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Father and son remembered after fatal plane crash


CHALLIS – A father and son killed in a plane crash during a camping trip were well loved by the people who knew them.

Neal Humphrey, 48, and his 15-year-old son, Cooper Humphrey, of Lewiston passed away last month in a plane crash near Challis.

Neal leaves behind his wife, Mary, and 17-year-old son, Lincoln.

Mary told in an email that Neal had a laid-back personality. He loved to teach and help people.

“He was brilliant and super creative, capable of fixing anything and creating any project he set his mind to. He has modified so many vehicles and airplanes over decades, we can’t keep track,” Mary said. “We even have an RV-type vehicle now that he customized out of a school bus and a semi-truck, welding them together.”

She said Neal was an airplane technician for nearly 30 years and a pilot. Anything to do with planes was his biggest passion.

Her son Cooper was a gifted guitarist. She said he blew people away when they would watch him play.

“Cooper was such a great combination of hilariousness and sweetness who loved people and loved making them laugh,” Mary said.

She said Neal and Cooper loved going camping together and exploring the backcountry of Idaho and surrounding states. They would make a few trips a year. The trip that they both went on in June was one of those trips.

The Valley County Sheriff’s Office said Neal and Cooper were in a single-engine green and tan Piper PA-20. The plane was supposed to arrive at Johnson Creek Airstrip in Valley County in the evening of June 26.

Dispatchers were told the plane took off from the Lower Loon Airstrip in Lemhi County around 8 p.m. and was en route to Johnson Creek.

RELATED | Father and son killed in rural Idaho plane crash

According to a preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board this week, a friend of Neal said that he, Neal and Cooper were camping at Johnson Creek. The friend was in his own plane. He said that after landing and refueling at McCall Municipal Airport, he continued his flight to Johnson Creek, where he expected to meet with Neal and Cooper. They had not arrived, and he reported the plane as missing.

The plane was found on June 27 in a remote area. The crash site was around 1.6 miles into Valley County.

Valley County Coroner Scott Carver told that the manner of death was accidental.

According to a GoFundMe that was created for Mary and Lincoln, “This is an incredibly difficult time for the whole family as they plan funerals that were so unexpected. Thank you for considering donating something to help them, so they don’t have to worry about finances as they grieve, process and navigate what comes next.”

Both Neal and Cooper will be greatly missed by family and the people who knew them.

“We at least have the peace of knowing they did not suffer in the crash and died doing what they loved,” Mary said.

Humphrey Family
A family picture of the Humphreys. | Courtesy Mary Humphrey

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.

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