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Obituary of Charles Francis McDevitt
Charles F. “Chuck” McDevitt, originally of Pocatello, Idaho was the fourth child (of twelve) of Bernard A. and Margaret H. McDevitt. Throughout his life of 89 years, he strove to make this world a better place by the time he left it.
Starting with newspaper delivery in grade school, Chuck worked throughout his early years while at St. Joseph’s Catholic School and Pocatello High School. He moved on to delivery man for the Fargo Wilson Wells Department store, followed by Finer Cleaners and then Fashion Cleaners. He was a member of the Pocatello High School debate team. Upon graduation from high school, he attended Idaho State University where Chuck and his partner won the Western Regional Debate Tournament held at Stanford University. He transferred to University of Idaho the following year where he won the tournament again in 1952. While at the U of I, he served on the Board of Directors of the student government (ASUI).
Chuck joined the United States Army in 1952, and was discharged with the rank of corporal in 1954. Returning to the University of Idaho, he earned a law degree in 1956. He was admitted to practice law in the State of Idaho, as well as before the United States District Court for the District of Idaho and the United State Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
For the duration of his life, the one highlight that stood out the most was the marriage to the love of his life, Virginia “Ginny” that began in the summer of 1954.
In December of 1956, Chuck and Ginny moved to Boise, Idaho, where he joined the law firm of Richards, Haga and Eberle, as an Associate. He left the law firm to become General Counsel for Boise Cascade and was successively elected General Counsel and Secretary; Vice President and Secretary; and then a Vice President. While he was with Boise Cascade, he served as a member of the Idaho State Legislature - from 1963 through 1966. During his terms in the Idaho Legislature, Chuck helped write and establish a state sales tax to help fund education.
Chuck and his family moved to New York when he was recruited to become President of Beck Industries in 1968. In 1970, Chuck left Beck and became Group Vice President of the Singer Company. Chuck was subsequently elected in 1973 to Executive Vice President and became a member of the Executive Committee of the Singer Company, overseeing billion-dollar enterprises.
Desiring a return to Idaho values and to the practice of law that he had always enjoyed, Chuck came back to Boise with his family in 1976 and he became the Ada County Public Defender. Chuck in 1978, along with Raymond Givens, Ken Pursley and Jay Webb, founded the law firm of Givens, McDevitt, Pursley and Webb, which continues to this date under the name of Givens Pursley.
In July of 1989, Governor Cecil Andrus appointed Chuck to fill a vacancy on the Idaho Supreme Court, where he was Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court from 1993 to 1997.
Upon leaving the court in 1997, Chuck joined with DJ “Joe” Miller to form McDevitt and Miller, LLP where he practiced until 2018. Chuck continued as a lawyer until shortly before his death.
Chuck served on numerous committees including the Ninth Circuit Grand Jury Reform Committee, the Supreme Court Advisory Committee, the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Tax Committee, the Legislative Compensation Committee, Government Ethics Committee, State Select Committee on Campaign Ethics and Campaign Finances, and State Select Committee on Legislative Compensation. He also served in an executive capacity with many organizations including President of the Boise Inn of the American Inns of Court, Director of the Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands, Director of the YMCA and the National Recreation Parks Association.
Chuck along with Susan Eastlake and Doyal Wainser expanded the regional Les Bois Soccer Tournament and went on to design and build the 161-acre complex later named the Simplot Sports Complex. He served as a Commissioner for many years on the Boise Parks and Recreation Board. Chuck joined with Jim Hall to form the Rivers to Ridge joint operation committee and to propose the Foothills Serial Levy. Chuck served as Chairman of the Foothill Conservation Advisory Committee, which protected more than ten thousand acres.
Most recently, he worked with Sal Celeski to complete a memoir on the 1965 Legislature.
In his spare time, Chuck grew alfalfa in his fields, raised goats and tended to beehives with Steve Sweet from which they produced Sweet Justice honey. Chuck became a terrific cook, cherishing gatherings around the family tables. There was always a treat in his jacket pocket for the dogs.
Chuck was at peace and surrounded by family when he passed on Saturday May 29, 2021.
No favor was too great nor need too small. He was always there, with words of encouragement, an approving nod, insightful questions, a helping hand, leadership and if necessary, the quiet dollar.
Husband, Dad, Gramps, Mentor, Friend, he will be missed.
He is survived by his loving wife, Ginny; children: Eileen McDevitt and her family, Laura Anderson, Jude and Zora, KC and Karole Anderson, Braxton , Isaac, Kole and Audrey; Kathryn and Kenneth Taghon; Brian and Lisa McDevitt and their family, Caitlin and Connor; Sheila McDevitt and Simon Brooking and their daughter, Fallon; Terrence McDevitt and his family, Gwendolyn, Aaron, Rowen and Seth; Neil McDevitt and Richard Sutton; Kendal McDevitt and Tina Young and their sons, Torin and Cashel; sisters and brother: Patricia Mallea; Colleen Moening; Joan Carney (Jim); Sharon Alexander and Bernard McDevitt (Susan).
Chuck’s parents, Bernard and Margaret McDevitt and his brothers and sisters; Dan, Herman, Thomas, Margaret, Janet and Sheila predeceased him.
Chuck requested that he be buried in a private family ceremony. Services are under the care of Accent Funeral Home, Meridian. Remembrances may be left for Chuck’s family at www.AccentFuneral.com.
About The Irish
What shall I say about the Irish.
The utterly impractical, never predictable Irish
Strange blend of shyness, pride and conceit,
And stubborn refusal to bow to defeat.
He’s spoiling and ready to argue and fight-
Yet the smile of a child fills his soul with delight.
His eyes are the quickest to well up in tears,
Yet his strength is the strongest to banish your fears.
And there’s no middle ground on which he will stand.
He’s wild and he’s gentle, he’s good and he’s bad,
He’s proud and he’s humble, he’s happy and sad,
He’s in love with the ocean, the earth and the skies.
He’s enamored with beauty wherever it lies.
He’s a victor and victim, a star and clod.
But mostly he’s Irish-in love with his God.
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