Our dad, Derral Frank Mecham, was born on June 28, 1919 in Altona, Utah, the eldest of five children, on a farm where his father William Lynn Mecham was working. The family moved to Salina when dad was about three, traveling through Price and the Uinta Basin in a wagon pulled by two horses. They cooked on an open camp fire and slept under the wagon at night.
Our father went to Snow College where he was elected Student Body President and competed in debate tournaments at the national level. While at college dad and two other boys lived in a room in the attic of the Beal family home, where he met our mother, Mona Beal. He left college to join the Civilian Conservation Corp and was sent to Zion National Park and to Bryce National Park. Dad helped to build trails throughout the parks. Many of these trails are still used today. Dad was later moved to a desk job where he was made the Assistant Educational Advisor.Our father knew that it was only a matter of time until the U.S. would be drawn into World War II and decided to leave the CCC and join the Army. Dad was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington, when Peal Harbor was bombed. While at Fort Lewis, dad met a soldier that would get up early every morning and then would march up and down the parade ground over and over again. That soldier was Dwight Eisenhower. On March 30, 1942, while still in Washington, dad married our mother Mona.
In Sept. 1942 dad was made a 2nd Lt. and trained soldiers all over the U.S. While on maneuvers in Kentucky, dad decided to apply to the Army Air Corp and was accepted. The Air Corp sent dad to Kansas, New Mexico, and Texas for his training. Dad was trained in advanced aerial gunnery and went to bombardier/navigator school. Dad then went to Boston, Mass., where he traveled to Glasgow, Scotland on one of the world's most famous ships, the Ile de France. Then dad went to England where he spent the rest of his time. Dad served as a bombardier on a B-17 with the 8th Air Force 3rd Air Division. After V-E Day dad traveled to Wales, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland and then to Idaho to await his transfer to the Pacific Theater of Operations. The Air Corp awarded dad with 3 Bronze Stars, an Air Medal and an Oak Leaf Cluster. During this time, his daughter Patricia was born.
After the war, dad went to BYU, where he earned his Master's Degree in Geology. Dad went to work for the Ohio Oil Co., which later became Marathon Oil in 1948. Dad went on to become a nationally renowned geologist. During this time his daughter Kathryne was born. The family lived on the Oraibi Indian Reservation with the Hopi Indians and dad worked with both Hopi and Navajo Indians. Dad played a key role in developing the oil fields in that area.
Dad's job took him all over the United States and while he was in Casper, Wyo., his son William was born.
Our dad retired in 1979 and spent his time working around the house and spending time with his seven grandchildren. Dad enjoyed riding his bike and taking long walks.
Derral passed away on August 20, 1998. Derral is survived by his sister, Lois; children, Patty and Bill; and seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
In appreciation for the many qualities that make you so special in the hearts of our family and friends.
For sharing yourself with us in so many ways-as bountiful provider, problem solver, protector, handyman, helping hand, guiding light and source of loving care, wisdom and trust.
For the times you listened so patiently, support so steadfastly, understood so readily without words.
For your dedicated efforts to make our home a welcome place, to live and grow.
And especially just for being yourself and inviting us to be ourselves. Fathers are forever, and I'm so glad you were ours.
A viewing will be held at 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and Services at 12 noon at Wasatch Lawn
Mortuary, 3401 So. Highland Drive, on Tuesday, August 25, 1998.
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