Thursday, April 25, 2024

Clarence Clinton 'Chip' Poling, 84

| December 27, 2020 1:00 AM

Clarence Clinton “Chip” Poling, 84, passed away Dec. 6, 2020 at his home in Parma, Idaho, surrounded by family.

Chip was born Jan. 31, 1936, in Williston, N.D., to Clarence and Kathryn Rustad Poling. He grew up on the family farm southeast of Grenora, N.D. He attended a one-room, rural school in Gladys, N.D., for the elementary grades and went to high school in Grenora, where he participated in sports as well as class studies.

After high school, Chip attended Minot State Teachers College for several years and then taught in a one-room, rural school west of Ray (1956-57), in order to help finance his brother to begin college at Minot. Fletcher helped in kind when Chip started at Montana State. Chip met his future wife, Donna Leonard, of Culbertson, Mont., on a blind date. They were married on July 12, 1958.

Chip entered the U.S. Navy (1957-1965) and after intensive training in electronics and operation of nuclear powered ships, he sailed around the world with the first nuclear powered U.S. fleet. During his service, Chip sailed on the USS Bainbridge and the USS Randolph. He crossed the equator and prime meridian at 0°N 0°E, becoming a Golden Shellback. Also during his service, Donna and Chip started their family of three children.

Following Navy duty, he attended Montana State University in Bozeman. While balancing a full-time job, his family and school, Chip graduated with degrees in electrical engineering and industrial engineering. After graduation from university, Chip was hired by Washington Water Power Co. (Avista), which is headquartered in Spokane, Wash. He was stationed in Spokane and Pullman, Wash. and Grangeville and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho as an engineer, plant superintendent, and district/division manager for the tenure of his years with the company until he retired.

Chip was very sports-oriented throughout his life and was a pitcher of repute in amateur baseball. He played with the Williston American Legion team for several years and with amateur teams in Culbertson, Mont., and Zahl, N.D. He continued to follow baseball and spent several years coaching a Babe Ruth League team in Pullman.

Along with being season ticket holders to WSU basketball games and enthusiastic fans of the Gonzaga team, Chip and Donna also enjoyed bowling, gardening, and riding their BMW motorcycle together over the years. They loved camping with their children and grandchildren, especially at Cape Kiwanda, Ore. – never tiring of the pull of the ocean. They also enjoyed traveling and made many trips back to Montana and North Dakota to visit family and friends. 

While residing in Idaho the latter part of his life, Chip and Donna followed their grandchildren's sporting and academic pursuits. Chip was an avid reader (including reading aloud every page of a catalog to whomever would listen), loved his animals, and the telling of an elaborate story. 

Chip is survived by his wife of 62 years, Donna; brother, Fletcher (Hedgie) Poling of Bismarck N.D.; daughter, Peggy (Mick) Sharkey of Parma, Idaho; daughter, Stephanie (Scott) Loomis of Everett, Wash.; son, Clint (Dinah) Poling of Colville, Wash.; grandchildren, Hanne (Ehren), Julia (Kyle) and Cora Sharkey, Ryan, Brianne (William) and Kurt Loomis, Kathryn McNeil, and Brayden (Jordyn) Poling; plus two great-grandchildren, Irelynne and Clinton McNeil; nieces and nephews; and his beloved cousins who grew up together in North Dakota. "Papa Chip" was a truly beloved grandpa, father, husband and brother. He was preceded in death by his parents Clarence and Kathryn Poling.

If you have a memory of Chip you would like to share with the family, please send to the Poling Family, P.O. Box 505, Parma, ID 83660, or email to

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice (Chip would endorse a donation made to a local library or youth sports program) or to his daughter Peggy's library at Parma School District #137, 805 E McConnell, Parma, ID 83660.

Services will be held at a later date in Montana and North Dakota.