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Earl Vernon Elmont successfully completed his mission on earth and returned home on April 21, 2022. He passed away peacefully in his home in Pleasant Grove, UT, surrounded by loving family. The youngest of six sons, Earl was born at home in Basalt, CO, on January 21,1938 to Paul William and Blanche Dorothy Jakeman Elmont.
Despite losing his father at age three, Earl’s childhood and youth were filled with laughter, friendships, and activities—always alongside his faithful brother, Cliff. They loved riding in the rumble seat of the old Model “A” Ford with the wind rushing through their hair. As faithful Methodists, they attended Sunday worship where their mother played the organ. They spent summers playing along the banks of the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan rivers, swimming in the pool at Glenwood Springs, and enjoying time near the old Jakeman homestead above Reudi Reservoir. Throughout his life, Earl reveled in the splendor of his beloved Colorado Rockies.
Earl attended Basalt High School where he ran track, played basketball and six-man football, and was band drum major. He often reminisced about not being able to join the team during half-time because he had to don his drum major’s hat and lead the marching band, while still wearing his football uniform and cleats. He was student-body secretary as a sophomore and senior class president. He worked at the local drug store where he enjoyed serving the customers and running the old-fashioned soda fountain. To the end of his life, he shared detailed memories of the people and places of his youth that brought him so much joy.
Earl was the first member of his family to graduate from college. He attended Colorado State College (now University of Northern Colorado) in Greeley where he would meet the two great loves of his life—the beautiful Claire Monson and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A college roommate asked him one evening, “Did you know you are a child of God? Did you know you lived with God before you were born?” He said those two questions “thumped me in the chest like a sledgehammer! It was all I could think about for several weeks.” Soon thereafter, he received gospel lessons from a set of missionaries and was baptized. This event led to meeting his future sweetheart. Earl met Claire at church her first week of freshman year where he said boldly, “Hi, my name is Earl Elmont and I’ll give you two weeks to remember it!” The two soon began a courtship, but he put love and schooling on hold to serve a two-and-a-half-year Church mission in Argentina. There, he developed a love for the Spanish language and Hispanic people, which continued throughout his life.
Earl and Claire married in the Salt Lake Temple on August 9, 1963, and began life together in Provo, UT. He completed his undergraduate work at Brigham Young University while CSC-graduate, Claire, taught first grade. Here, their son Brett (Ninel) was born. Earl graduated in 1965 with a BA in Spanish, also completing training in the Church’s seminary program. His first professional employment was in Green River, UT, from 1965-69 where he taught seminary half day and high-school Spanish half day. Here, sons Mark (Jennifer), Steven (Jill), and David (Stacey) were born. In the Summer of 1969, Earl was reassigned to teach seminary full-time in Gunnison, UT, where he taught from 1969-87. The remainder of the couple’s nine children were born in Gunnison—Jeremy (Brandi), Juliann, Suzanne (Todd), Marilee (Tysson), and Brandon (Kelsey). He did graduate studies at BYU the summers of 1982-83, earning an MA in Spanish. He taught at Hillcrest High School Seminary in Midvale, UT, from 1987-94 and spent his final professional years teaching special-needs students at Jordan Valley Seminary, retiring in 1998. His teaching trademarks were loving his students and trying to make learning the gospel fun. Over the years, several former students reached out to him to express they had once contemplated suicide, but his friendship or something he said in class helped them choose life. Many, many more students have also expressed gratitude for his positive impact in their lives.
The highlight of his career was touring the Holy Land, Greece, and Rome with Claire and other seminary teachers and their spouses for an entire month in 1978. He commented often how he felt more effective as a teacher after visiting places where Jesus and the apostles lived and taught. He enjoyed serving in a variety of Church callings. Positions that included teaching the gospel were his favorites. After seminary retirement, he was thrilled to serve two local missions with his eternal companion as addiction-recovery missionaries and as hosts at the LDS Conference Center and Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Additionally, he and Claire taught institute classes for several years to inmates at the Salt Lake County Jail. He served briefly as Relief Society president in the Villa Maria branch in Argentina (which caused him to chuckle).
Earl had many hobbies and interests. He loved learning, reading, writing (authored three books), cooking, traveling, gardening, studying languages, whistling, singing, telling jokes, and striking up conversations with total strangers. He had a passion for BYU sports and loved wearing his Cougar apparel. He was a man of many talents, including beautiful penmanship, calligraphy, teaching, translating, and being a friend to everyone—especially the lonely and forgotten. He was liberal in handing out compliments and helping people feel special. He was legendary for inviting total strangers to Thanksgiving dinner and always generous with his time and money. He worked hard to provide for his family—financially and spiritually. His greatest treasures in life were his marriage, posterity, and personal testimony of God and Christ.
He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings, son Jeremy, and granddaughter Jessica. He is survived by his wife, eight children, 40 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren (with one on the way). Thanks to the generous donation of a healthy kidney by his daughter, Julie, we enjoyed an additional 14 years with Dad.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. in the Grove Sixth Ward Chapel, 1136 West 700 South, Pleasant Grove where family and friends may attend a viewing from 9:00 -10:45 a.m. prior to the services. Interment will be in the Pleasant Grove City Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.olpinmortuary.com.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a humanitarian cause of your choice.
We extend our gratitude to Dr. Matthew Mainord and Dr. Mark Rogers for their excellent care. We also express thanks to Paul and his great staff at Olpin Mortuary for their terrific service.