Pictured Below, Tondy Tidwell being sworn in as the 2019 National President, and Wayne Hinton as the 2020 National President Elect.
The National Encampment in Cedar City was a wonderful experience. Each of the tours and presentations were full of the pioneering spirit, telling the harrowing stories of creating the oasis in the desert known today as Cedar City. Mary Ellen Edmonds presented to the Spouses Meeting and Kent Broadbent gave an excellent presentation about Joseph Smith. Special appreciation goes out to Harold Shirley, Kent Hugh, their Committee and the Cedar City Chapter for an exceptional experience!
On August 26-28 the SUP National Officers had a National Officers Retreat. National President-elect Tony Tidwell invited us to stay in two of his lovely vacation homes right on the water of Bear Lake. We had a wonderful time getting to know each other better, for friends both old and new and near and far. We toured the Paris Tabernacle and several historic houses nearby, then we drove to Mountpeliar to tour the Oregon Trail Museum and the Butch Cassidy Bank Robbery Museum. Diamond Jim Davis entertained us with some Cowboy Poetry and Kent Smith gave an intriguing presentation of the Bear Lake area including his own family history who settled there. We had a great Board Meeting where Pioneer Magazine Publisher Bill Tanner gave an inspiring presentation on the development of the Pioneer Magazine in recent years (we will be hearing more about this at the National Encampment in Cedar City next month). Many thanks go to Kathy Tidwell for her hours of excellent work in the kitchen and weeks of scouting out the fun local tours.
The 2018 Days of ’47 Parade was a great success this year! We finally had coverage televised by KSL for the first time in many years. As the 3rd entry in the Parade, SUP President-elect Tony Tidwell and his wife Kathy lead out 47 Pioneers pulling handcarts, many transporting children. President Keith Van Roosendaal and his wife Elizabeth followed up behind to watch that all went well, and ensure we didn’t leave anyone behind. The crowd met us with patriotic salutes, cheers, and waving, with particular interest in the children riding in handcarts. The SUP sends a special Thank-You to Wes Adams who brought many pioneers directly from their stake trek, and we open the invitation to all – Come walk with the Sons of Utah Pioneers next year!
The 2018 Sunrise Service was an inspirational kick-off to a special day. The Assembly Hall on Temple Square rang with music from the West Valley Institute Corral and the Days of 47 Queen Lauren Bell. The audience was moved by the words of Elder Mervyn B Arnold of the Seventy. Click HERE to read the Church News article. The Pioneer Day Sunrise Service really sets the mood for whatever festivities you have planned for honoring our beloved Pioneers!
SUPer DUPer Day at This Is The Place Heritage Park was a lot of fun this year for Family Home Evening and Historians alike. The day started as a pleasant morning with a light rainfall. Many families came early in the day to explore the village in depth before the temperature shot up in the afternoon. Elder Gerrit W Gong of the Quorum of 12 arrived several hours early for the Devotional and was gracious enough to meet people and take pictures with all who asked. In his keynote address he spoke of pioneers of the past and pioneers of the present. Click HERE to read the full Church News article. The Devotional was held in the new Pavilion that has replaced the old Bowery. It is much bigger with improved sound and more than double the seating. So the attendance felt much smaller than last year, but we will counted 1875 people throughout the day. This Is The Place has given the SUP and DUP such a wonderful service, discounting tickets to less than half their value. Please encourage your friends and family to come next year!
Our 2018 National Symposium was a special treat this year drawing comments from several historians that they learned something new today. Jerry Houck spoke about A Living Church including the succession, church government, organization and attitudes in the LDS Church. Devan Jensen and Kenneth Alford spoke about the Utah War of 1857-1858. We had a bit of an unusual circumstance when one of our presenters, Bill Hartley, passed away a couple weeks before the presentation. His assistant Catherine Blake gave a presentation in his place about Transportation Changes in the West, Howard Egan, the Central Route, Pony Express and the Stagecoach. And Alma Alford spoke about the church and government relations with the Reed Smoot Hearings. Then the Keynote Speakers were SLC Temple President Jack Wixom and his wife, former General Primary President and now SLC Temple Matron Rosemary Wixom. We had fewer attendees than in recent years, but this allowed for a very sweet spirit in the personal setting of a smaller gathering. This was such a wonderful experience we are already looking forward to next year’s National Symposium!
Building Clean Up Day is always a fun time to roll up our sleeves and work side by side. This is also a very impactful way for our members and friends to help keep National Expenses down by filling needs that would otherwise need to be hired out. This goes a long way to helping us in our ongoing efforts to keep expenses down and keep the National Dues as low as possible.
Those who came to help on Saturday, or other times during the week due to schedule conflicts, were the following: Keith Van Roosendaal, John Elggren and his grandson Roundy, Tony Tidwell, John and Diane Smith, Jim and Joan Hurst and their grandson Dallin Despain, Paul Bambrough, Guy Moore, and Gene Minor, along with our Office Staff Heather Davis, Linda Sorensen, and Pat Cook.
We were able to cut down the fallen tree limb from the neighbor’s shed, clean and repair the rain gutters, sidewalk crack fill and repair, weeding on the entrance side of the parking lot, window washing inside and out, and we replaced all the highest light bulbs in the building with LEDs along with any others that had burned out.
It is always so nice to have our beloved SUP Headquarters Building looking her best when we invite the public in to our National Symposium the following weekend.
The Chapter Presidents Council was a really great time to meet all together with the Chapter Presidents, Chapter Past Presidents, Chapter Presidents-elect, the National Board and National Past Presidents and all of their wives. Despite the weather on the previous day, we had a great turnout of 140 people with most chapters represented. We were able to discuss topics of both National and Chapter interests, encouraging Chapters to use online technology to enhance your communications, meetings, and newsletters, and encouraging use of the National Chapter Awards as a guideline for Chapter Councils and Activities throughout the year. In the break-out meetings we discussed how much we value our wives involvement and encourage them to fully participate with their husbands and stay up-to-date with the Trail Marker Newsletter every month. If your wife is not getting the Trail Maker Newsletter, please call the National Office 801-484-4441 to add her email to the mailing list. The Cedar City Chapter presented a video trailer of the 2018 Encampment. This video will be available on the Website. The new Library Directors John and Diane Smith reported on progress and changes in the SUP Library moving toward online access and digitalization, with many thanks to the Librarian Roger Flick for his assistance and direction. Steve Kruman introduced a new program for leaving a Monumental Contribution from Modest Means, using extra Life Insurance Policies and Annuities. The following Chapters received Chapter Recognition Awards for 2017: Settlement Canyon, Maple Mountain, Timpanogos, Ogden Pioneer, Mills, Upper Snake River Valley, Grove City, and Jordan River Temple. The following Chapters received Chapter Excellence Awards for 2017: Brigham Young, Red Rocks, Cedar City, and Morgan Pioneer. Many congratulations to all of you for your efforts and vigorous activity with the Sons of Utah Pioneers!!
We had a wonderful time at our 2017 Brigham’s Christmas Ball. Keith Van Roosendaal was sworn in as 2018 National President. Tony Tidwell was sworn in as 2018 National President-elect. And John Elggren was sworn in as 2018 National Past President. The National Board and other Officers were also sworn in. Dil and Diane Strasser prepared excellent food in a beautiful buffet dinner presentation! Over 80 people were in attendance and partied the night away with dancing and games lead by the Old Glory Vintage Dancers. Steve Cook won the Men’s Costume Contest, Kathy Tidwell won the Women’s Costume Contest, and Jim and Joan Hurst won the Couple’s Costume Contest. Grant Barton and Keith Van Roosendaal won the raffle for buying their tickets before the deadline. We had such a great time that the Old Glory Vintage Dancers have given the SUP four $25 Gift Certificates redeemable for other similar events they hold throughout the year. These will go to the first 4 people to call Heather 801-484-4441.
After a full life, Alan Luke passed away peacefully at home on Sept 20, 2017 at age 99½. Alan was active in community service, participating with the Sons of Utah Pioneers as Mills Chapter president, and was elected National SUP President. He enjoyed being the advisor of the Young Dairy Cooperators in the Northwest for 10 years. He was President of the USU Old Main Society and was honored by USU Agriculture for Distinguished Service for his many contributions to the Dairy Industry. Realizing the importance of education, he has endowed scholarships at several Utah universities and Piute High School which continue to help many students. A faithful member of the LDS church, he was serving in the Swiss German Mission when World War II broke out and he had to be evacuated with other European missionaries. He served a second mission with Janet in Toronto, Canada after he retired. Throughout his life he served in many capacities including teacher, High Councilman, Bishop, Seattle Temple worker, and Patriarch. He managed a large dairy farm for the church in Virginia and organized a stake welfare apple orchard in Tacoma, WA. Due to his love of family history he enjoyed working with the Young Single Adult stakes in the Family History Center at the University of Utah. He had a keen wit and liked to make people laugh, retaining his quick sense of humor throughout his life. He is survived by his beloved wife, Janet; 6 children; 15 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, 2 great great grandchildren; and his sister Retta Taylor. Burial was in the Memorial Holladay Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the LDS Perpetual Education Fund. Condolences may be shared with the family at HolbrookMortuary.com
We had a wonderful SUP National Convention September 14-16, 2017 hosted by the Centerville Chapter in Centerville Utah. Everyone had a good time kicking off the event on Thursday night with a western band and hootenanny. The Friday tours visited Antelope Island, Hill Aerospace Museum, the Church History Museum, and a lifetime local tour guide gave a personal tour of the Echo Canyon Pioneer Trail. Friday night was crowned with an exceptional stage performance adapted especially for the Sons of Utah Pioneers from the Nauvoo Pageant. Saturday’s Business Meeting elected Tony Tidwell for our next National President-elect, and a significant Bylaws Change was also announced. To complete the event, our keynote speaker, Glenn Rawson from History of the Saints, gave a rousing talk about passing our Pioneer Stories to our next generation.
The Centerville Chapter did a marvelous job hosting this event, with over the top details like SUP candy and hand drawings on every table, making a remarkable event. Thank You Bob Brown, Alden Richins and the Centerville Chapter!
On Monday morning, July 24, under the direction of the Salt Lake Pioneer Chapter, the seats in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square were filled for our annual sunrise service. It was a remarkably moving and spiritual experience. The speaker was Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who related touching stories of his family’s pioneer heritage. Marvelous music was presented by the West Valley combined Institute choirs, which stirred our souls. Maurine Smith, of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, introduced the Days of 47 Royalty, who sang so beautifully, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Our entry in the days of 47 parade again this year was 11 handcarts accompanied by 35 of our members, family and friends, and represented each of the pioneer handcart companies that came into Utah. It was a pleasant overcast day for the parade, and we were cheered on by a numerous and enthusiastic crowd.
For the first time in many years the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers was invited to participate in the Bountiful Handcart Days Parade on July 21st. As president of our association, I was provided with a sleek Mercedes convertible and driver, and was well received by a friendly crowd, which included President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency, who was enjoying the parade as a spectator. What a thrill and a privilege.
On Monday, July 17, we held our annual pioneer days celebration at the This Is The Place park. Held in conjunction with the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, it was truly a SUPer DUPer day.
The day started out with a bit of stormy weather, but cleared up to a beautifully mild evening. We enjoyed all of the venues of the park, then gathered in the bowery, much as our pioneer ancestors did. There we were entertained by the Days of 47 Royalty singing and then listened to Elder Jeffrey R Holland speak.
The use of the Bowery proved a wonderful idea, being centrally located and spacious. The Bowery was full and many sat on the grass to hear the events.
Elder Holland told of his ancestry. “First, a comment about my Holland family, who clearly were not Utah pioneers,” he said. “They were a rowdy, but loveable, bunch of Roman Catholic miners born in Ireland who made their way to Montana and Colorado, ending up in Park City at the turn of the 20th century.”
Widowed at the age of 26 with two little boys, Elder Holland’s father being the youngest, his grandmother eventually made her way to Salt Lake City, where she was blessed by the friendship of John Fetzer, the kindly bishop of the old Salt Lake City 8th Ward.
“The rest, as they say, is history,” Elder Holland said. “My grandmother and my father, he by then a 14-year-old boy, joined the Church in 1924.”
Stricken by smallpox, he was taken out of school by his stepfather, “a loss of opportunity and a blow to his self-esteem that he never fully overcame,” Elder Holland related.
“But heaven had its hand on him when, as a Civilian Conservation Corps recruit, he found himself in southern Utah in the early 1930s during the Depression, where he met and married my mother.
“What a union! A gleeful, Irish dance hall piano-playing convert from Roman Catholicism who went through life with a smile on his face and a shine on his shoes marrying a very proper, stay-at-home, quilting and canning, canning and cooking, genuine and thoroughly domestic daughter of Utah pioneers. What a marriage!
“I am the product of that union!"
Dr. Orson D. Wright, beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend passed away on July 5 th , 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. One of the most rewarding was his service over 52 years as a member of the National Society of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers wherein he served as the National President in 1972-1973 and as President of the Past National Presidents for eleven years. As the Director of the SUP Pioneer Village in Salt Lake he managed the sale of the Village and its transfer to Lagoon in 1976. With the proceeds he was able to promote the building of the SUP headquarters office and Building at the mouth of Parleys canyon. He directed the placement of the Pioneer Memorial Monument (“All is Well”) at the Brigham Young grave site for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was very active in Scouting. He served as high council member over scouting, district scouting leader, and vice president of GSL scout council. He attended Philmont ranch, received the Silver Beaver award, and served as president of the Silver Beavers. Being very active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he has served in many capacities as teacher, quorum leader, branch president, member of district presidency, bishopric member, bishop, high councilor, missionary, stake missions, mission president, SL temple ordinance worker, and temple square tour guide for 20 years. He shares his testimony of the truth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its restoration.
Our annual History Symposium which was developed and conducted under the creative experience of our 2018 President-elect, Keith Van Roosendaal. We all were educated and entertained by five very special and well-known presenters. Beginning with Susan Easton Black and her husband, George Durrant, who informed us of many lesser known facts and engaging anecdotes in the lives of Joseph and Emma Smith. They were followed by Mary Ellen Elggren and her presentation on Brigham Young, her great-great-grandfather, and his Human and Humorous side. Thomas Alexander, our past President, gave insight into Wilford Woodruff’s Spiritual gifts and his experiences as St George Temple President. Our final presenter was Ronald L. Anderson, who shared a remarkable view of the relationship between Abraham Lincoln, Joseph Smith, and the Latter-day Saints.
The evening dinner session gave the special opportunity to hear from our keynote speaker, President Cecil O. Samuelson, former president of BYU and currently President of the Salt Lake Temple. Once again, we gained new insight into the history and function of the temple. We enjoyed the event in the comfortable setting of our National Headquarters.
A special note: Dr. William H Tanner, who is currently the Publisher of our “Pioneer Magazine,” was presented with the Presidential Meritorious Service Award in recognition for his dedication and fantastic service over the years to the Sons of Utah Pioneers and the Pioneer Magazine, which is often referred to as the “Crown Jewel” of The Sons of Utah Pioneers. Dr. Tanner’s work rises far beyond all expectation. Congratulations Bill, you deserve it.