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Obituary: Larry “Dean” Officer

Larry “Dean” Officer. (Courtesy)

Larry “Dean” Officer. (Courtesy)

Larry “Dean” Officer, 83, passed away peacefully at home with his family on July 22, 2020. Dean was born March 2nd, 1937 in Livingston, Montana to Larry J. and Gloria Officer and has one sister, Sharon Elaine Sichi. After multiple proposals, Dean married Ella Mae Hebnes in September of 1958, with whom he had five children and was married for 62 years.

He is survived by his wife Ella and four of their children, Linda, John, Cynthia and Freida as well as 16 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild. He was preceded in death by his parents and his daughter Deanna (August 2, 1967-April 14, 2014).

Dean spent his childhood in Great Falls, Montana, as well as in Fairbanks, Alaska. He attended high school in Phoenix and spent much of his life working farms and ranches in Arizona and Montana. Dean was a man of many talents and was a competent hand at most tasks. He took great interest in how all jobs were done and the way things worked, never missing an opportunity to talk shop and learn something new from a fellow tradesman. Dean especially enjoyed sharing his passions, toils, and learning with his family. When he wasn’t working the land and animals, he worked road construction, was a tractor mechanic, welder, propane delivery man, and manager at American Sandstone in Chino Valley.

In his senior year of high school, Dean became a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He narrowly missed the draft when he turned 18, but nevertheless had a strong belief in public service that he lived out through his life and involvement with the church. Over the years Dean has held many positions within the church, including Scout leader, Young Men’s leader, Sunday School teacher, Elder’s Quorum president, and Counselor in the Bishopric. Dean and Ella have been part of the Chino Valley Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for 39 years. Together they have done a great deal of service including an eighteen month work mission on a dairy farm in Elberta, Utah where Dean put his welding skills to work building milking barns as the church consolidated four dairies into one.

After returning home from their mission Dean needed something to do. The opportunity to help at the Chino Valley Cooper Ag Farm for the high school came up and he jumped on it. The late Jeremy Plumb, then Casey Farnsworth relied on Dean’s many years of experience for advice on how things should be done at the farm. For these men it was not work. They loved their time on the farm talking about cows and making hay, turning their dreams into reality and giving students valuable hands on learning experience in the process. There were many hours on the tractors, driving to look at cows for sale, checking on lambs and irrigation water at night. Sometimes they would park under the shade tree and watch the grass grow. Dean worked until the work got done, and if it didn’t get done, well there’s always tomorrow.

Dean was always an avid reader of western history, cowboy novels and scripture. Dean loved to travel and camp, and he took special joy in the time he spent out in the country. He liked to have large family reunion camping trips each year, urging as many family members as possible to get together out in the beautiful lands he so cherished. He and Ella belonged to a camping group and took their camp trailer on many outings, taking it slow and choosing the scenic routes over the fast-paced freeways. When Dean and Ella bought a pickup to pull the travel trailer, they had a custom dash cover embroidered with the words “At Last.”

Dean will be laid to rest on Wednesday July 29th, 2020, at 12:30 p.m., at the Chino Valley cemetery. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Chino Valley Funeral Home. Please visit www.heritagemortuary.com to sign Dean’s online guestbook.

Information provided by survivors.

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