Walter Jay McNiven

Feb. 17, 1920 – Feb. 21, 2013
McNiven obit copy

Walter Jay McNiven, 93, died at his daughter’s home in Lovell on Feb. 21, 2013. Jay was born on Feb. 17, 1920, in Burlington to James Robert and Nellie Elizabeth Hibbert McNiven. He was the seventh of nine children.

He grew up in Burlington where he attended grade school and high school, graduating from high school in 1938. He attended the University of Wyoming for one year majoring in agriculture and geology. Due to his father’s poor health and his brothers leaving to serve in the military at the outbreak of World War II, he returned home from college at the age of 21 to assume the full responsibility for the family farming operation in Burlington.

He married Emma Helen Peterson on June 6, 1944, in the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and Emma worked side by side on the farm and raised their four children with a strong work ethic and family loyalty known by few. He farmed for the next 45 years. He turned the farm over to his three sons and continued working with them as long as his health permitted.

He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was devoted in his faith and testimony of his savior Jesus Christ. He held several positions in the church during his life, but his most important and cherished calling was that of being a father. He dearly loved and was loved by Emma, his wife of 66 years, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and has passed to them a rich heritage and legacy of faith in God, hard work, love of family and enduring to the end remaining true to the faith. His sister Ruth, on hearing of his passing this week, gave this tribute to her brother: “Oh, that everybody could have a brother as good as Jay.” He will be tenderly missed by all who know and love him.

He is survived by his wife, Emma; children Rodney Jay (Kathy) of Burlington, Helen Darlene Moncur (Brent) of Lovell, Harry Robert (Pamela) of Burlington and Leonard Don (Delsa) of Burlington; 23 grandchildren; 82 great-grandchildren and one sister Ruth M. Fillerup of Orem, Utah. He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, Sylvia Nielson, Jim, Sarah, Beth, Vera, Marr Murphy and John.

Funeral services were held Monday, February 25, 2013, at the LDS Church in Burlington. Burial was in the Burlington Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family online at

To send one of our special floral arrangements, please call Valley Flowers & Gifts in Lovell, 307-548-7101