Our loving husband and father, Lavern Jorgensen Smith, known as Vern J. all his life, passed away Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, from cancer at his home near Ucon.
Vern was born May 18, 1928, in Union, Utah, the first child of William Lavern Smith and Jenniev Jorgensen Smith. He spent much of his early childhood in Utah. He also spent many memorable summers with his grandparents in Logandale, Nev., where he learned to ride and love horses.
Vern attended Brigham Young Grade School, Farrer Junior High and Brigham Young High School in Provo, Utah, where he excelled in his art classes and playing on the football team.
At age 15, he worked as a camp jack for sheep herders, where he learned the skills of packing horses and mules in the mountains.
In 1947, while attending Brigham Young University, he met and dated LaRene Colson from Swan Valley, Idaho. They were married the following year. They lived in Provo, Utah, then Rapid City, S.D., where their first son, Bill, was born. They moved to Idaho Falls, where their daughter, Christine, was born. They lived in Driggs for a short time before buying acreage near Ucon, where their second son, Kimble, was born.
They developed this property into a quarter horse ranch, where Vern was very successful at developing a special class of quarter horses for racing, arena, showing and trail riding. He began using mules in the mountains and produced videotapes on how to pack horses and mules in the backcountry, which have sold worldwide. He also wrote many articles, which were published in a number of equine magazines over the years.
Vern is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, LaRene Smith of Idaho Falls; sons, William L. "Bill" (Kendra) Smith of Rapid City, S.D., and Kimble C. (Jeannette) Smith of Preston, Idaho; daughter, Christine L. (Levor) Oldham of Spanish Fork, Utah; brother, Joel (Luana) Smith of Socorro, N.M.; sister, Jennie Lin (John) Strong of Provo, Utah; 16 grandchildren; and 42 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a grandson, Andrew Oldham.
The family would especially like to thank Aspen Home Health and Hospice for its kind and loving care to our father.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at the Ucon LDS Homestead Ward, 2967 E. 105th North, with Bishop Ryan Loftus officiating. The family will visit with friends from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Wood Funeral Home, 273 N. Ridge Ave., and from noon to 12:45 p.m. Saturday prior to services at the church. Burial will be in Ucon Cemetery.
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.woodfuneralhome.com.