Lyman Nielson Redd (94) would like to let you know that his work here is done.
On Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 12:15 a.m., he received a call, the kind you can’t refuse, for an assignment from which he will not be returning. His assignment comes with a huge signing bonus: a reunion with family and friends whom he has not seen in a long time, an intensifying of love indescribable, and immediate relief from mortal pain.
He wants you to know that, “I am as happy and giddy as a little kid at Christmas,” and “this is better than I ever imagined.”
Lyman Nielson Redd was born to John Wiley Redd and Lydia Nielson Redd, in the front room of their Blanding home on a leap day, February 29, 1924 (yes, in 94 years, he’s had only 23 birthdays).
He made his exit from this existence on Halloween, October 31, 2018, in Highland, UT.
Lyman is preceded in death by his parents, his son Kelly, brother Preston “Pep” Redd, sisters Ida Mar Markham and Louisa Lyman, and his wife LaVae.
He is survived by his brothers Robert and George Redd, and children Jerry, Michael, Bruce, Rebecca, and Beverly.
His life began before the days of indoor plumbing, running water, and central heating systems. By the time his life ended, men had walked on the moon and cell phones were common household commodities – even for a 94-year-old.
Lyman kept the cell phone Mike gave him close to his heart. It was ALWAYS in the upper left pocket of his shirt – even on the night he died.
How he loved that phone! It was both his best friend and his nemesis, as he would fidget with it for hours trying to figure out which button to press with those thin feeble fingers.
This phone was his connection to that which mattered most in his life: family and friends.
And he used it a lot – sometimes on purpose, but often accidentally. Many of us received “butt calls” at odd and early hours of the morning!
Grandpa Lyman served
in the Army Infantry from Aug. 12, 1943 until Feb. 19, 1946 in France and Germany. He was in Europe after Pearl Harbor but during the Invasion at Normandy, the Atomic Bomb in Japan, Hitler’s suicide, and the treaty ending World War II.
In all these international experiences, he never once flew in a plane. His first experience in the air was the Emergency Helicopter Life-Flight from Blue Mountain Hospital to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center – at the age of 94.
Typical of his humorous wit he recalls, “It was kind of loud...and really rough...I didn’t have much of a view...and they didn’t serve refreshments!”
After returning home to Blanding from the military, Lyman spent a couple years in Kansas helping Uncle Pep with the sheep.
During his time off, he began hanging out quite consistently at Parley Redd Mercantile, not to work, but to whittle on a piece of wood...and to flirt...and to buy a little hard candy...and flirt a little more with a young, attractive employee named LaVae Wright.
She must have been taken by his soft personality and that handsome, heart-warming smile because she accepted his proposal on top of San Juan Hill, in a black Chevrolet car.
They were married shortly after in the Manti Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on May 8, 1951.
Working as a sheep and cattle rancher, feed yard manager, lumber yard manager, New York Life Insurance Salesman, and with the Utah Navajo Development Council, led Lyman, LaVae, and their growing family from Parker, AZ to Holtville and El Centro, CA, then eventually in 1968, back to Blanding.
Because of experiences like the death of their second son Kelly – who was born prematurely and only lived a few hours after an auto accident involving LaVae – and persistent financial pressures, their life was laced with adversity.
But Lyman and LaVae were patient in their hardships, and from these challenges, they learned many important lessons – lessons that could have never been captured in any other circumstance.
One of these lessons: the importance of prayer. They learned that living life WITH God is much better than living life WITHOUT Him.
No member of his family ever left, after visiting their home, without hearing the gentle invitation, “Could we have a prayer?”
This was true of every single night during his last three excruciating months from hospital to hospice. His last night in mortality included a soft, whispered invitation, “could we have a prayer?” Perhaps there is a lesson for all of us in this.
Although a direct descendent of Lemuel Hardison Redd AND Jens Nielson, of the widely publicized and documented Hole in the Rock expedition, Lyman Nielson Redd has not had much written about him.
He was extremely quiet. He was soft spoken. He avoided anything involving too much praise, large crowds, and loud noises.
He was much like his two favorite furry friends: a little one-eyed Chihuahua named “Spec” and a faithful lab named “Bella.” The Fourth of July Firework Celebrations were NOT their favorite events!
However, very much like his genetic predecessors, Grandpa Redd was completely committed to God, and careful in keeping his covenants.
His commitment to God is only matched by his commitment to, and relationship with, his family and friends.
What could be written about him is this profound metaphoric motto: “relationships matter – both vertically and horizontally.”
An amazing 14-year Stake Mission to his Native American brothers and sisters exemplifies his commitment to covenants. They loved him dearly. He loved them.
The depth of his relationships with every one of his children and grandchildren, is manifest by how consistently they visited, ministered, loved, and served him, as well as the great sacrifices many of them made for his well-being, health, happiness, safety, and financial security.
One of the nurses, noticing this devotion, said, “Lyman must be a wonderful man because there sure seems to be a lot of people who love him.”
Lyman’s second son, Michael Redd, described Grandpa Redd most succinctly, “He is an easy man to love.”
We will remember his mild yet magnetic personality – completely absent of anger – his commitment to covenants, his humorous wit, and that handsome, heart-warming smile.
No buildings were named after him. No monuments were erected in his honor.
He left behind very few material possessions.
However, far greater and more lasting than any possessions is this truth about Grandpa Redd’s quiet life: he knew, he loved, and he smiled with six children, 21 grandchildren, 49 great-grandchildren, and many dear friends from all walks of life.
Additionally, he is respected and deeply loved by everyone who knew him.
Does anything matter more than the tender quality of those loving relationships? How much more blessed can a person be?
So, in the end, remember...be patient in adversity...be careful in keeping covenants...and trust God’s plan for our eternal happiness (not just temporal).
Oh, and never stop smiling!
A viewing will be held Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 at San Juan Mortuary from 9:30-11 a.m. A graveside celebration will begin at noon at the Blanding City Cemetery.
The family would like to invite ALL to join them in Lyman’s “Celebration of Life,” in the South Chapel Cultural Hall, following the graveside service.