Two missionaries die in separate incidents

Both sister missionaries were enthusiastically engaged in their service

Ohio Cleveland Mission

Elder Randall Deschamps and Sister Karen Deschamps were "living their dream" as Kirtland Historic Sites missionaries in the Ohio Cleveland Mission, according to their stake president, when a May 13 auto accident claimed her life and put him in the hospital with critical injuries.

"Both of them are people with incredible integrity and who weren't happy unless they were serving," said President Marshall R. Topham of the St. George Utah Little Valley Stake, where the Deschamps were members of the Quail Valley Ward when they left on their mission last Oct. 15.

Though his knowledge of the accident details was sketchy, President Topham said he knew the couple were passengers in a car driven by another missionary couple who escaped serious injury. He said Sister Deschamps, 60, was pronounced dead at the hospital and her husband, 63, was initially listed in critical condition.

The family — which includes a son who lives in Arkansas, two married daughters in Las Vegas, Nev., and a daughter in the St. George area — was summoned immediately on the assumption that their father might not survive the night, President Topham said. "But he did survive the night, and, in fact, after surgery, was stabilized, and they have upgraded his condition from critical to stable," added President Topham, speaking at the time of the Church News dealine on May 14.

He said the couple moved to St. George in 2000 for business purposes. Prior to that, they raised their family in Orem, Utah, where Elder Deschamps had been a bishop and, for more than 30 years, was a land planner involved in dozens of successful master-planned communities.

"Karen was a stake Relief Society president for the St. George Utah College 2nd Stake," President Topham said. "I had the opportunity to serve with her as a member of the stake presidency at the time, and she was an absolutely wonderful teacher, a wonderful role model for the young women who attended there; they loved her."

England Birmingham Mission

A sister missionary serving in England died May 10 while exercising.

Sister Lindsey Spjute, 23, of Farmington, Utah, was jogging with her companion when she collapsed and died. An autopsy could not determine the cause of death, according to LDS Public Affairs.

She was assigned to the England Birmingham Mission.

Daughter of Mark and LuAnn Spjute, she is being remembered for her love of her mission, her companions and the people of England. "She never worked harder in her life, nor loved people more than when she was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ," according to an obituary released by Sister Spjute's family.

Sister Spjute was a member of the Farmington 2nd Ward, Farmington Utah South Stake.

"Anyone that met Lindsey came away with the impression that this woman had a depth of character uncharacteristic of someone her age," said Farmington Utah South Stake President Richard McKenna.

England Birmingham Mission President Richard W. Moffat called Sister Spjute "the perfect missionary," according to President McKenna.

An honors graduate of Utah's Viewmont High School, Sister Spjute attended BYU-Idaho and Utah State University prior to her mission. She paid for college by working several jobs, including the grounds crew at Temple Square.

"Wherever Lindsey went, fun was sure to follow," read her obituary. "Where a normal day would be viewed by some as boring and mundane, Lindsey never had a boring day in her entire life."

Funeral services are pending.

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