Cover photo for Clayton Curtis's Obituary
Clayton Curtis Profile Photo

Clayton Curtis

July 5, 1929 — March 13, 2016

Clayton Curtis

Clayton George Curtis was born at home in Maeser to Martin Weston and Marguerite Wardle Curtis on July 5, 1929. He grew up in Glines with his older sister, Betty, and younger sister, Rita, until the family moved to town in Vernal. For most of his time in high school, he was sick with rheumatic fever, so he was not able to participate in sports or other school activities, but he continued his schoolwork and graduated from Uintah High School in 1947. After high school, he attended LDS Business College with his best friend Keith Caldwell. Clayton and Vonda had known each for many years, but never dated until high school. They spent many evenings dancing at the Victory Park Dance Hall with their friends. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on August 18, 1948. Their first little house was along the canal and then Clayton built their present house on the corner to the east. They were blessed with four children, Dennis Clayton, Donald Ray, Karen, and Sandra Lee. Music was a big part of their lives. Clayton and Vonda Lee sang for almost thirty years with a double-quartet; he also participated in ward choir. Clayton and Vonda Lee both learned to play guitar and spent many hours playing and enjoying music together. Clayton was very active in the LDS church. He was a high priest and held many callings such as ward and stake young men's president, ward and stake clerk, and was called to serve in the branch at the care center for seventeen years, serving in the branch presidency for part of that time. He also spent more than fifteen years as a temple ordinance worker at the Vernal Temple. One of his favorite callings was his time as a nursery leader. He was beloved by many, many children - some of whom still refer to him as Grandpa now that they are adults. Clayton was a faithful member of the Lion's Club, and had 100% attendance for over fifty years, never missing a meeting or service project. Due to his rheumatic fever, Clayton had been told that he would not be able to work. In spite of that prediction, he held many jobs through the years and was a valued employee. He was a sheepherder as a teenager, worked in the Wardle coal mines, drove a gas truck to deliver gas from the bulk plant in Vernal up the scary, steep Sheep Creek Canyon road to Manilla. He worked for the Bureau of Reclamation and temporarily moved the family to Dutch John while the Flaming Gorge Dam was under construction. After returning to Vernal, he worked in the Forest Service offices, then moved on to be the manager at Utah Gas Service Company for many years. After that, he ran the offices for CE NatCo. Clayton was a custodian at the junior high, where he once again showed his strong bond with children. He was so popular with students at the school that he was awarded several certificates by the student body. He also worked for the county youth detention center before becoming the custodian and bus driver at the Golden Age Center. Even after his employment at the Golden Age Center ended, Clayton continued to volunteer as a member of the Uintah's Club and helped to plan many events and outings for friends at the Golden Age Center. Through all of this, he also raised cattle and farmed eighty acres. He always found it hard when it was time to sell or butcher the cattle, because they became like pets. He knew each of them and they knew and loved him. He also raised rabbits, pigs, chicken, and sheep and kept geese in the pond out in the field. He grew alfalfa in the fields as well as maintaining a big garden and a huge cornfield each year. When Clayton was unable to take care of the fields and cattle himself, he and Vonda Lee were grateful to Gene Anfinson who helped him to manage until they were able to sell the cattle. The Wardle Reunion is a highlight of every year for Clayton's family and gave his grandchildren and great-grandchildren a chance to really get to know and bond with him. Camping, and fishing, and old sow games, and hiking to Brush Creek Canyon were just a few of the activities that Clayton loved about reunion time. Clayton was preceded in death by his parents, his sister and brother-in-law Betty and Wayne Horrocks, brother-in-law Boyd Lee, daughters-in-law Tina Shearwood Curtis and Jaralee Mace Curtis, and great-granddaughter Rebekah LeeAnn Bowman. Clayton is survived by his wife of 67 years, Vonda Lee Fletcher Curtis, his sister Rita Lee and his children Dennis Clayton (Rachael) of Vernal, UT, Donald Ray (Marilyn) of Logan, UT, Karen (Donald) of Vernal, UT, and Sandra Lee (Robert D. "Rocky") Bowman of Henderson, NV, twenty-two grandchildren, fifty-six great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren... and more are on the way. Funeral Services will for Clayton Curtis, age 86, of Vernal husband of Vonda Lee Fletcher Curtis, will be Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 11:00 A.M. in the Glines 1st Ward Chapel (1499 West Hwy 40). A viewing for family and friends will be Friday from 6-8 PM at the Blackburn Vernal Mortuary and at the Chapel one hour prior to the servics. Burial will be in the Maeser Fairview Cemetery. Services are under the direction of Blackburn Vernal Mortuary
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