People in the Church


Eva May Butler Israelsen of the North Logan 2nd Ward, North Logan Utah Green Canyon Stake, celebrated her 103rd birthday recently. She was born Oct. 5, 1894, in Butlerville in Salt Lake County, Utah. She was eldest of six children and is the only survivor of four brothers and one sister. She married Victor E. Israelsen in the Salt Lake Temple on Nov. 7, 1917. He died Jan. 10, 1967.

Education has been her lifelong endeavor. Her education started in a three-room school house. She attended Jordan High School in Sandy, Utah, studied two years at Utah Agricultural College in Logan, and then enrolled in as many LDS institute classes as family life permitted.

Eva Malone insists on holding a current temple recommend even though at 103 years old, she is unable to attend the temple. She was born Oct. 30, 1894, in Ava, Ill. She and her brother joined the Church in 1953 in St. Louis. She is a member of the Belleville Ward, O'Fallon Illinois Stake.

Orvel Cramer of the Palo Alto 1st Ward, Menlo Park California Stake, celebrated his 100th birthday recently. He was born Oct. 19, 1897, the youngest of five sons. He followed his father in the floral business, and remembers as a young boy carrying large boxes of flowers on the streetcar in Salt Lake City from his father's greenhouses to other florists.

He married Nellie Jensen in 1924, who died in 1979. They had two daughters.

Ward C. Roberts of the Bennion Care Center Branch, Bennion Utah East Stake, celebrated his 100th birthday Oct. 31. He was born in 1897 in Beaver, Utah. He met his future wife, Gladys Christiansen, when he was 12 years old while helping his father deliver hay and salt. He later enlisted in the Navy during World War I where he was stationed in the North Sea. Two weeks after he returned from serving in the Navy, they married in Richfield on Dec. 23, 1919, and were sealed two years later in the St. George Temple.

Their seven children were born in their home in Beaver. The family moved to Salt Lake City during the early 1940s where he owned appliance stores, and later, sold real estate and built homes. His wife died Aug. 24, 1983.


Mary Kay Kirkland was named Utah's 1997 National Distinguished Principal. She is principal of the Alice C. Harris Intermediate School in Tremonton, Utah, and was among 60 principals nationally to earn the title. The honor is given by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

She instructs the teacher development course in the Garland 4th Ward, Garland Utah Stake, and, she and her husband, are parents of three children.

Michael D. Smith received the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Outstanding Educator Award for 1997. The award is presented by the National PTA to one educator each year. He teaches art at West Lake Junior High in West Valley City, Utah. He serves as high priest group leader in the Glenmoor 3rd Ward, South Jordan Utah West Stake.

Dale P. Bateman was selected as national runner-up in the 1997 National Farm Spokesman of the Year program. He was awarded the College of Agriculture Distinguished Service Award for 1997. He is involved in many civic and business enterprises and has served as stake president and counselor to the president of the Micronesia Guam Mission. He is currently a patriarch in the South Jordan Utah River Stake, and lives in the Jordan River 5th Ward.

Dorothy Andre of the Mint Canyon Ward, Santa Clarita California Stake, received an Emmy tech award for her work as hairdresser on the special television musical, "Mrs. Santa Claus." The musical aired during the 1996 Christmas season. Her primary responsibilities were styling and arranging hair of a few of the principal actors, including Angela Lansbury. This was her second Emmy award.

Robert Toomer was elected president of the Washington (state) School Food Service Association during its annual conference. He is a field assistant in the Food Services Department of the Tacoma School District and is second counselor in the bishopric of the Sunset Ward, Tacoma Washington South Stake.

Jeffrey W. Shields of the Live Oak Canyon Ward, Santa Margarita California Stake, was recently recognized during the California State Bar Convention for his distinguished service to the State Bar's International Law Section. He was the 1996-97 chairman of the section, and previously served as vice chairman, treasurer and a member of the executive committee. He is the principal of his law firm and currently serves as stake executive secretary.

Richard C. Bennion was named Realtor of the Year by the Utah Association of Realtors. The award recognizes achievement in business, ethics and community service efforts. He is a past president of the Salt Lake Board of Realtors and of the Utah Association of Realtors. He is serving as bishop of the University 3rd Ward, Salt Lake University 1st Stake.

Jonathan H. Gardner, second counselor in the Vail Ward bishopric, Tucson Arizona Rincon Stake, was selected after a national search by the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States to receive the 1997 Ray E. Brown Award for his achievements in health-care management. The award is the highest federal executive award.


Yuri Kurashov, president of the Vladivostok Branch in eastern Russia, recently received three medals for his years of service as director of the local coal company. The awards were presented as part of the 175th anniversary of the unification of the coal workers in Russia.

Pres. Kurashov was called as president of the branch in February 1997. He joined the Church in May 1996. His daughter and wife were baptized later in the year.

Alex James Jarvis of the Jacksonville 3rd Ward, Wilmington North Carolina Stake, was named the national winner in the Crayola Crayons Dream Makers Student Art Competition. Alex is a 3rd grader at Arendell Parrott Academy in Kingston, N.C., and son of Norman and Tia Nowitzky.

Rollin Hotchkiss, an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, received the James M. Robbins Excellence in Teaching Award. He was selected from a nationwide search and honored by Chi Epsilon, a civil engineering student honorary society. He was nominated by his students who noted "his love and enthusiasm for his job." He and his wife are parents of four children. They reside in the Lincoln 4th Ward, Lincoln Nebraska Stake.

Diana Wright, head cook at the Meridan Elementary School in Meridian, Calif., was recently recognized for directing one of the healthiest school lunch programs in California. Meridan was one of three districts that received the Team Nutrition Achievement Award that recognizes school lunch programs that are based on high fruit and vegetable consumption and limited fat.

Sister Wright is Young Women president in the Yuba City 3rd Ward, Yuba City California Stake. She and her husband, John, are parents of three children.


Steven Mendoza was awarded the Idaho Autobody Craftsman Association Scholarship. He is the first automotive technician to earn the award in 19 years. He is the gospel principles teacher in the Boise State University 8th Ward, Boise State University Stake.


Leon Bergant recently won the Bicycle Racing National Championship of Slovenia in Nova Gorica. He now plans to set his racing career aside to fill a mission. He currently serves as a teacher in the Ljubljana Slovenia Branch Sunday School, of the Austria Vienna South Mission.

Stanley McShinsky, 15, of the Draper 4th Ward, Draper Utah Stake, was one of 10 youth selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee to attend the Snowlet Games in Nagano, Japan, during the 1998 Olympics in February. He will join 300 others from around the world for the camp.

During his 16-day stay, he will make a presentation of his culture, attend Olympic events and stay in a Japanese home for several days. Stan is an honor student, Eagle Scout and a member of the United States Luge Association. He was selected as the first youth to slide down the luge/bobsled track at Park City, Utah, which was built for the 2002 Winter Games to be hosted in Salt Lake City.

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