Gale R. LewellenApril 20, 1945 ~ November 26, 2017 (age 72)
Gale Roy Lewellen, 72, of New Plymouth, Idaho, peacefully passed away at home in the arms of his sweetheart, Janice, on November 26, 2017 after a long and hard battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was born to Elvan Nathan Lewellen and Almetta Marie Richardson on April 20, 1945 in Wendell, Idaho. He and his three sisters were raised in Nampa, Idaho.
He is survived by his beloved wife of almost 45 years, Janice Lewellen; his children Amy (Jon) Johnston of Plymouth, MI, Ivan (Jamie) Lewellen of New Plymouth, ID, Marie Camacho of Phoenix, AZ, and Sterling (Mary) Lewellen of Springfield, MO. He was a proud Papa and Grandpa to Nathan, Audrey, Eli, Mila, Sterling, Elizabeth, Alexis, Gavin, and Dylan. He was deeply loved and will be greatly missed by his older sisters, Arlena Renzi and Carol Wakefield, his brother-in-law Gordon Wakefield and his nephews and niece. Gale was preceded in death by his parents and his dear younger sister, Jean.
His beloved Idaho was the setting for so many of his best stories as he regaled his listeners with tales of fishing at his favorite spot on the north fork of the Payette River, skiing at Bogus Basin and his many adventures camping with childhood pals, Jimmy and Terry. He graduated from Nampa High School in 1963.
He began his college studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder, not because of the academic programs, but because he dreamed of making the 1964 U.S. Olympic Ski Team. Although unsuccessful in his attempt, Gale fondly remembered his time on the slopes with so many iconic future Olympic athletes. He finished his undergraduate degree in Biology at Brigham Young University and continued his studies there, earning his Master’s degree in Zoology in 1968. Shortly after graduation, he was drafted into the United States Army for service in the Vietnam War. After completing basic training at Fort Ord in California, he was stationed in San Francisco. Gale spent the remainder of his two-year enlistment working to perfect the formula for medical grade superglue, specifically for use on the battlefield. Upon his discharge he began his PhD studies at the University of Oklahoma.
In November 1972, he met Janice MacDonald. After a whirlwind romance, which survived a first date to his cadaver lab, he and Janice were married on December 29, 1972 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. They moved to Pocatello, Idaho where he continued his PhD studies at Idaho State University. In 1975, he accepted a one-year assignment teaching anatomy and physiology at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. At the conclusion of that assignment, Gale began teaching at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. It was his privilege and pleasure to teach thousands of first year chiropractic students the intricacies of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system. He did so with distinction, success, and at 7:30 in the morning. Despite torturing his many students with countless 4 point quizzes on 3x5 cards, he was honored to be the recipient of the student chosen Professor of the Year award for many of his 33 years teaching at Palmer. He was dedicated to his students and loved to hear of their success.
He was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Gale found great joy in being of service to his fellow beings and served diligently in his many church callings, including 9 years as a Davenport Iowa Stake President, a leader of 10 congregations. He was also instrumental in helping to plan the rebuilding of the Nauvoo Temple. For the last several years he has enjoyed serving as an assistant in the nursery. He loved the little children, and they loved him. Many will remember him for his legacy of service, his influence for good, and most importantly, his love for the Savior.
His children will always remember his fondness for Whitey’s ice cream, specifically vanilla malts, his love for watching BYU football games (unless they were losing), hearing him whistle the songs “Moon River” and “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” his propensity for walking everywhere despite the distance, listening to him lecture on the delicateness of the inner ear whenever he felt the noise level in the backseat was unacceptable, his perseverance in the face of complicated technology like email so he could write his daughter letters while she was away at school, always jumping in the swimming pool fully clothed, and most importantly, that families are forever. Until we meet again, Dad, for then it will be a happy day.
A viewing will be held Saturday December 2, 2017 from 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM at the New Plymouth LDS Church building at 521 S Plymouth Ave. Funeral services will follow at 10:00 AM. Burial will take place at Parkview Cemetery in New Plymouth, Idaho.