John L. Driessen

1943-2020 • Elgin

John Leo Driessen, 76, of Elgin, died June 13 at his home. At his request there will not be a service. A family gathering will be held later in the summer.

John was born July 17, 1943, in Great Falls, Montana, to Leo Donahue and Eleanor Gunvar (Hemstad) Driessen. John was an only child and grew up on the family farm outside of Conrad, Montana, in a one-bedroom house. From the time he was three years old John slept in the bunkhouse, and in the summer he and his grandpa Hemstad enjoyed many laughs while his grandpa stayed with the family.

John worked in mining, farmed most of his life and was a great mechanic. He loved music, camping, fishing and gold mining. In his 76 years, he never met a person who was a stranger. John played the guitar and accordion and loved to dance, and no one could jitterbug like he could.

In 1965 John married Sharon Mitchell. The couple enjoyed a shared love of music and were in a band in their early marriage. They had two children, Shawna and Lee, and raised them on the family farms in Plummer and Weiser, Idaho. Their children have many memories growing up of snowmobiling, fishing, road trips and musical gatherings at the family home.

John worked and managed the experimental farm from 1987-2000 for the USDA, Agriculture Research Service in Pullman, Washington. While there he assisted in the design and performed nearly all the construction of three experimental cross-slot no-till drills, which have become an important part of soil conservation in the agricultural industry. John was excited and proud of his involvement in this project.

In 2012 John married Jan Bauer in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They enjoyed dancing, camping and fishing trips with family and belonged to a gold mining club. They also loved karaoke and laughing together. Jan took great care of John while he was sick.

Surviving relatives include his wife, Jan of Elgin; daughter and son-in-law, Shawna and Randy McKinnis of Imbler; son and daughter-in-law, Lee and Sandy Driessen of Midland, Texas; stepson and spouse, Brian and Shelly Graham of Midvale, Idaho; 12 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren plus one on the way.

He was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to your local dementia or Alzheimer’s organizations.

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Sorry to hear of the passing of John..... the work he did with Keith Saxton and Bob Pappendick with the Cross Slot technology at WSU will play a major part in providing sustainable food production not only in the USA but globally.

Gavin Porter, CEO Cross Slot North America

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