Cover photo for Leonard Ciavarella's Obituary
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1926 Leonard 2019

Leonard Ciavarella

July 13, 1926 — December 22, 2019

Leonard L. “Civy” Ciavarella, 93, of Mandan, passed away December 22, 2019 at his home in Mandan.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 AM on Saturday, December 28, 2019 at Spirit of Life Catholic Church, Mandan, ND with Rev. Brandon Wolf as celebrant. Burial will be at Mandan Union Cemetery.

Visitation will be held Friday, December 27, 2019 from 4:00-8:00 PM at Weigel Funeral Home, Mandan, with a Rosary/Parish Vigil at 7:00 PM. Visitation will continue at the church one hour prior to the service on Saturday.

Leonard L. “Civy” Ciavarella was born on July 13, 1926, in Mandan, ND, the son of Luigi and Rose (Swindling) Ciavarella. He was raised and educated in Mandan receiving his diploma from Mandan High School. Leonard was proud to serve his country in the United States Army from September 1944 to July 1946. He bravely served in the 87th Infantry Division, Regiment 146, Company E in Germany and was honored when awarded a Purple Heart for injury in combat. Lenny completed his military career in Ft. Bliss, TX and was honorably discharged on July 3, 1946.

Len met the love of his life, Rosemary Needham, at the Firemen’s Ball, and married one year later on April 17, 1948 at St. Joseph’s Church in Mandan.  Loving men enjoy loving families and as a husband, father, grandpa, great-grandpa, brother, or friend, Papa Lenny was surrounded with love, respect, and admiration all embraced with hugs and kisses.

Leonard was employed by Northern Pacific Railroad and Burlington Northern Railroad. He held various positions during his 42 years of employment until retiring as chief clerk on April 30, 1987.

Lenny’s hobbies included gardening and baking which he loved to share with family and friends.  He also enjoyed dancing, fishing, and camping. He will be remembered as being one of the “Crazy Italians” in which he performed in a comedy, musical show with his brothers and nephews.  His children will fondly remember Len as a wonderful father and husband. Papa Lenny’s grandchildren will have loving memories of how their grandpa made every visit and holiday special.

Over the years, Civy was actively involved in his spiritual, professional, and community life. Leonard was a member of Spirit of Life Church volunteering as a Eucharistic minister and member of the church choir.  His memberships included: Brotherhood of Railway Clerks, AFL-CIO Union, and Mandan Railway Credit Union where he volunteered over 40 years and retired as Chairman of the Board in 2006, RCU Senior Express Club, Coal Rollers Club, American Legion, and lifetime member of Veterans of Foreign Wars. At age 84, Leonard took part in the WWII honor flight and was able to see the WWII Memorial in Washington, DC. He was deeply touched by the respectful, appreciative welcome home at the Bismarck Municipal Airport.

Leonard enjoyed a life well lived and is survived by his daughter, Lynda (George) Doll, Mandan; son, Jim (Gloria) Ciavarella, Alexandria, MN. His six grandchildren, the joy of his life, Kari Ciavarella-Jesch, Apple Valley, MN, Jason (Nikki) Doll, Bismarck, Bryan (LaRena) Doll, Mandan, Dr. James (Jessica) Ciavarella, Plymouth, MN, David (Danielle)  Ciavarella, Dayton OH, and Tanya Doll-Heth (Ryan), Mandan; five great-grandchildren;  eight step great-grandchildren; and four step great-great-grandchildren.

He is also survived by his sister, Cecelia (Herman) Dosch, Bismarck; brother, Joseph Ciavarella, Mandan; and sister-in-law, Corrinne Olson, San Leandro, CA.

Len was preceded in death by Rosemary, his loving wife, and infant son Blaine Ciavarella; parents, Luigi and Rose Ciavarella; sisters, Katherine (Adam) Bernhardt, Dorothy (Ralph) Weber, Donna (Leo) Miller; brothers, Anton (Agnes) Ciavarella, Herman (Adelaide) Ciavarella, Kenneth (Valerie) Ciavarella, Michele Ciavarella, sisters-in-law, Betty Ciavarella and Carol Ciavarella; and brother-in-law, Charles (Lois) Needham.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Spirit of Life Outreach.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leonard Ciavarella, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, December 27, 2019

4:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

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Rosary/Parish Vigil

Friday, December 27, 2019

Starts at 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Mass of Christian Burial

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Spirit of Life Catholic Church (Mandan, ND)


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