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Front Page » September 6, 2011 » Emery County News » Ferron chooses grand marshals and honored citizen for Pea...
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Ferron chooses grand marshals and honored citizen for Peach Days celebration


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Ronda Hickam

Ronda Hickam has been named the Honored Citizen of the Ferron Peach Days celebration. She has lived in Ferron since 1977. She has family from Orangeville, but she was born in Southern California and grew up in Santa Monica.

Hickam is proud to belong to the Daughters of the Utah pioneers and is active in the Ferron DUP chapter. Hickam's late husband was in World War II and she is active in the American Legion Auxiliary.

Hickam said, "I have liked being involved in city government and attending council meetings. I remarried in 2002 after my first husband passed away. I have driven the ambulance in Ferron and was on the fire department for seven and a half years. I have been involved with the Peach Days parade as an organizer and an announcer for 23 years. I have loved it. I love being busy. I love working with people. Over the years I have been involved in fund raisers and helping with the Peach Days dinner each year. I have been disabled for 30 years. I had back surgery years ago and I had another back surgery again in June. Since then I haven't been getting around much. I had one child that passed away and I helped raise four stepchildren. My husband has a daughter in North Carolina, one in West Valley and a son in Duchesne County.

"The Ferron people are my family. When I first came to Ferron, I wasn't a member of the LDS church, but I was baptized about four years later. I sold Avon for many years. I met a lot of people doing that.

"When the word gets out in Ferron that someone is ill, then everyone jumps in and helps out. Ferron is the best place to live. When I first moved here we lived in Price before moving over to Ferron. I thought this place was really remote, but I adjusted. Everyone is wonderful. My husband and I spent a week in St. George and we liked it there, it's warmer and easier for us to breathe, but when I came home I thought, 'I just couldn't live anywhere else.'

"Peach Days has been like a baby to me and I've loved seeing the celebration be successful.

"My first husband was Bill Cozad and we were married 23 years. He worked at the power plant. We worked in campgrounds as camp hosts and traveled around for seven years before he died. Bill used to deliver my Avon when I was sick. My son went to school here, but then he went back to California.

"My second husband is Jerry Hickam. He was a widower and I was a widow when we got married in 2002. Jerry is very supportive of everything I do.

"Bill wanted to ride in the Peach Days parade one year and so we borrowed a horse and he was in the parade. That was a dream of his.

"Jo and Lou Sansevero will announce the parade this year, so I can ride on a float. They will do a good job. I have helped with the Castle Valley Pageant too, with the DUP activities. Jerry and I served a 16 month mission where we answered phones and emails and helped out with family history.

"I really don't feel like I've done enough to be an honored citizen," said Hickam.

Ronda Hickam will ride in the parade along with the grand marshals Philip Nelson and Martha Coley.

Martha Coley

Martha Coley has lived in Ferron for 36 years. When she first moved to Ferron, she and her husband owned a peach orchard. It was successful and produced many, many bushels of enormous, sweet peaches. After a move to Las Vegas and the loss of her husband she returned to Ferron and purchased her current home. She has lived in her home on "Coley Corner" (affectionately named by her grandkids) for 34 years.

She was born in 1921 on a ranch near Ely, Nev. She is the baby in her family of 10 siblings. She learned at an early age to have courage, work hard and to serve others. She has spent the rest of her life doing just that. She and her late husband, Donald, lived in Las Vegas for years and Martha worked at the Tropicana Hotel for many years sewing elaborate costumes and dressing the show girls for their nightly performances. She and Donald had three children, Donnie, Jacklyn, and Michael. Donnie was born prematurely and was not expected to live. The doctors obviously didn't know who they were up against, because Martha has taken care of Donnie for 73 years and has given him a wonderful life despite his disabilities.

Martha has been a member of the American Legion Auxiliary for 36 years and until her recent bout of breast cancer had not missed a meeting in all those years. Martha has distributed poppies, been in the color guard at parades, participated in funeral ceremonies and baked many cookies for bake sells and to send in care packages for soldiers. She is most known for her perfect angel food cakes. She has made countless hamburgers over the years for Peach Days. It was because of her dedicated service in this auxiliary and in taking care of Donnie that she was named "Woman of the Year" in the state of Utah for 2007. She is also a member of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.

Martha never complains in adversity and always has cheerful and encouraging words to share with others. Because of her great example, Ferron City is honored to name her as a Grand Marshal to Peach Days.

> Philip C. Nelson

A life-long resident of Ferron, Philip Clair Nelson was born Feb. 24, 1924 in Ferron, Utah, the eighth of 10 children born to Guy and Eunice Madsen Nelson. His childhood was filled with wonderful years where he formed many special relationships with school and neighborhood peers. Although of Danish ancestry, he was affectionately refered to as Swede by family and friends, a nickname that even followed him to his days in the armed services. In high school, Philip excelled in all sports and was especially well known for his accomplishments in track and field on the state level. He also served as studentbody president.

After high school, he honorably served his country during World War II as a member of the Seabees branch of the United States Armed Services. During this time, he was a D8 Cat operator, where he was instrumental in the construction of several air fields in the Pacific Theater. He participated in three major invasions during the Pacific Campaign. He has remained faithful to the military by participating with other local veterans in local celebrations and military rites at funerals. After the war ended he returned to Ferron and married Doris Jean Nelson and attended Brigham Young University. At BYU he was a star hurdler on the track team, culminating in winning the Skyline Conference High Hurdle Championship.

After college Philip returnded to Ferron where he began a 35 year teaching a coaching career at South Emery High School and later at San Rafael Junior High School. He was an outstanding teacher and coach and is fondly remembered by many of his former students and athletes. He is invited on a regular basis to attend class reunions of former students.

Philip has enjoyed farming and is especially pleased to have raised many fine Arabian horses. As an avid BYU fan, he has loyally supported BYU athletics and has traveled extensively both in and out of state to follow the Cougars. He also has a great love and appreciation for the local high school and junior high school sports programs.

Philip served as bishop in the LDS church, and he and his wife, Doris, immensely enjoyed their callings as ordinance workers in the Manti LDS Temple.

Philip and the late Doris Jean are the parents of three sons, Dean (LaRita), Ferron; Scott, Hesperia, Calif.; Ted (Debbi), San Pedro, Calif. They have 14 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren. Philip dearly loves Ferron and Emery County and the wonderful people who live here.

"As a life long resident of Ferron, Philip has been a great example to many and a friend to all. Because of this, Ferron City is honored to name him as a Grand Marshal to Peach Days."

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September 6, 2011
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