The following are obituaries the appeared in the May 13, 2015 print edition of the Star Valley Independent.
For more local obituaries, please visit Schwab Mortuary.
Our dear husband, father, and grandfather O’Dell Oral Merritt passed away at his home in Bedford of natural causes on April 22, 2015. He was 76 years old. His great sense of humor and generous spirit will be greatly missed by all who were blessed to have known him. O’Dell was born on Dec. 10, 1938 in Turnerville to Oral and Evelyn Rich Merritt. He grew up along with seven brothers and sisters on a farm where he learned the value of hard work. He attended school in Star Valley where he met his lifelong sweetheart and future wife, DeAnn Johnson. They were married on Feb. 1, 1958 in Auburn. O’Dell and DeAnn were blessed with six children, three boys and three girls. His children were his pride and joy. The family was sealed together in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple for time and all eternity on June 14, 1974. O’Dell started working as a milk delivery man in Ogden, Utah shortly after their marriage. As he was promoted throughout his career, O’Dell and his family moved to several different cities. Upon retirement, he was the General Manager of Western General Dairies based out of Salt Lake City. Shortly before retiring, he and DeAnn moved back home to their beloved Star Valley. O’Dell loved retirement. It gave him endless time to enjoy his many hobbies which included fishing, hunting, camping and spending time with his family. O’Dell spent countless hours with his grandchildren, all of which he greatly enjoyed and taught many things. O’Dell was a fantastic grandfather. Each and every one of his grandchildren can retell a special time they spent with him. O’Dell is survived by his wife of 57 years, DeAnn and his six children: J’Dell (Cindy Davis), Jan Onkes (Ron), Len (Dianne Hyde), Trudy Staggie, Dan (Barbara Turek), Kristy Erickson (Gary); 34 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren; siblings Corrine Richens, Reta Zeman, Cleo Hales (Bevan), Kay Merritt (JoAnn), Kirk Merritt (Connie). He was proceeded in death by his parents, his sister Venna Harmon (Boyd), his brother Kent Merritt, infant brother Vernon Merritt and grandson Braken Erickson. A funeral and celebration of his life was held on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at the Bedford LDS church. He was laid to rest on the same day at the Bedford cemetery.
Rex S. Hepworth, 90, of Auburn, passed away peaceably at the Star Valley Care Center on Monday, May 4, 2015. He was surrounded by family and friends and celebrated his life. Services were held at the Auburn LDS Chapel on Saturday, May 9. Rex was born Feb. 19,1925 to David Edgar and Mary E. Hepworth, of Grover. He was the youngest of seven children. Rex was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, holding several different callings, from Young Men’s President to Sunday School Superintendent, teacher, missionary and Second Counselor in the Stake Mission Presidency. When he was a senior in high school, Rex had enough credits to graduate so he enlisted with his friends in the armed forces where he served from May 1944 to August 1946 in the Marine Corps as a Sergeant and received an honorable discharge. On March 28, 1947, he married the love of his life, Nola E. Nield, in the Logan LDS Temple. To this union four children were born: Barbara, Hal, Rickie and Larry. Rex loved to farm, milk cows and raise cattle and children. He loved serving his neighbors and friends and spending time with his family. He was often seen leaving his own hay field and chores to help a neighbor that was broken down or running behind on getting their crops in. He would then return to his own fields to try and get the hay in before the storm hit. He drove school bus, delivering children safely to and from school, for 32 years (1957 to 1989). When he retired, he had the thanks of many families and a lot of children were sorry to see him go. He is survived by his children, Barbara Heiner (LaDell); Hal Hepworth (Dixie); Rickie Hepworth, and Larry Hepworth (Sandy); 38 grandchildren; and 61 great grandchildren. Rex was proceeded in death by his father, mother, three brothers, three sisters: Doris, Lavern, Wallace, Edgar “Ted”, Beatrice, Bruce; and a daughter-in-law, Tane Martina Laird Hepworth. Burial took place in the Auburn Cemetery. He will be missed by many and was