Cover photo for Walter Mings's Obituary

Walter Mings

Walter Mings

Beloved husband, father, brother, uncle, friend, and “Papa” (grandfather) Walter James Mings (“Walt”) of Idaho Falls, Idaho died of natural causes June 11, 2016 in Boise ID. His family surrounded and held him as he died. A lifelong lover of all things intellectual, including puzzles and palindromes, Walt left a palindrome behind when he departed this world at 12:21 pm, 6-11-16. Walt was 81 years old.

Walt was born in 1934 in Billings, MT, the first of 4 children to Lydia and Walter Darcy Mings. Walt attended elementary and high school in Glasgow, MT; he then received a BS and MS in Chemical Engineering from Carroll College in Helena, MT and the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN. Walt was a lifelong Fighting Irish fan, having seen 8 of their 11 National Football Championships. It was Walt’s great hope to see his team win one more national championship. Walt’s many fans have no doubt that he’ll have the best view of all of us, from on high, when the Fighting Irish prevail again next January.

Walt earned his Professional Engineering Certificate early in his career, and mid-career he earned an MBA from Idaho State University. He spent his career primarily in oil and nuclear engineering and management. He worked for Standard Oil, Westinghouse, EG&G, and the US Department of Energy in various locations, including Chicago IL, Casper WY, and the Idaho National Laboratory in southeastern Idaho.

Walt married the love of his life, Patricia Ruth Sheehy, on September 6, 1958 in Lansing, IL. Early in their marriage, Walt Served with the US National Guard. Shortly after the birth of their first child, the young couple headed west, designed and built their own home, and raised all 3 children. Dad, with Mom, provided all 3 kids with everything any kid could ask for: love, security, religious faith, excellent education, extravagant summer vacations—including Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Grand Canyon, Spokane World’s Fair, Lake Louise, Alaska—to name a few! And who could forget the 1976 Bicentennial Cross-Country Family Greyhound Bus Trip?!

Each year we also visited relatives in Montana and Chicago. And sometimes Dad would go out of his way to take us to experiences, such as Notre Dame football games in South Bend (or away—once at the Air Force Academy); a Sade concert in Seattle; the NCAA basketball championships also in Seattle; the Napa Wine Train; Paul Simon in San Francisco; a Johnny Cash concert at the Idaho state fair; and once even a road trip to Pocatello to eat at Idaho’s first McDonald’s fast food restaurant. (McDonald’s was the subject of Dad’s MBA thesis, while at the same time a Big Mac was his 8-year-old son’s dearest desire.)

Dad’s most beloved hobbies were playing cards (poker, cribbage, and bridge – once winning regional World Bridge pairs championship), playing chess, fishing, travelling, playing the piano, listening to music, Notre Dame football, telling stories, and playing practical jokes. Dad was renowned for his sense of humor, and endless one-liners. As an example, he used to say that he was only ever wrong once—and that was a time when he thought he was wrong, but it turned out he was right!

Dad’s favorite foods were oyster stew, cherry pie, and Dairy Queen Blizzards. Shortly before his death, Dad had the dubious distinction of going viral on the internet, thanks to his great affection for those Blizzards, and you can see that clip here:
Dad is survived by his wife of 58 years, Patricia Ruth Sheehy Mings; his children Susan (Phileo McAlexander), Sandra (James Lamar) and Steve (Michelle); grandchildren Justin, Morgan, and Carley Mings, and Sophie, Brian, and Sabrina Lamar; sisters Ruth Ann Shacher (Ken known as “Skip”) and Mary Lynn (George); and niece and nephew Marty and Rachel Rahn. He was predeceased by his father, Walter Darcy Mings; mother, Lydia Stricker Mings; brother Robert (“Dutch”) Mings; and niece Darcy Lynn Schacher.

Services have been held in Boise, ID. The family would like to thank the staff at Willow Park Assisted Living in Boise for their incredible care and compassion for Walt, Pat, and all the family.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Walt Mings’ name to Carroll College of Helena MT; the University of Notre Dame; or a charity of your choice. And/or, enjoy a DQ Blizzard! And Dad – we’ll see you when we get there, “upstairs” with Touchdown Jesus! (

Condolences to the family can be made at
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Walter Mings, please visit our flower store.


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