LaRee C. and Jack J. Rasmussen
LaRee C. Rasmussen passed away June 15, 2020, and her husband Jack J. Rasmussen passed away on June 27, 2020.
LaRee was born in Central on Dec. 3, 1925 near Richfield, Utah, the youngest of three daughters born to Parley and Iona Shelton Christensen. Jack was born in Monticello, Utah on Aug. 19, 1923, and was raised in Ephraim, the sixth of nine children born to John “Jack” and Bertha Colby Rasmussen.
Both were blessed with close-knit, loving families that knew sorrow early, as LaRee’s father died when she was 17, and Jack’s father died when Jack was only 13.
After high school, Jack helped his older brother Thad run a cafe in Delta, Utah. Everything changed Dec. 7 when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Jack went to the recruiter the next day and in January ’42 started four years of service in the 3rd Division of the U.S. Marine Corps. He was in the first group of Marines ever trained at Camp Pendleton. Jack was involved in military action on the islands of Bougainville, Guadalcanal, and the battles of Guam and Iwo Jima, where he was wounded. He finished his tour of duty as a drill instructor back at Camp Pendleton.
Meanwhile, LaRee finished high school and attended a year at the University of Utah. Her cousins from Ephraim introduced her to the handsome marine. They courted and finally married on Sept. 1, 1948. As a result of her writing a winning essay, Jack and LaRee were married on a radio show in Hollywood, got gifts and a dream honeymoon.
Jack finished his degree in soil science at Utah State and started work in Bellingham, Washington for the Soil Conservation Service, which was part of USDA in 1949. Daughter Terese and son Thad were born in Bellingham. Sorrow struck again, when newborn baby Thad was severely brain-damaged by RH blood incompatibility. Despite many hospitalizations, he lived almost three years.
Jack’s work took him to various areas of Washington and he completed soil surveys of three counties. He finally got a big promotion to Spokane, Washington. LaRee resumed her studies and with a lot of perseverance she completed AA, BA, and MA degrees in education and English. She was a reading specialist in Spokane schools.
Education was very important to them, so they established the Rasmussen Scholarship at Snow College, where the first scholarship recipients were awarded Fall Semester 2019, and will continue in perpetuity.
They were lifelong members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Jack held leadership positions in Sunday School and with the young men’s organization. In 1971, they were sealed together for eternity with their children in the Manti Utah Temple.
The couple loved to travel. They went to Hawaii every year in their retirement. They toured Europe twice, and went on many cruises. They trained hard for the Bloomsday races in Spokane every year. Both earned medals for being in the top three finishers of their age groups.
In 2011 due to LaRee’s increasing forgetfulness, Jack decided to move down the street to Touchmark Senior Living. They enjoyed many activities and freedom from housework there. This April, Terese was finally able to move her parents to the Tri-Cities close to her.
They are survived by daughter Terese and son-in-law Roger Pratt; grandchildren Jonathan (Julie) Pratt and Jennifer (Richard) Pruiett of Kennewick, Washington; Rachel (David) Ritchey of San Jose, California; Kristen (Carlos) Canalessi of Sandy, Utah; grandchildren Sarah and Sam Pratt, Michael and Amilyn Pruiett, and Cielo, Rey and Jack Canalessi. They are also survived by sister-in-law Chloe Rasmussen and many loving nieces and nephews.
They are pre-deceased by son Thad, LaRee’s sisters Barbara and Donna Vee and Jack’s siblings Thaddeus, Thora, an unnamed baby boy, Beth, Lois, R.V., Charles Ned and Nona.
Burial will be at Mueller’s Desert Lawn in Kennewick, Washington with military honors for Jack. Sentiments or memories may be added at Legacy.com under either of their names.