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Brad Taggart examines surfaces and substances at Hub City Art Gallery


By Robert Green

Staff Writer



Mt. PLEASANT—A well-known teacher and sculpture from Snow College will be showcasing some deeply personal artwork exploring his identity at the Hub City Art Gallery.

Brad Taggart, an associate professor of sculpture at Snow College, will be show casing his atwork at the Hub City Art Gallery in Mt. Pleasant through October.

Brad Taggart, associate professor of sculpture at Snow College, will be showcasing a group of pieces entitled, “Identity and Visage – An Exploration of Surface and Substance.”

Taggart’s exhibit will be comprised of four mixed-media sculptures that explore questions about his identity, as he was adopted as a young boy.

“I was adopted when I was a boy and had a really great adoption experience,” Taggart said. “The pieces address the idea of how we develop identity.”

The visage portion of his show will consist of six sculptured ceramic portrait pieces—two of which are large torso figures, two are half-life portraits and two others are life-sized portraits.

Taggart will be on hand at an opening reception Friday, Sept. 6 from 6 – 8 p.m. at Hub City Art Gallery, which is located upstairs in the Mt. Pleasant City Hall, 115 W Main Street.

Taggart admits to loving all things sculpture. He is primarily a figure sculptor, but he also enjoys having the freedom to work in any tradition, material, technology or style that suits him at the time. He holds an Associate of Art degree from Snow College, a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in sculpture from Utah State University and a Master of Fine Art degree in sculpture from Brigham Young University.

In addition to his academic degrees, Taggart has traveled and studied throughout the US, as well as many European art centers such as Rome, Florence, Paris, London and Barcelona.

The pieces in the identity collection are essentially waypoints on a journey “where I don’t know the exact circumstance of its beginning, and like anyone else I’m not sure where or how it will end,” Taggart said.

This piece of mixed – media sculpture by Brad Taggart, ” Alternate Trajectories 2,” is part of a body of work exploring the formation of identity at a new art show at the Hub City Art Gallery.

In writing about his artwork, Taggart explained, “I was adopted shortly after my birth in May of 1968. I have known my whole life that I was adopted; however, I know nothing about my genetic origins. A high school teacher once asked me to share with the class how I felt different as an adopted child. I was surprised because I had honestly never realized that I should feel different.

“Over the past several years, I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on my life and the factors that have shaped my identity. The paramount fact in my life is that a single decision forever altered my trajectory. My life as an adopted child has been fulfilling, so regardless of what combination of nature and nurture may be at play because of that decision, I am content with the course my life has taken.”

Taggart is a commissioned artist with works in several public and private collections. He lives in Ephraim, Utah with his wife Kim and four sons.


The show is sponsored by the North Sanpete Arts Council, Heritage Highway 89 and the city of Mt. Pleasant.


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Discovery road focuses on Scandinavian families who settled the San Luis Valley

By Robert Stevens

Managing Editor


The latest episode of the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area (MPNHA) documentary series “Discovery Road” will be of special interest to the many Scandinavian families across the Sanpete Valley.

The documentary, “Hello Neighbor,” tells the story of a group of Sanpete Valley settlers who were assigned to help establish “Zion” in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico in the 1800s.

Thomas Crowther and Hans Jensen, both from the Sanpete Valley, led groups of “Mormon Danes” to lay out new towns and build churches in the San Luis Valley.

Descendants of Hans Jensen who are interviewed in the program recount the hardships early pioneers faced in building communities across the region.

The intent of “Hello Neighbor” is to reach across state boundaries to explore how people are connected through history, culture and the landscape itself, says Monte Bona, MPNHA executive director.

Bona says more than 350 people placed DVD orders for “Hello Neighbor” after a screening over the Pioneer Day holiday.

“The episode is very relevant to the people here,” Bona says.  Some residents may have ancestors who helped settle the San Luis Valley.

The show explores many racial, religious and language conflicts that cropped up between the Mormons and the Hispanics who were already living in the big San Luis Valley.

David Mackey, an historian from Manti, discusses a series of remarkable events over a 30-year period that connects Utah and Colorado. It begins with a soldier from the Mormon Battalion who shared his copy of the Book of Mormon with a leader named Francisco Salazar. Many sick and starving soldiers from the battalion were nursed back to health by the Hispanics of the San Luis Valley.

It is also noteworthy that a descendant of Francisco Salazar became the U.S. secretary of the interior. His name is Ken Salazar, and in 2010, he approve the management plan that has funded restoration and revitalization projects in the MPNHA area, Bona says.

Because the San Luis Valley has overlapping trails and migration corridors, different cultures ended up spending time there, the film explains.

The documentary chronicles several stories, including the longstanding battle over water. The Jack Dempsey story comes alive with a visit to a Colorado museum honoring the boxer. The program concludes with a visit of some Amish people who have recently started to enter the valley.

The film can be viewed at http://www.mormonpioneerheritage.org/discovery-road-videos/. Discovery Road is also aired regularly on the Utah Education Network. The award-winning series is hosted and narrated by James Nelson. Other national heritage areas in New Mexico and Colorado collaborated on this project.

Otten family cherishes fair as one of many Sanpete traditions

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Jon and Loyce Schuhmann honored for service to Mt. Pleasant senior citizen’s committee

Jon and Loyce Schuhmann

Mt. Pleasant City Mayor Dan Anderson (right) recognizes Jon and Loyce Schuhmann for their tireless efforts in service of the Mt. Pleasant senior citizens committee over 30 years. Jon was instrumental in seeing the Mt. Pleasant Senior Center made into a reality and has served as president, with Loyce by his side, since then.

Father and son temple photographs to be on display


Jim Heywood

FAIRVIEW—Artistic vision is part of the family for the father-and-son team of James and Eric Heywood.

Eric Heywood

The two Sanpete artists will be honored at a reception in the Rotating Artists Gallery at the Fairview Museum from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23. Their art will be on display at the gallery through mid-October.

Friends, family and art lovers are encouraged to come and view this spectacular art event, said spokesperson Donna Seager.

James Heywood, a renowned photographer of LDS Temples, said he has been making photographs for more than four decades and it is one of his three greatest passions in life. “My photography has been accepted and displayed for the annual Spiritual and Religious Show in nine of the last ten years in the Springville Museum of Art,” he said.

“My son, Eric and I had our own two-man show in the Hub City Gallery in Mt. Pleasant entitled ‘Scenes of Sanpete’—with Eric’s oil paintings and my photographs,” James said.

James’ artwork has also previously been shown in the Fairview Museum and the Spring City gallery. In the days of film cameras James had his own color darkroom. In today’s world of digital cameras, he works exclusively in the digital darkroom. His favorite subjects are temples, historic structures and landscapes.  Many of his temple photographs can be seen and purchased at heywoodfineart.com.

James lives with his wife Terri in Moroni. They have been married 47 years and have eight sons and seven daughters-in-law and 26 grandchildren. James works for North Sanpete Middle School.

Eric was born in Southern California and moved to Utah when he was young. He studied figure drawing, painting, sculpture and anatomy at Snow College in Ephraim. He also enrolled in portraiture and oil painting workshops as the Beaux-Arts Academy and Master’s Academy of Art in Springville.

Eric and his family are staying in Sanpete County for the summer. He has moved to Florence, Italy to attend the Florence Academy of Art, where he is studying intensive drawing.

The father and son art show is sure to be outstanding and well worth your time, Seager said. The Fairview Museum is located at 85 N. 100 East.

What it means to be Queen

By James Tilson

Associate Editor




EPHRAIM—Two young women won countywide contests last year using platforms aimed at helping young people realize the dangers of overusing social media.

EPHRAIM—Two young women won countywide contests last year using platforms aimed at helping young people realize the dangers of overusing social media.

Bellamy Sorensen, Miss Sanpete County 2019, and Nikki Evans, Miss Sanpete County Outstanding Teen 2019, both ran on platforms of helping other teens understand how the use of technology and media can be helpful, but overuse can lead to harmful side effects.

“You have a crown on your head, but that’s not what being Miss Sanpete County is about,” Sorensen says. “It’s being a role model for others, and living as an example. It’s showing kids there are role models for them to emulate.”

Sorensen’s platform was: “Unplug: The effects of technology and media.” She says the “Unplug” initiative had one main goal. She wanted to help youth and children learn how to fight the urge to be connected to a device, and have the willpower to unplug from the addiction of technology and media.

During her year of service, Sorensen sought to practice what her platform taught. While she competed at Miss Utah, Sorensen turned off her cell phone and went social media-free for the entire competition.

Sorensen also used her time teaching piano lessons as another example of doing something else. “By showing my kids that you don’t have to be plugged into social media all the time, I hope to show them they can set their phone down and have fun,” says Sorensen.

Evans’ platform was “Teens behind screens.” According to Evans, her platform “helped the community recognize the part cell phones have in our lives and how the time spent on electronics can create a problem in the way we communicate to one another.”

Evans aimed more at teaching teens about privacy and safety concerns. “By teaching the public about the measures taken by each app to ensure safety, everyone can contribute to a safer online environment by filtering offensive content and reporting dangerous accounts or comments.”

Both Sorensen and Evans competed at the state level, Sorensen at the Miss Utah Pageant and Evans at the Miss Utah Outstanding Teen Pageant.

Although neither won, both agreed it was a wonderful and growing experience. “The Miss Utah competition was truly a life-changing event that makes me want to continue to do better and show others the great examples that the Miss America Organization wants us to be,” said Sorensen.

Evans, a senior at Manti High School this year, plans to compete in the regular Miss Sanpete County Pageant coming up next Friday, Aug. 9.

After high school, Evans hopes to work toward an education in physical therapy. Evans says, “My aunt does it, and she loves it. It looks like a friendly, safe environment.”

Sorensen will be working toward her radiology technician degree at Weber State University.

The Miss Sanpete County and Miss Sanpete County’s Outstanding Teen Pageant will be Friday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m., at the Snow College Eccles Center. Tickets will be available at the door, which open at 6 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults and $4 for children aged 4-11. Each adult ticket comes with one pageant program. Additional programs are $1 each.

Who will fall in love with the girl in ‘The Boy Friend’?

North Bend Entertainers Play

FAIRVIEW—The North Sanpete Entertainers are performing a musical comedy “The Boy Friend” Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, July 27, 29, 30, at 7 p.m. in the Peterson Dance Hall in Fairview.

The Jazz Age lives on in Sandy Wilson’s light romantic spoof of the 1920s. Set against the backdrop of the French Riviera, this musical comedy tells the story of English heiress, Polly, who is longing for only one thing: a boyfriend.

Polly’s father, convinced that any boy who isn’t wealthy will court Polly strictly for her financial situation, forbids her to engage any potential suitors. Honoring his wishes, Polly explains to Tony, the messenger boy whom she has fallen in love with, that she is no rich girl.

This is just the tip of the mistaken identity iceberg, as love proceeds to find its way charmingly through nearly every member of the cast and bring them all to a happy ending.

For more information call 469-1177.

Quest for historic listing opens up colorful history of Relief Society grain Saving Program

Quest for Historic Listing

When Amy Jorgensen, executive director of the Granary Arts Center, decided to try to get the Ephraim Relief Society Granary added to the National Register of Historic Places, she had no idea the rich stories that would emerge as part of the nomination process.

Now home to Granary Arts and adjacent to the historic Ephraim Co-op, the building evokes a sense of history, but staff knew only a few details before they began the project.

“When beginning the historic nomination process it was important for me to have the voices of women telling their own story,” Jorgensen said.

“Putting a building on the registry is more than honoring historical architecture. It’s about unearthing and sharing the narrative of the people involved. This was the work of women who built and worked in this space, and who made a significant impact on their community.”

Jorgensen found Shalae Larsen, lead landscape architect at IO LandArch, a Salt Lake City landscape design firm, to spearhead the nomination effort.

Larsen laughs as she recalls her first call with Jorgensen, “I told Amy I had roots in Ephraim since C.C.A. Christensen (a famous 19th Century Mormon artist who lived in Ephraim) is my third great-grandfather. Amy told me that they had, in fact, heard of him. His cabin is on the property.”


Quest for historic listing opens up colors history of Relief Society grain saving program

By Rhonda Lauritzen


This is the Ephraim Relief Society Granary as it appears today. It is now home of the Granary Arts Center.

When Amy Jorgensen, executive director of the Granary Arts Center, decided to try to get the Ephraim Relief Society Granary added to the National Register of Historic Places, she had no idea the rich stories that would emerge as part of the nomination process.

Now home to Granary Arts and adjacent to the historic Ephraim Co-op, the building evokes a sense of history, but staff knew only a few details before they began the project.

“When beginning the historic nomination process it was important for me to have the voices of women telling their own story,” Jorgensen said.

“Putting a building on the registry is more than honoring historical architecture. It’s about unearthing and sharing the narrative of the people involved. This was the work of women who built and worked in this space, and who made a significant impact on their community.”

Jorgensen found Shalae Larsen, lead landscape architect at IO LandArch, a Salt Lake City landscape design firm, to spearhead the nomination effort.

Larsen laughs as she recalls her first call with Jorgensen, “I told Amy I had roots in Ephraim since C.C.A. Christensen (a famous 19th Century Mormon artist who lived in Ephraim) is my third great-grandfather. Amy told me that they had, in fact, heard of him. His cabin is on the property.”

Rhonda Lauritzen, founder and author at Evalogue.Life, a business that helps people create their personal histories, was contracted to do the historic research and writing to support the application for national register listing.

When Lauritzen first arrived onsite, she found out two sets of her fourth great-grandparents were original settlers of Fort Ephraim and that a monument to those settlers sits on the property. The stories she and Larsen uncovered captivated her, and Lauritzen now has thousands of pages of research.

The Ephraim Relief Society Granary was built in the early 1870s and was owned by Relief Society women, who used it to store wheat as part of the grain saving program that operated throughout the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Patrons view an art exhibit inside the restored gallery space at the Granary Arts Center.

The program is still a source of pride for the Relief Society. Wheat is depicted the Relief Society emblem—and a bronze rendition of that emblem is on the exterior of the Relief Society headquarters building in downtown Salt Lake City.

At one time nearly every Utah town had a Relief Society granary, but today only nine remain. At the time, the Sanpete Valley was known as the “granary of Utah.” Grain fields extended along the valley for 30 miles from Fairview to Manti. The Ephraim Granary was regarded as one of the finest of Relief Society granaries.

When the Ephraim Relief Society purchased the granary and the Relief Society Hall on the second floor of the Ephraim Co-op, it gave the organization a public presence on Main Street. Today the granary stands as a symbol of early female autonomy, economic success and charitable endeavors in 19th Century Ephraim.

The Ephraim Relief Society was organized in 1856, just two years after the first Mormon settlers came to Ephraim. Because of hostile Indians in the area, the town started out in a walled fort. Women first held Relief Society meetings in a “small hall inside the fort in an outdoor bowery,” according to a typed history of the Ephraim Relief Society now on file at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City.

In 1860, after local members moved out of the fort and built their first chapel, the Relief Society began meeting there. According to the typed history, this arrangement continued until the women bought their own hall on the second floor of the Co-op in 1872.

Shortly after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young asked congregations to store up grain, partly in response to years when “Mormon Crickets” and grasshoppers had decimated the harvest.

In 1876-1877, Brigham Young became frustrated by milquetoast efforts to store grain and asked Relief Society General Secretary Emmeline B. Wells to head up the program. The Relief Society worked with gusto.

The Ephraim Relief Society was particularly successful. At one time, the organization had 200,000 pounds of wheat in storage.

The women donated other goods too. The typed history says, “Hundreds of dozens of Sunday eggs were gathered each summer…. Everyone had cows and donated milk for cheese, and practically all the wool for quilts was given from local sheep herds.”

That history adds, “Marion Dorius has been in charge of collecting Sunday eggs this year. She has done exceptionally well. I’ve heard that she rewards the children with lump sugar when they bring a heaping full basket of eggs…,”

An 1881 ledger listed other assets of the local Relief Society, besides the granary, as share in the Co-op valued at $40, along with shares in a thresher, sawmill, straw mill, a knitting machine, a cheese vat, a share in a book called “Women of Mormondom,” a silk farm and machinery used to manufacture silk.

The granary and space on the second floor of the Co-op gave women a place to be heard. The book, “Building Zion, the Material World of Mormon Settlement” by University of Utah architecture professor Tom Carter notes: “Zion was a man’s world. In reading over 50 years of ward minutes for each town in the [Sanpete Valley], I encountered no female voice. They were there, but in public at least, perfectly silent. We can hear their voices in journals and diaries, but mostly they speak of their daily routines.”

Times changed after turn of the century, when the Relief Society sold its building to a roller mill. After World War II, the mill closed, and the Granary and Co-op became eyesores. If not for the cost of demolition, the buildings probably would have been torn down.

On March 27, 1969, the Ephraim Enterprise ran the headline, “Historic Landmark to be Razed.” Local residents Richard and Nadine Nibley scrambled to buy time after bulldozers had already arrived onsite.

It worked. On May 29, 1969, the Ephraim Enterprise and Manti Messenger both ran a short notice with the headline, “Ephraim Pioneer Building Saved.”

But it wasn’t until the 1990 that champions of “Ephraim Square” secured financing to renovate the historic structures.

Saving the buildings took grit, thick skin and creativity. Many have said that the turning point was when artist Kathleen Peterson, now of Spring City, painted a watercolor of the Co-op not as it was, but how it should be. She literally painted the picture of a restored building. People who had not been able to imagine restoration before, now could.

The Ephraim Co-op became the home of a crafts co-op and is also used for meetings and receptions. The granary became a community art gallery.

Jorgensen summarized the history of the Relief Society Granary this way, “The building has a long history of women working on behalf of the community, whether in the…grain program of the 1800s, the arts cooperative model of the late 1900s, or Granary Arts today in the 2000s. It is a significant structure with a unique and rich history, placing women at the front of commerce, food security and community engagement.”


The author, who lives in Ogden, is the founder of Evalogue.Life and specializing is writing biographies and personal histories. She was co-authored the narrative to nominate the Ephraim Relief Society Granary to the National Register of Historic Places.

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Grand marshal profile: Pat and Alan Justesen of Manti

By Ryan Roos

Staff Writer


Pat and Alan Justesen are proud to serve as grand marshals of Manti’s July 4th celebration this year.

Pat and Alan Justesen never dreamed they’d be selected by Manti City to act as Grand Marshalls for the 4th of July celebration, but the couple couldn’t be prouder to serve.

“I’ve been so touched by the ceremonies on the Fourth, as well as those on Veteran’s Day,” said Pat, whose veteran’s ancestry can be traced directly through both the Revolutionary and Civil War. “I’ve heard their stories and they’ve touched me deeply. I’m so proud to be an American.”

Alan’s fondness for our founding fathers shines brightly when he speaks of the heroic events leading to 1776. “I’m proud that our patriots had the courage to stand up and fight for what was right,” said Alan.

Pointing out that had the patriots been unsuccessful, their acts would have been considered treason, Alan said he hopes that today we can draw from their spirit of bravery. “They knew they would be forfeiting their lives if they were caught” Alan observed. “I hope we can have the same courage today to maintain our freedoms.”

Alan, who was raised in Ogden, Utah, has deep pioneer roots in the Sanpete Valley. His grandfather, Daniel Olson, was a founder of the Moroni Feed Company. Many of Alan’s family stayed in the valley, and his boyhood memories are full of warm summer visits to relatives in Moroni and Spring City.

Pat spent her youth in the small South Carolina town of Seneca. It was while serving as missionaries in Ireland under the supervision of noted author Stephen R. Covey that Alan and Pat would first meet. Pat’s mission ended six months prior to Alan’s, but President Covey had a feeling about his two prized missionaries and suggested Pat continue to write Elder Justensen after she returned home. The pair courted during Alan’s senior year at BYU and the rest is Justensen family history. Today, that family has grown to include five children and 13 grandchildren.

Alan spent his professional life as a mechanical engineer in the energy field, a career that took him from Arkansas to Houston, and finally back to the western plains of Wyoming. While supporting her husband’s career, Pat’s pride and joy was raising their family from the home, as well as serving in various church callings.

Upon Alan’s retirement, the couple felt called to return to Alan’s boyhood stomping grounds. They purchased a home near the Manti Temple and together served in that temple for over 20 years.

When asked what the future holds for the America they love, the couple simply said, “we’re optimistic, and we have faith.”

Grand marshal profile: Mark and Laura Beck of Mt. Pleasant



Lifetime residents of Mt. Pleasant, Laura and Mark Beck, have been selected as the grand marshal of the parade this year.

MT. PLEASANT—Lifetime residents of Mt. Pleasant, Mark and Laura Beck, owners of Beck’s Home Furnishings on Main Street, have been selected as the grand marshal of this year’s Mammoth Parade.

The Mammoth Parade is traditionally held on the Fourth of July each year. It is a highlight of the Hub City Days Celebration. The parade starts at 11:30 a.m. and is followed by a multitude of fun activities at the city park, a rodeo and fireworks.

The Becks are a perfect match as this year’s grand marshal as they bring a long and historical lineage to the area. Both Mark and Laura have lived in Mt. Pleasant all of their lives. Ancestors from each of their lines have lived in Mt. Pleasant since its original founding and names of several of their ancestors are listed on the Pioneer Monument in front of the library building in the center of town.

They were married in the summer of 1976 in the Manti Utah Temple. They are the parents of five children, four boys and one girl. Their children are Cade and Becky Beck, Fairview; Cody and Laci Beck, Mt. Pleasant; Brian and Kathy Beck, Mt. Pleasant; Brandon and Chelsea Beck, Milburn; Aubree and Kip Larsen, Vernal. They are the grandparents of thirteen grandchildren, with one more coming this summer.

In 1974, Mark started running Beck’s TV, a television sales and service business that his father started in 1959. Laura soon joined him running the business after they were married in 1976. Over the years, the business expanded to include a full line of home appliances, furniture and mattresses. The name of their business was changed in the 1980s to Beck’s Home Furnishings. In 1994, their business location moved from its original location of 140 W. Main Street to 14 W. Main Street, where it remains today.

Throughout their married lives, they have both served in many leadership callings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 2013 they served a church mission together in the Russia, Novosibirsk Mission. Their church service has been a central part of their lives here in Sanpete County. Mark also served a term on the Mt. Pleasant City Council in the 1980s and has been involved in the Mt. Pleasant Main Street business district for many years.

Laura has served on the Mt. Pleasant Library Board and local PTA and currently enjoys her membership in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. They are both proud to claim Mt. Pleasant as their lifetime home and are proud of their pioneer heritage.

Mark and Laura both enjoy travelling the world and experiencing different cultures. Mark said they love the people and beauty of the world, but truly realize that there is no place like home. “The mountains of Sanpete County are very special to us and we love to enjoy this mountain paradise all seasons of the year,” he said.

Grand marshal profile: Jan and Ruth Christensen of Gunnison

By Thamina Christensen

Staff Writer



Ruth and Jan Christensen are being honored for their community service and have been selected as the grand marshal of Gunnison’s Fourth of July parade.

GUNNISON—After fulfilling a lifetime of community service, Gunnison residents Jan and Ruth Christensen are being honored this year as the grand marshal of the annual Fourth of July parade.

Jan and Ruth met at Brigham Young University in the 1960s. Jan was pursuing a degree in chemistry with a pre-med emphasis and Ruth was working on her master’s degree in education. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1970 and moved to California, where Jan started medical school at Loma Linda University School of Medicine.

A residency in family practice medicine brought Jan and Ruth and their three children to Charleston, South Carolina. Living in the south introduced the family to new cuisines and cultures.

Jan relates, “While growing up in Southern California, visiting Grandma and Grandpa Dyreng in Manti was often our destination for a summer vacation. I often thought to myself during those summer visits that if I ever had some control over my future home and family that I’d like to live in Sanpete County. The Gunnison hospital offered me the invitation that allowed that to happen.”

Ruth, who was born in Idaho and raised in Idaho, Nevada and Utah, also liked the idea of moving to Gunnison as it aligned closely with their goal of living near family and raising their children in a close-knit community. By summer’s end in 1978, the Christensens settled in “the pink house” next to the Gunnison Hospital.

Since returning to Gunnison, Jan and Ruth have dedicated their time serving and working in the Gunnison community. Jan managed his own medical practice, retiring in 2012, and working in different capacities at Gunnison Valley Hospital, including time as Chief of Medical Staff.

Jan and Ruth also volunteered their time and musical talents to local theater productions as members of the GVHS
musical orchestra with Jan on trumpet and Ruth on the piano. They also founded a fifteen member stage band “All That Jazz.”

Jan and Ruth have actively served in numberous callings as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Christensens are quick to acknowledge the great blessing of our free nation.  “The events that we commemorate on the Fourth of July, the founding of this great nation with its Constitution and Bill of Rights, are of enormous consequence in the history of the world,” Jan said.

The Christensens have eight children, Suzy, Richard, Melissa, Kathrine, Thamina, Lucille, Annette and Paul and 32 grandchildren.

Grand marshal profile: Paula and Mark Jorgenson of Moroni

By Ryan Roos

Staff Writer



Paula and Mark Jorgenson are honored to serve as Moroni’s Grand Marshal for Independence Day this year.

MORONI—Being honored as the Grand Marshal of Moroni’s Independence Day Celebration this year is truly a calling that Mark and Paula Jorgenson have taken to heart.

Ask the longtime Moroni couple what they look forward to the most each Fourth of July holiday, and the thought of family returning home to Sanpete County will always top their list.

“It’s our children’s favorite holiday to come home for,” says Paula. “My Grandfather served in World War II and my husband was a proud National Guardsman for 14 years. We’re very patriotic and so incredibly honored that the city of Moroni would think of us.”

The Jorgenson’s love of family, country and community make them a natural choice for this year’s Grand Marshal. Mark’s Danish pioneer ancestry entered the Sanpete Valley during its earliest and most treacherous days of settlement, while Paula’s heritage can be traced to the historic Willie and Martin Handcart Companies as they crossed the plains in search of religious liberty. The Jorgenson’s family lines run deep with those who have struggled and died for their freedoms.

It was during a fateful summer night dance in central Sanpete that the couple first met. Though Mark was attending North Sanpete High School, and Paula was attending Manti High School 26 miles to the south, the undeterred pair quickly became high school sweethearts.

After living in Provo during their early years of marriage, the Jorgenson’s felt the security of their Sanpete upbringing drawing them home, and soon moved back to Moroni to raise their family.

“We wanted to raise our children in the same environment we enjoyed as kids” says Paula. The couple has been active in keeping that family friendly environment alive, a goal which led them to coaching youth summer league activities such as softball and baseball.

Professionally, Mark’s work as a skilled machinist took him north to Springville until he retired, and Paula’s career spanned time at both the Moroni Light and Power as well as Moroni Feed.

Today, the Jorgenson’s are the proud parents of six children and 18 (soon to be 19) grandchildren. It’s a posterity that the couple knows will be affected by the direction of our nation. “I hope that our country will never forget its traditional, family oriented values,” says Paula.

When asked if she believes that Sanpete County will continue to hold firm to the traditional family values she cherished as a child, Paula offers only one word: “absolutely.”