Friday, September 30, 2011

A Tribute to My Father-in-Law

Today is the anniversary of the birth of my father-in-law, Orson William Lauritzen.  He would have been 93 years old today.

What a good and gentle man he was! 

I loved him the first time I met him just over 34 years ago.  He treated me with such respect and was interested in everything I had to say. 

Through the years, I've learned a lot about this great man.  He was the grandson of the immigrant Peder Lauritzen, who came from Denmark to America after several years of teaching from LDS (Mormon) missionaries.  He brought his family on the ship "Monarch of the Sea".
The Monarch of the Sea brought them to the processing center at Castle Garden.

After making their way to Florence, Nebraska, they walked the rest of the way with their handcart.
Peder Lauritzen, the immigrant.

They lived a pioneer life in central Utah, raised their family in the gospel, and left quite a legacy for others to pattern their lives after.

His son, Peter, was Orson's father.  His name, and that of his wife, Mary Loanna Terry, were people that others came to rely on for their great personal strength.
Peter and Mary Loanna Terry Lauritzen

They raised twelve children, and son Orson and was number ten.  He and his good wife, Shirley Elma Rhoades, raised eleven children of their own, burying two after they had been raised to adulthood.  Mr. Kerry is number five.

Orson and Shirley Rhoades Lauritzen

Kerry has often told me stories from his childhood.  Mom, of course, was the choreographer of the family and of the home.  Her job was full-time, day and night, as she sought for the best for her children.

Orson was that quiet force in the background.  I never heard him raise his voice or act impatiently.  He nearly always had one, or two, or more grandchildren on his lap.  He took time for each one of them, and for each person who wanted to talk with him.

Kerry has always shown great respect for womanhood.  After nearly 34 years of marriage, he still holds the door open for me, pulls my chair out and helps me on with my coat.  When we had our own four children, he always had the baby at the end of the dinner table, patiently feed them. 

All of these things were examples from his own childhood.  Before Kerry was of the age to date, his dad took him aside and talked with him about how to respect and treat a young lady.  I would loved to have heard his words of counsel!

Orson has been gone since 2004.  He was such a valiant man.  He stayed true to his beliefs all of his life, having served as a patriarch in the church since the early 1960's.  He was a CPA, owned a dairy ranch, served in the Manti Temple, and taught the truths of the gospel at every opportunity.  When anyone wanted an answer to a scriptural question, they would seek out Orson.

But, most of all, he was a husband and a father.  He raised the boy who would grow and become my husband.

What an honor to have had this man in my life!

Orson and Shirley Lauritzen on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary.

1 comment:

  1. I just found you blog! I love it already :)It makes me want to do my own geneology blog. Can I get the scans of grandmother and papa orson that you have?? I love you and miss you! Thanks for your wonderful example!