Elder Perry dedicates monument

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve came home to Cache Valley, Utah, on May 25 for a Memorial Day dedication of a new monument that honors the heritage of this small, pioneer community north of Logan.

Elder Perry's first wife, Virginia Lee Perry, who is deceased, was a native of Hyde Park, and her grave here is in the local cemetery. Elder Perry himself was born and raised in Logan.Some 1,200 people gathered for the dedication of the monument - sculpted by prominent LDS artist and town resident Larry C. Winborg - at the Hyde Park Civic Center. Pres. F. Dean Madsen of Hyde Park Utah Stake and Mayor Mark E. Daines were among participants on the program. Elder Perry attended with his present wife, Barbara Dayton Perry.

Elder Perry traced the history of the community and reminisced about his own youth in the stake in Logan that then included Hyde Park. He said the town was named for William Hyde, the first bishop, and for Hyde Park, England, from which the early settlers had journeyed after accepting the gospel.

Of his youth, he remembered driving his mother, a stake Relief Society president, to meetings in Hyde Park, and waiting for her in the car while the Relief Society meetings "went on and on and on."

Elder Perry spoke of John and Hattie Lee as exemplifying the virtues of the town's public spiritedness. "John Lee would never allow anyone to be on the top of the haystack. It had to be a work of art, as he stacked the hay for all the community to see. . . . He was always willing and able to go out and help the neighbor in need. Hattie was such a great cook. Her braided rugs adorned our home for many, many years, until they finally wore out. Every time I had a suit that was a little threadbear, Virginia would say, `Wrap it up and send it to Hattie.' And she would braid us another rug. She used to go out and visit and take care of the sick and take food to those in need."

Though the town has gone from a farming community to a "bedroom community," Elder Perry said, he expressed the hope that the people "keep those great virtues alive that made Hyde Park so unique.

"So today we dedicate a monument in honor of this special place in the valleys of the mountains. We hope it will be a reminder of the virtues of honesty, integrity, hard work, pursuit of education."

Titled "Remember," the monument consists of a bronze bas relief 17 feet long and 41/2 feet tall, which encircles a large, cylindrical pillar 12 feet high. The sculpture is based on a painting by Brother Winborg completed in 1997 commemorating those who contributed to Hyde Park's heritage. It includes images of Native Americans, frontiersmen, pioneers and early settlers of Cache Valley.

The pillar stands inside a small, stone-paved courtyard, built and landscaped as a park-like setting for the monument. Inscriptions beneath the sculpted panels pay tribute to the builders of the heritage and conclude with the words, "May we remember. May we always remember."

The project was first suggested by Pres. Madsen, but became a city project when it caught the imagination of others in the community. Private donations made it unnecessary to use public or Church funds for the monument's construction.

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