Obituary for Jeffrey Marvin Bingham - East Idaho News
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Jeffrey Marvin Bingham

September 20th, 1946 - May 16th, 2024

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After many decades of service to his country as a civil servant and policy consultant, Jeffrey Marvin Bingham “Jeff” of Round Hill, Virginia, son of Dr. Leonard John Bingham and Helen Williams Bingham, formerly of Idaho Falls, Idaho passed away quietly of natural causes after fighting throat cancer on May 16, 2024, in Orem, Utah.

After graduating from Idaho Falls High School in 1964, Jeff served in the South Australian Mission. In 1971, he graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Jeff was known for his quick wit, playful personality, intellect and charm. Jeff was beloved in multiple communities, from his dearest fellowship of friends to United State Senate and NASA colleagues, his horse-riding neighbors, and the space community. Nicknamed “The Professor,” he was a mentor for many people of all backgrounds and relished in sharing his deep legislative knowledge and life wisdom to help others.

His family remembers him as someone who was a small-town boy living in the modern world of gadgets and technology. During his rambunctious childhood, he and some friends were known to ‘accidentally ’attempt to burn down the fire station in Kamas. His time spent in Utah and Idaho during his youth opened his eyes to the freedoms of living in the west and doing things in wide open spaces of mountains and deserts.

Jeff enjoyed camping, and often found himself taking friends and family on adventures into the High Uinta’s, fishing in Island Park, or jeeping deep into the Canyonlands of Utah. Although his professional life carried him back East to Virginia and Washington D.C. and immersed him in a world of politics and space exploration, his heart and soul were always in the West.

Members of Jeff’s fellowship of friends say Jeff spoke with the language of the heart. He was able to connect and help so many people through his kind, direct and empathetic manner. A friend quoted Jeff as saying, “the beauty of sobriety is in the relationships we develop.”

Throughout his personal life, Jeff was a photographer, writer, bibliophile, country dancer, pocketed vest and cowboy boot-wearing father. Jeff’s collection of hats and mugs captured his world travels and adventures with family. When not immersed in reading books, Jeff was known to chase horses and sunrises with his camera, even if it meant waking unwilling children predawn to do so. Whether it was the stars, the pink light on top of Mount Timpanogos or those big Virginia skies—he was always looking up, often with a camera in hand. He loved American history, and quipped that he looked forward to being able to meet George Washington in person.

In his professional life, Jeff was a dedicated civil servant who took pride in his contributions to the space community. After college, Jeff worked for Salt Lake City’s Office of the Mayor for future United States Senator Jake Garn (R-UT). From 1974 to 1990, Jeff served as Senator Garn’s Chief of Staff. During this time, he witnessed the first Space Shuttle launch in 1981 and became “hooked” on space.

Through the 1990s, Jeff served as a Senior Policy Analyst had the honor of working at NASA in Texas and Washington, D.C., driving the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory’s creation and ensuring the ISS’s continuity as a revolutionary scientific platform.

Through the 2000s, he served in NASA’s Legislative Affairs Office, and returned to the Senate where he was a primary author of multiple legislation efforts, culminating in the 2008 and 2010 NASA Authorization Acts. These efforts resulted in a new space launch vehicle and technologies leading the path to the Moon and Mars.

After retirement, Jeff volunteered to serve on the Space Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences. Under his tenure as the Chairman of the Board of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, Wallops Island Space Launch facilities experienced an era of amazing growth and expansion.

It brings comfort that Jeff is with the previously departed family and friends he loved dearly, left a bright weave in the fabric of American political history, and is among the stars that so greatly inspired him to serve the common good.

He is survived by his sister, Susan Whittle, her husband Trent Whittle of Orem, Utah; eldest son Brook Bingham of Salt Lake City, Utah, his wife Shauna, their two children, Koa Bingham and Tosh Bingham; son Ryan Bingham of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and daughter Blaire Bingham of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Three of Jeff’s siblings, John, David and Kathy, and his parents Dr. Leondard John and Helen Bingham, preceded him in death.

Per Jeff’s wishes, Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m., Friday, May 24, 2024, at Coltrin Mortuary, 2100 First Street, Idaho Falls. Friends and well-wishers can greet the family one hour prior to the services. Interment will follow at the Fielding Memorial Park Cemetery in Idaho Falls. Services will be live streamed via Coltrin Mortuary’s Facebook page. A memorial service in the Washington, D.C. area is also being planned for June. Online condolences may be sent to the family at

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to/made to any space-related charity in his name to support future space explorers and leaders.

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