LaRay "Alex" Alexander
LaRay “Alex” Alexander, 94 was called home to be reunited with loved ones and to serve his Heavenly Father on June 19, 2007 in Blanding, Utah.
Funeral Services were held June 23, 2007 in the Blanding LDS North Chapel. He was buried in the Blanding City Cemetery.
A special project he undertook as Mayor was beautification of the cemetery. LaRay served as chairman of the Blanding Cemetery District for 41 years. LaRay started the flag display at the cemetery on Memorial Day, honoring those who had served in the military and are buried there.
LaRay was born July 20, 1912 in Spanish Fork, Utah to David William Patten Alexander and Nancy Caroline Holt. He is the tenth of 13 children. He grew up in a little four-room farmhouse. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. degree, where he also played football.
LaRay came to Blanding in 1938 to teach and coach at San Juan High School. He was the first college-trained basketball and track coach and physical education teacher.
He was an active and dedicated member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served faithfully in the ward and stake.
He was Bishop of the Blanding Second Ward and as Bishop also oversaw the Mexican Hat Branch.
He was the associate librarian for the first Monticello Stake Genealogy Library. His wife Doris helped him in this capacity, where they served for ten years. This helped to prepare them for the Family History Missions they served later in Salt Lake City and also Seattle, Washington.
He married Beverly Perkins on August 9, 1939 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Karen (Jim) Slavens and Beverly Pamela (Sam) Schurig were born to this union. When Pam was born, Beverly passed away.
He married Doris Mae Adams June 7, 1961, in the Manti LDS Temple. They became the parents of Mary Margaret (John) North, and sons David Melvin (Tina Zorad) and Jon Payton (Nicholle Auston).
He is preceded in death by his parents, 11 brothers and sisters. He is survived by his wife Doris Mae Adams, 16 grandchildren, 37 great grandchildren, and five great great-grandchildren. Of the 13 children, his sister Leona Stratton is the only one still living. She resides at the nursing home in Blanding.
He started San Juan High School’s first track team that participated in all events, and the first wrestling program.
He joined the American Red Cross, and served with the United States Army in North Africa and Italy.
He and Beverly built the first theater, The San Juan Theater.
While the principal of San Juan High School, he started the community birthday calendar, built the old softball field with cement seating, planted the trees and shrubs around the school, got bleachers for the gym, risers for the stage for chorus and band activities, an electric score board and a large sign to put in front of the building to advertise school events.
As Mayor, he had electricity brought to Blanding and the old light building was remodeled to become the city office building. He promoted an organization known as the Blanding Sewer Company to develop a sewer collection and disposal system for the business area.
Then while Mayor, the sewer system was enlarged to include the entire community. He oiled the streets in Blanding, upgraded and improved the airport, which was a dirt strip with no services. He paved the landing strip, built a building with restrooms, office and a tie-down area. He promoted fencing the water shed on the mountain for Blanding City’s water, the Blanding City jail, the Blanding Swimming pool.
He had the first flying school for pilots in the Blanding area after he received his pilot’s license. Fred Halliday was his partner. They had charter flights, carrying passengers for hire.
In addition, he was San Juan Credit Union chairman, spearheaded the effort to bring FHA Loans to Blanding and was a partner with Macy Hawkins in the first laundrymat.
He coached a Blanding town basketball team and then coached the M Men, playing as the Grayson Ward. This LDS Church team played in the All-Church tournament for six years.
The highlight was winning the championship in 1954 of the 1,200 teams participating in the All-Church Tournament.
He developed the Walter C. Lyman Park, including the golf course, covered pavilion, restrooms, sprinkling system and electricity and had a well drilled so that there would be water for the golf course if needed.
He was involved with the swimming Pool, served as President of the Senior Citizens, two years as program director and sat on the State Senior Citizens Advisory Council.
He organized the annual Men’s Invitational and Family Genealogical basketball tournament, constructed a log building adjacent to the North Chapel in Blanding, was a member of the county Drug and Alcohol Committee, Blanding Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, San Juan County Senior Citizen of the year and received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the College of Eastern Utah.
Our husband, Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa, Great Great Grandpa we love you and are proud of you.
There are so many who helped him realize his dreams and he could not have done it without your help. You were always there when he needed your support.