Aug 23, 2009

Funerals, Family, and the 4th of July...Ya, I'm a Little Behind

Since my last post the 2 men you see in the picture below have passed away. My Uncle Steven R. Sorensen (left) died on May 29, 2009 after a long and painful fight with Pulmonary Fibrosis. My Grandpa Bert R. Sorensen (Right) died of a heart attack on August 12, 2009. Nothing I could say would do justice to the lives these 2 men lived but I want to say a few words about them anyways, and then post their obituaries.

These 2 INCREDIBLE men spent their earthly lives actively redefineing the word, "unselfish." Neither of them sought after or enjoyed the limelight, though both deserved more of it than they ever received. Their hearts overflowed with love towards others. Not just any kind of love, but the pure love of Christ.
It is hard to describe my Grandpa Sorensen's life in so few words. He was never too poor to help the hungry, and never too proud to help the needy. He worked hard all of his life! Whether it was 15 hour days on the ranch, or 15 hour days delviering milk and food to the poor and needy, (of which he himself was often a part of) he always knew the value of hard work! His age did not slow him down and following his retirement, amongst other selfless acts of service, he continued to play a key role in the "meals on wheels" program in Winslow Arizona. A program that would deliver meals to the less fortunate in the area. That is just one example of the endless ways in which my Grandpa served the Lord by serving his fellow men.
I frequently visited my Uncle Steve at his cabin near Ashton, Idaho. On some visits I would bring friends with me. I can recall multiple occasions where despite the fact that Steve was struggling to breathe, and toting an oxygen tank around everywhere he went, he would go out of his way to make sure my friends and I were comfortable. He would take time to speak with each new friend I brought with me and had a way of making them feel like the most important person in the room. He would tell me stories about church history, fly fishing, and update me on what his kids were doing. Those were his 3 biggest loves in life. His family, church history, and fly fishing.
As previously stated and as illustrated in the picture below, even in his sickened condition, Steve always made time for his children and especially his grandchildren. The superwoman on the left is his widowed wife Mareen. Throughout Steve's illness Mareen was as solid as a rock, continuing to support Steve in every way possible. I could not say enough about the qualities that Mareen possesses so just know that she was and continues to be superwoman!

This is Steve's family.

I will miss my Uncle Steve and my Grandpa Sorensen. But until I am blessed with the opportunity to see them again, my fervant hope and prayer is that I will spend the remainder of my earthly life emulating their legacy of love!!
Here is their obituaries... They will enlighten you a little more on the earthly accomplishments of these 2 amazing men!
Steven Ray Sorensen was born Oct. 18, 1949, in Mesa, AZ, to Bert and Raeola Sorensen. His early years were spent at the P.Z. Ranch near Winkelman, AZ. By age five, his family had located to Phoenix, AZ; and at age 14 to Winslow, AZ, where Steve graduated from Winslow High School in 1967. Steve began college at Northern Arizona University on a music scholarship. He interrupted his education to serve as an LDS missionary in the Kentucky/ Tennessee mission.
After his mission, he continued his education at Ricks College in Rexburg, ID, and later at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, where he earned a B.S. in history and a M.S. in library science. Steve’s greatest loves were his family, LDS church history and fishing a dry fly.
In 1974, Steve married Mareen Peterson in the LDS temple in Provo. In 1980, he began a distinguished career as an archivist for the church, serving many years as the Director of Church Archives, a stimulating job that took him to many areas of the world. Steve’s significant contributions to the preservation of the church’s history were acknowledged by many, including the Mormon History Association, which awarded him its highest distinction in 2006. At the time of his death, he was an editor of the Joseph Smith Papers.
Steve’s earthly life ended May 29, 2009, at the Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, CA, where he had been a lung-transplant recipient following a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis. He slipped quietly away surrounded by his wife and seven children. Steve is survived by his wife Mareen; seven children, Dane (Cassandra), Kirsten (Jason) Carson, Andrew (Merilee), Ernest (Melanie), Jon, Annikka (Jason) Fluckiger, Curtis (Emily); 11 grandchildren; five siblings Douglas, Susan Bryson, Andrea Rhoton, Gwen Higginson, Jean Zufelt; and his parents. Steve’s family wishes to thank the doctors and nurses at the Stanford University Medical Center, including the Heart and Lung Transplant team, as well as Dr. Tracy Hill in Provo, UT, who worked tirelessly to allow Steve to spend more precious time with his family and loved ones.

Longtime Winslow resident Bert Ray Sorensen, 81, passed away on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009, while traveling in Salt Lake City, Utah. Bert was born in Heber City, Utah, on July 31, 1928, to loving parents Ingbert “Bert” and Mary Ellen Ash Sorensen. The seven lucky siblings remained best friends, and Bert is survived by sisters, Joyce Willyerd, Kathryn Ethington, Anne Reber and Renae Chase; and brothers, James Sorensen and Sanford Sorensen.
Growing up in Blackfoot, Idaho, Bert loved camping, fishing and scouting, earning the rank of Eagle Scout, but it was Raeola Johnson who was the love of his life. They married in 1947, and the young couple moved to Arizona.
He managed a dairy on the PZ Ranch near Winkleman and later worked in Phoenix on a wholesale milk route. In 1961, Bert purchased a small wholesale and retail distributorship and moved his family to Winslow. The relentless, hard work and struggles did not diminish the satisfaction he found in owning and running his own business and providing for his family.
Though spare time was precious, Bert managed to carry out many church responsibilities, and was well known in the community for his generosity and service to others. After retiring he and Raeola fulfilled a lifelong dream by serving two missions to the Philippine Islands for the LDS church. In his retirement, he continued to provide volunteer service to AARP, the Winslow Senior Center, Meals on Wheels, the Winslow Historical Society and Old Trails Museum.
He was loved as a husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. Survivors include his wife, Raeola, to whom he was married 62 years. He is also survived by children, Susan and Doran Bryson of Austin, Texas, Mareen Sorensen of Provo, Utah, Andrea and Darwin Rhoton of Eagar, Douglas and Dawn Sorensen of Glendale, Gwen and George Higginson of Bermuda, and Jean and Kimm Zufelt of Winslow; 31 grandchildren; 40 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by a son, Steven Sorensen.
NOW.... On a much lighter note than that of family funerals, last month we had a family reunion for my Mom's side of the family up in Park City, Utah. We stayed in some sweet condos, and I thoroughly enjoyed the high 60's-low 70's that graced the mountains after the sun went down. They set a record in Phoenix this year for the most days in July with a LOW of 90 or higher. It was like 12 days. I'm pretty sure the other 18 days rocked highs of 88 or 89. So needless to say anytime I get to go somewhere cooler in the summer, I LOVE IT! I didn't take a lot of pictures at the reunion but here's a few...

Originally I felt like having my face in the following 2 pictures sort of took away from the cuteness of my 2 nieces playing. But the more I look at the pictures I realize you could stick a herd of pregnant possums in a picture with these 2 girls and they'd still look adorable. I'm one lucky Uncle! Please excuse the random thought...It is WAY past my bedtime.

Lola all "thugged out" with my sister-in-law Selena.
Somehow my nephew Ryland mistook the words, "say cheese" for, "fold your arms we're gonna pray." Ryland and his older brother Colton danced as part of the family skit during which my brother in law Marcus pointed out that his outfit kinda looked like something Mr T would wear. Throw in some gold chains and he's good to go.
My nephew Sterling decided to advertise his Christmas list early with a simple smile. Don't worry buddy, they'll grow back! Staying with the Christmas in July theme though, it appears my nephew Ryland had a little too much egg nog. I mean the truth is that Ryland had one too many ice cream sandwiches, but let's be honest... too much egg nog would produce a very similar expression. I PITY THE NOG!
I spent the 4th of July in Taylor, Arizona. A small town that shares it's borders with neighboring Snowflake, Arizona. My roommate Todd is from there and his now empty-nester parents were nice enough to house a large group of us for the weekend.
The 4th of July is HUGE in Taylor. It begins at 4a.m. -- yes I said A.M. -- when a group of people drive around lighting off HUGE ANVILS of gunpowder while a bunch of locals drive up and down the streets on quads and dirt bikes making as much noise as possible. Todd's parents told us to be "ready" for what happens at 4 a.m. but I don't think anything could have prepared me for what actually went down. I woke up at 4 a.m. and I thought it was World War 3. I've never heard something so loud in my life. Keep in mind that last statement is coming from a man who has made a retarted amount of bombs in his day. The bottom line though is they really know how to celebrate in Taylor! As far as how we personally celebrated? Well, if we weren't shooting clay targets, prairie dogs, or jack rabbits, we were enjoying a home cooked meal and some shut-eye back at Todd's house. Here's a few pictures of shooting.
Holding the 44 magnum I quickly named, "Daaaaaaaang" for so many reasons.
Ryan, Pat, and Me.... Getting ready for our 2nd shooting trip of the day. Or was it our 3rd? Losing track of something like this means I was having a great time. Notice Pat getting his text on. Five seconds after this picture was taken Pat more than likely held his phone as high as he could in the air mumbling profanities about Sprint while trying to get enough service to send the text. I'm sure that anyone who has been in the boonies and tirelessly stared at your phone while it searched for service can relate to the frustration and the comedic behavior that it brings out in you. Well, comedic for those around you... who can't stop laughing as you scream with excitement, "Yes! 1 Bar! Come on baby....send baby...SEEEEEND....OH COME ON... SEND YOU FREEKIN PIECE OF -- You get the idea... We've all been there.

Clay target shooting over 5-mile canyon. I'd like to say I didn't win $15 in a clay target competition just minutes after this picture was taken but I'd be lying. Good thing I dropped the 15 bones on a retarted amount of candy for the rodeo that night. Wait, that doesn't sound like me does it?
Mr. Ryan Gardner getting familiar with the .44

Speak up... just holding this gun in my hand makes my ears hurt.

We ended the night at the annual Taylor 4th of July Rodeo but unfortunately I have no pictures of the event.
That concludes this journal entry.