Kendall E. "Ras" Rasmuson, 95, of Idaho Falls, passed away at his home Friday, March 14, 2014. He had been under the loving care of his family and Aspen Home Health and Hospice.
Kendall was born Sept. 28, 1918, in Pleasant Grove, Utah, to Ernest Rasmus and Velma Larsen Rasmuson. He was the oldest of four children --three boys and a girl. When Kendall was 5 years old, the family moved to Provo, Utah, where he attended elementary school, junior high school and graduated from Provo High School in 1937.
He worked delivering newspapers and later as mailing foreman in the office of the Provo Daily Herald, where his father later became the editor.
Kendall played the saxophone in the Farrer Junior High Band, was active in Scouting and loved to play basketball with his brothers. His favorite class in high school was wood shop, where he made many beautiful pieces of furniture.
As a senior in high school, he and a large group of friends joined the 145th Field Artillery Medical Detachment of the Utah National Guard.
After graduation, Kendall enrolled at Brigham Young University, attending classes in the morning and working in the afternoon. In 1941, his National Guard unit was called up to active duty, and while en route to the Philippines, Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was subsequently stationed in Hawaii as a staff sergeant of the Medical Detachment of the 145th and served the remaining years of the war in the Pacific Theater as a medic in Kwajalein, Saipan/Tinian, the Philippines and Okinawa, where some of the bloodiest battles of World War II were fought.
Kendall received an honorable discharge from the military and returned home in June 1945. He married his sweetheart, Elayne Peterson, on Aug. 7, 1945, in Provo, Utah. They moved to Logan, where Kendall graduated in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Utah State University.
He was then hired by District 91 to coach football, basketball and track for competition with other elementary schools in Idaho Falls at Hawthorne Elementary and later at Central Intermediate. He was also one of the directors and coaches of the boys' YMCA Summer Baseball League, winning the championship two years in a row.
Kendall's brother, Mahlon, followed him to Idaho Falls, where he also became a successful teacher and coach at Skyline High School. In 1958, Kendall was named Teacher of the Year by the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce.
In 1961, Kendall was promoted to head the physical education department at the newly completed Clair E. Gale Junior High School. He coached football, basketball and track, and taught boys' P.E. classes. Through the years, his teams consistently won city and conference championships.
At Central and Gale, Kendall organized a yearly P.E. open house, which showcased hundreds of boys and girls presenting their physical education curriculum to the community.
Throughout his 32 years of teaching and coaching, "Coach Ras" influenced hundreds of young men and women, instilling in them values of integrity, teamwork, dedication and the fun of physical education. His students have stayed in contact with him through the years, and many in this community will long remember Coach Ras.
In 1959, while teaching, Kendall also became the manager of the Idaho Falls Teachers Credit Union, with Elayne as the assistant manager. Through his hard work and leadership, the Credit Union grew from an in-home office to a well-established financial business with its own building on Cambridge Avenue.
Kendall found his credit union association with the teachers, administrators and employees of School District 91 to be one of the most rewarding endeavors of his life. He and Elayne retired in 1994 after 35 years of active credit union service.
Kendall was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he and Elayne were sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple on July 10, 1968.
His family was always the highest priority in his life, and nothing was more important to him than the happiness of his wife, Elayne, and his daughters, Kris and Pam. His eight grandsons and three granddaughters especially loved their Grandpa Ras.
Kendall is survived by his wife, Elayne; daughters, Kris (Kimball) Mason and Pam (Lance) Nalder, all of Idaho Falls; 11 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father; brothers, Mahlon Rasmuson and Joseph "Buddy" Rasmuson; and a sister, Virginia Rasmuson.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, March 24, at the Idaho Falls LDS 26th Ward, 2025 Jennie Lee Drive, with Bishop Kim Smith officiating. The family will visit with friends from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, March 23, at Wood Funeral Home, 273 N. Ridge Ave., and from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Monday prior to services at the 26th Ward church. Burial will be in Taylor Cemetery with military rites performed by the Bonneville County Veterans Team and Idaho Honor Guard.
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.woodfuneralhome.com.