Louis LeRoy Covert

Louis LeRoy CovertLouis LeRoy Covert of Ridgecrest passed away peacefully on Oct. 5, 2019. He was 82.

Lou (“Pete”) was born on Nov. 11, 1936, to Alice May Chase and Louis Sherman Covert in Grangeville, Idaho. He was the second of four children and had many wonderful memories of his sisters Dee and Sharon and brother Leo Covert. They grew up in the beauty of northern Idaho, for a time in a primitive cabin where they lived on wild game and goat’s milk. They loved having farm animals and pets of all kinds (even a bear).

Lou joined the Air Force after high school in 1955, serving as an airborne radio operator, stationed in Iceland and flying all over the world. He excelled in sending and receiving code and took advantage of all the electronics training he could get. TV repair provided him with extra money and more learning opportunities.

In 1959 Lou married Eunice Ellen Stellmon, and they raised three children, Terri, Jeff and Scott Covert. Lou did some exciting work with the Forest Service, but as soon as the GI Bill provided a path forward, he enrolled at the University of Idaho and achieved his degree in electronics engineering.

The family moved to the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, in 1971, and Lou quickly received a fellowship to complete his masters degree at the University of Arizona. During his career at NWC, his work was vital to the success of Sidewinder missiles AIM-9L and AIM-9M.

Lou always loved and respected animals, especially dogs. He hunted deer and elk from the age of 12, providing for his family this way countless times. He coached Little League, played softball and was on an Air Force boxing team. He played the trombone and the banjo.

Lou was a gifted mathematician and design engineer who contributed to our national defense for 40 years.

In 1976 Lou married Ilo (“Joanne”) McMillan and pursued a new career as a professor of electronics at Lincoln Land College in Springfield, Ill., and Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Ga. He then returned to the defense industry at General Dynamics and finally came back to China Lake to finish his career and retire. In retirement, Lou continued to work as an engineering consultant for another 20 years.

He will be remembered as a strong and determined man. From a very young age, he was eager to learn and master new things; he set his sights on goals and was tireless in his pursuit of each one. He was generous and kind to those around him and will be greatly missed by his large family and his friends.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife Ilo (“Joanne”) Covert; his sisters Delta (“Dee”) Lockwood and Sharon Saranpaa (Larry); his brother Leo Covert (Tina); his daughter Terri VarnHagen (Tim); his son Jeff Covert (Patti); his son Scott Covert (Amy); his grandson Louis (“Scotty”) Covert (Fiona); along with stepchildren including his son John Talley (Penny), his daughter Jean Scott (Steve), his daughter Jill King and his daughter Janice McCarley (Larry).

Also surviving him are his best friend Gerry Stephens and many many other grandchildren, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 11 a.m. at the H. K. Holland Memorial Chapel, Ridgecrest.

— Submitted by the family of Louis Covert

Story First Published: 2019-10-18