Long-time Downey resident, Louis Nathan “Luke” Bloxham passed away August 30, 2010 at the Downey Care Center, where he had resided the last two years with his wife of 67 years, Leslie. He was 97 years old.
Luke was born on December 22, 1912 in Woodland, Idaho, a small community 4 miles west of Downey, the 11th of 12 children born to Isaac William and Anna Clara Wakley Bloxham. They were a hard-working family, with the children sharing chores on the farm while their parents ran a sheep shearing business.
At an early age, Luke understood the importance of getting an education. He rode a horse 4 miles from Woodland to Downey and home again every day for the first 3 years of high school. Following graduation, Luke worked hard and completed two years of college at the Southern Branch of Idaho University in Pocatello. This was a difficult time because of the depression and an injury that left him blind in one eye. He was very athletic and earned a varsity letter in wrestling after taking first place in his weight class at the Rocky Mountain Amateur Collegiate Wrestling Tournament.
Luke began teaching in Downey in 1936-37. He taught for 35 years, during which time he also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Idaho State University.
He was also a respected football and basketball coach.
On June 30, 1943, Luke married Helen Leslie Woodward, also a teacher in Downey. Three children were born into their union: Jon, Sue, and Mark.
Luke earned the Silver Beaver award for his efforts in Scouting. Every summer the young boys of Downey knew they could count on a trip to the back country. He was a charter member of the Downey Lions Club, an active member for 76 years.
Also during these teaching years, Luke and Leslie accumulated much of the land that his family had owned and ran a cattle ranching operation. Upon retirement, he continued ranching into his nineties. Luke accomplished all of these things in spite of an injury in 1946 that required the amputation of his lower left leg.
Luke will be remembered as the best teacher many of his students ever had and for his love of his family, the ranch, and Marsh Valley. He was always optimistic, hard working, and had a great sense of humor. He had an indomitable spirit, overcame many hardships, and was respected by all who knew him.
He is survived by his wife, Leslie, of Downey; Jon (Thine) Bloxham of Hayden Lake; Sue (DeLynn) Burke of Arimo; and Mark (Kerry) Bloxham of Downey; 12 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by two grandsons, Nick and Bryan Burke.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday September 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm in the Downey LDS 1st Ward Chapel, with Bishop Rex Nielsen, officiating. Friends may visit with the Bloxham family on Friday evening at the church from 6-7 pm. and on Saturday prior to services from 11:30 am-12:45 pm. Burial will follow in the Woodland Cemetery. A complete obituary will appear in Thursday’s Idaho State Journal. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Horsley’s Marsh Valley Funeral Home. You may send condolences to www.horsleyfuneralhome.com