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Leo died on May 24, 2023, surrounded 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. This 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 H.S., 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. 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 1966-1997 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 NSA Life Member and on the NSA Board of Directors for many years. He jumped at Idaho City 1966-67, Fairbanks 1968, Boise 1974-79, and McCall 1980-97.



Publication Date

June 2023


Smokejumping; Smokejumpers -- United States; National Smokejumper Association; Wildfire fighters; Obituaries


Forest Management

Smokejumper Obituary: Cromwell, Leo R. (Idaho City 1966)