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Michael Jay Lineberry

    September 11, 1946  -  March 6, 2014





Life Legacy


On March 6, 2014, Dr. Michael Jay Lineberry died after a sudden illness at the age of 67. In passing he was surrounded and embraced by his loving wife, all of his children, and his younger sister. Our lives are forever changed with this tremendous loss.

Michael was born in Pomona, California on September 11, 1946, to Harold Lineberry and Lella Louise Hilliard. At a very early age it was recognized that he was intellectually gifted. He skipped a grade and graduated with honors from Ganesha High School Class of 1963, at the age of 16. He inherited his amazing carpentry skills from his father and his grandfather, Pappy. He continued cabinetry and construction all throughout his life.

Michael graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA with a B.S. in Engineering in 1967, and then went on to Caltech to complete his Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1968 and his PhD in Engineering Science and Physics in 1972. Michael’s dream was to teach at a university but following graduation he was quickly offered and accepted a position at Argonne National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He worked at Argonne for 38 years as a Senior Nuclear Engineer and a Division Director until his retirement in 2005. Proof positive of Michael’s belief in always striving to learn more, in 2000 he earned his MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, graduating with honors. At the time of his passing he was Professor and Chairman of the Nuclear Engineering Department at Idaho State University. He has friends and colleagues worldwide due to his involvement in the American Nuclear Society and was recently elected by his peers to serve on the executive board as Treasurer. Michael contemplated retirement from ISU and teaching but had no concrete plans as he frequently expressed how happy he was to wrap up his professional career doing what he loved the most: teaching.

Michael married his childhood companion, Carole, in 1965. They had three children: Greg, Laura, and Douglas. He was a great father and mentor. He expected his kids to excel and was always there to support them. He encouraged them to challenge themselves and strive to reach their dreams. A favorite memory of his children is their individual trips to Washington, DC, with their dad. Michael relished history and loved Washington, DC. It was his great pleasure to guide his children through the city. His most memorable trip to Washington was with Douglas in 1982. That year Michael was a recipient of the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award, bestowed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy. Douglas witnessed his father receive this prestigious award. On his most recent and last trip to Washington in 2013, he fulfilled a dream of taking his grandson Seth to one of his favorite places.

Michael loved horse racing and in 1993 he was appointed to the Idaho State Racing Commission by Governor Cecil D. Andrus. He enjoyed serving on the Commission until 2005.

On March 23, 2002, Michael married the love of his life, Bonnie Jeanne Persky. Together they traveled often and particularly enjoyed their yearly vacation walking on the beaches of Grand Cayman Island.

Michael’s greatest passion was time spent on Jackson Lake, Wyoming, at the base of Mount Moran. His boat, “Lella Lousie” (named after his mother) was moored each summer at Leek’s Marina on Jackson Lake for the past 18 years. Michael was an expert fisherman. It was impossible to not reach your limit as he would set four more lines before he would announce a day on the lake was complete. He bragged that he could tell not only the weight of a fish before it was netted, but also whether it was a mackinaw, brown or his favorite: cutthroat. Michael and Bonnie spent many nights sleeping aboard Louise, “buttoned up” and anchored in North Moran Bay.

Michael was preceded in death by his parents. Survivors include his wife Bonnie; his children Greg and wife Stephanie; Laura and husband David; Douglas and wife Jeanette; stepson Calvin Bean and wife Shaunie; stepson Scott Bean; sister Kim and husband Marc Evans; and sister Karen and husband Ron Strop. His pride and joy were his grandchildren: Seth, Payton, Anna and Emily. Michael also had room in his generous heart and loved like his own Lindsay, Thad, Emily, Hailey, Abby and Kayla. He will also be missed by numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins that loved him dearly.

The family would like to thank the staff of the Critical Care Unit at EIRMC, especially Jordan, Paul and Alisha for their compassion, concern, and the expert care they provided to our beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother in his final hours.

Dad, you will be greatly missed but always in our hearts. What we would do if only we could catch just one more fish with you.

Memorial Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, March 14th at Wood Funeral Home East Side (963 S. Ammon, Idaho Falls, ID). The family will visit with friends from 1:00-1:45 immediately before services. Flowers are welcomed and remembrances encouraged to benefit the Idaho Food Bank.



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Born: September 11, 1946

Place of Birth: Pomona, CA

Death: March 6, 2014

Place of Death: Idaho Falls, ID


This memorial provided by:
Wood Funeral Home