Grand marshal profile: Pat and Alan Justesen of Manti
By Ryan Roos
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.”