Rex Dee Pinegar
1931 - 2021
Holladay, UT—Our dearest father, Rex Dee Pinegar, passed away at his residence in Holladay, Utah, on June 24, 2021, a few days after enjoying a wonderful Father's Day with numerous members of his family and sharing his love, kind words and delightful humor. Rex was born on September 18, 1931, to John F. and Grace Ellis Pinegar, in Orem, Utah, just minutes before his twin brother, Max. They were the youngest of 10 children. The family moved shortly afterward to Spanish Fork, Utah. Rex enjoyed a full and active life. He worked in sugar beet fields, fruit orchards at a local dairy, and construction, sang in youth choirs, was an active boy scout, excelled in wrestling and football, performed in theatrical productions, participated in Boys' State and school government. As a young boy he suffered serious burns and was blinded by fireworks in an accidental explosion – an experience that taught him faith and humility and rooted his belief in God and the power of prayer. He was blessed with a full and miraculous recovery without scarring from the burns or other injuries.
After high school, Rex enlisted in the armed services, following in the footsteps of his older brothers. He served in the US Navy from 1950-1954 in the Korean conflict. During his naval service he experienced the highs of boxing for his ship's boxing team, and the lows of being hospitalized with scarlet fever and confined to a wheelchair for several months. His aircraft carrier, USS Bairoko, was part of the flotilla that participated in Operation Castle and the testing of the hydrogen bomb in the Bikini and Eniwetok Atolls. His lungs were permanently scarred by radiation exposure from the test. As a result of his service and the service and sacrifices of his brothers, Rex always had a very soft spot in his heart for all veterans.
After his discharge from the service, Rex enrolled at BYU and was elected Freshman class president. He married Bonnie Lee Crabb, the "little neighbor girl" from Spanish Fork, who was "all grown up" and whom he would love and cherish for the rest of his life. They were sealed for eternity in the Salt Lake City Temple on January 24, 1955. After graduating from BYU with a Bachelor of Arts in 1957, Rex moved the family, which now included two children, son Kevin and daughter Lisa, to California to complete a masters' degree in special education at San Francisco State College and a doctorate in education at the University of Southern California. During this time, he and Bonnie welcomed two more daughters, Suzanne and Shelley, into their family. In 1965, Rex joined the faculty of BYU's College of Education, teaching special education and other courses. He later became chair of the college's Department of Educational Psychology. Another daughter, Kristen, was born during the family's time in Provo. Rex also was called to serve on the Sunday School General Board for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In 1971, as he was preparing his first sabbatical year, Rex was called to preside over the North Carolina-Virginia Mission, headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia. While serving in this capacity, in October 1972, Rex was called by President Harold B. Lee to serve as a member of the First Council of Seventy. He served in both positions simultaneously until his release in 1974 as a mission president. The family settled in Salt Lake City and eventually welcomed the addition of their fifth daughter, Amy, to complete their family. Rex's full time church service included many assignments and took him to many parts of the country and the world, often accompanied by his beloved Bonnie. In 1998, Rex and Bonnie moved to Tokyo, Japan, where Rex spent three years as a member of the Asia North Area Presidency. After receiving emeritus status in 2002, he and Bonnie served as president and matron of the Mount Timpanogos Temple until 2005, after which they served for five years as Temple Missionary Trainers.
Rex was humble, patient, happy to listen, and ready to help anyone in any way at any time. He was gentle, yet strong. He was the consummate teacher, well read, creative, and artistic. His sense of humor was quick and dry and he used it often to make difficult or hard situations less so, more for others than for himself. Never one to draw attention to himself, Rex was all about 'the one', the other person. No one was beneath him or unworthy of his time and attention. His children never heard him say a negative or critical word about anyone, ever. His children and grandchildren cherished his storytelling, his singing, his love for reading books to them, teaching them the joys of yardwork – and work in general – and gathering around him as he shared his incredible experiences with them, often with tears in his eyes. They loved watching him interact with his twin brother and thrilled with his many life-lesson stories from his childhood. He was proud of his heritage and family roots. His greatest loves were the Lord and his family. He devoted everything to them. He expressed gratitude for even the smallest acts of kindness toward him. He radiated charity and warmth up through the final days and minutes of his life. All who were a part of his life in any way would share with his children the special feelings they felt around him and had for him.
Rex was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2010. As with all other serious challenges in his life, he met this last fight with humility, patience, humor and determination. He never complained. Rex was an extraordinary man and will leave a tremendous hole in the lives of all who knew him. His family expresses deep appreciation to his many neighbors and colleagues for all their years of friendship. He had many friends and was a friend to many. The family also thanks the tireless and loving caregivers at The Ridge at Cottonwood, where he resided during the last year of his life.
Rex was predeceased by his beloved Bonnie, wife of 66 years. He is survived by his older brother, Lynn (Mary) Pinegar; his six children, Kevin (Susan) Pinegar, Lisa (Erven) Nelson, Suzanne (Kenneth, deceased) Wadsworth, Shelley (Michael) Peterson, Kristen (Eric) King, and Amy (Nathan) Robinson, as well as 30 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren.
A public viewing will be held on Friday, July 16th from 6:00-8:00 pm, at the Larkin Mortuary, 260 E. South Temple in Salt Lake City. Services will be held Saturday, July 17th, 1:00 pm, in the Mt. Olympus LDS Stake Center located at 4176 S. Adonis Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to the General Missionary Fund of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at https://philanthropies.churchofjesuschrist.org/missionary.html
Online condolences and the ZOOM link for the funeral service can be located at www.larkincares.com
Published by The Salt Lake Tribune from Jul. 6 to Jul. 15, 2021.