Larkin Mortuary

Ferron Allred Olson

07/02/1921 - 10/14/2017

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Ferron Allred Olson, 96, passed away peacefully at home on October 14, 2017, incident to age. This obituary is in his words. Ferron was born in Tooele, Utah on July 2, 1921, to John Ernest Olson and Harriet Cynthia Allred Olson. He grew up in Vernon, Tooele County, Utah. World War II took him to the Pacific theater where he served as an Army Signal Corps Radio Specialist. He met Donna Lee Jefferies during military training at the Hollywood Canteen where she served as a junior hostess. She stole his heart and they married in the Salt Lake Temple on February 1, 1944. Married for 68 years, she stood faithfully by his side as Ferron moved through life as a soldier, farmer, carpenter, college student, chemist, and professor.

Ferron graduated from the University of Utah with a B.S. in Chemistry in 1953 and a Ph.D. in Fuel Technology in 1956. After five years at Shell Development Company in California he returned to his alma mater and his true love of teaching. At the University of Utah he served as chairman of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering for eight years and Director of the Utah Mining and Minerals Research Institute for eleven years. In 1974-75 he served as a Fulbright-Hayes Professor in Yugoslavia, returning briefly five years later as a Fulbright-Hayes Distinguished Professor. He retired — reluctantly — two days shy of his seventy-fifth birthday. He dearly loved the challenging but rewarding life of a professor.

His greatest joy in life was his wonderful wife Donna and their amazing family of faithful children: Kandace Kae (Keith) Prisbrey, Randall J (Ruth), Paul Ferron (Jill, deceased, then Camille),  Jeffery Ernest, (Julie), Richard John (Marilyn), 23 grandchildren and 51 great-grandchildren. Ferron loved being out of doors with family, back-packing, cross country skiing and hunting. In his later years, he turned to writing biographies, a novel and short stories mostly based on family. He and Donna enjoyed travel through all 50 states and many parts of the world, but mostly loved spending time at the mountain cabin Ferron designed and built himself.

Ferron was active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all of his life, serving in many capacities starting at age 18 as the assistant scoutmaster in the Vernon Ward troop. Following World War II he was Teacher’s advisor, Explorer leader, Sunday School teacher, Senior Aaronic advisor, branch president of Stadium Village branch, Elders’ Quorum president, Berkeley Stake Sunday School board member, Berkeley Student Ward bishopric member, Grandview II ward bishop, Scoutmaster, high councilor, group leader of the Olson Group (Yugoslavia) in the International Mission, Young Men’s president, first bishop of the Bonneville II ward, proselytizing missionary with his dear wife in the Florida Tallahassee mission, ward mission leader, High Priests’ instructor, and volunteer with Donna at the Salt Lake Veterans’ Hospital for ten years. He began service as a ward teacher — later home teacher — at age 14, a priesthood assignment he loved.

He was blessed to have several spiritual manifestations in his long life. From these he knew without a doubt the power of priesthood blessings, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s true church, that the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price are true and that God hears and answers fervent prayers. He had a strong testimony that Jesus is the Son of God and that Joseph Smith was his true prophet, as is President Monson today. He testified that no sacrifice we can make for this true church is too great if faithful members can receive exaltation in God’s Celestial kingdom. To this end he dedicated his life.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, October 21, 2017, at 11:00 a.m., at the Bonneville Stake Center, 1535 Bonneview Drive, Salt Lake City.  Friends may call Friday, October 20, 2017, from 6:00 to 7:45 p.m. at Larkin Mortuary Downtown, 260 E South Temple, Salt Lake City, and prior to the funeral from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. at the Bonneville Stake Center.  Interment will be at the Vernon, Utah cemetery.

As his children, we wish to thank Dad for his attentive, gentle care of Mom in her waning years. In this as in so many things, he was exemplary. We also thank his aides and the members of the Yalecrest First Ward for their loving care over many years. 

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  • Was sorry to hear of Ferron’s passing. Always enjoyed his chats when we talked on the telephone and the books that he wrote. He helped me to identify some of the old photos Merrill and I put on Family Search. Couldn’t have done it without him. Only four of the “old” generation left now. . Sorry to say, it won’t be long now until family generations will be separated and cousins will be lost to each other. Would have liked to attend his funeral but not always possible when you don’t drive any more.
    My thoughts, prayers and tears are with you all. Love, Ann

    — Ann Nielsen Shields