Home is where the story starts and, for Roger Kermit Monahan, that was in Racine, Minnesota where he was born on August 11, 1938. He was raised in St. Maries, Idaho, eventually settling in Spokane, Washington where he raised his family. Life events took Roger to Alaska where he met his wife, Betty. He followed her all over the world but they found their way back home to Spokane in 1998 where he lived until his unexpected death on February 5th, 2020.
And so, the story begins…
Roger never forgot the roads he traveled and the people he met and loved along the way. His childhood in Minnesota and Idaho gave him boundless memories that fostered great family bonds that would last a lifetime. His family extended to Wisconsin.
Roger lived the majority of his life in the Pacific Northwest where his love for the outdoors was passed on to his children. Life on the farm in Spokane meant hard work but also fun and loving family stories around the dinner table and experiences to last a lifetime. Roger was a plumber by trade, a livelihood that brought him lifelong friends. He was one of the founders of Kohler-Tower-United (KTU) and eventually owned and operated R&N Plumbing. In his “spare” time, he could be found encouraging his children on the basketball or volleyball court and, of course, the nearby ski slopes. His love of sports, cultivated during childhood, remained a passion for a lifetime.
In Alaska, he met his second wife, Betty, affectionately referred to, by him, as “the redhead,” a career military officer for the United States Air Force. Roger traveled all over the world with Betty—Korea, Japan, China, and Europe—not only in support of her career, but to forge his own path, receiving the highest commendations for his tireless devotion to supporting the troops through his USO volunteer work. In Alaska, Mississippi, Texas, and back here in Spokane, he would be recognized for countless hours he volunteered in support of individuals and families in need.
In Spokane in the late 90’s, the adventure continued with a growing generation of “Monahans,” his grand- and great-grandchildren. That included enjoying a day of fishing or the simplicity of building a fire to cook the day’s catch. If he wasn’t with family, he could be found on the golf course, riding his Harley, regularly attending events such as the symphony (attire included flip-flops…really Roger?) or the Gonzaga women’s basketball games. Truth be told, the worst day of fishing was better than the best day of anything else. Proof? He went on a fishing trip the day after his wedding to Betty. Over the last 20 years in Spokane, Roger settled back to enjoy the cycle of life in more ways than one—watching his grandchildren grow, sowing and harvesting a garden, fishing and canning his catch (with his devoted cohort, sister Diane) to distribute throughout the family; from his table to theirs.
Right down to the last days of his life, while chopping wood or clearing snow, he still stopped occasionally to look up and appreciate the day. The heavens must have been looking too.
Roger is survived by his wife of 30 years, Betty Monahan; his six children, Shelly Monahan Cain (Steve), Denise Choi (Chris), Colleen Davis (Ed), John Monahan (Vivi), and Mary Jensen (Ron); his 24 grandchildren, Marshall, Mitchell, Makenzie, Taylor, Kelina, Malia, Ketura (Andrew), Julius, Jared, Aslin, Kyle, Michael John, David, Caleb, Riley, Paxton (Trevor), Laiken, Trevor John, Miley, Daniella, Ryan, Trey, Bo, and Uriah; and his 5 greatgrandchildren, A.J., Shawn, Abbigail, Aubbrey, and Ashton. Also, his surviving siblings— sisters, Janice Rogge (Ray), Carolyn Johnson, Diane Brogan, Maryann Bailey, Karen Robinson (Jimmy), and brother, Howard Thorhaug (Nancy)—mourn his loss. If you crossed paths with Roger and life took you down a different road, Roger never forgot you. Such was the case for his former sons-in-law, Jeff Hall, Michael Oddino, Abe Sua, Dan Christenson, and Mike Gilbert.
Roger was preceded in death by his parents, Kermit Monahan and Adeline Monahan Thorhaug; his first wife, Nancy Danneker; his siblings, Joanne Butler and Wayne Thorhaug; and Roger’s son, Michael Monahan.
Celebration of Life will be Thursday, March 12, 1:00 PM, at The Eagles, 6410 N. Lidgerwood St. Reception to follow at the site. Interment will be at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake, WA.