Cover photo for Leo Cromwell's Obituary

Leo Cromwell

Leo Cromwell

Leo Cromwell peacefully entered eternity on May 24th, surrounded by the love of his family and friends. A few days earlier, Leo quietly reflected, “I wonder if God is ready to bring me home.”

Leo was born in Cascade, Idaho to his family: Irene and Arthur “Tot” and brother Lars. One of his first acts of heroism was at age 5 or 6 when he offered to take a friend’s place in a community boxing match. This touchstone memory holds the essence of what we loved most about Leo: he was always eager to step in and bear weight in service to others.

At Cascade High School, Leo excelled at football, basketball, and track, served as Junior Class VP, Student Body VP and attended Boy’s State. Leo was a team player and leader in all walks of life.

Upon graduating from University of Idaho, Leo accepted his first teaching/coaching position in Cambridge, Idaho. Despite never having seen a wrestling match, Leo threw himself into motivating his students and athletes at Cambridge. It was during this time that he married his first wife Cathy with whom he had two sons. Later, he taught and coached at Boise West Junior High, and retired from teaching math and coaching at Borah High School.

Leo’s solid character contributed to another life passion: fighting wildfire. He started fighting fires with the State of Idaho at age 17. A year later he joined the Forest Service. Leo was a Smokejumper from 1966-1998 and worked Air Tanker bases from 1999 until his passing. Leo enriched his friends, family, and colleagues with fire stories for every ridge or creek around Idaho, and beyond. His love of history, fighting wildfire, and the deep comradery he shared with his colleagues and friends motivated countless volunteer hours spent organizing Smokejumper reunions and the development of , a database attempting to catalog each jump out of USFS Region 4. In service to the tanker base world, Leo created his “All-N1'' software that tracks every gallon and every flight minute to the penny.

Leo was an inspiration to his family. He was a rock. He taught us how to love, how to live, and how to care for and protect people and the land. As a bonus, he taught us where to find huckleberries, mushrooms, elk, backcountry hot springs, and the best high mountain lakes for fishing.

Leo is survived by his wife of thirty three years, Laura, son Chris and his wife Kelly, son Jim and his wife Melanie, son Brian and his fiancée Stephanie, daughter Natalie and her husband Cam. Grandchildren: David, Scarlett, Stella, Rebecca, Brianna, Cassidee, AnnaBelle, Cameron, Makenna, Jaden, Benjamin, Layla, Julian, Avery, Salvatore Leroy, and Dylan.

A memorial service celebrating Leo’s life will be held at St. Michael’s Cathedral on June 16th, 2023 at 2:00 pm.

A continued celebration, party and storytelling in honor of Leo will be held at 6:00pm, June 17th at the Clubhouse Event Center: 7311 Potomac Dr., Boise, Idaho.

Donations can be made in Leo's honor to the Wildland Firefigher Foundation

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leo Cromwell, please visit our flower store.


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