Norman Dell “Dell” Decker passed away on June 3, 2023, in Clearfield, Utah, due to injuries from a fall that broke his hip. He was born to Carlyle Hammond and Mildred Bird Decker on October 24, 1949, the oldest of four children. He attended elementary and junior high school in Seattle, Washington, and graduated from Viewmont High School, Bountiful, Utah, in 1968. Dell was, always and to the end, a remarkably gentle and respectful man, yet a fierce supporter and defender of his loved ones.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Cindy Nickell Decker, and their daughter, Brooke Decker. He is survived by his wife, Beverly Layne Decker, who he married July 30, 1992 in the Salt Lake Temple; his son, Joshua “Josh” Decker, and Beverly’s son, Matthew Clift. Grandchildren, Brian Smith, Gabi (Aaron) Quick. Great-grandchildren, Breilynn Quick, Taytum Quick, Holt Quick. Brothers and sister, Lyle (Marie) Decker, Laura Decker, Don Alan (Debbie) Decker, and many nieces, nephews, in-laws, and friends.
Dell did not like funerals and will not be attending his. By his request, there will not be a funeral. There will be a viewing for all who wish to remember him at the Russon Brothers Mortuary, 295 North Main Street, Bountiful, Utah, on Saturday, June 10, 2023 from 5 p.m. to7 p.m. If you have a favorite memory of Dell, please share it with us in person, or on the Russon Brothers Guestbook, found below, so we can preserve these precious memories for the family. His ashes will be interred at a private memorial on a future date.
The Art of Life
Dell, aka “The Gentle Giant,” “Uncle Big-Foot,” “Big D,” “Teacher Dell,” Pa, Papa and Grandpa, was known for his signature wry sense of humor that peppered his conversations and lightened even the darkest times.
He had wanted to be a Forest Ranger, and attended Utah State University, so he could work in the world of nature he so greatly loved. But that was not to be. So, with the quiet heart of an artist, he translated his love of nature and people into numerous works of art, drawings that displayed as much his love for the subjects as they did his skill. A sampling of his beautifully detailed art is included with this obituary.
He worked for many years at Beacon Metals and Robert I Merrill Company. Many hospitals, government offices, commercial buildings, churches and schools throughout the intermountain west and beyond carry the silent imprint of his attention to fine detail. He translated architectural blueprints into final drawings for contractors, specifying to the smallest detail the manual and automated building and fire-security systems for doors and entryways… a complicated job known simply enough as a “Detailer.” Doubtless you have been and will be benefitted and protected as you walk through the doorways he designed. It would be a pattern for how he lived much of his life, quietly serving in the background to benefit and protect others for generations.
His most cherished occupation was as a teacher in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He enjoyed teaching the Elders and High Priests Quorum classes, but found his greatest love when called to teach the 5 year-olds in Primary. Dell loved the little children with all of his heart, and devoted himself to their service. He felt that little children have wonderfully free and independent minds, and so, among children was where he could make a real difference. And he did. With characteristic devotion to detail, he spent hours and days in preparation for each lesson, creating involving and engaging experiences, to draw out smiles, fill them with laughter, lift their vision and bless their lives. They learned from him because they loved him, and they loved him because he so loved them. With his big, but child-like heart, this gentle giant met them at their level, and lifted them toward the divine, setting little feet on the path of faith in Jesus Christ, and little hands and hearts in the course of service… not just that they should, but how they would go and do. As near as we can calculate, he taught generations of 5 year-olds for at least 20 years.
The Future of His Art
Dell disliked yardwork, and he suffered when he did it, but he was honored three times with the “Most Beautiful Yard” award by Woods Cross City for the beauty he had created by his careful attention to detail. His artistic drawings will be appreciated for years to come. His architectural drawings have become safe and operational buildings that will continue to provide for and protect thousands for many years.
But his greatest art is carried in the hearts of his family and in the lives of the many children he taught in Primary, who are now adults with families of their own. His life was spent to benefit and protect others, and he did it until his last mortal breath.
The final words of Dell’s obituary are his own. They will have special meaning to all his Primary children. If his life touched yours in any way, they are for you, too.
“The secret is out! Teacher Dell STILL loves you!”