Dan Workman Obituary (1929-2020) – American Fork, UT
Dan Jay Workman
1929 ~ 2020
The lives of our husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather can be summed up in the promise he made to his beloved Barbara Gibbons in the days leading up to her sealing in the Logan Temple on November 23, 1953. He said, “Bobbi, I may not always know what’s right, but if I do, I’ll do it.” He kept this promise. He taught us to keep ours. He lived with honor and integrity. He loved and served our mother every day of her almost 67 earthly years together until his peaceful death on September 7th, 2020. He was 91 years old. “In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!” (D&C 135: 3).
Papa was born on May 3, 1929 in Vernal, Utah, to William Henry Workman and Jenny Oaks. He played, fished, learned to work hard and ate the great bread his mother had baked with his beloved sisters Lluana, Enid and Emma Jean. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Utah State University. In 1955 he joined the United States Air Force, where he flew the first F86 supersonic fighter for the 456 Fighter Interceptor Squadron. Part of his mission to protect the California coast was to wait for the fall of Sputnik to Earth in 1957. After leaving the Air Force, he began a career teaching in a seminar classroom in Cedar City. Dad chose his jobs according to the opportunities they offered him. After taking his first job looking to buy a house, he called his future boss to say, “You don’t have to tell me what you’re paying me, but could you tell the bank?” He received his PhD in Education from Washington State University. His career led him to direct the LDS religious institutes at the universities of Idaho, Washington State, Utah State, and Utah Valley. In 1970 he was appointed zone administrator for the Church’s educational system, developing CES leaders around the world. But regardless of whether his flight landed somewhere in Scandinavia, South Africa, New Zealand or Tahiti, his first act was always to write a love letter to his “My darling, beautiful Bobbi” home. He has served on many missions – first as a missionary in the Central State Mission, then as mission president in the New Jersey Morristown Mission, and as area director for the Mediterranean and Central Europe areas. He sought to be an instrument of peace in his roles as ordained patriarch, bishop, counselor in the stake presidency, counselor to the president of the mission formation center, and on the Sunday School board of directors and the general Melchizedek Priesthood Committee. Perhaps he loved his temple work most of all. He served as the first counselor of Mount Timpanogos Temple and president of the Vernal Temple. Describing his temple work, he said, “Here the spirit of competition is engulfed in love and cooperation, and here reverence replaces pride. Wealth and worldly fame are overshadowed by peace and the spirit of consecration.”
His most popular roles were husband and father. He leaves his love behind nine children, 49 grandchildren and 72 great children. Psalm 68: 5 says, “I will be a father to the fatherless,” and in that sense he held that place for many more. We find joy in the thought of his reunion with his beloved grandchildren Michael and Gabriel, his great-grandson Maxwell, his daughter-in-law Sheila, and we imagine that he has already had a long-awaited papa-daughter date with his precious first child Laura. He leaves behind his wife Barbara, sister Emma Jean Johnston and children Lynette Butler (Tim), David Workman (Lela), Jeanne Hendrix (Bruce), Russell Workman (Becky), Eric Workman (Shirley), Bobbi Jo Tibbitts (Doug) , Julie Sessions (Travis) and Nanette Stevenson (Jared).
Papa was a silent servant-guide. At home, at work and while playing. Despite spending countless hours in the air, what he enjoyed most was showing a grandson how to pull a trout out of a lake, tear down an old shed with an ax, or eat a bowl of ice cream with three scoops and the cherries from his trees .
And this was his legacy: when Dan touched your shoulder, gave you a soul-warming hug, or put his hands on your head to give a father’s blessing, he was a gateway to God’s personal love. He sought the truth, he found the right thing, and in his last days his words were these: “We are only here for one reason – to create love and bring it into the world.” We will miss your “I love you”, your “I am sure proud of you” and your gentle, generous, infallible example of a perfectly lived life.
The services will be held on Saturday, September 12, 2020 by the management of the Warenski funeral home. For health reasons, the tour and the funeral service are limited to the immediate family, but are streamed and recorded live. The funeral will take place at 11:00 a.m. at the Cedar Hills West Stake Center. The zoom link for the service is https://churchofjesuschrist.zoom.us/j/7198982548 Meeting ID: 719 898 2548
Published by Deseret News on September 10, 2020.