Lance Capener and daughters remembered by family, friends

Saturday , June 06, 2015 - 2:42 PM

By RACHEL J. TROTTER and JAMIE LAMPROS
Standard-Examiner correspondents

OGDEN — Those who knew Lance Capener remember him as someone loving and selfless, always willing to give of his time to help others.

Capener’s parents and three of his siblings talked with the Standard-Examiner Saturday morning in Ogden, sharing memories of his life along with those of his beloved daughters, Kelsey and Kilee.

The three died Monday night when their boat capsized on Bear Lake during a huge and unexpected windstorm. A family friend, Siera Hadley, also died. The four died of hypothermia, authorities said.

Lance grew up in a large family on Ogden’s east bench. He was the fifth of seven children born to Pauline and Robert Capener. He attended Wasatch Elementary, Mount Ogden Middle School and Ogden High School, graduating in 1987. From there he attended Weber State University and also served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in East Germany. “He was one of the first to be there when the Freiberg temple opened. We were so proud of him and the people there loved him,” Pauline said.

At WSU he met Kathryn “Kathy” Stockdale. “He described it as love at first sight,” Lance’s sister Suzanne Capener said. They were married in June 1994 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. “Kathy stood by his side as he worked to obtain his medical degree from the A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri,” Suzanne said. From there he completed his residency in Cheyenne, Wyoming and then received a rural health scholarship where he practiced as a doctor in Hereford, Texas. Upon completion of the scholarship, he came back to his roots in Ogden where he practiced family medicine at the Intermountain Healthcare South Ogden Clinic starting in 2009.

He lived in Pleasant View with Kathy and their three children. His brother Mark described him as an active community, church and medical leader. Mark, also a physician, remembers getting several phone calls from Lance during his medical training and career to ask for opinions and advice. “He cared so much for his patients, he always sought advice to give the very best care,” Mark said. Mark was always impressed with Lance’s diligence in the medical profession.

Pauline and Robert said the family has received an outpouring of calls and visits from his patients, offering condolences and talking about how much they loved Lance as a doctor. One of his patients, Monty Shupe, put his thoughts about Lance in a letter to the family. He talked about a severely scaled foot where Lance spent hours cutting away dead skin and ultimately saving his foot. “I made the statement that I felt guilty about the time it took with me, and he replied that it was all right; ‘I believe in taking care of my patients,’” Shupe said.

Pauline said Lance was always an obedient child and hard worker. He delivered a paper route for years and often was the only one of his siblings willing to do the large route. “It shows what kind of person that he was that he always went out and did it and never complained,” Mark said.

“He was a steady ship, always doing what he was supposed to do. I could count on Lance to keep his word,” Pauline said.

Lance’s brother Scott talked about his endurance to run marathons. “He could persevere to survive in extreme conditions,” Scott said. “He always put the lives of others before his own. He was not a selfish person and was giving even up to the last minutes of his life,” Scott said.

The family laughed when they remembered a time when the large family was on their traditional river trip in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They had stopped at a restaurant and Lance told his dad he was going to the bathroom and not to leave him. As the large group got in different cars, sure enough, Lance got left behind. It wasn’t until late in the evening when Robert was getting ready to go to bed that they realized Lance wasn’t with them. “I went back to get him and there he was, sitting on the bench in the restaurant, waiting patiently. He wasn’t even mad at me,” Robert said with a laugh.

“That again shows who Lance was. He was patient and kind,” Mark said.

Pauline said while Lance was pretty much an angel, he did have some devilish moments, like when he put water in the gas tanks of a recreation vehicle or when he picked all the neighbors’ tulips.

The Capener family all agreed that Lance loved his wife Kathy very much. “He was a wonderful husband and father, we all know that for sure,” Suzanne said.

“He was never afraid to change a diaper or get up in the night with his children,” Pauline said.

“Lance and Kathy were dedicated to their children. Kathy would say that Lance never wanted to miss any of the things his children did,” Suzanne said.

Pauline’s face lit up when she talked of her two granddaughters, Kelsey, 13, and Kilee, age 7. She talked about Kelsey’s “lammy” that she loved and took with her everywhere she went that became part of the family. “Kelsey was an achiever, that’s for sure,” Suzanne said. She was an accomplished pianist, dancer and soccer player. Robert and Pauline attended Kelsey’s piano recital one week ago. “She was so talented and worked so hard,” Robert said of his granddaughter.

“She gave everything her whole heart,” Pauline added. “She was happy, bright and beautiful and was maturing into a lovely woman,” Pauline said.

Pauline Capener making treats with her granddaughters, Kelsey and Kilee.

Pauline pulled out a picture that Kilee had made for her grandpa while he was in the hospital in May, recuperating from a stroke. On the back of the picture she told him she loved him. “She was our youngest grandchild and we were just holding onto her and keeping her little,” Pauline said. “She was full of life and lit up a room when she walked in it.”

“They were raised by goodly parents,” Mark said of the girls. “Their daughters were counseled to follow the love of Christ and they shared that with the community. They were nearly perfect and that’s probably why God called them home.”

Mark said he felt the same way about Lance. “He was a nearly perfect father, a nearly perfect husband, a nearly perfect doctor and son. He was a follower of Jesus Christ and lived his life that way,” Mark said. “The community lost a great physician, a great father, a great leader and a great example of our Savior.”

At the South Ogden clinic where Capener practiced, Dr. Brent Williams said he remembers seeing a little boy in his neighborhood riding up and down on his Big Wheel in 1979.

Williams had just finished medical school and was back home working as a family practice resident. He had moved into the same neighborhood as the Capener family and soon learned the name of the little boy zooming down the sidewalk.

Lance Capener.

The boy grew up and became a physician who ended up working in the same South Ogden clinic with Williams. In fact, Williams chose him as his own personal physician.

“He was extremely bright,” Williams said. “He spent a lot of time with his patients and they loved him. I chose him as my own doctor because I had confidence in him. I worked with him and saw the type of medicine he did and I liked it. He had good skills and good judgment.”

Williams said this past week since Capener’s death has been hard for the staff at the clinic.

“It has definitely had an effect on the mood at the clinic. Everybody is sad. There have been a lot of tears, a lot of hugging,” Williams said. “Everyone is devastated, particularly those who worked with him closely. It’s been a tough week.”

Another co-worker, Dr. Sharman Sutherland, said Capener was truly a good man.

“The medical group physicians and staff has been devastated at the news of his death and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, son, and other family members,” he said.

Dr. Donna Barhorst, regional medical director for Intermountain Healthcare Weber/North Davis Region, said Capener had worked for the South Ogden clinic since 2009.

“Lance was a caring, compassionate physician who always tried to put the needs of his patients first,” she said. “He devoted endless hours of his time and energy in the care of his patients.”

Funeral services for the Capeners are tentatively set for Wednesday, but exact details are not yet decided. Memorial funds have been set up for the family at www.anythingforafriend.com and www.gofundme.com.

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