Lavon Carroll passed away December 24, 2013. She was 92 years old. Born in Alpine, Utah on November 3, 1921, it was there she spent her most impressionable years in the decades between the two world wars during the time of the Great Depression. At an early age Lavon found refuge in school and books. She wrote poems, stories and articles for her school newspaper.
She graduated from American Fork High School in 1939 with a great desire to go on to college but her family’s financial situation forced her to work at the JC Penny store in American Fork to help them. She rented a small apartment there and after her electric hot plate failed one day she met the man she would marry who came to fix it. Darrel Carroll was a handsome single man with a good job at Utah Power & Light Co. They were married on Oct. 1, 1940.
They moved to Salt Lake City where in November of 1941 they had a daughter, Bonnie. Dell was still working for Utah Power but shortly after moving to Salt Lake he changed jobs to work with a new company called IBM. The company moved the family to Ogden in early 1943 where they would spend the rest of their lives. Their son Glen was born in September of 1946 and the family settled into the years following WWII.
While raising the young family Lavon rediscovered her interest in learning. She would take the children to the Carnegie Library where she would read for hours. Unknowingly she had begun the process that would shape the rest of her life. Among her many talents was dressmaking and to earn extra money she began teaching sewing at a sewing machine store in Ogden. One of her students told her that she was a great teacher and she should consider it as a career.
After the long postponement of her college career she was able to start at Weber College in 1955; she was 36 years old. She graduated with an AA in 1958 as valedictorian of her class. Majoring in English literature she moved on to Utah State University and graduated with a BS in 1961 and an MS in 1963. In 1962 she was offered a teaching position at her old college Weber State. She continued her pursuit of higher education with post graduate work at the University of Utah where she graduated with a Ph.D in 1972.
Her love of learning did not end with earning her Ph.D. She continued her post- doctoral work with additional studies at Oxford University , England, University College in Dublin Ireland, University of Edinborough, Scotland and the ISI Institute at Claremont College in California.
Her skills as a teacher were legendary and she received many awards for her excellence including: The Presidential Distinguished Professor Award, the Aldous Dixon Memorial Award, Recognition of Excellence by the Associated Women Students at Weber State, Women of the Year in Humanities, YCC Outstanding Educator in America 1975 and in 1996 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Weber State University.
She was a member of the Utah State Poetry Society , The League of Utah Writers and the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. She received many awards for her poetry including Poet of the Year 1982. She wrote several books of poetry and a novel.
She traveled widely in the US, Canada, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, England and Scotland.
She retired from teaching at Weber State college in 1986, but her legacy is lasting and profound. She left behind admiring colleagues and inspired students. Her philosophy of teaching is best summed up in her own words: “A master teacher is one who makes an extra contribution to the community, both the college community and the community at large. I think it is important, especially in our own community to extend our talents and abilities to the surrounding area not only for the support that it brings to the college but because it should help create a better atmosphere in which we can teach more effectively.”
Lavon lived her philosophy by contributing to her students, her colleagues, and her community. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
A memorial is planned for mid summer of this year. Please contact her son Glen at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
As per Lavon’s wishes Leavitt’s Mortuary will be taking care of her cremation.