Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Uncle Buffalo~Celebrating A Life of Significance

Garth's Boyhood Surroundings~ The Grand Tetons
His Idea Of What Heaven Would Be Like!

Today is the anniversary of Uncle Buffalo's birthday. If he hadn't passed away last spring he would be 85 today. Did anyone happen to write down the day of his passing? He was one of the dearest people Dad and I have ever known and he did so much for our family. In fact, I think it is pretty safe to say, he changed the course of our family history forever.

Buffalo Mascot

Of course his real name is Garth...even in Utah, "Buffalo" would be a rather weird name. But all his nieces and nephews called him Uncle Buffalo. Garth never married and was raised at the base of the Grand Tetons in Driggs, Idaho. We visited there a few times and what a beautiful place to live. Garth was a real cowboy. He loved his horses and ranch living was his Utopia.

Not Just A Drug Store Cowboy!

He was also a dentist and that is how I met him. I worked in his office for about a year before Jennifer was born. He was about 48 when we met him. He was quite a character, that guy! He would walk a mile to save 10 cents on a newspaper but he had such a soft heart and was always giving people money to follow their dreams. Unfortunately, those dreams never seemed to materialize in the form of good investments and I think he died with very little but a generous heart.

He Had A Generous Humble Heart

Garth was a brilliant man and taught us enough about the gospel to know it was the answer to our spiritual quest. He just lived his principles and set a perfect example for us. It was evident that through the Church he had something very special. He baptized us in 1978 and attended each baptism for our children and all of their temple marriages. He thought of us as his kids and we thought of him as a dad as well.

Salt Lake Temple~What a Gift

His last years were pretty difficult for him. He lived alone in Las Vegas in a small downtown apartment. He lived near a Casino and for him that was like being a fish out of water. He hated the big city life and talked about buying a ranch until he died. Having been to that paradise in Idaho, I can understand why he always wanted to go back there. It was rather sad and perplexing that he never did go.

2006 Christmas With Jen~His Last
The last time some of us ever saw him.

When he could no longer take care of himself his brother in Utah moved him to Springville. It was amazing and probably not a coincidence that where he lived was less that five miles from Jennifer. She was the person who did the most for him, hands down, during that time. Jen truly was his ministering angel. It was so sweet of her to continually visit him and bring him the things he needed. A big thank you to all of you kids for the wonderful things you did for him all your lives. It was so neat that he spent his last Christmas with us at Jen and Lowell's. His own family was lacking in a lot of the ways to give him love, support and comfort as an old man. In some ways, I feel our family did that best.

It was fun to decorate his room, bring him the chair to rock in and to bring him some nice comfy clothes to wear when he needed them. And oh, how he loved those bananas Jen would bring and most of all he loved visits from her little girls. I remember the tears when we all went at the same time to visit. Besides Aunt Brenda, I don't think anyone else ever spoiled him in his entire life! I know he really appreciated it all.

He is missed and will always be loved as the person who brought the gospel into our lives. He never got to serve a formal mission as during WWII he had to stay home and work on the farm with his Dad. But he was a good missionary his whole life. How do you adequately thank someone for that? I guess you honor them by living your best life and paying it forward. Miss you, Uncle Buffalo! Happy Birthday!

Our Missionary-Garth H. Sorensen


Laura said...

A beautiful tribute, makes me wish I had known him!!!

Miss Jen said...

He died on the 13th or 14th of March I think.
We love you and miss you Buffalo!

Mother!!! You have *got* to stop publishing horrid photos of me!

Bonnie said...

Jennifer! There is no such thing...besides have you seen that beaut on the blog today of me and Barb? Honestly, you look adorable. No bad ones, I promise! Beautiful never looks bad!