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1927 Robert 2024

Robert Lee Ezell

May 30, 1927 — April 13, 2024

Bob was born in Caldwell, Idaho on 30 May 1927 to William Guy Ezell and Cecil May Ashcraft.  His father was a veteran of World War One, serving in the cavalry. Bob knew little about his father, as his parents were divorced when he was about three and his father disappeared from his life.   

Bob’s mother had worked for the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company before her marriage, starting as an operator in St. Anthony, Idaho, and promoted to Chief Operator in Blackfoot, Idaho, where she met Guy.  Shortly after her divorce, the telephone company re-employed her as the manager of their office in Ashton, Idaho. She was living during the great depression, and she was fortunate to get this job.  Cecil and her infant son moved to Ashton in 1931, where they lived in an apartment adjacent to the telephone office.

Bob was age 12 when World War II commenced in 1939, and he grew up in a wartime environment.  Most of the able-bodied men were drafted into military service, and youth were called up immediately after graduating from High School.   Consequently, during his high school years, he worked after school and in the summers on jobs normally done by men.   Bob drove trucks delivering gasoline to farmers, dump trucks hauling sand and gravel, an oil tanker between Ashton and Billings, Montana, and flatbed trucks hauling hay, potatoes, and cement.   When he was 17 and a half, in January 1945, he quit high school and joined the Navy.  The Navy introduced Bob to the rigors of military life at the Naval Training Center in San Diego, California.  His patriarchal blessing stated that he would receive promotions and freedoms that he would not otherwise receive if he was obedient, and this promise was fulfilled.  After boot camp, he attended Fire Control School (Aiming and shooting the big guns on ships).  When the Navy sent out a bulletin asking for applicants for officer’s training Bob applied.   He commented in his journal, “I had applied for officer training while in Boot Camp, but apparently, nothing came of this.  However, during the last week of Fire Control School and officer rushed into the class and said, ‘Ezell, what are you doing here, you are supposed to be in Oregon!’  Apparently, The Navy had accepted Bob into a new Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) just organized at Oregon State College, in Corvallis, Oregon.  I was due there yesterday.  The next day I was in a university registration line.  I grew up in a family with little money, was raised in a remote Idaho community, and College had appeared beyond my reach.  Now the Navy was sending me and paying all the costs.    Our Naval unit, commanded by a full Captain, took over one of the college dormitories and operated under strict Navy discipline.  We wore cadet uniforms, marched back and forth to meals and other events, took Naval Science courses, but attended other regular college classes with the civilian students.” 

Germany surrendered in May 1945, but the war with Japan continued, finally ending in September 1945.  The Navy cadets had a choice: remain in the NROTC Program, be commissioned as an Ensign, then serve for two years on sea duty; or be immediately discharged.  Bob elected to leave the Navy and was discharged in June 1946 at the end of his freshman year at Oregon State College.

He returned to Oregon State College the fall of 1946 as a civilian with the G. I. Bill of Rights helping pay his expenses.   While at Oregon State he was called as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in the Eastern Canadian Mission from June 1947 to June 1949.  After his mission, he transferred to Utah State University in Logan, Utah, where he received a BS and an MS in Structural Geology in 1953.  He worked summers for the U.S. Forest Service operating dump trucks, motor graders, and bulldozers.

His journal states, “I noticed this attractive blond, blue-eyed girl at dances, but she was always with someone else.  However, I was finally able to meet her and interest developed into friendship and more.  Alice Marie Young and I were sealed in the Logan Temple on 25 June 1952.”  Alice graduated from Utah State with a degree in home economics and taught at Bear River High School in Tremonton starting in 1951.  Both Alice and Bob were active in the L. D. S. Institute program at Utah State.  Bob taught Sunday School classes, and then became president of the Institute Sunday School.”

Bob joined the Army ROTC at Utah State and received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Army Ordnance Corps.  He states in his journal, “The Army paid me each month for this, and I needed the money.  The world continued to be extremely unsettled, the Cold War was in full swing, and war again appeared imminent.  I preferred to be an officer if another war broke out.  Unfortunately, it did!  I was called to active duty as a Second Lieutenant in the Korean War.  Immediately upon graduation in July 1953, I was sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland to attend the Ordinance Officers Training Course.  Alice and I packed our things and drove to Maryland in our old Kaiser car.  I expected to be sent to Korea when I finished the Ordinance officer training course, but again my patriarchal blessing concerning military service took effect, and I was one of only six out of 100 graduating officers not to go overseas.  The Army assigned Bob as a training officer at the Proving Grounds.  Our first child, Claire Ann Ezell was born 26 January 1954 in the Army Hospital.  Neither of us knew anything about babies and our parents were too far away to help, but Claire survived the parent training process.”

The war ended while Bob and Alice were still at Aberdeen Proving Grounds.  Bob was discharged, as a first Lieutenant, 10 April 1955.  He was employed as a geologist by Gulf Oil Corporation, working as a field geologist in Utah and Colorado.  Their second child, Susan Ezell, died at birth in Craig, Colorado.  Alice almost died also.  Gulf suddenly closed their entire Rocky Mountain exploration effort in 1957.  They fired everyone.  This caused great consternation for Bob and Alice; they did not know what to do.  Just a week later Bob was called in and told that he was one of a few select people Gulf would offer a transfer to Texas, or if he did not want Texas, to Venezuela.  Bob and Alice decided at this point that Gulf management was insane, and Bob accepted another offer from Socony Mobil Oil Company to work as a geophysicist in Venezuela.  

Bob, Alice, and Claire left Salt Lake City for Caracas, Venezuela, in a blinding snowstorm in early January 1957.  The trip took 14 hours in a propeller airliner.  They landed in the tropics, just 7 degrees north of the equator, prepared for a new and different life.  There was a small group of about 20 LDS members in Caracas, where they lived for about a year and a half.  The LDS Church did not proselyte in Venezuela at his time.  The Venezuelan people overthrew the dictator while they were in Caracas.  Bob was transferred to Anaco in Eastern Venezuela in June 1958, and Mobil changed his assignment from geophysics to oilfield development geology. After a time, he became the Development Geology Supervisor for Eastern Venezuela.  Two children were born to them in Anaco: Steven John Ezell in 1958; and Carolyn Lee Ezell in 1961.  Carolyn’s birth was again difficult for Alice, and she was to have no more children. 

The Ezell family lived in Venezuela until April 1964.  Venezuela nationalized the oil companies, and Bob remained a year after this, training his Venezuelan replacement.  Bob refused a transfer to Libya, and after some negotiation, Mobil transferred Bob to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  

In Oklahoma City, Bob worked developing drilling prospects and as a geologist on drilling wells.  Refusing Libya had caused a major career setback, but Oklahoma offered a better environment for the children.  The family was in Oklahoma almost nine years, during which time his work changed from developing drilling prospects to regional geologic studies.  Bob held several positions in the LDS Church in Oklahoma, Stake Young Men’s President, Stake High Council, and then in October 1968, the Bishop of the Oklahoma City Third Ward.  Later he became the Second and then First Councilor in the Oklahoma Stake Presidency.  Alice, also busy in the Primary and Young Women’s programs.  She returned to school at Central State University, Edmond, Oklahoma, and received her MS degree in Elementary Education.  Alice taught grade school at the school their children attended, located just a short distance from their home.   

1972 was an especially bad year for the Ezell family.  Alice almost lost her ability to walk, experiencing paralysis in both legs.  Steve, age 14, came down with scoliosis, severe curvature of the spine, and had a major operation that included the insertion of three metal rods to straighten his spine.  Alice developed breast cancer, requiring a radical mastectomy.   

Bob was transferred to Denver, Colorado, in 1973, and assigned to do west coast and marine Pacific Ocean regional geology.  The family settled in Littleton, Colorado and enjoyed the nearby mountains.  They bought two snowmobiles for winter excursions.  Bob worked with the young men in the church, first as a Venturer Post Advisor, and then, as the Ward Young Men’s president.  Alice was the Stake Junior Sunday School Coordinator among other callings.  Their two older children graduated from BYU during this time.

Bob accepted a position as an Exploration Supervisor for the South Central North Sea, headquartered in London, England, in 1977.   At the time they left for London their older daughter, Claire, was in the MBA program at BYU, and their son Steven, a student at BYU, was leaving for a mission for the LDS Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Their younger daughter, Carolyn, accompanied them to London and finished her last two years of high school at the American School of London.   Bob stepped into the busy life of energy exploration in the North Sea.  Bob worked in London for four years, becoming the assistant to the Exploration Manager.  Bob, Alice, and Carolyn particularly enjoyed living in England.  Their apartment was close to downtown London, and within walking distance to Carolyn’s school.  They enjoyed attended plays operas, and other events, and traveled extensively throughout England and Europe.  Bob worked as a High Councilor in the London Stake and was called as the bishop of the Hyde Park Ward.  Being the American bishop of an English Ward was a unique experience for Bob.  The English people accepted the Ezell family with open arms.  Claire, Carolyn, and Steve were all married in the Temple while Bob and Alice were living in London.

Bob was offered a promotion to Chief Geologist in Mobil’s Houston, Texas Division in 1981.  Bob and Alice bought a home in Kingwood, Texas, north of Houston.  About six months after their arrival there was a major stake reorganization, creating a new Kingwood Texas Stake out of parts of three adjacent stakes.  Bob, new in the area, was called as the Stake President of the newly created Kingwood Texas Stake by Elder Haight.  The new stake started from scratch with no building and absolutely no organization.  While the new Stake Building was under construction, they had to rent office space in a nearby strip mall.

In 1986 the entire energy industry went into a major depression with many offices closing and a significant number of people losing their jobs.  The oil and gas industry within the United States almost ground to a halt.  Mobil’s Texas office was stripped to almost nothing, and Bob’s job disappeared.  Mobil transferred Bob to Stavanger, Norway, another promotion, becoming an Exploration Team Leader responsible for developing drilling prospects for a major portion of the Norwegian North Sea offshore for Mobil.  

The Church released Bob as the stake president, and Alice and Bob packed up for yet another overseas move.  While in Norway they traveled extensively throughout the Scandinavian area, and Europe.  Bob told about being on the island of Svalbard, north of the Arctic Circle, on the longest day of the year and watching the sun describe a small circle in the sky, never setting.  His final position in Norway was the coordinator of Mobil’s exploration program with the Norwegian Oil Company and the other major energy Companies in which Mobil was in partnership.  The exploration blocks issued by the Norwegian Government were each about five by seven miles in size, too big, too expensive, and too risky for an individual company to operate.  The government required many miles of geophysical exploration done from specialized seismic boats, and the drilling a series of deep offshore wells, done from large offshore oil rigs.  Obtaining an exploration block was a multi-million-dollar commitment, requiring partners to spread the risk.  Partner negotiation was often long and involved. 

Bob retired from Mobil in mid-year 1987, after which he and Alice traveled for several months, taking the opportunity to tour extensively behind the just slightly opened “Iron Curtain” throughout Eastern Europe.  They returned to the States and bought a construction lot in Farmington, Utah, near their married daughters, Claire and Carolyn.  They were called to serve as proselyting and activation missionaries in the Connecticut Hartford Mission, working primarily in the Gloversville, New York, area, which included the Adirondack State Park.  They designed their home on their P-Days, which they had built on their return.

Since retiring and serving a church mission, they have continued to travel extensively in this beautiful world.  Bob lived over 16 years outside the United States.  He and Alice enjoyed square and round dancing over the years, from the time they first met in Logan, Utah.  Bob has continued to work in both ward and stake family history and other callings.   Bob and Alice served over five years as ordinance workers in the Bountiful Temple.  He has recently written 2 books, “The Ezell Family”  and “Young and Stock Family History,” outlining the direct ancestors of his children, and gave copies to his family on his 90th birthday.  Bob served over three and one half  years in the military and loved his country.   He has loved and supported his extended family.  Bob’s life was centered on the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They were married almost 63 years before Alice passed on to the next life in 2015, and they are now “Together Forever.”  He supported Alice during the ten years she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.  Alice could function satisfactorily through the earlier years, but the last three were tough for her.   They both firmly believed in the existence of God and of His Son, Jesus Christ.  There was no doubt in their minds concerning the restoration of God’s Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

Alice and Bob had four children, one deceased, 16 grandchildren, and 36 great-grandchildren.  Steve Ezell and his wife, Sharon Attinger, live in Orange Country, California.  Claire Ezell Mellor and her husband, Bob Mellor, live in Kaysville, UT.  Carolyn Ezell Furner and her husband, Blair Furner, live in Farmington, UT. 

We would like to thank the staff at Legacy House of Park Lane in Farmington for their love and excellent service. We would also like to thank Cascade Springs Hospice for their wonderful care. 

A viewing and funeral will be held Friday, April 19th at the Russon Mortuary, 1941 North Main St., Farmington, Utah.  The viewing will be from 9:45-10:45 AM and the funeral services will be at 11 AM.  Interment will take place at Lakeview Memorial Cemetery in Bountiful.


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Service Schedule

Past Services

Viewing

Friday, April 19, 2024

9:45 - 10:45 am (Mountain time)

Russon Mortuary & Crematory - Farmington

1941 N. Main St., Farmington, UT 84025

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Funeral Service

Friday, April 19, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Russon Mortuary & Crematory - Farmington

1941 N. Main St., Farmington, UT 84025

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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