Mountains

Thomas Jefferson Tietjen Jr

September 22, 1934 ~ December 20, 2021 (age 87)

Obituary

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Thomas (Tom) Jefferson Tietjen, son of Thomas Jefferson (Jeff) Tietjen and Edna (Berryhill) Tietjen, died December 20, 2021 in Provo, Utah.  He was born on September 22, 1934 in Bluewater, New Mexico, the third of six children born to his parents.  Tom married his eternal companion, Christine Wilkins on March 20, 1959 in the Mesa Arizona Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  They are the parents of nine children:  Allen, Jeffery (Jeff), Bruce, Carl, Sandra, Kenneth (Ken), Linda, Rodney (Rod), and Judy.  Their grandchildren number 23, and they currently have 8 great grandchildren.

Much of Tom's childhood was spent on cattle ranches in New Mexico where beginning at the age of 14 he was responsible for riding hundreds of miles of fence line on a 144,000 plus acreage ranch, repairing damaged fences and looking for signs of cattle rustling.  Many nights were spent by himself in line shacks where he would cook his own meals after clearing the shacks of snakes, rats, and occasionally wild pigs.  To get to school, he and his siblings would ride a bus for 52 miles one way on dirt roads.  For three years after graduating from high school, Tom was in charge of running a 1000 head 36 square mile ranch with help from his younger brother Jerry when he wasn't in school, and some extra help around branding and shipping season. Much of this time Tom would be the only one on the ranch.  At the age of 22, Tom was drafted into the US Army and proudly served his country at a US Army base in France, and then in the Army Reserves to complete his service.

In 1961, with his young wife and new son in tow, he moved along with two of his brothers, Joe and Jerry, to Alaska to try their hand at large scale cattle ranching there.  They brought the first hay bailer to Alaska, proving to other homesteaders that such machinery was capable of working in the rough ground.  They were pioneers in beef cattle production in the area, and soon learned the length of the seasons there along with lack of facilities to process the beef and the limited market did not support large scale cattle ranching.  Persevering in Alaska meant looking for other avenues of support and the brothers purchased a couple sawmills and not knowing anything about the industry, entered the timber business.  After the devastating 1964 Alaska earthquake destroyed their largest sawmill, Tom worked for another large sawmill, and other timber interests in the area, where he would be away from home and his family for weeks at a time.  Tom also worked on the survey teams doing seismological studies for the US Geological Survey exploration of the new state.  After trying his hand in a number of ventures and jobs, Tom eventually found a new career as a Maintenance Engineer where he did maintenance work for a number of remote schools for the Kenai Peninsula School District where he worked until retirement.

Tom was known for his work ethic, teaching all of his children the value of hard work.  He spent much of his time serving others and was called upon to use his many skills to help others in need.  Tom and his brothers helped the first Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints get started in Homer, Alaska.  Tom Served in numerous different callings in the Church as the tiny Branch grew through the years.  The tiny branch met in a number of different locations including homes, small businesses, the Museum, the elementary school, and a Church building from another denomination.  When the branch was finally large enough to need a building of their own, Tom, along with his brothers, donated the land to the Church for the building of the first Branch Building.  That building was later expanded and is now the only Ward building for the Church in the area.

In October of 2021, Tom and Christine moved to Richfield, Utah to be closer to many of their children and grandchildren who now live in Utah.

Tom is proceeded in death by his parents, three brothers, one sister, and one child.  Tom is survived by his loving wife, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  Tom will be sorely missed by many, but also welcomed by many of his loved ones who have proceeded him.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, December 30, 2021 at 11:00 am in the Olpin Family Mortuary Chapel, 494 South 300 East, Pleasant Grove where family and friends may attend a viewing from 9:30 - 10:45 am prior to the services.  Interment will be Monday, January 3, 2022 at 12:00 noon in the Pioneer Memorial Park Cemetery, Bluewater, New Mexico.

Condolences may be sent to the family at www.olpinmortuary.com. 

 

 

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Recording of Service


Services

Viewing
Thursday
December 30, 2021

9:30 AM to 10:45 AM
Olpin Family Mortuary
494 South 300 East
Pleasant Grove, UT 84062

Funeral Service
Thursday
December 30, 2021

11:00 AM
Olpin Family Mortuary
494 South 300 East
Pleasant Grove, UT 84062

Interment
Monday
January 3, 2022

12:00 PM
Pioneer Memorial Park Cemetery
Cemetery Road
Bluewater, NM 87005

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