Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Robert A. Hutchings

Robert A. Hutchings, of Spanish Fork, died August 15, 2008, in Payson, Utah, at the age of 81. He was born May 27, 1927, in Springville, Utah to Shepherd Birgus and Ellen Olive Johnson Hutchings. He married Mary Lou Milner on February 9, 1945 in Spanish Fork, Utah. They were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on May 22, 1945.
His early education was in Spanish Fork, Salem, and Payson, graduating from Payson High School where he played football, basketball, and baseball. He joined the Navy June 1, 1945 and served at the 12th Naval District Headquarters in San Francisco during WWII. He later served on the USS Valley Forge during the Korean Conflict. After the war, Bob and Mary made their home in Spanish Fork.
Bob took a course in Commercial Art at the Trade Tech in Provo, where he learned the skill of sign painting. For years, he painted many of the business signs in Central Utah. He worked at Geneva and for the Bureau of Reclamation. He worked 27 years for the United State Postal Service as a letter carrier in Spanish Fork.
Bob was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where he had served as a scoutmaster and Elder's Quorum President.
He like to build and always had a project adding on a room, building a garage, or building a cabin or "fort" up the canyon. He enjoyed fishing and hunting. He owned and restored antique cars and for years was actively involved in the Utah Valley Old Car Club, serving for a time as its president.
Bob was a member of the American Legion and for many years served as Adjutant. He was instrumental in the design and construction of the Veterans Memorial Monument at the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. He loved Spanish Fork and was honored to be chosen along with his wife as Grand Marshall of the Fiesta Days Parade and as Spanish Fork's Citizen of the Year.
He was proud of his Icelandic and pioneer heritage.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou; two sons, Gary Robert (Ethel), of Spanish Fork; and Michael A. (Christine), of Payson; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren; one brother, Carl; and one sister, Barbara. He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Verl, Cliff, and Jack; two sisters, Bertie, and Velma; and one grandson, Karl.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at the 19th Ward Chapel, 590 North Main, Spanish Fork. Viewings will be held on Friday, August 22nd from 6:00-8:00 p.m at Walker Mortuary, 187 South Main, Spanish Fork and on Saturday one hour prior to services at the church. Military rites will be provided by American Legion Post 68. Interment will be in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thora Leifson Shaw

Thora Arvella Leifson Shaw passed quietly from this earthly life on August 11, 2008 at the age of 73. Thora was born February 12, 1935 to Leo and Thursa Arvella Davis Leifson in Spanish Fork, Utah. She married James (Jerry) Shaw on September 7, 1957 and their marriage was later solemnized in the Manti Utah Temple on January 22, 1964.
Thora graduated from Spanish Fork High School where she was always considered a top student. She attended Brigham Young University for a short time but chose not to finish her own schooling to take care of her growing family. Later she built a career in the insurance industry as an agent/broker. She achieved the status of Professional Secretary and served as president of her local chapter of Professional Secretaries International and later as Regional President. She was a life-long learner and took joy in seeing her children and grandchildren find success in their own studies.
She was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and served as a teacher in Primary, Young Women's, and Relief Society, as well as serving as Historian in the Spanish Fork 15th Ward. She especially loved the young women and they loved her. These special young ladies remained her friends throughout her life.
Thora loved and supported the arts all of her life. She made sure that her children and grandchildren had opportunities to attend plays, musicals, and other art exhibits. Many fond memories involve a night or afternoon at the theater in Salt Lake City or Tuacahn in St. George.
The welfare of the City of Spanish Fork and its citizens was always on her mind. She was the first female member of the City Council in the history of Spanish Fork and served 14 years in that position as well as five years on the City Library Committee and five years on the Planning and Zoning Commission.
She took great pride in her Icelandic heritage and served as Chairperson of the Icelandic Sesquicentennial Celebration of the immigration of Icelanders to Spanish Fork. She was an active member of the Icelandic Association of Utah and was recently honored as an Outstanding Icelander.
She will be sadly missed by the ladies of her woman's club who were all 1952 graduates of SF High and have met together monthly for almost 40 years.
She was preceded in death by her mother and father and two brothers. She is survived by her eternal companion, Jerry; and her three children, Jay (Jeralyn) of Reno, NV; Tanya (Laird) Campbell of Cedar City, UT; and Kelly (Corie) of Selah, WA. Her nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren were the special stars of her life. There was nothing she wouldn't do for them if it was in her power. She is also survived by her two sisters, Rayona (Harry) Humphry; and Mildred Longo.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at the Spanish Fork Stake Center, 1006 East 200 South, Spanish Fork, Utah. Family and friends may call on Friday evening, August 15, 2008 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Walker Mortuary, 187 South Main Street, Spanish Fork, or on Saturday morning at the church from 9:45-10:45 a.m. prior to funeral services. Interment will be in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers please donate a book to the Spanish Fork City Library.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

David Ashby

In 1990, being prompted by my mother, I became a member of the board of directors of the Icelandic Association of Utah. Without much excitement I agreed to serve on the board. While serving they asked me to be over publicity. This assignment necessitated research into the history of the Icelandic Association and, as a result, to learn more about Iceland. While serving in this capacity I found a love for my Icelandic Heritage.

I have served in various capacities while on the board of directors, president twice 1994-1995 and 1999-2000, photographer, director of publicity, director of public affairs, director of sales, director of Icelandic relations, and director of membership.

I have helped with several large projects of the Icelandic Association of Utah. Serving as president of the association in 2000 when the association placed a monument on Vestmannaeyjar and an exhibit at the Iceland Emigration Centre at Hofsos, Iceland. I was the Co-Chair of the Icelandic Memorial project in 2005, and a member of the sesquicentennial committee for 150 years of Icelanders in Utah. I also served as fundraising chairman for both the 2000 and the 2005 projects.

I will forever be grateful for many experiences that I have had while serving the people of Icelandic descent in Utah. It has been an exciting ride, with many memorable experiences. The friends I have found along the way are some of the best that anyone could have. Although I will not any longer a member of the board of directors of the Icelandic Association of Utah or attend their monthly meetings and be involved in the planning of their many activities, I will remain a supporter of this organization.


Icelandic Association of Utah

Icelandic Association of Utah
P.O. Box 874
Spanish Fork, UT 84660, USA

The purpose of the Icelandic Association of Utah, Inc. is to: celebrate and perpetuate the common interest in culture and heritage of Iceland through activities and continuing education; promote closer and better relations with the people of Iceland; preserve the memory of the early Icelandic pioneers who established the first permanent Icelandic settlement in North America at Spanish Fork, Utah.

In 1897 the Icelanders of Utah held their first Icelanders Days. Poles and willows were gathered from the river bottoms near Spanish Fork and a bowery was built on the north side of the Icelandic Amusement Hall. The Icelandic Amusement Hall had been built by the Icelanders in Spanish Fork on 700 East between 200 and 300 South. The first Iceland Day was held on August 2, 1897. The entire program was in Icelandic.
Early Iceland Days were held at the same time as the Iceland National Holiday celebrated in Iceland on 2 August. Iceland’s National Holiday was later changed to June 17th, yet Iceland Days in Spanish Fork continued to be held on the first weekend in August until it was officially changed to the third Saturday in June in 2003. It soon became apparent that the third Saturday in June presented a conflict with Fathers Day so it was moved to the fourth Saturday in June in 2004.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Steinvör Lárusdóttir - August 2008

Steinvör Lárusdóttir (Steinvor Larsdottir) was born in July 1867. Her parents are Larus Jonsson, born 30 January 1839 in Dyrholar i Myrdal, Vestur Skaftafell, died 9 February 1895; and Kristin Gisladottir, born 13 January 1843 at Petursey, Solheimur i Myrdal, Vestur Skaftafell, died 30 December 1921 at Buastadir, Vestmannaeyjar. Steinvor’s christening took place in Vestmannaeyjar 15 July 1867.
Steinvor married Einar Bjarnason, born 21 May 1861at Kalfholt, Rangarvalla. They were married about 1887. Three children were born to them in Iceland: Gisli Johann, Kristin Ingunn, and Larus Einar. Einar immigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah in 1891 and Steinvor followed the next year with the three children. Two of her children died shortly after she arrived in Utah. Larus Einar died 31 December 1892 and Gisli Johann died 1 July 1898, both children were buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery.
Apparently three more children were born to Steinvor and Einar in Utah. Sometime after 1900 the family moved to Blaine, Washington. Steinvor is number 33 in Icelanders of Utah.