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Obituary: Lawrence Wm. Stephens

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Lawrence Wm. Stephens

Orem/East Carbon

After celebrating his 98th birthday with his family, Lawrence Wm Stephens laid down to rest and slipped peacefully away March 11, 2008. Born in the shadow of the Grand Tetons, February 20, 1910, to William Nephi Stephens Jr. and Emily Sophia Zollinger at Rexburg, Idaho, Larry spent his youth moving between Rexburg and Victor, Idaho, Butte, Montana, and Salt Lake City, Utah, working on family ranches and attending school.

An alumni of both the University of Utah and Brigham Young University, when it came to sports rivalries, his allegiances were sorely divided as he deeply appreciated the gift of education from both institutions and sacrificed greatly to earn his degrees. During his college years, he played polo, boxed, and wrestled.

As a young man Larry became intimately acquainted with grief. He married Verna Hatch in 1934, then lost their infant daughter to death in 1935 and Verna in 1939. He then married Isabella Hamilton Rich in 1941 and lost their infant daughter, Carolyn, to death just days before her mother, in1944. This loss also tore Larry from two step-children, Diane and Robert whom he had come to love dearly.

During those difficult years, Larry took to the air. Too old for regular duty in the U.S. Air Force, he joined the Civil Air Patrol where he earned the rank of First Lieutenant. He taught young men and women to become pilots, and ferried military personnel, equipment and planes from coast to coast. He loved to fly.

The sun came out when Larry met his sweetheart of 60 years, Allis Esther Crittenden in 1947. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on December 18 of that year and have enjoyed life together each day since. They made their first home in Dragerton, Utah where they raised their children: Karol, Ruth, Larry Spencer, and Kristine. After 45 years in the tight-knit communities of Carbon County, Larry and Allis relocated to Orem, Utah to spare their children the worry of them driving Highway 6 to the Provo Temple each week.

Hard work was Larry's best and life-long friend as he tried his hand at ranching, golf course caddying, race horse jockeying, drumming in a dance band, soda jerking, machining, hard rock mining, flying, auto repair and the service station business, construction, a bakery business, hospital administration, and education. He found his greatest joy in the field of education and spent 35 years as a teacher or principal. Upon retirement, Larry found that he could not give up work, so he volunteered at the College of Eastern Utah's automotive department for several more years, and then finished his life's work as a Temple worker for 22 years, serving at both the Provo and the Mt. Timpanogos Temples.

Larry especially loved working with young people. In addition to the years spent teaching in the public school system, he volunteered countless hours with the youth in various capacities as an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His service was quiet and understated as he simply lived the gospel principles of doing good to his fellow man.

As we attempt to sum up a life, so long and well lived, we must include the character traits that defined this fine man. He was loyal and honest, kind and gentle, hardworking and dedicated, witty with a great sense of humor, incredibly well experiencedand enduring almost beyond belief. He was well-loved and will be deeply missed.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers: Lee, and Grant; sisters; Verena Decker, and Maurine Rowe Jacobs; son-in-law, F. Reese Walker; grandchildren: Stephen LeGrand Bunker, and Laralyn Walker. Survived by his wife, Allis; children: Karol Walker of Texas, Ruth (Randy) Bunker of Spanish Fork, Larry (Kelle) Stephens of St. George, Kristine (Bryan) Morley of North Salt Lake; grandchildren, great-grandchildren; his brother, Richard Albert (Sally) Stephens; sister-in-law, Lynn Stephens and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held 11 a.m., Saturday, March 15, 2008 at the Sharon Park 3rd Ward Chapel, 225 E. 200 N., Orem. Friends may call Friday evening, March 14, 2008 from 6-8 p.m. at Berg Mortuary, 185 E. Center Street, Provo, and one hour prior to the services at the chapel. Condolences may be sent to info@bergmortuary.com. Interment will be at the Provo City Cemetery. Please honor the memory of Lawrence Wm Stephens with a contribution to the Perpetual Education Fund through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.