Thousands of Micron Technology employees, industry figures and community leaders paid tribute to the chipmaker's late CEO, Steve Appleton, at a memorial in Boise on Thursday.

Appleton - a three-decade industry veteran, an avid flyer and a racing enthusiast who performed stunts at airshows - died after the small plane he was piloting crashed at an airport in Boise on February 3.

His death stunned the tightly knit semiconductor industry in the city of about 200,000, where he was a prominent figure.

He was CEO, but on our level. We always called him by his first name, said Bentley Cleverly, 26, a manufacturing technician. You can tell there has been a big change since his death, she added. People are really missing him.

New Micron CEO Mark Durcan, Semiconductor Industry Association head Brian Toohey and Idaho governor C.L. Otter were among those who listened to the eulogies about Appleton at Taco Bell Arena, bedecked with white and red roses.

Micron, the only remaining U.S. memory chipmaker, is struggling to cope with depressed prices and flagging computer demand in an era of Apple iPads and smartphones.

(Reporting By Jill Kuraitis; Editing by Gary Hill)