lived at Loon Lake, and later moved to Hawthorne Manor (now Rockwood at Hawthorne) in Spokane.
Tuffy passed away on Dec.26, 2013 at 95 years of age.
He is survived by a son, (Skip Luhr) in Vashon; a daughter, (Susan McWhirter), Hidden Valley Lake, CA; a son and daughter-in-law (David and Iran Luhr) in Olympia; a brother (Alan Berg) in Spokane; a sister (Mary Lou Olsen) in Graham; eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
A memorial service for Tuffy will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 15, 2014 at the First Congregational Church, 205 N. Maple St, Colville, WA.