Leonard Wayne Neiwert, a Magic Valley native who spent most of his life in Idaho, passed away Wednesday at his home in Eagle. He was 88.
Len was born Sept. 23, 1932, near Rupert, the son of Alexander and Gertrude Neiwert. He attended schools in Twin Falls, graduating from Twin Falls High School in 1951, and married Verna DeloneAslett on Dec. 25, 1952.
He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1952, and served with overseas forces based in Korea and Japan from 1954 through 1955. He received an honorable discharge in 1956. His eldest son, Barry, was born in April 1954. When he returned from his service, he and his family moved to Salt Lake City, where he worked briefly for General Electric before he joined the Federal Aviation Administration in 1957, moving first to Phoenix, Ariz., for training and then Eugene, Ore., in the flight service office. Afterwards, the Neiwert and his family moved to Idaho Falls where he went to work in the flight service office at Fanning Field in 1960.
Len, who eventually became an air traffic controller at the airport, remained in Idaho Falls for the next 19 years, raising a family of four children with his wife, Delone; the youngest, Eric, was born in 1967. The family relocated briefly to Hillsboro, Ore., in 1979, and then returned to Idaho in 1980 to work as a controller at the FAA tower in Pocatello. He retired from the FAA in 1989.
Their children all having graduated from high school, Leonard and Delone moved to Emmett briefly in 1990, then moved to the Boise area the following year, residing primarily in Boise and Meridian before settling in Eagle in 2019.
Len was a natural outdoorsman who was skilled at all kinds of fishing and hunting, and passed on his love of wildlife and the natural world to his children. He also was skilled at a number of avocations: car mechanic, gunsmith, photographer, fly tyer and largely anything to which he applied himself. Most of all, he was a devoted family man who constantly made sacrifices for the sake of his friends and loved ones, and whose fierce love and powerful personality left an indelible impression on everyone whose lives he touched. His loss will be deeply felt.
Len is survived by his wife, Verna Delone, of Eagle; his sisterand brother-in-law, Ruby and Emery Petersen of Twin Falls; his children and their spouses: Barry and Barb Neiwert of Bellevue, Idaho; David Neiwert and Lisa Dowling of Friday Harbor, Wash.; Rebecca Spiker of Bremerton, Wash.; and Eric Neiwertand Trish Snyder of Troutdale, Ore.; and seven grandchildren: Scott Shapiro-Neiwert of Portland; Jessica Herner of Hailey; Andrew Hingsberger of Meridian and Joelle Hingsberger, of Nampa; Ella Neiwert and Coen Neiwert of Eugene, Ore.; and Devin Neiwert of Friday Harbor; and one great-grandchild, Ilana Shaprio-Neiwert of Portland. He was preceded in death by his parents, Alex and Gertrude, and by his son-in-law, Michael Spiker.
Graveside services will be held Saturday, June 5, at 2:00 PM at the Twin Falls Cemetery. A reception will follow.