Saturday, May 25, 2024

Richard Jon Faletto


Richard Jon Faletto earned his final wings, passing away peacefully on Sunday May 5, 2024 in Sandpoint, Idaho, at the age of 83. Rich was born on November 27, 1940, in Wenatchee, WA to Mario and Edith Faletto. His early years in Chelan, WA were a young boy’s dream come true.

Growing up in a large Italian family, meals were shared, and tall tales were told. He worked on the family ranch, where he learned the value of hard work, plowing fields behind a team of Belgian draft horses. He loved hunting and fishing, waterskiing, and collecting arrowheads. He served his church as an altar boy, attended Boys State, and graduated from high school with honors.

As a young man, his summers were spent high in the Cascade mountains leading a team of pack mules, cutting trails and maintaining forest service lands. It was here he discovered his passion for flying, enrolling in the Advanced Air Force ROTC program, and eventually flying for the U.S. Forest Service fire base out of Wenatchee.

Rich attended Washington State University and was a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. It was in college that he caught the eye of Betty Jane Baker in a ballroom dance class and married the love of his life on December 26, 1962. Earning his bachelor’s degree in 1964, Rich went on to become a distinguished supply and logistics officer in the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed across the United States and was particularly in his element serving his country at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska. Spending five years there with his family, they enjoyed float plane fishing trips, skiing Mt. Alyeska, and camping in Alaska’s beautiful wilderness. He was assigned a remote tour in Udorn, Thailand.

Upon returning to the mainland, his role was in Foreign Military Sales of the F-16 Fighter aircraft to Israel, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Iran, and Turkey. In this capacity, he and Betty hosted many foreign dignitaries at their dining room table, leading to numerous insightful conversations and memories. During his career, Rich received numerous awards and was most proud of the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Air Mobility Certificate for support of USAF operations during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

After retiring from the Air Force in 1985, Rich and Betty made their 39th move to Sandpoint, Idaho, their forever home. They owned The Floor Show for four years, he partnered in a Windermere Real Estate franchise, and worked as a mortgage lender for First Security Bank and Wells Fargo. He was the director of marketing for First American Title and a realtor at Hidden Lakes Golf Resort.

Rich was a renaissance man, pursuing many passions. He had a gift for writing and published his book, “Four-Eleven! Pulaski’s, Planes, and Forest Fires,” a memoir of his summers working for the Forest Service. Rich was quick to learn languages, converse on a broad range of subjects, and encourage others to pursue their dreams.

Cooking was the centerpiece of the Faletto household, and Rich was always quick to offer a smile and an invitation to join the festivities with a great meal, good bottle of wine, conversation, and music… turned up loud! Since logistics was his specialty, he spent months every year planning the ultimate hunting camp to include an elaborate kitchen with a stove for fresh hot pies, and a grill for prime rib and Alaskan seafood. Huge sleeping tents were erected, to include a sauna to be enjoyed after a long day of hunting. Camp rules were of high importance, and the motto of “a happy camp is a tidy camp” was to be followed. Time spent on a mountain ridge scoping for trophy bucks or listening for the bugle of a bull elk were some of his happiest moments. He spent many hours tinkering in his shop, tying flies, reloading ammo, making wine, and rebuilding vintage 356 Porsches. He shared his love for the outdoors, teaching his children how to ski, ride horses, fly fish, hunt responsibly, and live life with the utmost degree of integrity.

Rich was an enthusiastic and intensely loyal fan of the WSU Cougar football team and a tireless booster for his beloved Cougars. He served a term as President of the Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, belonged to the Military Officers Association, Lake Pend Oreille Club, North Idaho Builders, Elks, Selkirk Association of Realtors, National Rifle Association, Bonner County Sportsman’s, and was a docent at the Bird Museum. He was a proud member of the VFW and an avid supporter of vets, working tirelessly promoting and fundraising for veteran-owned businesses. He could often be found roasting whole pigs, raising funds for a good cause throughout the community.

He is survived by his bride of 61 years, Betty, and three children: daughter Michelle (Troy); granddaughter Peyton (Sergio); sons, Peter, Paul (Rasmy); grandchildren Carina and Andrew (Piff); and great-grands Ariana, Evan, and Lillian.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favorite charity or our local VFW chapter.

Please visit Rich’s online memorial at and sign his guestbook.