1920 ~ 2011|
Laurel Kent ("L.K.") Abbott slipped away peacefully from this life, surrounded by his children, on December 27, 2011, at the age of 91. Although this unique and charitable man will be deeply missed by his family, he returns to his Heavenly Father and loving family members who await him there, including the love of his life, Mary Mae Cottam.
L.K. was born April 28, 1920 in Mesquite, Nevada to his parents, Myron and Martha Ann Burgess Abbott. He was the third boy and fourth child in the Abbott home. Dad was raised in the dry valleys of Mesquite, experiencing all of the challenges of working that difficult land during the Depression Era. He lost his father and two brothers at an early age, events that would supply the emotional strength to press forward throughout his life against difficult odds. L.K. attended and graduated from Virgin Valley High School and Dixie Junior College. He married his sweetheart, Mary Mae Cottam, in the St. George Temple on September 25, 1940. Mary and L.K. celebrated over 70 years as husband and wife. They are the parents of two children; Kathy Jarvis (Joseph) of Mink Creek, Idaho, and Gregory Abbott (Luann) of St. George. The family lived in Las Vegas, Nevada and Bakersfield, California. In 1968, Mary and L.K. moved to Salt Lake City where they lived and worked until L.K. retired in 1985. They then returned to the old Cottam home in St. George, a location filled with family and memories, where they resided until the end of their time in mortality. L.K. was a loving and kind husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He was a man of many talents who excelled at business and life through his love and appreciation for all of mankind. He rose from a rail worker and "mucker" in the mining industry to the highest levels of leadership in the world of television broadcasting. His business success took him around the world, particularly to Asia where he developed a special relationship and appreciation for the culture and people of Japan. Along the way, he championed numerous causes, serving as President of the Utah Special Olympics for many years, as well as President of the Salt Lake Sister City Committee, Director of the Utah Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Founder of the Washington County Inter-Religious Council, and numerous other civic and charitable organizations. L.K. was driven by a strong conviction that every one of Heavenly Father's children deserved his love, empathy and service. No one met L.K. without feeling his genuine interest in their views, perspective and well-being. Dad loved music. He was a self-taught vocalist and played the saxophone and clarinet. Later in life he learned the organ. In his youth, he was the lead vocalist for his own band, the Vegas Knights, and played numerous events and functions throughout Utah and Nevada. L.K. was also an avid pilot who loved everything about aviation and flew his own airplanes for many years. Most of all, Dad was a faithful priesthood holder who served in numerous callings throughout his life, including as a temple worker well into his 91st year. His testimony of and love for the Savior continued to grow every day of his life. He loved his family and shared the lessons of his life with them whenever possible, the most important of which was that true love is only found through humble service and sacrifice. This multi-talented, fascinating man leaves a legacy of determination and love, and a lifetime of treasured memories.
Dad is survived by his children, Kathy (Joseph) Jarvis of Mink Creek, Idaho, and Gregory (Luann) Abbott of St. George; his sisters, Millie Guinn of Reno, Nevada, and Shirley Syphus of Salt Lake City, Utah; and eight grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Mary Mae Cottam, and his brothers, Denzil and EO Abbott.
The family wishes to acknowledge the special care given by Dr. Robert Rignell and the nursing staff at Dixie Regional Medical Center.
Funeral services will be Tuesday, January 3, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St., St. George, Utah. Friends may call Monday evening from 6:30 PM until 8:30 PM and Tuesday morning from 9:30 AM until 10:30AM at Spilsbury Mortuary, St. George, Utah. Interment will be in the St. George City Cemetery.
Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, (435) 673-2454. Friends and family are invited to offer their condolences at www.spilsburymortuary.com.
Published in Deseret News on Dec. 30, 2011