LaVerne McMahan, formerly of Meadows Valley and Nampa, was quick to admit that he wore out his guardian angel(s) with numerous death-defying adventures, particularly on motorcycles in his younger years, flying a private plane later in life, and as a professional tree faller for four decades. He recalled looking down momentarily at his lifeless body on more than one occasion. He undoubtedly had that opportunity once again when he graduated from this earth life in January.
As the only child of Albert and Alfreda McMahan and born during the Great Depression, LaVerne’s childhood was filled with hard work and lean times. He enjoyed visiting his grandmother Xenia who lived nearby and did her best to spoil her grandson. The story was told that she would usually have a box of chocolates in her home that LaVerne was welcome to. He would often hide the box before leaving for home. When she was expecting company, Grandma Xenia would then have to send word for LaVerne to come over and find her box of chocolates. It was an ongoing exchange they both enjoyed. He loved to tease those he loved.
LaVerne attended Idaho State College where he met, courted, and married a tall, beautiful redhead named Lois Wilson. He later graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He could fix most anything and was a gifted problem solver.
After graduation, LaVerne chose to live in Meadows Valley rather than accept an engineering job offer in a large city. He was a true Mountaineer, traversing nearly every mountain and valley from the Seven Devils to Chamberlain Basin, either while carrying his power saw and falling trees, or as an enlisted firefighter, or riding a motorcycle, or hunting for deer and elk to supplement the family food budget.
LaVerne was also an accomplished snow skier and a patient teacher, working as a ski instructor at Brundage when the snow was too deep for logging. He later spent the winters fixing jammed or malfunctioning coin machines at banks located across the Northwest.
He and Lois fostered fond family memories by taking their children water skiing at North Beach many summer evenings, even though this meant he sometimes had to do necessary maintenance work on his saws late at night and go to work before dawn the next morning.
Dad taught his sons how to hunt and how to ride motorcycles where only billy goats dare go. He showed his support by attending his children’s and grandchildren’s countless athletic events and other endeavors… even his daughter’s less than exciting junior high and high school basketball games. He often sat and listened attentively when she played the piano at home, clapping after every song. He never said a disparaging word to teen aged Karilyn when she crashed and totaled his car.
He lived by the adage that you learn more by listening than talking (unless your hearing is shot!). LaVerne was a man of few words, but those words were often filled with wit and wise counsel. He taught mostly when asked and by example. He taught his children a strong work ethic and fiscal responsibility.
Once their children were grown, LaVerne took on the challenge of learning how to fly. He had trained with the Air Force ROTC in college, but slight color blindness disqualified him from advancing in the military. He studied and worked to get his pilot’s license, along with saving up to buy and maintain a small plane. Flying was an adventure he and Lois enjoyed together. She may be the flight instructor now, giving him heavenly flying lessons.
Dad enjoyed golfing with friends, mostly 9 holes, during his retired years. He found ways, such as using a tee on the fairways, to keep playing the game even as an 88-year-old. Other golfers never complained; they admired his ability to still be out there swinging.
LaVerne lived a long and active life of hard work, devotion, and humble service to his family and friends, never seeking praise or recognition. He fulfilled the first and second great commandments of loving God and our neighbors by quietly serving in simple ways, and in congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in New Meadows, McCall, Riggins, and Nampa.
Dad exemplified the scriptural injunction to endure to the end, and did so cheerfully without complaining, despite health challenges and being left to carry on without his sweetheart, Lois, the past two years. He was a loving and doting husband, a selfless provider, a supportive father, and a kind caregiver to our mother in her final years of declining health.
LaVerne was a student of the scriptures and the gospel of Jesus Christ, up to and including his final week of mortal life. These teachings refined him as he became a gentle and patient soul, without malice, known for his friendly and radiant demeanor.
Dad exhibited courage and fortitude in remaining mobile and mostly self-sufficient until the week he was called Home. He didn’t lose his ability to be a tease either… “chasing” Karilyn’s cat with his walker whenever the cat was in his path.
LaVerne’s family was his pride and joy. He is survived by children Brian, Randy & Rita, Karilyn & Robert, grandchildren Josh & Shari, Lane & Megan, LeAnn, Annie & Dain, Kate, Ian, Mike & Gracee, Meagan & Timmy, Matthew & Megan, and 20 great-grandchildren.
He spent the majority of his life in the beautiful and rugged Meadows Valley where his body will be laid to rest. A funeral service is scheduled to begin at noon on April 30 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel in McCall, followed by interment at Meadows Cemetery. Arrangements are entrusted to the McCall Funeral Home.
We find peace in the doctrine of the resurrection and the assurance of our father’s joyous heavenly reunion with our mother, their parents, countless loved ones who preceded him, and our Savior Jesus Christ. We are all envious of the out of this world Scottie hugs he would have received from his grandson, and we smile imagining all the kisses and hugs from Wilson in-laws upon his arrival in the eternal realms.
Families can be together forever through Heavenly Father’s plan.
If desired, online condolences may be left at www.mccallfunerals.com