I was born July 10, 1955, at Cooley Memorial Hospital in Brigham City, Utah at 11:15 a.m. I weighed six pounds 10 ounces at birth and was 19 inches long. I was born on a Sunday between meetings. (My dad was in the bishopric at the time.)
I am the second child of four born to my father Lynn Thomas Richman (1928–living) of Paradise, Cache County, Utah, and of my mother, Katherine Joyce Sealy Richman (1928–1971) of Malta, Cassia County, Idaho. My oldest brother, Jeffrey Lynn Richman, was born February 3, 1951, and married Don Peterson. My younger sister, Joy Lynn Richman, was born, April 8, 1959, and married Blair Jacobson. My youngest brother, Ricky Lynn Richman, was born March 12, 1961, and married Wendy Tillery. Jeff was born in Salt Lake City, and the rest of us were born in Brigham City. See more pictures at RichmanFamily.org.
I owe much to my ancestors. All eight of my great-grandparents were converts to the Church in Europe. Each of these stalwart souls sacrificed everything to come to Zion. (See President Russell M. Nelson’s talk “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives.”) In 2000, I built the website RichmanFamily.org to honor my current and past family. It contains stories, histories, and photos.
Since I helped my dad compile his life history, I will not repeat here much about my dad’s life. This chapter consists mostly of bits and pieces that show my dad’s personality and remembrances of him. (See Lynn’s page on the Richman Family website.)
On March 28, 1974, Dad wrote me the following letter when I was at Brigham Young University (BYU) for my freshman year of college.
How is my very special son? Hope all is well. We would sure like to come down and visit you.
I gave my high council spiritual thought last Sunday evening. I don’t know when I’ve worried more, prepared more, or prayed more for an assignment. When I stood up, the Spirit took over. Larry, I don’t know of any time in my life when I have lived closer to the Spirit or had a stronger testimony of the Gospel than now. I want you to know how much I’m enjoying my calling on the high council. It is an honor to serve and be a part in our Father in Heaven’s kingdom.
Larry, I want you to know how much I loved your mother, and how much I pray that she knows, understands, and approves. How thankful I am that we were married in the temple and that our family will be sealed together in eternity. I’m very happy, as I know your mother is, of your desire to serve a mission. After you have completed your mission, the most important thing in this life that you can do is marry the right person in the right place by the right authority. I know that the Lord is preparing a very special sweet, pure spirit for a mate for you. There is not a thing in this world you could do that would bring us greater happiness.
I’m sure that Joyce approves of Mary. What a very special spirit she is. Last Sunday, Mary prepared a very special dinner and invited Brother Wes Poole, Mitch, and Brad to join us. They sure enjoyed it. Brother Poole wishes you the very best. [Brother Poole was my home teaching companion for years.] Mary teaches Sunday School and never misses Relief Society. She is a visiting teacher to five families. She sings in the choir and prepares things for people who are sick. Our Father in Heaven has certainly blessed us. What a special blessing it is to bring a special spirit into the world. Now he is blessing us and trusting us with two of His precious spirits.
Larry, this is beginning to sound like a sermon. I just want you to know how special I think you are and how much I love you. I want you to know of my testimony. The gospel is true and is the most important thing in our lives. I want you to know you can always depend on my and can always confide in me. Your success and happiness is my greatest concern. I would make any sacrifice for you. Pray always and strengthen your testimony.
For Christmas 1975, he wrote me the following letter while I was on my mission:
December 19, 1975
I hope this letter gets to you in time for Christmas. United Airlines are on strike, and we’ve been fogged in for over a week. We know that we can’t mail you any presents and it bothers us not being able to express our love to you with presents. We want you to know how much we love you. How much we appreciate the kind of young man you are. We are proud to be the parents of such a fine son. We are thankful for the testimony and dedication of our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ that you have. Your dedication in fulfilling an honorable mission is the highest reward and tribute that a son can pay his parents, and that you will return home clean and pure. We are so proud of you. All of the people in the stake ask how you are doing and are concerned about you. [The earthquake in Guatemala happened earlier that year.] They all express their love and admiration for you. Then I stand a little taller each time. When you get home, we will make up for all the times and holidays we’ve missed together.
May our Father in Heaven’s choicest blessings be with you each day, that you may enjoy His Spirit as a constant companion in everything you do.
All our love and prayers,
Dad and Mom and Family
In his later years, Dad loved to go to the store Costco. It was a social experience for him. On a visit to Boise in 2000, he and I went to Costco. As we got out of the car and crossed the parking lot, a 20-something-year-old employee came up to Dad and greeted him with “Hello, Lynn” and gave him a high five. (No lie. An actual high five.) He then followed up with, “I won’t be working on Thursday this week, so if you come by Thursday, I won’t be here.” I am afraid Dad spent way too much time at Costco. Did you see the movie about the girl who lived in a Walmart and delivered her baby there? I sometimes wondered if Dad was secretly living at Costco.
Dad often used a computer but did not understand much about it. My brother David was often his computer technician to upgrade components or clean up software problems. One day, David upgraded the amount of RAM in Dad’s computer. Dad reported, “David fixed my computer and put a new gig in it. How big a gig do you have in your computer?” Once he relayed to me that he heard that Micron was producing a new 6 GB chip. He pronounced GB as “gilabeater.”
Later in life, Dad would only wear a watch on Sundays because that was the only time he really cared about the exact time. When he took off his watch after church, he would pull out the stem so the hands would stop moving—and stop using battery power. Then the next Sunday, when he put the watch back on, he would set the hands to the current time and push in the stem, so it started ticking again.
In 2017, I helped Dad compile his life history. He had various versions that he had written over the years, so I helped him merge them and fill in the gaps. I published the final version on the Richman Family website (RichmanFamily.org). I enjoyed working with Dad on this and learning more about his life. There were lots of interesting stories about his life and not all of them made it into the final life history. For example, Dad said that when his high school friends showed up at his wedding reception, the gifts they brought consisted of old towels stolen from clotheslines and silverware stolen from a bar in Willard. We also went through all Dad’s photos to identify names, dates, and events. I then scanned all those photos to add to the family website. See Lynn’s page on the Richman Family website.
Joyce Seely Richman
My mother, Kathryn Joyce Seely, passed away of kidney failure when I was 16 years old. Through her trials, she came to love the Savior and His gospel. She taught us about Him and showed us through her example how to follow Him. See Joyce’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about her life.
My oldest brother, Jeffrey Lynn Richman, was born February 3, 1951, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jeff served a Church mission in Germany, beginning in June 1970. He graduated from Utah State University in 1975. He married Don Peterson. See Jeff’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about his life.
My sister Joy Lynn Richman was born April 8, 1959, in Brigham City, Utah. In 1978, Joy graduated from Ricks College. On June 5, 1980, Joy married Blair Jacobson in the Idaho Falls Temple. See Joy’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about her life.
My brother Ricky Lynn Richman was born March 12, 1961, in Brigham City, Utah. He served a mission in the California Anaheim Mission. Rick married Wendy Tillery and was a grade school teacher. See Rick’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about his life.
Dad married Mary Elizabeth Smith on July 19, 1972, in the Idaho Falls Temple. Mary was a strength in the family. Even though I moved away to college just a year after Mary and Dad got married, I’ve always felt close to her. Mary had two children from a previous marriage, Tonya Gayle Hawkins and Marjorie Hawkins. Together, Mary and Dad had five more children (4+2+5=11). It was not easy to combine a yours-mine-and-ours family, but Mary did a marvelous job in bringing everyone together. It took an amazing woman to raise eleven kids. I also appreciate the loyalty and love she has always shown to Dad. See Mary’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about her life.
My sister, Tonya Gayle Hawkins, was born October 4, 1963, in Pocatello, Idaho. She was married to Scott Thurman. See Tonya’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about her life.
My sister, Marjorie Lynn Hawkins, was born July 29, 1967, in Boise, Idaho. She married Merrell Sams and was later divorced. See Margie’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about her life.
My sister, Julie Ann Richman, was born May 12, 1974, in Boise, Idaho. She married Johnny Hester on November 10, 2001. See Julie’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about her life.
My sister, Jennifer Lynn Richman, was born May 12, 1974, in Boise, Idaho. She married Spencer Wintersteen. See Jennifer’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about her life.
My sister, Becky Lynn Richman, was born June 12, 1975, in Boise, Idaho. See Becky’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about her life.
My brother, David Thomas Richman, was born June 10, 1977, in Boise, Idaho. He served a Church mission in the Philippines Baguio Mission. He married Angela Mortensen. See David’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about his life.
My sister, Elizabeth Ann Richman, was born July 1, 1979, in Boise, Idaho. She married Jeremy Driebergen. See Elizabeth’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about her life.
I met my wife, Teri, in a BYU ward family home evening group, even though neither of us was a BYU student at the time. Teri was working at the BYU registration office, and I was working full-time for the Church in Salt Lake. Teri was the ward Relief Society president.
I took her to see the movie “The Elephant Man” in October 1981. Our next date was January 2, 1982, to see the movie “Taps.” In February 1982, I hired Teri to type addresses on envelopes for my project to publish the book Prominent Men and Women of Provo 1983. I needed the help, but I also wanted to have more chances to interact with her. On April 10, 1982, I took her to see “Behold the Lamb of God” at the University of Utah Special Events Center. Mom and Dad and several relatives were also there. I felt relaxed around Teri, and we got along very well.
On May 22, 1982, I had a serious talk with her about our relationship and where it was headed. We talked about our personalities and how compatible we would be as a husband and wife. I had spent several evenings in the temple that week contemplating whether to marry her. I made the decision and sought a confirmation of that decision. On May 24, 1982, I formally asked Teri to marry me. We walked along a path on campus for a long time before I got the courage to ask her. I think the words I used were something like, “What are you doing for the next million years?” When she did not know how to respond to such a question, I said, “Well, are you going to marry me or not?” We set the date July 9, when many of my relatives would be in Boise for my brother Rick’s homecoming.
On Memorial Day weekend in 1982, I met with my family and Teri in Brigham City. After my family left to return to Boise, Teri went on to Blackfoot to begin planning the wedding with her parents, and I went to Logan to ask Jason Nielsen to be my best man. The weekend of June 12, Teri and I went to Blackfoot so I could meet her father.
We were sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple on July 9, 1982, by the temple president Robert Kerr, Jr. It was a wonderful ceremony, and many relatives and friends were there. Teri looked beautiful and everything went as planned. Jason Nielsen was my best man, and Dorothy Mucklaroy was Teri’s maid of honor. The wedding lunch was at the Westbank restaurant after the traditional pictures on the temple grounds.
That night, we had a reception at the Rose Ward meetinghouse in Blackfoot. On Saturday, we drove to Boise for a reception at our home in the breezeway and back yard. Sunday morning, we attended the Boise 20th Ward sacrament meeting to hear Rick’s homecoming talk. I was impressed with the depth of his remarks and the breadth of his experience. Tuesday morning, we returned to Provo to be back at work on Wednesday. We kept the honeymoon short, because we had planned a three-week trip at the end of September. (See the chapter “Trips and Vacations.”)
When our youngest child Hailee started first grade, Teri decided she needed more to do during the day and got her real estate license. In October 1995, she enrolled in real estate school and passed her board exam in December. She got her real estate license in January and worked for Robison and Company and Century 21.
By 2000, Teri began working part-time as the attendance secretary at Hillsdale Elementary. It was a challenge since over half the school children did not speak English as their native language. One day, a mother went into labor as she dropped off her child for school. Teri got on the phone with 911 to coach another office worker as he helped the mother and translated into Spanish. The baby was delivered in the ambulance in front of the school.
Below is a letter I wrote to Teri on January 10, 1991:
My Dearest Teri,
In keeping with our new-found New Year’s tradition, I am writing this letter to you to express my feelings about you, about myself, and about the prospects for the new year.
I want you to know how much I love you. I appreciate the support you are to me. You are always by my side when I need you. And even though I may not say it or show it very often, I really appreciate it. I am growing a lot—and although growth is good, it can often be painful. Growing pains are difficult for teenagers, and they are even more difficult when that teenager is chronologically an adult. I appreciate the fact that you stand beside me as my equal.
I love you, and I love our family. I want to be the best husband and father I can be. Continue to help me see ways I can improve.
All my love,
In December 2004, Teri was still working at Hillsdale Elementary but changed jobs to be the Computer Lab Tech. In 2005, she started working at Hunter High School as the attendance secretary. Teri retired from Hunter High in August 2018. See Teri’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about her life.
On April 13, 1983, our first daughter, Lanae, was born. She weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces and was born at 7:08 a.m. She was 20 inches long, had brown hair, and was the most beautiful baby at the hospital. When Lanae was born, the tears welled up in my eyes as I realized that I now had a little daughter and was responsible for her. Teri’s parents drove down from Blackfoot that night to see her. Something Teri’s father said stayed with me for a long time, “Your Father in Heaven expects you to get her back to Him.” I committed to do my best to make that happen. I knew she was precious and deserved all the effort it would take.
I blessed Lanae on May 1, 1983. We had 32 family and friends there, who all came to our little apartment for lunch.
Lanae slept through the night since her first day home. As she grew up, she had loads of personality.
Saturday night, May 4, 1991, I baptized Lanae. It was hard to believe that I had a daughter that was eight years old! It was also a humbling experience to realize that as her father, I was responsible to see that she knew what was right.
Lanae took piano, dance, and voice lessons. She was chosen to be a cheerleader at school. In the spring of 1995, she sprained and broke her ankle on the stairs. In December 1995, Lanae, Jamie, and Hailee danced at the Dickens Festival in Salt Lake. She was on the jazz, tap, and ballet team. In April 1997, Lanae and Jamie went with their dancing group to perform at Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.
Lanae was an excellent artist and enjoyed remodeling and redecorating her bedroom.
In 1999, Lanae turned 16 and got her driver’s license and began dating. It was a bittersweet experience to see our children grow up and start going out into the world without holding their hand. Nothing prepares a parent for their children driving and dating.
In 2000, Lanae went to Cyprus High School. During high school, she took college art classes from Salt Lake Community College. In December, she painted the four walls of her bedroom with scenery. In 2003, she transferred from the University of Utah to Utah State University and majored in interior design and fine arts. She had a great eye for design. She completed an internship at the design firm Denton House Interiors, and then they hired her full-time.
In 2001, Lanae graduated from high school and seminary and began attending Salt Lake Community College. In 2002, she transferred to the University of Utah. She was a member of a Latter-day Saint sorority at the University of Utah.
She worked at Lone Star Steakhouse, Circuit City, Wet Seal, and Red Bull. She said Red Bull was the best job ever—to get paid to talk with people and give them free stuff. For spring break, Lanae and some of her college roommates and Jamie went on a cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico.
In 2007, Lanae worked for Home Depot and fell in love with Jay Christiansen, who also worked there. Jay later worked for E*TRADE and later for Square. Lanae and Jay were married in the Salt Lake Temple on June 21, 2007. It was what the Seely family calls “a counter.” That is, one of those memorable experiences in life that really “count.” Counters remind you what life is all about. Life is all about raising children to be worthy to go to the temple, then living worthy to return to our Father in Heaven together.
June 16, 2019 was Father’s Day. Lanae and Jay came by the day before and gave me Superman air caps for my car tires and a card that said: “Happy Father’s Day, Dad! You are truly my hero. You have always worked hard and accomplished so many amazing things. Things you never really mention but are amazing. We see you, dad. I see all the good that you do and all the hard things you have overcome. I look up to you and strive to be more like you. All my love, Lanae. Jay and my girls are so lucky to learn from you, too.”
I am very proud of the woman Lanae is. I am proud of her as a person, a wife, and a mother to four wonderful kids. I am proud of the family that she and Jay have raised. They are wonderful parents and have an impressive family. See Lanae’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about her life.
We were expecting twins. On July 19, 1984, Teri had a sonogram that showed that one of the twins had died at about 18 weeks. The pathology report showed she was a girl. They are not sure why she died, except that for some reason she did not get a sufficient supply of blood. After talking it over with the bishop, we decided not to name her or have a funeral.
On July 26, 1984, Teri was dilating and about ready to deliver. The doctors decided not to try to stop the labor but proceed with a cesarean section. Two well-respected surgeons who just happened to be at the hospital at that time delivered a two-pound, 8.5-ounce little girl at 1:25 a.m., who we named Jamie.
After breathing on her own for 12 hours, Jamie’s lung collapsed, so they inserted a chest tube and put her on a ventilator. We had faith she would be all right. The pediatrician commented to one of the nurses that he had not seen a baby crash as bad as she did and live. After Jason Nielsen and I gave her a blessing, she began to improve.
We got to know the nurses and respiratory therapists in the intensive care nursery well. We were there twice when a baby died. It made me want to walk over and put my arms around them. We felt very fortunate that Jamie improved as she did. Except for her immature lungs, she was healthy and well. The Utah Valley Medical Center was very well staffed with competent people and good equipment. KBYU-TV featured Teri and Jamie on a special about healthcare in Utah Valley.
Teri came home July 30th, and within a few hours had a fever of 102 degrees. We quickly realized that both she and I had the flu. Teri’s mother and niece had come to stay with us for two weeks, and they had two sickies to take care of. We were both over it soon.
Jamie was in the hospital about two and a half months until she was well enough to come home. At 4.5 months, Jamie weighed 10 pounds (from a birth weight of 2 pounds 8.5 ounces). We blessed her on November 4, 1984. We were grateful for good insurance; we had to pay only $235 of the total $63,198 doctor and hospital bill.
For several years, Jamie was in and out of the hospital to treat asthma and bronchial pneumonia.
Jamie took dance lessons and danced at the Dickens Festival, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Disneyworld in Orlando, Tuacahn Amphitheatre in St. George, and the MGM Grand Theme Park in Las Vegas. The singer Marc Anthony was at the theme park that day and Jamie got her picture taken with his arm around her.
Jamie always had a lot of friends and really enjoyed life. From the summer of 2002, through September, our department at work hired Jamie and two others to scan 108 file drawers of historical documents. It was nice to have Jamie at work to spend time with her.
Jamie worked as a health unit coordinator in the emergency room at Primary Children’s Hospital. She received her patriarchal blessing on November 5, 2005. She received her endowment on November 26, 2005 and married Robert Glen Walker on December 1. Their reception was December 2.
At Christmas in 2011, Jamie sent me the following letter:
…I want you to know how much I love you and what an amazing Dad and Grandpa you are…. I am so grateful that you met Mom and for the strong example you guys are to me and my family. I absolutely could not have better parents. You guys are my strength.
I would be one happy mother if my girls grew up and felt about me and Robert the way I feel about you and Mom. You inspire me to keep making good choices and living the life that I am.
Your granddaughters love you so much. You are the best grandpa ever. It’s still weird to call you Grandpa sometimes, but I love it. I only hope that I am half the grandparent you are to my future grandkids. I love the excitement on Paityn’s face when I tell her you’re coming over or we are coming to your house. I love the bond that you have with her, and the fun little things you guys like to do together….
I love that you and Mom have created a home where all of us feel comfortable and can gather together and stay a close family. I’m so grateful for the example that you have been to me and the other kids and the good decisions that they have made. I think we all turned out good and are living righteous lives. I have an eternal family and we have you guys to thank for that.
To me, you truly are Superman….
In November 2018, we gave to Jamie all her past medical records, thinking that they might be interesting or helpful to her. As she read through them, she cried to think of all we went through—the many trips to the doctor and the hospitalizations—all while Teri was expecting other children or had young children at home. She told us how thankful she was for family and how she appreciated all we have done for her.
In October 2020, Jamie and Robert sold their house in West Valley and built a new house in Saratoga Springs.
I am very proud of Jamie. She is a wonderful person, wife, and mother to four great kids. I am proud of the family that she and Robert have raised. They are wonderful parents and have an impressive family. See Jamie’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about her life.
Jason Dru Richman was born at Pioneer Valley Hospital in West Valley City, Utah, at 4:00 p.m. on October 14, 1985. He weighed 7 pounds 1.6 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. Jason was named after my best friend, Jason Drue Nielsen. Besides liking the name Jason, I could not think of anyone I would rather have my son want to be like.
Jason got a drum set for his 12th birthday and began taking lessons from my brother Rick. Jason later played in the concert and jazz bands at school. He also played the saxophone at school. On November 19, 2001, Jason had his first gig as the drummer in the local band named Lack of Talent. I was proud of the fact that he was in a good band that wrote clean lyrics. He also had a job as an after-hours custodian at an elementary school.
Jason was constantly riding his bike, roller blades, or skateboard. Regular riding was not thrilling enough, so he and his friends were constantly devising jumps. Jumping on our trampoline also was not thrilling enough, so he and his friends began jumping to the trampoline from the top of our playground and then graduated to jumping off the roof of the house. (See the “Jason Skill” videos on the Richman Family YouTube channel.) Jason played on school and competition soccer teams and basketball teams. He later coached the high school soccer team. As a teenager, he also became an avid snowboarder. (I say “avid,” because once he went snowboarding before the resort opened. That was dedication to be willing to walk up the hill!)
On July 19, 2001, Jason was with the scouts at Red Fleet State Park by Vernal, Utah, and while waiting for their turn to water ski, four of them were innocently skipping rocks into the reservoir. After throwing a few small rocks, they graduated to larger pieces of loose shale. The boys did not know that they were in a protected area that had several hundred dinosaur track prints petrified in the rocks. A park ranger saw them, lost his cool, yelled at them, and issued citations. Afterward, he apologized for losing his temper and “over-reacting” to the situation. Newspapers and television news ran sensationalized stories with headlines like “Dino Tracks Near Vernal Vandalized by Boy Scout” (a front-page story in the Salt Lake Tribune on July 27, 2001) and “3 boys charged in dino destruction” (Deseret News, July 28, 2001). All three boys had to hire attorneys and appear in court in Vernal. In the end, charges were dropped after doing community service and paying to have the rocks glued back into place after having been retrieved from the water.
Before he got his driver’s license, Jason already owned two vehicles. Four people in our family had driver’s licenses, but we had six vehicles. (We were a living insurance nightmare.) In 2002, he bought a 1972 Chevy Nova to restore.
From 2004–2006, Jason served a mission in the Canada Halifax Mission, which included Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Labrador, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and a small part of Maine.
Jason received his endowment on October 8, 2004, at the Jordan River Temple. On October 15, we attended the Salt Lake Temple where we continued our family tradition of standing in the celestial room and relating the experience of Lorenzo Snow in 1898 when he learned of President Wilford Woodruff’s death and went to the Holy of Holies to pray. We then walked out into the hallway and read the account of how Christ appeared to Lorenzo Snow and instructed him to reorganize the First Presidency. (See The Improvement Era, Sep 1933, pp. 677, 679.)
On Father’s Day 2005, Jason wrote me the following in a card: “You’ve always been such a great ‘Pa.’ I’ve been realizing more and more every day exactly how much you have done for me. Every day, I look at people and wonder why they don’t know how to do the most basic things. I say to myself, ‘Man, I’m sure glad that I know how to do that.’ But I would like to rephrase that, ‘Man, I’m sure glad by dad cared enough to take the time to teach me how to do that.’ It’s been a good experience living on my own and very humbling, but you have done an excellent job in preparing me for this journey, and it is a bigger blessing than you and I could ever know. I love ya, Pa.”
When Jason returned from his mission, he had a clear idea to form his own business, which he did in the summer of 2007—Mission Prep Lawn Care. His business model was based on a mission organization with districts and zones and focused on helping future missionaries earn money for their missions. Later, he added landscaping and Christmas lighting and renamed the business MP Lawn Care and Lighting.
In August 2007, Jason married Abigail Rose Nickel. They both grew up in our ward, but hardly ever talked until after Jason’s mission, when they fell in love and got married. Abbie was a para-professional at Westlake Junior High and taught the after-school dance program.
In 2021, Jason invited me to go with him on a scuba diving trip to Cozumel. He took a certification class and I attended it with him as a refresher. For details about the trip, see the section “Trips and Vacations.”
I am very proud of the man Jason is. He is a great husband, father, and business owner. I am proud of the family that he and Abbie have raised. They are great parents and have an impressive family. See Jason’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about his life.
Hailee Richman was born May 29, 1990.
Hailee went to Whittier Elementary, one of the oldest schools in the valley. Harold B. Lee was a principal there. Over the Christmas break in 2000, she moved into the new school they built next to the old one.
When she was six years old, Hailee began taking piano lessons and performed in recitals.
Hailee took dance lessons, was on the dance company in school, and in December 1995, danced with her sisters Lanae and Jamie at the Dickens Festival in Salt Lake. In May 2005, Hailee and I had a chance to learn a dance and perform together in the junior high school dance program.
In 2000, Hailee and Jamie spent a week in Seattle visiting their cousin Krista.
In the sixth grade, Hailee was on the student council and in a local singing group.
In junior high, Hailee took Access classes, was in the dance company, and kept busy with piano, snowboarding, and most importantly, friends.
On July 16, 2005, Hailee participated in the Day of Celebration at the University of Utah stadium along with 46,000 other youth to commemorate the 200th birthday of Joseph Smith and the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Church. It was an amazing program featuring a 15,000-voice choir, 4,800 dancers, 2,400 flag bearers, 1,000 chanters, and 100 drummers.
In high school, Hailee was in the dance company and kept busy with snowboarding, longboarding, piano, guitar, friends, and working at Vans. She also did an internship with an architectural firm in Salt Lake.
On Father’s Day 2005, Hailee wrote me the following in a card: “I hope you know how amazing you are as a dad. I am so grateful to have had a dad like you growing up. You always supported me in anything I was doing, you taught me the importance of making good choices, you taught me how to work hard, and, most importantly, you taught me how to love my kids unconditionally through example. Thank you for being the best dad and grandpa to my kids. Happy Father’s Day. I love you, Dad!”
In November 2020, President Russell M. Nelson invited us to share on social media all the things we are grateful for. (See “President Nelson’s Video ‘The Healing Power of Gratitude’” in the “Major Projects” section of the chapter “Church Employee.”) Hailee posted this on Facebook on November 25: “I am so grateful for my parents. If you know them you know how generous, kind, and loving they are. I’m grateful for the values and lesson they taught me and for molding me into the person I am today. I’m grateful for the vacations and the experiences they gave us as young kids. It’s funny how you don’t realize how blessed you are until you just grow up a little. My mom is the most selfless and dependable person I know, she is always willing to help me at the last minute. She will drop everything and come to my rescue, and she always know the right thing to do or say. I’m so grateful that she loves my kids like they’re her own. My dad is one of the funniest people I know, I’m grateful that I get his dad jokes now. He is the happiest and best grandpa ever, always getting down and playing with my kids. I love him so much for that. He is also one of the hardest working people that I know, he is in his office 80% of the time but the second we walk through the door he will always stops because he puts family above everything. They continue to support me and my family in ways I couldn’t ever imagine, and I love them so much. #givethanks”
I am very proud of Hailee—as a person, as a wife, and as a mother to two wonderful kids. I am proud of the family that she and Chance have raised. They are great parents and have an impressive family. See Hailee’s page on RichmanFamily.org for photos and stories about her life.
Grandma Boston Richman
On February 26, 1978, Grandma Richman passed away. My sister Joy, my cousin Donna, and I spoke at the funeral. Everyone had a calm, peaceful feeling. We were glad she could now be active and engaged in important work in the spirit world. For the three years since her stroke, she had not been able to do much. She was then reunited with her husband who died 44 years earlier, and with her child who died shortly after birth. What a joyous reunion that must have been! Grandma Richman was a good example to me of love and sacrifice. She worked hard to support her family and raise them without a husband. When Dad was a boy, she used to tell him that it was no shame to be poor, but that there was no excuse to be dirty. Soap is cheap. See Boston Richman’s page on RichmanFamliy.org.
Grandma Grace Seely
My grandmother Grace Seely wrote me the following letter on June 10, 1976:
One month from today is your birthday, so I’ll say “happy birthday” now in case I don’t get your birthday card in time….
Larry, both your grandmas have thought you were a perfect child. We love you. We still look for a great future for you. You have the kind of stuff in you that makes great men ̶ faith, love, humility, strength, and a strong faith in God. Your mission will soon be over, but then your real mission will soon begin. It will be by far harder than this one. Now will come your life trial to see if you will be valiant in all things and I know you will. I look for a brilliant future for you. First, find that lovely girl. Or have you already found her? Together, it will be easier than alone. Be prayerful. Remember, your mom is anxious for you, too, and your dad and Betty. I’m so glad your dad found Betty.
Have a happy birthday ̶ twenty-one. Life is just beginning, but you have a good foundation…. Pack every minute as full as possible….
Lots of love, Grandma and Grandpa Seely
See Grace Seely’s page on RichmanFamliy.org.
In December 1967, our family bought an 18-foot-one-inch Centurian boat. It was custom made by Century Marine in Salt Lake. The company made only three boats of that design. It was an inboard-outboard, 155-horsepower boat with all the seats in a semicircle. It had a lime green exterior and a dark green leather interior. The other two boats had a yellow exterior with a white leather interior and a blue interior and exterior. We enjoyed boating as a family at Utah Lake, Lucky Peak, and other places. (See Centurian boat brochure, pages 1, 2, 3, 4.)
- 1996. We went camping at Bear Lake.
- 1997. We went camping near Lava Hot Springs, Idaho.
- August 2004. Jackman family reunion at Warm River campground in Idaho.
- 2008. We camped in Preston, Idaho, for a Jackman family reunion. We took a hike that was supposed to be a short hike to an amazing lake. It turned out to be over the top of two mountains and almost to Bear Lake. Most of us turned back, but Jason and his cousin, Mike Jackman, kept going. When they got to the lake, it was almost dark, and they were tired and thirsty. Luckily, they found a troop of scouts who gave them some water and directions. We were grateful for their safe return.
- 2011. We camped with our trailer at Panguitch Lake in central Utah.
- June 2012. We camped at Warm River in Idaho.
- June 2013. Zions National Park.
- July 2013. Malad?
- 2014. Where?
- June 2015. Where?
- July 2018. Malad
- July 2020. Canyon near Bear Lake.
- 2021. Big Spring, about 40 minutes past Lava Hot Springs, Idaho.
In 1967, our family started a tradition to have a special Christmas program. These were characterized by typed programs which depicted the family’s strange humor. (See Christmas-program-1978.jpg for an example. The reference to #11 was Elizabeth, the 11th child.) Each Christmas, we would each pull out our books of remembrance and write down the things that had happened that year. Each person would be weighed and measured and would record these along with our personal history.
In the first years of our marriage, Teri and I would alternate having Christmas and Thanksgiving in Boise and Blackfoot. Christmas 1982 was in Blackfoot; 1983 was in Boise.
In 1990, Teri and I had Christmas at our own home for the first time. On Christmas Eve, we suggested to the kids that we set up the video camera on the tripod and leave it running all night to see if we could catch Santa Claus. My friend Reed Coombs came over in a full Santa suit and filled the stockings in front of the camera and set out all the presents. The kids really enjoyed that tape and played it many times in the following weeks.
In 1997, we spent Thanksgiving in Blackfoot.
In November 2004, we went to Blackfoot to have an early Thanksgiving with Teri’s family because her nephew, D.J. was deployed to Iraq and would not be there on November 25.
Dad and I enjoyed coin collecting. Dad would often bring home a whole bag of coins and we would lay them out on the pool table and sort through them to find specific dates and mints. We filled lots of collector books.
Dad and I also really got into genealogy and family history research. We gathered photographs of ancestors and made photo family group sheets. We also typed up submission forms to submit names for temple ordinances. In two years, we submitted 2,000 names. On November 12, 1972, I was called as a Genealogy Research Specialist.
On Saturday, May 27, 1990, we went to Brigham City to meet Dad, Becky, and David for Memorial Day. Rick and Wendy were there, but Reta and Paul were out of town, as were Kent and Mary. It was the first Memorial Day I remember that Reta and Paul were not there. It was a ritual without much feeling. And I wanted to feel something this year. I wanted to sit by Mom’s grave and cry. But I did not. We left flowers and we were on our way. I did feel a bit of sadness driving to Brigham City as a few thoughts of Mom flashed through my head.
On July 10, 2015, I turned 60 years old. Teri planned a birthday party and Jamie contacted many family members, friends, and old ward members and asked them to write about their memories of me. She compiled a binder of these memories. (See parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.)
It would be impossible to write here about all my friends. I list here a few who have had a significant impact on my life. Elder Marvin J. Ashton explained “Acts of a friend should result in self-improvement, better attitudes, self-reliance, comfort, consolation, self-respect, and better welfare. Certainly, the word friend is misused if it is identified with a person who contributes to our delinquency, misery, and heartaches…. Our friendship will be recognizable if our actions and attitudes result in improvement and independence.” (“What is a Friend,” Marvin J. Ashton, general conference, October 1972.)
In the ninth grade, I developed a friendship with David Beal who was in my ward. By the tenth grade, that friendship had extended to a group of three guys and three girls (David Beal and Claudia Flake, Bob Peck and Cathy Ellsworth, and KaLee Neal and me). We spent a lot of time with each other and participated in school and church activities together. The three couples dated regularly until the guys went on missions.
David and Claudia were married April 1, 1977. They had originally planned their wedding for June, but when they found out I would be in Guatemala translating the Book of Mormon into Cakchiquel, they moved the date up. David and I had been close friends since the ninth grade and there was not anyone I could talk with more openly than Claudia. It seemed natural for them to get married.
For many years, we kept in touch and met in the summers and at holidays. We also had a round-robin letter that we circulated. When each couple received the envelope, they would write a new letter and send it along to the next couple.
There are friends that it does not matter when the last time was that you saw them. When you see them again, it is like you have not missed a conversation. Jason Nielsen was one such friend. He was my college roommate for years and was the best man at my wedding. I named my son after him. Besides liking the name Jason, I could not think of anyone I would rather have my son want to be like.
We first met when we were randomly assigned as roommates at Sessions House in college. In the winter 1981 semester, my roommates were Jason Drue Nielsen, Phillip Hatch Woodland, and Kim Perry Een. In May 1981, John Worsley from Boise moved in with Phil Woodland, Jason Nielsen, and me.
I really got along well with Jason. He was very likeable, consistent, and had good habits. We enjoyed each other’s company. Aside from the high school “gang,” I had not really let myself get close to many friends. Jason was very good to me, and he was very good for me.
For my 60th birthday, Jamie contacted my friends and asked them to write memories of me. Jason wrote the following: “We did tons (that means a lot) of fun things. We went on diving trips to Cancun, Mexico, trips to Lava Hot Springs, Downata Hot Springs, deer hunting, rode ATVs, went to concerts, played racquetball, and snuck into Helaman Halls to watch TV when we were poorer and didn’t have a TV of our own to watch. These are just a few of the things I remember doing. I’m sure you could add to the list. On a serious note—I want you to know that over the years we have had many great times and I have enjoyed being your friend and college roommate. We did a lot of things together during our college years that I fondly remember and will treasure always. Thanks for always being a good example to me! You and Teri have been great friends to me over the years.”
Trips with Jason
July 10, 1980 was my 26th birthday. I had entered my second quarter of a century of life. After work, I drove to Logan to spend the weekend with him, including a day trip to Lava Hot Springs.
In May 1981, I tried to talk Jason into going on an Eastern Airlines unlimited mileage trip (like the ones I took with Greg Martin in 1979 and with Bryan Flake in 1980), but that did not happen. Jason and I went on many other trips.
The weekend of September 5–6, 1981, Jason and I had planned a trip to Las Vegas, but Joy and Blair blessed their baby on September 6, so we changed our plans and went to Logan so I could go to Rexburg on Sunday for the blessing. Saturday morning, we drove to Downey, Idaho, to get Phil Woodland and swim at Downata Hot Springs. Phil was not home, so Jason and I went to the hot springs to swim. I cut my forehead on one of the metal rings they had to swing out over the water. We went back to Downey, got Phil, and walked over to the hospital in Downey where I got four stitches.
Monday morning, Jason and I drove up to the spot where he goes deer hunting with friends to check out the roads and sight in his gun. The first time I fired his gun, it backfired, and the scope caught me in the forehead. It hit just to the side of the stitches from Saturday. It cut through the skin, but not deep enough to need stitches. With the two vertical marks (one from the ring at Downata and the other from the gun scope) and the horizontal stitches, it looked like a railroad track. I was beginning to wonder whether I would make it back to Provo alive. I told Jason to call me Scarface.
In December 1981, Jason and I took a trip to Cancun, Mexico. (See details in the chapter “Trips.”)
Hunting with Jason
Jason took me deer hunting for the first time the weekend of October 23, 1982, with two of his friends from Logan. I had a relaxing time with my best friend. That same group went hunting each October for eight years (1982–1989).
In 1985, on the last day, just before we were to break camp, we decided to push through the trees “up down over” into the bottom. Don and Terry took Jason and me up to the top on their motorcycles and dropped us off. We were to push down through the trees and meet them at the bottom. The problem was that there were many bottoms. I thought they meant the bottom by the beaver ponds, but they meant the bottom down by the road. I knew where I was the whole time, but they were lost. When I got to the beaver ponds and did not see Don or Terry, and Jason did not come out soon after, I started back up the road to find them. We missed each other several times on the road. I ended up walking back to camp to find them, and when they were not there, I had Guy take me back down on his four-wheeler. When we finally caught up with each other, it had been an hour or more that they thought I was lost or hurt. Jason was a bit worried.
In 1987, I shot a two-point that dressed out at 98 pounds. In 1988, I shot another two-point and it dressed out at 107 pounds.
Other Trips with Jason
On Memorial Day weekend, 1982, I met with my family and Teri in Brigham City. After my family left to return to Boise, and Teri went on to Blackfoot to begin planning the wedding with her parents, I went to Logan to ask Jason Nielsen to be my best man. We went to Lava Hot Springs and stayed at the Mountain View Trailer Park (later renamed Mary’s Place Campground). The owner, Mary Perkins let us stay in the “orchard,” a small strip of trees along the side of the campsites.
After I got married, Jason and I still played racquetball every Friday. My brother Rick moved into Sessions House with Jason in the fall 1982.
Cancun and Isla Mujeres, Mexico
At the end of a work trip in December 1985 to Colombia, I met Jason Nielsen in Cancun and Isla Mujeres. In scheduling the flights to Bogota, I found that the ticket price was less with a stop in Cancun than for a non-stop return flight. Previously, Jason had discussed with me his plans to spend a few weeks during Christmas in Brazil with a friend of his. Those plans fell through, and so I suggested to him that we meet in Cancun for a few days as I returned from Colombia. I had originally planned to spend a week in Colombia and four days in Cancun. Jason was to arrive in Cancun a few days before I arrived, and we would return home together. But just before I left, the people in Bogota informed me I only needed to be there four days. I had already booked my return flights from Cancun and could not change them. So, I ended up arriving in Cancun almost the same time as Jason and returning home the same day as well.
Jason and I stayed the first and last nights in Cancun at El Presidente, and the rest of the time at El Presidente Caribe on Isla Mujeres. We rented a car and took the 2.5-hour drive to Chichén Itza.
We rented wind surfboards for an hour but ended up drifting out and taking almost two hours getting back. We went scuba diving, snorkeled, and rode sea turtles. Jason learned the numbers in Spanish into the thousands, ordered his own food in restaurants, and got back and forth from the airport on his own. He did very well bartering for souvenirs.
It was overcast a few days, and there were fierce winds and rainstorms one day on the island that forced us to stay in the hotel most of the day and play ping pong and backgammon. We bet 100 pretend shares of IBM stock on each game of backgammon. I ended up owing him 400 shares. When we did leave the hotel, the wind was strong enough to blow Jason’s sacred Venice Beach hat into the lagoon and he went right in after it. I enjoyed being able to brush up on my Spanish more. During the trip, several people asked me if I was a Mexican. What a compliment!
On August 29, 2017, around 6:30 p.m., Jason Nielsen nearly died when his motorcycle hit a truck. He died on site, but the paramedics revived him. He was intubated on site because he had a broken jaw, and his airway was closing. He had skull fractures and a displaced tibia. He spent six weeks in some sort of hospital bed, had 23 doctors, 56 nurses, his jaw wired shut, 6 titanium plates and 33 screws inserted into his face, a feeding tube, a trachea tube, and a ventilator. It was a long recovery, but he recovered.
I later sent him the following email:
My dear friend Jason,
I have been eagerly reading the updates from Sherie and Emily about your progress. I am so excited that you are making good progress! (Even though I’m sure it seems very slow and frustrating for you.)
I can’t believe what you’ve been through, and I can’t imagine how hard it has been. Please know that I (and the rest of my family) have been praying for you daily—many times a day.
When I first heard about your accident, my first thought was to get on a plane and come see you. But I knew that your family was right beside you, and they were what you needed. After the first week or two, I wanted to call you on the phone, but I knew that your jaw was wired shut, so you wouldn’t be able to talk. Now I hear that you may be going home soon. I’m so glad for you!
Let me know when you feel up to talking and I’ll give you a call. Please know that my thoughts have been with you every day, but I’ve wanted to give you a little space until you felt better.
David Frischknecht and I were companions three times during the mission. After the mission, we spent a summer together in Guatemala translating the Book of Mormon into Cakchiquel. We were roommates after our missions, took BYU linguistics classes together, and we worked together as Church employees until I retired in 2022.
The following is a letter he wrote me Monday afternoon, February 2, 1976. He was serving in the town of Sumpango, and I was in Comalapa. He mailed the letter Tuesday morning, and the earthquake happened that night.
Dear Uncle Larry [one of David’s nicknames for me],
What’s happening, man? I was just remodeling my baggy book and being all nostalgic and stuff. Elder Choc has turned rebelde and is listening to music, and I’m kind of all messed up, too, because I wasn’t going to write to Katie [his girlfriend] today and then a letter from her arrived so I ended up doing that. And with the nostalgia of doing my baggy book and remembering San Marcos, Patzicía, etc., I’ve really cruised off the deep end. So, a note to the wizard [another of David’s nicknames for me] is completely in order to help get me straightened out.
Happy anniversary, Lare, If you get this letter on the right day, it will be exactly one year since we met. Congratulations! One year after I met Katie, I entered the mission home. Saber what I’ll be doing this Wednesday. Anyway, it’s like I say, I’ve been remembering the good old days in Hortencia’s place with Garth and D and all the cool fights, and maps, and boogh, and stuff. It’s been an eventful year to say the least. Now, instead of turning the page and seeing your hump day, you’ll be turning it and seeing your going home day. I’m still never going home. Your six months sounds a lot shorter than my nine. I’m kind of glad, too. I’m not ready to go home….
How are things going in Comalapa? I hope the LTM hasn’t closed everything down over there. The president told us to find a chapel here, even though we don’t have members. We may have found a half decent place but it’s not all that special.
Well, Dance [another of David’s nicknames for me], thanks for the memories. Like President Arnold told Elder Howard, “All of us want to go home” (especially on baggy Mondays). But I imagine that we’ll get over those feelings sometime, right? And when you’re in a screwy class this fall at the “Y,” you’ll probably write me a letter and advise me not to come home because of the hassle.
Such are the rambling thoughts of Elder Frischknecht late on a Monday afternoon when he is psyching up to toc doors and try to teach a lesson or two. Thanks for listening, Uncle Dance. Take care of yourself and be good. Try to keep your head on. Seriously, thanks for the things you’ve taught me in the past year. Le agradezco con bastante! (Oh, come on! Stay serious!) You’ve been a good example for me and taught me lots of things about humility, patience, and having concern for the individual. All—except your letters to the president—your life is a shining light for those of us who are around you.
Keep smiling, Dance. Remember that life is beautiful for all those who are MELLOW. With all my love and best wishes, Dave
Also, see my letter to David on August 25, 1979, in the section “BYU Senior Year, Fall 1978-Winter 1979″in the Chapter “BYU.”
In 1990, David was called to be the president of the Guatemala City North Mission. Sunday night, June 10, 1990, I had a significant dream about David. I dreamed that before he went to Guatemala to be mission president, we spent an afternoon together studying Kekchí. Afterwards, he said that he wanted me to write on his farewell cake. He handed me the tube of frosting and asked me to fill in the words he had traced on the cake. Along the top, it said, “30 years,” which meant that collectively we’ve known each other for 30 years (we met 15 years ago). On one side, it said, “No Pain,” meaning that we were not to feel sorry about parting, and on the other side it said, “Strength in Companionship,” meaning that we’d always be there to strengthen each other.
I felt very close to David and wanted him to know how I appreciated his friendship. On Wednesday, I scheduled an hour with him, and we met in a conference room on the 22nd floor so we could be alone to talk. We talked about what it would be like for him in Guatemala. He noted that we have never been apart for more than three months since we met more than 15 years ago.
About June 1, 1991, I wrote the following letter to David Frischknecht:
Estimado hermano eminente presidente,
Para mí es un placer saludarte en esta ocasión. Espero que el Señor este brindando todas sus bendiciones a ti y a tu familia. Vaya.
We have just finished the review and certification of the Cakchiquel temple ceremony. It has been a very nice experience, but I’m glad it’s over…. Rigoberto Miza and Martín Per were here for two weeks and they worked hard seven days a week. Angel Chavez, Vidalmino Sarate, Alan Christensen, and Hugh Biesinger were also here working on Quiché, so we were able to consult with them and share ideas. We made lots of revisions, although they were all minor, but they really improved the readability and understandability of the translation. Rigoberto and Martín were a good team, representing two different dialects and two age groups. I really enjoyed working with them, and we felt a good spirit about the work. I feel very confident about the final product. The recording is slated for March 1992.
Your fame is really spreading. The people are in awe of your eminencia. News has spread even as far as Salt Lake of your Kekchí abilities. I have heard about the twenty-minute talk you gave in “absolutely perfect Kekchí.” It means a lot to the people that you have made the effort to learn their language. They’ll never forget you.
Teri and I are looking forward to our trip to Guatemala. It appears that we will arrive August 26 and return home September 2. It’s something we’ve talked about doing since we were married nine years ago. (Can you believe it was nine years ago?)
It sounds like you are working hard. I’m sure it can be fatiguing and at times probably even discouraging but hang in there. It’s really worth it. Take care. Remember there are lots of people who love you.
On April 24, 2012, David Frischknecht wrote me the following letter. His comments about different assignments referred to the fact that the Curriculum Department (of which he was the managing director) was dissolved. The editing and design functions were moved to a new Publishing Services Department and the rest of the functions were moved to the Priesthood Department.
Thank you for a lifetime of friendship and warm association. As we separate into different assignments again, I express thanks again for your constant example and your abiding patience. You know me better than I know myself and are particularly aware of my weaknesses. Thank you for enduring me in spite of it all.
Thank you for these years of working together in the Curriculum Department. You have weathered the ups and downs and have been a catalyst for many good improvements in Church publishing and gospel instruction. You continue to learn new things and think new thoughts and accomplish new goals. You continue to be organized beyond compare and to be responsive to the Brethren and to all other requests for your assistance. Your example has been, and is, a light to me. Thank you.
I am grateful ever for our association and for the influence you have been in my life. Again, thank you, Larry.
And very warmest regards.
October 1, 2015 was David Frischknecht’s 60th birthday. On my 60th birthday, he wrote 60 memories of me. (See “60th Birthday” in the chapter “Family Traditions.”) So, today I returned the favor with 60 memories for his 60th birthday. (See Frischknecht Memories 60th Birthday.docx.)
On April 6, 2019, David’s name was read over the pulpit at general conference as he was sustained as an Area Authority Seventy. I sent him this email: “Congratulations on the new call, my friend. I knew this was coming someday.” He responded with the following: “Thank you for this note. And thank you for being my friend and example my whole life (practically). Thank you for your patience with me and for understanding me. I’m very grateful for our friendship and association over the years. Thank you again and again. David”
Every year on February 4, we exchange “Happy Earthquake Day” emails. 45 year later, on February 4, 2021, David wrote me the following: “Just remembering. So grateful for miracles that day and for so many days since. Thanks for your example then and now. Love and best wishes. David”
In 1989, I visited several times with a therapist to help me understand and improve my relationships with other people. We discussed the friends I had during my life. In grade school, I often played by myself. During recess at school, I seldom played with other children, but would walk around the grass field by myself, projecting myself into fantasy worlds. (See the chapter on “School,” section “Granger Elementary.”)
Mom and Dad did not encourage me into team sports or other organized activities, so I did not have those opportunities to develop friendships with my peers. I withdrew and became a loner, convincing myself I did not need anybody. Since I did not participate in sports at school or in the neighborhood, and I learned few of the rules of basketball, football, or baseball. I hated P.E. class at school and the dumb exercises and relay races. I was always the last to be chosen for baseball teams (even after the girls!), and in the batting lineup I would say that I had already batted and slip to the end of the line.
As I look back through my junior and senior high school yearbooks, I realize that I had very few friends. I recognize many of the names and faces, but I only knew them by watching them, but not interacting with them. I had very few neighborhood friends. A year into scouting, just as I was beginning to form some friendships, our family moved.
See the description of the “gang” earlier in this section. These were fulfilling relationships, but the tight group also kept me from developing any other friendships outside of that group.
On my mission, I developed a close friendship with David Frischknecht, who was my companion three times. We were roommates after our missions, and we have worked together as Church employees ever since. Friendships with roommates in college were important to me, but I felt conflicted. On Saturdays, when they would spend hours together watching sports on television or doing other things together, I felt like I needed to do something more productive, like studying or putting in more hours at work. I rationalized this detachment as a higher and better use of my time, but it was mostly an avoidance technique. I wanted to be closer friends with them, but I did things to stay distant. I developed a close friendship with Jason Nielsen, who was my roommate for most of my college years. We took several trips together and went hunting every year for eight years. He was the best man at my wedding.
But overall, I find it easy to be distant with men at work, in my neighborhood, and at church. Therefore, I get very little emotional support from the very people I wish I had in my circle of friends. I would be more balanced and more emotionally stable with a broader base of friends.
My philosophy on therapy: In this complex world we live in, everyone can benefit from seeing a therapist about something at some point in their life. Seeking insight from a professional counselor is a sign of strength and humility. Sometimes it can be difficult to see yourself objectively and a counselor can help you see things you cannot see.
Brigham City, Utah
My first home was in Brigham City, Utah, at 64 South 500 East, just across the street from the old Box Elder High School.
My second home was also in Brigham City at 134 West 300 South. Our phone number was 723-6827. (Everyone remembers their first phone number, don’t they?) Officially, it was “Parkway 3-6827 (PA3-6827). All you had to dial were the five numbers 3-6827. While we lived there, my dad built a carport on the west side of the house and did all the brickwork for a large planter along the side of the carport. In the back of the house, dad built a cement patio with a sandbox in the middle. On the east side of the house, he removed a green cement patio and dug a basement storage room. Above the storage room, he built two bedrooms, each with a sink. East of the bedrooms, he built a garage, two cars wide and two cars deep.
My father owned a grocery store called Lynn’s Drive-In Market. It was on the south end of town right next to Seely’s Motel. The building was owned by my grandfather and my dad managed the store for several years. When he sold the store, we filled the storage room downstairs with what was left over from the store.
On the west side of the house was a large chestnut tree. As a small boy, I remember trying to climb the tree. I tried for months to get on the lowest branch, which seemed awfully high to a young boy. Downstairs was a large recreation room with a pool table. We had several tropical fish in tanks. Once, my dad bought Ricky a little alligator. We had that downstairs and after a couple of weeks, the alligator grew so much that we knew we would not be able to take care of it. One day, it bit my brother’s finger and that was the deciding factor to take it back to the pet store.
We also had a dog named Dutchess, a lazy cocker spaniel. She liked to lie on her back in the sun with her feet straight up in the air. She liked the warmth of the sun on her stomach. Sometimes she would lay like that in the road. One day, a man driving down the road saw Duchess and came to the door to tell mom that her dog had been hit and was lying in the road dead. She would call Duchess and she would turn over and lumber home to the surprise of the man at the door.
Later, we had a dog named Jasamine. She was part cocker spaniel and part French poodle. We later took her to Salt Lake when we moved. Other pets included a tortoise, iguana, cats, snakes, tropical fish, and goldfish.
There were many large chestnut trees along the front of the house. In the fall, we played in huge piles of leaves.
Immediately to the east of us lived the Cazier family and in the next house lived the Knudsen family. The overflow irrigation water from Knudsen’s garden would run down the side of the road. We would dam the water in front of our house and play in it. My mother did not approve of that too much.
On the west corner of the block was an opening to an underground irrigation ditch. One day, I put a toy boat in the water and then ran to the opening on the other side of the street to retrieve it. It never came out. And I was very sad, because it was one of a set of three boats.
I also took piano lessons from a lady a few blocks away (to the south). I remember walking down to her house. It probably took hours for me to get there.
I did not learn to ride a bicycle in Brigham City. I remember all my friends and my brother rode bicycles. But I rode in my wagon. It was yellow, but mostly brown from rust. I would put one leg in the wagon and push with the other leg outside the wagon. I could go fast, but I could not keep up with the bicycles. The whole center of the block behind our house was an open playground, mostly paved, probably for the grade school across the street to the east. I remember riding my wagon there while the other kids rode their bikes.
Salt Lake City, Utah
We moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, in July 1963 when I was eight years old. Our house was at 2780 Marcus Road (3960 South) in the Granger area. Our phone number was 298-9525. It was on a slight hill, so it had a walk-out basement. It was a beautiful house. The upstairs had white shag carpet, and the living room had a white marble fireplace. The living and dining rooms had large windows and a balcony along those two sides of the house with views of downtown Salt Lake City. In the backyard, we had one of the few trees in the Granger subdivisions at that time. I remember weeding the park strip between the road and the sidewalk. It was planted with bushes and my arms would get scratched and would itch from pulling the weeds from among the bushes.
Dad tells of digging worms in the backyard for fishing. He left for a minute, and when he returned, he found an empty can of worms and Joy Lynn with dirt around her mouth. To this day she claims she did not eat them, but the mystery exists ̶ where did the worms go?
Like normal kids, we fought a lot. When mom and dad were not home, the oldest one (Jeff) had seniority and demanded that everyone else obey him. If anyone crossed his path, it was “instant death.” And so, of course, the younger ones would always try to cross his path. When Jeff was home, he would command my obedience—or else! Then I would turn around and do the same with Joy and Rick because I had seniority over them.
I remember times when Jeff would chase me around the house, and when he caught me, I thought he was going to kill me. Once I locked myself in the bathroom, but that did not stop him. He came crashing right through the door. When he was through with me, we both worked frantically piecing the doorframe back together with glue so we would not get in trouble when mom and dad got home. (As if they would never notice!) Many times, we would be gluing something back together when they got home.
I remember playing marathon games of the board game Easy Money with Jeff. When we had to fold up the game, we would mark the houses and pieces with colored masking tape so we could continue the game the next day. He mounted the game board on the back of his bulletin board so we could pull down the bulletin board, replace the masking tape markers with playing pieces, and continue where we had left off.
Notable neighbors were the following: Mrs. Teddy Hawkes (on the west), who befriended Joy; the Hardman family (across the street) who had a son Scotty; and the Hedin family (across the street to the east) who had a son Grant.
We moved to Boise, Idaho, in July 1968. We lived at 5111 Mountain View Drive. Our phone number was 208-375-7918. While I was on my mission, Dad built an addition on the back of the house with four bedrooms, a master bathroom, a nursery, a storage room, and a laundry room. He also remodeled much of the upstairs of the original house with a large living room and a large kitchen.
In July 1979, Dad received a promotion with the Sperry and Hutchinson Company, and began working in Phoenix, Arizona. He lived in a motel in Phoenix and flew to Boise every other weekend while trying to sell the house. In September, his work assignment changed again, moving him back to Boise. It was fortunate that they had not yet sold the house.
As a BYU freshman, I lived in the dorms at Deseret Towers, Penrose Hall, room T-505. After my mission, I lived at University Villa for a year, and then spent my remaining years at BYU at the “Sessions House” at 782 North 300 East.
After Teri and I got married, July 9, 1982, we rented the upstairs of a little house at 553 North 750 East in Provo. Later, the owners sold the house and so we moved in March 1984 to a duplex at 2126 North 1060 West, Provo, in the upper Siler Shadows area near the city limits with Orem.
On April 12, 1984, I bought a Kawasaki 440 motorcycle. I used it each morning to drive to the parking lot where I met the carpool to drive to Salt Lake to work. (I also had a blue motorcycle when I was a teenager in Boise.) One winter day in the snow, I about dumped the motorcycle on a slick spot and decided that it was time to sell the motorcycle before I died on it.
Salt Lake City, Utah
In February 1985, Teri and I decided it was time we moved to Salt Lake. Teri and I both loved Provo, but since my work was in Salt Lake, it made sense to reduce commuting time. Also, working in the same city as we lived would make it easier to start a business of our own. Our goal was to start a part-time business that we hoped would grow into something we could do full-time.
We looked at many existing homes in the $60,000 price range, then looked at a model home built by Holmes and Perry Builders. Although it was a $75,000 home, the down payment and the monthly payments were less than those for $60,000 existing homes because of the special financing the builder offered. We signed the papers on March 2, 1985, and watched the house go up. We moved out of our apartment in Provo on May 31 and into our new home on June 1.
I spent some time at the house while it was under construction to install a security system and was there during the final building inspection. The building inspector told me it was a well-built house, and that he was having trouble finding anything to be critical of. The only problem we had was that they failed to connect the house to the sewer line. A day after we moved in, the wastewater backed up into the unfinished basement. For some reason, the plumber did not show up on the day he was scheduled to connect the sewer line from the house to the city line. The next day, the backhoe showed up and filled in the hole, assuming that the lines had been connected.
There was also a dispute between our neighbors and the builder over the property lines. That was settled by legally changing the property lines. We deeded a small portion to the neighbors, and they deed a small portion to us.
A challenge about moving into a new home was the landscaping. We found someone in the ward who installed sprinkler systems for a living, and he designed our system, purchased the parts for us wholesale, showed me how to install it, and even wired the valves for us. A similar system installed would have cost $2,000. Before we could use a trencher to dig the trenches for the sprinkler system, we had to get a rototiller to loosen the cement-like clay ground. Even then, I had to stop the rototiller frequently and loosen the ground with a digging bar. We gathered up and hauled away 12,000 pounds of rocks, then brought in 4 truckloads of topsoil. We brought in 14 cubic yards of playground sand for the sandbox. We also spent part of the summer building a cedar fence on our northern property line with our neighbors, the Hancocks.
We designed the landscaping ourselves to make it both visibly pleasant and productive. We planned a large vegetable garden and areas for strawberries and raspberries, and planted cherry, apricot, peach, apple, and almond trees. We poured a large patio in the back.
In 1988, we decided it was time to finish the basement. We planned it ourselves and did virtually all the work ourselves. Dad and Rick helped me do the electrical and plumbing work.
In the spring of 1994, we designed and built a playground climbing structure in the backyard for the kids.
In 2003, we remodeled our bathroom to create a large walk-in shower and separate toilet room. We gutted the room, moved plumbing, and finished it off with green ceramic tile and cherrywood cabinets.
In the spring of 2005, we put money down on a building lot and planned to build a house. We met with a builder and designed a custom house and had an architect draw up the plans. During the process, the cost of building materials soared, interest rates went up, and adjustments to the plan kept driving up the price to $400,000, at which time cooler heads prevailed and we decided that was too much money to tie up in a house. So, we abandoned the idea and decided to stay in our house and remodel it to meet our needs.
In July 2006, we embarked on a six-month “adventure” to remodel nearly every room in our house and add 800 square feet. It created a nice great room adjacent to the dining room and a new kitchen, a new master bedroom, new den, a full kitchen downstairs, and a large game room downstairs. The idea for the kitchen downstairs was so our children could live with us during transitions in their life, like building a house. All four of our children lived with us for a time.