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Front Page » September 25, 2007 » Local News » Saying Goodbye, Gone but not forgotten: memorial services...
Published 3,442 days ago

Saying Goodbye, Gone but not forgotten: memorial services for fallen miners

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Friends and family of Manuel Sanchez gather outside after his funeral mass. They have a balloon release in honor of Manny.

Kerry Allred

A memorial service was held on Sept. 13 for trapped miner Kerry Allred, who passed away as a result of the Crandall Canyon mine disaster. Pastor Sam Wilbanks began the service with a reading from John14 1:6 which said trust in God and don't let your heart be troubled. In my Father's mansion there are many rooms, I am going there to prepare a place for you. I will come back and bring you where I am.

Brooks Gordon played a song he had written for Kerry. He said Kerry would sing the song "Mary Lou" and would change the lyrics to match whichever girl he was was singing it for. Brooks thought the name of the song was Becky Lou for his sister Becky. "Kerry always started a new song before he finished the last one. He liked Ricky Nelson. Kerry liked the songs of the 60s and I liked the songs of the 90s. My dad, Kerry and I would write songs we never finished and we never wrote any of them down."

Jesse Gordon said Kerry was a clown. "His nicknames were Inky and Flash; also Flush and Flushee. He even had the nickname Hollywood and he was Hop Sing, once at elk camp, he didn't hunt, but he was the entertainment and did the cooking. I spent many hours at their house playing. He was also a drummer, he would drum on a five gallon drum at work to keep them entertained. One day I came upon him sitting in a lawn chair with a new hat on. I asked him what he was doing and he said, 'I was just sitting here, thinking about how much I look like George Strait with this hat on.' I told him yeah, from the eyebrows up.

"He was a NASCAR fan. One of his favorite jokes, was, 'Want to hear a couple of doosies,' Doosie, Doosie, he would say. He always wore his velcro tennis shoes and he was very proud of his long hair in the back. We will miss you, buddy," said Jesse.

LouJuanna Snow said Kerry was always an entertainer. One day at school he laid a big smacker on her and said, "We're kissin cousins," to everyone around. He was very special. He is now with the cousins in heaven."

Kerry's friend Greg VanWagoner said Kerry hunted every woman in two counties until he met Bessie, Bessie is a wonderful woman. Kerry loves all of us. He was the best friend I ever had. I thank Kerry for the guitar chords he taught me."

Seretia Snow said she is another of the kissin cousins and she remembers Kerry sang from the time he was little.

Aunt Utahna said when Kerry was three he went to a Kiwanas talent night and sang, "Your Cheatin Heart" and won first place. Kerry is in heaven now, singing with grandma and grandpa. "He will be the singingest angel ever."

Uncle Stanley, Kerry's brother-in-law said Kerry and Bessie met while he was working at the trading post. The white man came to the hogan when they got married and they had mutton stew and fry bread. From there on they made a life, they have three wonderful children and grandchildren. He thanked everyone for all the prayers on behalf of the Allred family throughout the tragedy.

Carol Pilling said, "It is important our loved ones know how we feel about them. One day, I told Kerry, 'Kerry I've never met your wife, but she must be a brave person marrying you,' he just laughed. Kerry always thought Bessie had such beautiful hair."

Tifani Marasco, Kerry's daughter said, "Sometimes we are told no in our prayers. It takes a lot of faith. Thank you from our family. One thing I have learned through this experience is compassion and the feeling I have for other people for everyone who has lost someone. I think back to people who have lost someone and I know what you've been through. My father believed in the Lord, but he had his habits, too. He had his squishy packs and man juice. I express appreciation for the men who work in the mine. I am proud to say my Dad was a coal miner. He supported his family. Thanks to the men who were in there trying to get those miners out. I am so sorry that three men were killed. They are heroes. We have a bond with the families. I don't know why these six guys were in there.

"Dad loved attention. This has been some attention, the whole world knew him. Dad hated funerals, it's ironic, he isn't here at his own funeral. He was a neat guy. He didn't have any enemies," said Tifani.

Tifani thanked her husband for being there for the family through the whole ordeal and pulling them along. "He helped a lot, he kept us laughing."

Steve Allred thanked everyone for their support and prayers, "The prayers weren't answered the way we wanted. The family has been going through hell this last 39 days. It's been a roller coaster ride. Thanks for your support and offers of help. Some calls just telling us, you loved us. It has all helped. My brother was very special to me. We always wondered what the V. in Kerry's name meant, but I think it means very funny, very friendly, very helpful, very spontaneous, very lucky and very special. He was always there, just a phone call away. He was that way with a lot of people, helping them with their projects. He was a hard worker that had a lot of friends."

Bessie's niece, Marcella James sang, "Amazing Grace."

The services concluded with remarks from Pastor Wilbanks. He said the first time he met Kerry, Kerry told him, 'You don't look like a preacher to me.' God, brought Kerry into my life for a reason. Why death, why separation? If we didn't have death we wouldn't need God. We need God, we need that relationship with him. God is not far off. He wants to be part of your life. We have no idea, what tomorrow might hold, but we know who holds tomorrow. I will miss Kerry, I will miss his phone calls. He liked to bring people joy. He loved people."

Kerry's son,TyLee Allred said, "My dad is the man who influenced me to pick up a guitar. He wasn't really a good singer, but listening to him, he was interesting and how he sang, made him amazing. He had a unique way of singing. I will miss my friend, my father, my hero. I anticipate the day I will see him again. I will always remember his little sayings of advice. He would always say, 'Do as I say, not as I do.' I will always remember his advice."

Don Erickson

Services were held for Don Lavon Erickson on Sept. 14. He was one of the six miners who died on Aug. 6 in the Crandall Canyon Mine Disaster.

Many friends and family members gathered at the Helper Civic Auditorium to remember Don. Bishop Alan Isaacson conducted the services.

Don was a miner, trucker and worked at Helper Auto. He loved camping, four-wheeling, getting in the mud with his jeep and spending quality time with loved ones

Brandon Erickson, son of Don, remembered his dad. "Dad was a man of few words. If he gave you the look, you knew you were in trouble. At age 16, I got a ticket in Dad's truck and somehow he knew. Dad had a great love for trucks and cars. For many years his best friend was a red and white Bronco. Those two were always in the mud. Dad loved hunting, bowling, boating and camping. Dad and I had a lot of fun racing. Dad was a competitive racer. Dad was always there to keep me on the straight and narrow. When he thought I was headed down the wrong path, he was always there to tell me, 'Son, you're headed down the wrong road.'

"I wish we had one more time, one more camping trip, one more chance on the track. Thanks, Dad for all of your direction. Dad, I will miss you," said Brandon.

Terry Erickson, Don's brother spoke, "I wish I could turn back time and have things different. There are many things our Dad doesn't know we did. Sometimes we would dress in heavy coats and have BB gun wars. We used to play a lot of tricks on each other. One time Don was working on his Mustang and I remember helping him put headers on that car. He always wanted to help out. He was a good friend and a good brother. One day we had an apple fight with the apples from the neighbors apple tree because they weren't home. The next day my Dad had us out there cleaning up all the apples. I always enjoyed the hunting trips with our Dad.

"Don is in good hands now, but I still wish he were here in our hands. I love you, Don," said Terry.

Family friend, Ron Young, thanked Nelda and the family for the opportunity to say a few words about Don. "We worked in the coal mine together. We went riding, hunting, fishing and shared adventures together. I thought about what to say today, and was going to tell some stories, and then I thought, I can't tell that one, it will get either get Don or me in trouble. Don used to drink a cold beverage on special occasions. He could ride a wheeler and never spill a drop. Don loved Ferron Mountain. Whether he was camping at the Swinging Bridge or working in the coal mine, Don was a good man, he loved his wife, he loved his family. He was a good friend and I'm going to miss him. Thank you Don for being such a good friend."

Amanda Romero, daughter, read a poem in tribute of her father. A video was shown with a collection of pictures from Don's life, showing him with family and friends, hunting, fishing and just being with them. Many photos of Don with his grandchildren showed how much he loved them and they loved him.

After the services, the family gathered outside to release balloons in honor of Don.

Brandon Phillips

Services were held for Brandon Phillips on Sept. 15. Brandon is one of the Crandall Canyon miners who lost their lives on Aug. 6.

Dennis Gordon conducted the services held at the Orangeville church. William Langi, a friend of Brandon's recalled their time together. He said he wanted to be Brandon's friend because Brandon was popular and always seemed to get all the girls. Sleepovers at Brandon's were full of fun and freedom and giggles. "We always ate like a king at Brandon's house. A friend is someone you can be yourself with in front of the people you really care about. Brandon was a brother, father, grandson, nephew and a friend. No one teaches you how to lose a friend. Brandon taught us all something, he taught not to leave anything unsaid and to give love when love is needed."

Marvin Garrett, one of Sheila Phillip's uncles spoke next. He said, "Brandon was a great father to Gage. He had an undying love for his family. He loved and respected his sisters. He would jump out and yell, 'Got ya,' at them and the sisters, would yell, 'Mom, Brandon's teasing us again.' Brandon loved his red baby blanket made by a grandma. Brandon and Jamie (Brandon's father) went to Las Vegas to the NASCAR. Brandon loved vacations to Lake Powell and to Otter Creek. Brandon learned to play slapjack, bait a hook, tell fish stories and torment his Mom and sisters. Brandon loved snowboarding. He loved racing. He rode his 4-wheeler in the desert looking for arrowheads. He loved hunting. Brandon loved the Simpsons and told everyone his Grandpa Snow looked like Homer, no one believed him, until they met Grandpa Snow and then they agreed.

"Brandon's favorite time was dinner time. His best day was the day Gage was born. His first car was an '86 Camaro. Brandon spent every second he could with Gage. Brandon was good at sports, he liked to chase girls, he liked the outdoors and to go bird hunting. He will be known for his ability to make friends. The family wishes to thank everyone for their love and support through this trying time," said Garrett.

Family and friends shared their memories of Brandon which included: snowboarding, fighting and then getting picked up for fighting, playing with his yellow dump truck and sliding down the stairs on a blanket.

Gordon likened our lives to being on a train. "Each of us are on the train and we don't know when we will be asked to get off. We will see Brandon again."

A video tribute to Brandon was shown with pictures from his life and scenes from the mine disaster.

Bishop Roger Swenson spoke and said Brandon was a peacemaker, he often brought peace and comfort to those in distress. Bishop Swenson said one thing he has learned from the tragic circumstances he has seen as Bishop is that giving service to others helps heal broken hearts. He has consoled a 15 year old boy at the loss of his father, a wife at the loss of her husband to a drunk driver. "We might want to ask why. But, there is no way to answer that. Asking why causes anger and bitterness and prolongs an aching heart. Service to others will help mend the broken heart. We must be grateful for what we have, grateful for 24 years with Brandon. We must love each other more, care for each other more and say I love you more. As we honor our loved ones who are gone; the heartache won't go away, but it will be soothed if we seek Jesus Christ who will ease pain and bring comfort to the soul."

Allan Sharp said, "Brandon still lives. Our Savior has come to save us all and provided a way for us to be together with our loved ones again."

Elder Moon said, "Celebrating the life of Brandon has brought us together. These memories have brought us together. There is hope in the future. All humans are created in the image of God and have a divine destiny. We came to earth to gain an earthly body. We grow through the experiences we have. The family with the expressions of love that have come to you, makes you unique. You can now feel more for others in their times of troubles."

Elder Moon said there is one who has walked the troubled road before us and knows all our pain and sorrows. "Christ learned by what he suffered. Life is eternal, Brandon lives on, the things we do in this life prepare us to meet our loved ones. God loves each of you," said Elder Moon.

Brandon is the son of Jamie and Sheila Phillips, he was born on June 6, 1983 in Payson. He has two sisters, Camille and Cassandra and leaves behind one son, Gage, age 5.

Manuel Sanchez

A funeral mass for Manuel Sanchez was held on Sept. 15 at noon at the Notre Dame de Lourdes Catholic Church in Price. Manuel is one of the six trapped miners who died in the Crandall Canyon coal mine on Aug. 6.

Manny was born on Nov. 26, 1964 in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Father Don Hope celebrated the funeral mass for Manny. He said, "It is a celebration of the love we have for him and his love for us. It is a time of sorrow and a time of joy. Our hearts are not given to despair. We must remember how Manny touched our lives. At first we hoped the miners would be rescued. Then our hope shifted that we could lay their bodies to rest, then our hope shifted again that we might be reunited with them some day.

"In the gospel of John it relates how when Jesus was crucified, he said to John, 'Behold your mother and to Mary, behold your son. He gave them to each other to care for each other. He gives us that same farewell. Behold your daughters, sisters, mothers, fathers; all embrace each other in hope, trust and faith in Jesus. We will be united in that kingdom. Live out of that hope for each other," said Father Hope.

Manny was 41 years old. He loved and cared for his family. He paid the ultimate price. He gave his family a beautiful home to live in. Manny was an outdoor guy. He loved hunting and fishing. He liked to go to Green River to the beach. He was very close with his brothers. Manny and Marta were married for 23 years. Manny taught during trials and tribulations to take one day at a time.

Manny used to flirt with Marta when she worked in a grocery store. He was strict with his children for the right reasons. It is a shame the grandchildren will never have the chance to meet Manny. Manny was a remarkable, friend, brother and husband and father who was taken too soon. He will stay in our hearts and minds. We will keep moving forward. He will not be left behind.

Manny was the father of Aydaliz, Arturo, Ariana and Apolonia. He had two grandchildren, Cienna Peacock and Ziaden Muntag.

After the mass for Manny, friends and family gathered outside the church for a balloon release in memory of Manny.

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