People in the Church


Ann Little Merrill Caine of the Logan Valley Nursing Center Branch, North Logan Utah Green Canyon Stake, recently celebrated her 100th birthday. She was born and reared in Kanab, Utah.Following her mission to the Central States, she met Reynold Cluff Merrill who was superintendent of Kane County schools. They married in the Salt Lake Temple May 6, 1919, and moved to Logan, Utah, where he taught school, and they reared six children. He died Oct. 26, 1942.

Sister Caine returned to college to complete her degree, then worked as a librarian at Utah State University for 20 years before retirement.

On Sept. 3, 1948, she married Lawrence Ballif Caine, who passed away Oct. 19, 1963.


Damond Watkins of the Thirteenth Ward, Salt Lake Central Stake, was elected student body president at the University of Utah for the 1997-98 school year. He follows in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who were active in student government at the university.

As president he will serve on the board of trustees and will be an active voice for 28,000 students.

He served in the Canada Vancouver Mission.

Michael Christensen, 16, of the Ravensburg Branch in the Zurich Switzerland Stake recently participated in the German National Music Competition, "Jugend Musiziert," where he won first prize in a piano-cello duo category, and clarinet solo.

Invitation to participate in the national music competition is extended only to those who have earned a first place in regional and state competitions. This year's competition in Leipzig was Michael's fifth consecutive performance.

All five members of the Christensen family play the clarinet and performed during the 18th annual workshop on Church music in 1996 at BYU.

Marianne McMurdie of the Garland 2nd Ward, Richardson Texas Stake, was ranked among the top 14 high school second sopranos in Texas and invited to participate with the All-state Choir in San Antonio recently. She was also invited to attend the Texas Music Educators Association convention. She served as president of the A Capella Choir, and was a member of the National Honor Society at Naaman Forest High. She also serves as ward music chairman and choir director.

Michelle Salisbury of the Lakeridge 9th Ward, Orem Utah Lakeridge North Stake, presided as governor at the 50th session of Utah Girls State. She was the Sterling Scholar for speech and drama at her high school. She double qualified two consecutive years for the National Debate Tournament in policy debate and extemporaneous speaking.


Jonathan Hopkins, 16, a priest in the Twelfth Ward, Salt Lake Central Stake, won first place in the Utah State History Day Competition senior division historical paper category, and received superior ratings at the National History Day Competition held in June at the University of Maryland for his essay: "The Triumphs and Tragedies of a Revolutionary War Veteran and POW Jabez Lathrope Winship."

Three members of the Church in San Benito High School in Hollister, Calif., graduated at the top of their class of 385 graduates. Ryan Camacho, who was one of 10 selected statewide as a scholar-athlete, delivered the valedictory address. Melanie Welch and Melissa Barrett graduated second and third in their class.

Each has been a leader in Church, community and athletic endeavors. Ryan excelled in water polo, was an Eagle Scout and musician. Melanie performed in many ballets. Melissa was a standout in soccer.


Dr. LaRae D. Carter of the Claremont 1st Ward, La Verne California Stake, recently received the BRAVO Award for excellence in teaching the arts. The award was presented at the 15th Annual Ceremony conducted by The Music Center of Los Angeles County.

Sister Carter was named teacher of the year for Los Angeles County in 1996. She currently serves as stake Relief Society president.

Elizabeth Kammerer of the Laie 6th Ward, Laie Hawaii Stake, has been named the 1997 Teacher of the Year in Hawaii. She teaches choir in the Kahuku High and Intermediate schools.

She and her husband, David, reside in Laie with their five children. She is ward choir director and a teacher in the Sunday School.

Richard W. Linford, a Salt Lake businessman, community leader and Church worker, has been elected to the executive board of the National Conference, formerly the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

He is chief executive officer of InteliQuest Learning Systems. Previously, he was vice president of Bonneville International Corp. for 10 years, and director of operations for the Church Public Affairs Department.

He was recently released as a member of the East Mill Creek North Stake presidency.

David Baxter, president of the Ipswich England Stake, was appointed director of the Information Society Initiative, a key component in the United Kingdom Government's Department of Trade and Industry.

Pres. Baxter's responsibilities include advising government ministers on policies and activities supporting the development of the information society.

Jerry M. Okabe of the Oakgrove 1st Ward, Walnut Creek California Stake, received the 1997 Angelo R. Venezian Award. The award recognizes extraordinary contributions and service to the field of business-to-business circulation in magazine publishing.

Brother Okabe is vice president of circulation at Miller Freeman, Inc. in San Francisco. He serves as a high councilor.

Dr. J. Brent Hiskey, professor at the University of Arizona and a counselor in the bishopric of the University 4th Ward in the Tucson Arizona East Stake, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Brother Hiskey was elected for his research in copper and precious metal hydrometallurgy, and for advancing this technology into practice. He is one of 85 engineers named to the academy in 1997.


Alida G. Purves of the University 2nd Ward, Seattle Washington North Stake, was coxswain for the University of Washington women's varsity crew, which won the university's first-ever NCAA National Women's Rowing Championship in Sacramento, Calif. The crew finished five seconds ahead of the second-place University of Massachusetts.

She is from Vienna, Va., and plans to serve a mission in the fall.

Robbie Pratt, a priest in the El Paso 5th Ward, El Paso Texas Mt. Franklin Stake, competed for Mexico and received the only gold medal awarded to the country during the Pan American Junior Track & Field Championships held in Havana, Cuba, in July by clearing 16-feet 5-inches in the pole vault.

Cedic Colby of the Irving 2nd Ward, Dallas Texas Stake, is one of the first recipients of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award. The award is based on wrestling, scholastic achievement and citizenship. He won two consecutive state wrestling championships and was a two-time district medalist in cross country.

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