Our wandering brother and great friend, Diamond Jeffory Western, passed away Thursday, July 15, 2021, at his home in Vietnam. From the ice of Antarctica to the sands of Baghdad, Diamond worked and roamed, making friends and family everywhere he went.
Born in Beaver, Okla., in September 1951, he caught the travel bug early. Being an Army brat, Diamond spent his formative years in such diverse places as Germany, Georgia, Japan and Boise. Upon graduation from Borah High in 1969, he traveled around the U.S., enrolled at Boise State University and then Idaho State. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1972 and spent his time in Texas and Alaska, serving as a medic and surgical assistant. Upon receiving his honorable discharge from the Army in 1975, he moved to Moscow to attend the University of Idaho, graduating in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science in geology. During the summers and after college, he worked around the West, doing geologic field work. He formed his own company, Earthbound Earth Services, and for several years continued his geology explorations.
Returning to Moscow in the early 1980s, he operated an entertainment production company, Wild Rose Productions, where he managed several musical acts, including the Braun Brothers and Belinda Bowler. He also produced a radio show on KUID-FM based upon “A Prairie Home Companion” which featured Idaho musicians and local storytellers. From 1986-93, he was employed by the Moscow School District as a clerk and substitute teacher.
Diamond always had an interest in politics. In college he was involved in student government and while living in Riodoso, N.M., he received one write-in vote for the New Mexico Supreme Court. In 1983, because of the immense divide between north and south Idaho, Diamond and some friends formed the State of North Idaho whose motto was “De Libertas Quirkas” (Freedom to be Peculiar). He was elected by his peers and became the first Governor of North Idaho. He took his duties seriously, working as a lobbyist for regional awareness. In 1992, Diamond ran for State Representative of District 5B as a Democrat. He handily won the primary but lost to Republican Maynard Miller in the general election.
Wanderlust again struck Diamond and he signed on to work for Antarctic Support Associates from 1993-95 at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. His main job was as the tool room supervisor in the Heavy Equipment Shop. Needing a break from the cold, he then signed on with Kalama Services and spent the next three years working on Johnston Atoll, located about 750 nautical miles southwest of Hawaii. There he worked as an administrator and bus driver on the tiny island.
In 1998, he signed on with Raytheon and spent much of the next nine years back in Antarctica, including several winter overs. In between his yearly contracts, he traveled to New Zealand, Hawaii and his home in Moscow.
In 2008 and 2009, he took on a welding inspector job in Baghdad, Iraq. Still not warm enough from his years in Antarctica, he moved to Vietnam and worked as a custodial engineer at the American Embassy in Hanoi. In Vietnam, he met his future wife and they were married in 2012. Happy and content at last, he retired as an ex-pat and set up housekeeping in Viet Tri. Always intending to return to his Moscow home with his wife and three “adopted” children, Diamond passed away while baking bread at his home in Vietnam.
Diamond was preceded in death by his mother, Mary Ellen LeMar. He is survived by his brothers, Stephen LeMar, of Omaha, Neb.; and Rick LeMar, of Meridian, Idaho; his sister, Cynthia LeMar, of Lahaina, Hawaii; a half-brother, Bernd LeMar-Klughardt, of Germany; several nieces and nephews; and his wife, Hoa Thi Le, and his three “adopted” daughters, Trang, Lan and Giang, of Viet Tri, Vietnam.
There will be a memorial service for Diamond from 2-4 p.m. Sept. 18 at the 1912 Building in Moscow. Because of the COVID-19 surge, masks will be required.
Memorial donations are suggested to the Moscow School District (bit.ly/3l7hha8), the Latah County Democrats, or the charity of your choice.