Pillars of communities honored as grand marshals

Pillars of communities honored as grand marshals


Clara Hatcher

Staff writer



The Spring City grand marshals are Katie and Greg Parnell.

Spring City stalwarts to lead off pioneer parade

For Katie and Gary Parnell, daily life is intertwined with ancestral and town history.

One year after purchasing the historic Madsen home on Third East and Center Streets in 1977, the Parnells moved to Spring City. The couple restored and remodeled the house, which had been abandoned for several years.

“I enjoyed doing it,” Gary said. “I am very interested in history. We moved here [to Spring City] to be in a historic town. Spent the summer fixing it up and just really enjoyed the historic nature of the town.”

For 30 years, Gary held a teaching career at Snow College. He finished his years of teaching with an additional five years at Utah State University Extension in Ephraim. At North Sanpete Hospital in Mount Pleasant, Katie worked as a medical technologist. At Moroni Middle School and Snow College, she taught science. Katie also spent 12 years on the North Sanpete School Board.

An avid lover of history, Gary has been active in Friends of Historic Spring City for 30 years and a recent past president. For 16 years, Gary served on the Spring City Council. After the wards were divided in 1981, he served as the first bishop of the LDS First Ward.

It was on the city council that Gary started the old-time gospel music program.

“It was on whatever Sunday was connected with Pioneer Days,” Gary said. “We would get the community together and sing the songs pioneers might have sung.”

This year, the group will sing on Sunday.


Fairview’s grand marshal is Shirlene Rasmussen.

‘Dependable’ lady to lead Fairview parade

Described as a “red-headed dynamo,” Shirlene D. Rasmussen has been chosen as Fairview City’s Pioneer Day Grand Marshal.

Rasmussen is known among community members for her “constant and dependable service” to the community. As a resident of Fairview since 1991, Rasmussen has been committee chairperson over the Ice Breaker, Prize Patrol and Frozen Tee Shirt Contest for the Derby, organized Easter Egg Hunts and “Letters to Santa” for the holidays and conducted old-fashioned kids’ games at the local park.

Organizing these events, she said, has been “a delight for her to do for more years than she can remember.”

For 15 years, Rasmussen was a volunteer EMT and driver for the North Sanpete Ambulance Association. She has been both Cub Master for five years and a Leader of the 11-year-old scouts for two-and-a-half ye


In 2010, Rasmussen received the North Bend Entertainers Shining Star Award.

Rasmussen raised three sons: Kyle Anderson, Steven Perkins and Kelton Rasmussen as a single mother. Known as “self-sufficient” and “mechanically talented” to community members, Rasmussen is often seen doing her own car maintenance and repair work.

A love of sports levels her commitment to serving her community. Rasmussen has been a participant of volleyball and softball leagues throughout her life and currently serves as President of the Sanpete County Women’s 500 Bowling Association and Director to the State Women 500 Association.


Ruth Christiansen will lead off Mayfield Pioneer Day parade.

Mayfield’s oldest citizen will lead Mayfield event

For Mayfield’s oldest living citizen, love for her community goes back to when she first moved to the city 80 years ago.

At 97, Ruth Beck Christiansen is Mayfield Town’s Grand Marshal for the July 24 annual celebration.

Christiansen was born in Centerfield in 1919 as one of eight people in the family. Her father, a farmer, took his children to work in the fields at a young age. Christiansen said her favorite job was picking apples for town folk. Her least favorite was “tromping hay.”

This early work, according to Christiansen, set her as a hard worker “who always saw that her responsibilities were taken care of.”

In 1937, Christian married to Harold M. Christiansen and made a move to Mayfield. Her greatest accomplishment, according to Christiansen, is that of being a wife and a mother.

An avid chef, Christiansen saw that her six children; Karl, Howard (deceased), Randy, Lana, Jennie and Mark (both deceased; grandchildren, great and great great grandchildren were all well fed. Her cooking skills are still a topic of conversation among community members.

For the community, Ruth served as Relief Society President, Temple Ordinance Worker and was always willing to provide food or service to those in need.


Sterling’s grand marshals are Louise and Curtis Ludvigson.


Ludvigsons to head parade in Sterling Town

For Curtis and Laurie Ludvigson, honoring pioneer heritage is one of the most important aspects of the Pioneer Day festivities.

“If it wasn’t for them, well, it’s hard to tell you where I’d be,” Curtis said about his ancestors, some of which were first to settle in Sterling.

The Ludvigson’s, who were married in 1981, have dedicated their life to serving the Town of Sterling. After serving a single term as a councilmember, Curtis was elected mayor and served from 1989 until 2001. According to Curtis, Laurie contributed time and effort to help in and the city in those years.

“She’s done all of the work behind-the-scenes,” Curtis said, who started serving on the city council again from 2009 onward.

For Laurie, determination to work naturally accompanied her job as a health care provider at Golden Skyline Assisted Living in Ephraim, and now as a hospice caregiver. Three years previously, Laurie suffered a stroke that left her partially disabled and, more recently, blind in one eye.

Despite the hardship, the Ludvigson’s continue to give back to the community and provide service in the church. Laurie currently serves as a Youth Sunday School teacher and an Advisor to the Young Women while Curtis is currently the Ward Clerk.

Curtis and Laurie keep a focus on their family, including four children and six grandchildren with a seventh expected in November.

“Some of the happiest times are when we are doing things with the family, whether it is going on a trip, camping or hunting in the mountains, working together or with our farm animals or having Sunday dinner,” Laurie said. “We are definitely happiest when we are all together.”


Ace and Phylis Allred are Centerfield City grand marshals.


Sweetheart Allreds will lead pioneer parade

High school sweethearts Ace and Phylis Allred graduated together, served in the first ward church together and worked at the Air Force Base together – all in Centerfield City.

This year, the couple will serve as Centerfield’s Grand Marshals for Pioneer Day.

While Phylis said she is not a fan of the limelight, she appreciates the opportunity as a way to honor her heritage.

“My grandmother came from Denmark when she was 10-years-old, so I have been very involved with the pioneers,” Phylis said.

11 years ago, the Allred’s returned from living in Layton, Utah, to retire in the city they were born and raised in. Upon returning, the couple bought the house Ace grew up in.

The Allred’s were married in 1956 after both Ace and Phylis graduated from high school. Phylis said they started seeing each other when she was in ninth grade, and Ace was in 10th grade.

Both Ace and Phylis worked at the Air Force Base in the city after graduating from high school and getting married. Ace spent 35 years as a civilian while Phylis worked as a civilian at the base for 22 years.

The couple had four sons: John, Gary, Kevin and Bruce, who died of Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS. They have 12 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Ace and Phylis are involved with and help run the Gunnison Valley senior citizen board of directors. Every month, they help fix a potluck dinner with involvement from the Gunnison senior community.