OGDEN -John A. Lindquist, beloved husband and father, grandfather and great grandfather, renowned civic leader, devoted friend, uncanny fly fisherman, storyteller extraordinaire and consummate doer, kept on keeping on until his body said, "Enough!" He passed away June 30, 2013.
Dad learned his work ethic from his parents, Charles John Aaron (CJA) and Ada C. Theurer Lindquist, who brought him into the world July 14, 1919. His siblings from his father's first wife, Amelia, are Elizabeth, Carl, Myrtle, Ruby, Milton, Clyde and Norene. His sisters are Barbara (Norman) Tanner and Jean (Robert) Pell.
Formally educated in Ogden public schools, Weber College and the San Francisco School of Mortuary Science, Dad learned best by observing and doing: "You play the hand that's dealt you" and you do it honestly, vigorously, competently and compassionately.
Dad's first challenge came at age 15 when his father died during the Great Depression, leaving the family business, Lindquist & Sons Mortuary, on the edge of bankruptcy. His father's practice of exchanging funeral services for potatoes or a side of beef left few resources, so Dad began helping his mother support the family.
A second challenge that profoundly shaped his life came with enlistment in the Army after Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941. He transferred to the Army Air Corps and was ordered to Debach air base in Ipswich, England, with the 8th Air Force, 493rd Bomb Group. He flew 38 missions as bombardier and/or navigator on B-17s and B-24s into occupied Europe. He retired from service as a major, having earned during wartime tenure the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with six Oak Leaf Clusters, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Ribbon with five bronze campaign stars and the American Theater ribbon; his performance was rated excellent. He served 16 more years in the Air Force Reserves.
Dad finagled an eight-day leave from cadet training in Texas to marry his love, Telitha (Tita) Ellis. They were married May 19, 1943, by Elder David O. McKay, a close friend of both families, in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Mom accompanied him through training until he was sent overseas.
Dad's work ethic was honed by building the family business, which he and his brothers Carl and Clyde initiated during the '40s, beginning with a new mortuary at 34th St. and Washington in 1941. The expansion of Lindquist Mortuaries and affiliated memorial parks and other businesses continued through the efforts of Clyde, Dad and his sons John E., Robert and Steve, and Clyde's son, Charles. Dad was for many years president or CEO or chairman of the board of Lindquist corporations. He never retired from the funeral business. In his nineties, when he had lost most of his hearing and vision, he still assisted at funerals; loving to hand out programs and greet area residents he had come to know.
For more than seventy years Dad's life was informed and softened by his marriage to Mother, his partner and often the instigator of their involvement in community building projects and arts events. They adored each other, and their interests complemented each other's. While Mom's volunteer work focused primarily on children's welfare, women's resources, education, and the performing arts as she nurtured seven children at home, Dad's was on business development.
Acting on the premise that "you leave things better than you found them," he helped establish and served as president of the Weber County Industrial Development Corp. and the Ogden Industrial Development Corp. to stimulate economic growth. He helped his friend John B. Goddard form Western Mortgage Loan and United Savings and Loan. He served on such Utah advisory boards as First Security Bank No. Utah Division, Holy Cross Health Services, St. Benedicts Hospital, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield. He was chair of the boards of Utah Power & Light and the Credit Bureau of Ogden as well as co-chair of Northern Utah/Mission 2000. He was president and district governor of the Exchange Club and president of the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce. Quoting one of his colleagues, to all groups he brought "wisdom, perception, candor and good humor."
Recognized outside Utah for his outstanding leadership and business acumen, he was called to the board of PacifiCorp after it acquired Utah Power & Light. His own profession acknowledged his skills by electing him president (1974-75) of National Selected Morticians, which included several European nations, Canada, Mexico and Australia.
Concern for Ogden's ability to offer its citizens high-quality arts and recreation programs led to Dad's activity in building the Eccles Conference Center and restoring the Egyptian Theater and Union Station, contributing a brontosaurus to the Eccles Dinosaur Park, and sponsoring symphony performances and the annual concert and fireworks show at WSU.
Forever impressed with the USA's military excellence after his experiences in WWII, along with his desire to support history with evidence for the educational benefit of future generations, Dad helped establish the Air Force Heritage Foundation and Aerospace Museum at Hill Air Force Base.
Mother and Dad were committed to Weber State University's expansion as an excellent center for nurturing the region's most valuable resource, a skilled and knowledgeable citizenry. Dad's work at WSU included membership on the College of Business & Economics board, the Alumni Association board, the Wildcat Club board, the National Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees. He raised and contributed money for its land purchase, student scholarships, faculty fellowships, athletics, buildings, aesthetics, landscaping and degree development beginning in 1950. The school named him Business Executive of the Year and Distinguished Alumnus and awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities. His family created the John A. Lindquist Award to honor a professor who perpetuates his model of enhancing education with community engagement for students.
For his significant public service, Dad was given the Commitment to Ogden Award, the Minuteman Award and inclusion on the Weber County Registry of Honor; France gave him the French Liberation Award for his role on D Day. He and Mother were honored jointly for outstanding community service by the Chamber of Commerce with the Wall of Fame Award and with the position of honorary grand marshals of the Pioneer Days parade, with the Governor's Award in the Arts, the statewide Philanthropic Leadership Award and the Noteworthy Award, by Ogden Symphony Ballet.
Dad never met a fish he couldn't catch (several times, frequently). He had a passion for fly fishing (thank you, Bob Weiss) and deep-sea fishing with his buddies for decades and hunting with his sons, grandchildren, and friends - sometimes just for the pleasure of telling stories or getting material for new ones. He loved traveling with Mom and turning any small event into a humorous tale.
A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dad served in many capacities faithfully all his life.
In the commencement address he made at WSC in 1982, Dad emphasized to graduates: "If you have had the privilege of living in Ogden, you have to pay your dues! You give back to your community however you can through service, business and donations." The privilege was his.
Missing his wit and stories are his adored wife, Tita; children, Kathryn (Jim Moore) of Salt Lake City, Robert E. (Dianna), John E., Steven E. (Wanda) of Huntsville, Laurie (Jean Robert) Babilis, Peter N. (Carol) of Colusa, CA, and Telitha (Jon J.) Greiner; former daughter-in-law, Suzanne Lindquist; 29 grandchildren and their spouses; and 38 great grandchildren. Also surviving is his sister Barbara Tanner.
Services will be held Wednesday, July 3, at 2 p.m. at Lindquist's Ogden Mortuary, 3408 Washington Blvd. Friends may call 5-8 p.m., Tuesday, July 2, at the mortuary and Wednesday from 12-1:30. Interment will be at Lindquist Washington Heights Memorial Park. Those who want to make a donation, please do so to the Hill Aerospace Museum, P.O. Box 612, Roy, UT 84067
Send condolences to the family at: www.lindquistmortuary.com