Highway work in the blood for Gregory family

Sometimes a last name is so common that you may not realize the connection immediately. Sometimes it takes years to figure it out.
Richard Gregory retired from ITD’s District 3 Special Crew in 2008. Years earlier, Jeramie Gregory came from eastern Idaho to the Marsing shed. Same last name, but “Gregory” is not at all uncommon.
Then came the evening of the Idaho 55 washout near Marsing in late July, and one of the first people on the scene was Jeramie, now the lead worker. The first photo of the damage came from a camera held by Janet Gregory, ITD’s District 3 Maintenance Office manager.
I will admit – until that day I knew Janet was married to Richard, but had not made even the slightest connection to Jeramie … until it hit me that to get that picture, Janet would have had to have already been in the Marsing area. Light bulb!  Yes, indeed: Jeramie is Janet and Richard’s son.
Three people from the same family working for ITD and spanning multiple generations is not unprecedented, but not typical, either.
To go back to the beginning of the Gregory story with ITD, Richard started as an hourly employee with the Striping Crew in 1974, and moved to the New Meadows shop in January of 1975. He then switched to Special Crew in 1980, and stayed there until becoming Caldwell’s maintenance lead worker in 1987. He moved to the Striping Crew in 1992, went back to Caldwell maintenance in 2005, and was back with Special Crew from 2006 until he retired.
Janet started in the District 3 Maintenance Office in 1992. She and Richard met at ITD and married in April 1994. Janet went to work for Region 4 Maintenance in 1998 and returned to District Maintenance in November of 2010.
“Rich and I got married on a Friday,” Janet said. “The following Monday, all three Gregorys came to work at ITD.”
“Rich had 33 years in when he retired, and this October I will start my 20th year,” said Janet.  “Jeramie has been with the state for 17 years.”
“Wow, that’s a lot of ITD in one family!” she said with a smile. 
Turns out it doesn’t end there.
Janet’s grandfather on her mother’s side was employed by the Washington State Department of Transportation for about 10 years (1955-65). George VanBrocklin worked on Blewet Pass outside of Leavenworth and retired as foreman.
A number of people from the same family tree working for the highway department is not unprecedented, as the partial list below shows. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but District 3 also features:
The Flecks

  • Joe, of Banks Maintenance
  • Forrest, retired from Idaho City Maintenance

The Hunters

  • Clark, of Caldwell Maintenance
  • Elden, retired from Bruneau Maintenance

The Beverages

  • Ray, formerly of Supply
  • Steve, a Mechanic
  • Bill, formerly of the Sign Shop

The Church/Newlun family

  • Art Church, Gail Newlun’s father, worked for Banks Maintenance  
  • Gail has worked in the Traffic section since 1976
  • Joe (Banks) and Rusty (Striping Crew) Church are her brothers
  • Larry Newlun (formerly Sign Crew/Sign Shop), is Gail’s husband
  • An uncle, Kenny Coulter, also worked for ITD.

But that’s another story for another day.

Photos: ITD's family of Gregorys include Janet (top) when she celebrated ther 50th birthday; Jeramie (middle right), and Rich, shown at his retirement party (bottom left)

Published 8-19-2011