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Independent Obituaries: May 15, 2024

The following obituaries appeared in the May 15, 2024 edition of the Star Valley Independent.

For more area obituaries, please visit Schwab Mortuary.

For more resources including headstones, please visit the Star Valley Historical Society.


Ed Thomas

Ed Thomas

Max Edward (Ed) Thomas went to meet his Lord and Savior in the evening hours of May 4, 2024 at Morning Star Assisted Living in Idaho Falls with his daughter by his side. Ed was born in Wichita, Kansas to Ethel Jane and Melbourne Thomas on January 23, 1935.  He was 89.

He met his wife Gayle, at a baseball game while in high school. They married in El Reno, Oklahoma on May 29, 1955.  Ed obtained the rank of sergeant in the US Army Radio Corps. While stationed in Germany his wife, Gayle, joined him. One of the joys of their life was born in Germany, their daughter, Terri.  After his tour of duty, he and Gayle returned to Oklahoma, where he graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Accounting. He worked as a public accountant for numerous businesses in Oklahoma for many years. After retiring, they worked  seasonal jobs, one of their favorites was working at the Ramble House in Creede, Colorado for several summers. There, he developed his love of fly fishing.

Later, they moved to Star Valley to be closer to family. Ed and Gayle loved having lunch at the Thayne Senior Center, and developed some very dear friendships.  He initiated the card game of cribbage among friends. Over the last year, they moved to Morning Star Assisted Living in Idaho Falls.

Ed is proceeded in death by his loving wife Gayle, of 68 years. She passed in November of 2023.

He is survived by his daughter, Terri Conger (Bentley), granddaughters Crystal Engen (Garrett) and Candi Hallermann (Justin), and four precious great grandchildren, Hailey and Colby Engen, Lilah and Weston Hallermann. His family  includes two younger surviving brothers, James and David Thomas. We all will miss him and his lighthearted sense of humor.

Funeral services will be May 17 at 1:00 pm. Services to be held at Emmanuel Bible Church in Thayne, Wyoming.


Dee Astle

Dee Astle

Dee Carling Astle passed away on May 9, 2024. He was born November 9, 1933 to Laura Thelma Carling and John Francis Astle Jr. at Grover, Wyoming, the fourth of five children.

Dee was a happy energetic young boy who grew up with a deep love for horses. He could catch and even saddle a horse by the age of four, so that he could ride up to the Grover school and visit his older siblings. He has worked with horses doing farm work, riding for pleasure and trained horses for others. He loved driving the teams of work horses and light horses on sleighs and buggies. He was a good student and did well at school but never had the opportunity to attend college due to lack of family finances and the needs of the older siblings.

Dee married his high school sweet-heart, Gayla Gardner, right out of high school at age nineteen in the Salt Lake Temple. They were the proud parents of one daughter, Carolyn, and four sons: Craig, Kent, Val, and Robert. The early years of marriage were very lean financially, but full of love and family fun. Evening horse back rides after work were instrumental in teaching all five children to love horses. Hard work was the rule of the day. Dee was an extremely hard worker and his example helped teach all of his children to value hard work as well.

Dee worked for Golden Anderson ranching, farming and caring for the stock. During the fall, roundups on Grey’s River were especially enjoyable. Dee was very good at fixing and running farming equipment and ran the large cattle ranch for Golden for many years. Hunting was also a favorite pastime for Dee and Gayla and the family. The fall elk hunt was always greatly anticipated and numerous family stories are told about the adventures during those hunts.

Dee and Gayla loved to dance and taught the Ward and Stake youth many dances in preparation for Stake events. Dee was a devoted husband and father and spent his life in the services of his family. He was a good provider and protector.

He was also a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in bishoprics, elders quorums and high priest group leaderships. Dee and Gayla served a full time historic sites mission in the St George area and served for many years as ordinance workers in the Idaho Falls and the St George Temples.

To make a living and raise a large family in Star Valley required that Dee not only farm and ranch his forty acre homestead but he also worked full time for many years at the Thayne, Wyoming Swiss cheese creamery and then for years as head inspector at an Afton based aircraft manufacturing company.

The ranch never provided much income for the family, but it served to teach all the children how to work. Leaving their beloved Star Vally in 1994, Dee and Gayla moved to their Diamond Valley Ranch near St George, Utah to pursue ostrich ranching. The thirty years spent in Diamond Valley were productive, happy and filled with family and friends. Retirement there was quiet and full of service and contentment. Being a man of integrity, honor and service to others, Dee was loved and appreciated wherever he was. He will be missed by a large extended family and by many friends. At the age of ninety, Dee passed away on May 9, 2024 of natural causes.

He is preceded in death by his parents and four siblings. Thelma Beyeler, Leon Astle, Elmo Astle and Frances Moser and daughter Carolyn Astle Owen (Chuck).

He is survived by his beloved wife and eternal companion, Gayla and by his four sons, Craig (Jan), Kent (Denise), Val (Valerie) and Robert (Teri). He is also survived by nineteen grand-children, fifty-seven great grand-children and one great, great grandchild.

Funeral services will be held on May 25 at 11:00 at his beloved Diamond Valley Ward building. All are invited to come celebrate the life of this remarkable man of righteousness. Visit with family and friends 9:30-10:30. Family prayer at 10:40.


Mary Putnam

Mary Harmon Putnam – Our kind loving mother, wife, daughter, aunt, grandmother, great grandmother, and friend left this world peacefully on April 25, 2024.

Mary was born in Fairview, Wyoming to Esse and Estella Brown Harmon on July 6, 1928. She was number nine of thirteen children.

She married her sweetheart Erlon Searight Putnam on September 24, 1948, in the Logan Utah Temple. Mary and Erlon were blessed with seven children: Mary Beth (Randy) Pace, Karla (Chris) Fillmore, Erlon Charles (Christine) Putnam, Kristine (Kyle) Holdaway, Lynda Ruth (Scott) Tucker, Leron Harmon (Kimberly) Putnam and Beverly Kay (Dave) Putnam. They have thirty-seven grandchildren, ninety-five great grandchildren and ten great-great grandchildren.

Mary was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and filled many different callings such as Young Women President, Compassionate Service Leader, Primary and Sunday School Teacher and Ministering Sister. She truly loved the women she visited while Visiting Teaching with Irene Feulner. Mary and Erlon Served a mission at the Bishops Storehouse supervising the Dry Pack Canning. She was also a member of DUP and liked learning more about her pioneer heritage.

Mary was an excellent cook and was famous for her yellow cake with homemade caramel frosting. She worked at the Granite School District Central Kitchens on the graveyard shift for over 25 years. Her grandchildren loved this because they always knew before school what was on the menu.

After retiring, she brought her mother into her home and cared for her. She also cared for her mother-in-law for some time. This was a great opportunity for her children and grandchildren to develop a deeper relationship with each grandmother.

Mary was selfless – she always worried about others first and took care of her family.  She attended as many extracurricular activities for her grandchildren as possible. She also enjoyed watching her beloved Cougars on TV and rarely missed a football, basketball or volleyball game. Not only did she love her Cougars, she was an avid Jazz fan and loved March Madness, knowing stats for many of her favorite male and female players.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Esse and Estella Harmon, her twelve siblings, her husband, Erlon Putnam, Marynda Fillmore, granddaughter, Randy Pace, son-in-law, her son E. Charles Putnam, her daughter-in-law, Christine Putnam and a grandson David Christensen.

Funeral services will be held Friday, May 17, 2024, at 11:00 am at the Hunter 20th Ward Chapel, 7035 W. Lochness Avenue, West Valley City, UT with a viewing on Thursday, May 16, 2024, from 6-8 pm at McDougal Funeral Home. There will also be a viewing prior to the service from 10:00-10:45 at the chapel.

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