Levi Newport, 79, Minot, died on Jan. 26, 2014, in a Minot hospital.
Levi Newport was born Sept. 24, 1934, to Lyman and Sigrid (Thoreson) Newport. He was reared on a farm in Afton Township of Ward County. He participated in FFA and 4-H by showing his prize calf and judging grain at the North Dakota State Fair. He enjoyed boxing, golfing and other sports. His father, Lyman, could never understand why anyone would chase a little white ball through the pasture.
He graduated from Minot High School in 1952, earning a full scholarship to Valley City Agricultural College, however, he was not allowed to attend. Later however, he attended Minot State University, from which he graduated. He also attended the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia in connection with Burlington Northern Railway. Levi worked on his parents' farm and for other farmers in the area. He traveled the U.S. in the summers with Mitchell Bober's combining group.
On a bright sunny day 40 degrees plus with no wind, he and Shirley Sorensen were married at Saron Lutheran Church, Dec. 19, 1954. After their marriage, Levi and his wife operated South Prairie Service a gas station, grocery store, cafe located south of Minot. He worked for Gil Lunder's Kiddyland and Road Show.
He went to work for the Great Northern Railway in 1956 as a carman apprentice and later became a carman. During this time he also worked for Swift and Co. and built his home in Minot. He later graduated from MSU while working for the railroad. He was promoted from carman to shop engineer at Havelock, Neb. (Lincoln). He was active in the community with such things as the Junior Achievement organization. He was promoted to assistant chief mechanical officer at company headquarters in St. Paul, Minn. He enjoyed flying lessons with his brother-in-law Richard.
In 1982, he was among the first employees transferred to the new company headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, where he was the superintendent of the car planning and mechanical division.
He retired in 1996 without missing a day of work in 40 years. He had traveled widely in that area of the southwest and Mexico as well as the central U.S. He returned in Minot in 1999 to the house he had built in the early 1960s. He continued to maintain his farming interests and enjoyed membership with many contributions benefiting trees, animals, waterways, and land in regards to other conservation efforts. He had a love of animals throughout his life. He enjoyed fishing with his father-in-law, Nels, who could always find a "soft" rock on which to sit.
Levi also enjoyed playing Secret Santa (for the majority of his life) for those less fortunate than he was. He never smoked or chewed tobacco and walked every day three to five miles, no matter how bad the weather was. Prior to moving with the railroad, he was a member of Saron Lutheran Church, where he was baptized and confirmed and later married. During his good health, he was a lifelong blood donor.
Levi is survived by: his wife of 59 years, Shirley; four children, Peggy (Tim) Jensen; Vicki Newport; Kathy (Daniel) Nelson; Julie Corbin (Daniel, deceased); grandchildren, Christopher Jensen (Nikki) (only great granddaughter, Amelia); Tianna Jensen; Margaret Nelson; Andrew Nelson; Anthony Corbin; Alexander Corbin (fiancee Cari Marks); Adam Corbin. Additionally, his brother, Neil (Rita) Newport, of rural Minot; his sisters LeVere (Neil) Draper, of rural Minot, and Nicki Newport, of Arizona. His cousins, Delores Synnott and LeRoy Lawson; and several nieces and nephews also survive.
Levi was preceded in death by his parents; paternal and maternal grandparents and his son-in-law, Daniel Corbin.
Celebration of the Life of Levi Newport: Saturday, May 17, 2014, at 11 a.m. in Saron Lutheran Church, rural Minot.
Interment: Will be in Rosehill Memorial Park, Minot.
Memorials: Are preferred to the organization of the donor's choice.
Those wishing to sign the online memorial register or share memories and condolences are invited to use the expressions of sympathy section at (www.thomasfamilyfuneralhome.com).
(Thomas Family Funeral Home, Minot)