Since the age of 8, Jose Mackintosh had talked to friends and family of his fascination with the Russian people and his desire to spend his two years as an LDS missionary in that country.
Monday, friends and family gathered to remember the gregarious young man with the infectious smile who was killed Oct. 17 while living out his dream.Across the street from the ward where the 20-year-old Mackintosh was eulogized, and at the handful of businesses along nearby U.S. 93, hand-lettered signs hung on doors: "Closed 10 a.m.-1 p.m. for Jose's funeral."
Elder Mackintosh was stabbed as he left an apartment building in Ufa, Russia, on Oct. 17. A missionary companion, Bradley Borden, 20, Mesa, Ariz., was also stabbed but survived. A suspect has been arrested.
Becki Mackintosh told the crowd of some 700 mourners that her son had dreamed of being a missionary in Russia since he was 8 years old.
She recounted experiences their son had relayed to the family in the tiny town of Hiko, north of this ranching community. In letters to the family he talked of walking along snowy Russian streets, of being warned to stay inside during a Communist Party protest 10 days before his death, of using the indoor time to make 21 batches of brownies.
And he told of talking with an elderly Russian man who had been in a concentration camp.
"It was a peephole into a different kind of life," the missionary wrote. "It made me glad for what I had."
He said he planned to step up his missionary work because he had "many people to teach."
Jose Mackintosh Sr. sobbed as he said that his son had died doing what he loved, urging that there be "no animosity and no ill feelings whatsoever for the people of Ufa - or Russia. They are our brothers and sisters."
Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve said the Russians were weeping for the loss of Jose.
"Today Jose is everybody's son," he told the parents. "Thank you for letting us all today share something of Jose."
Elder Holland said that Elder Mackintosh's smile was something that everybody remembered.
"This was some remarkable young man," he said. "When life got toughest, that's when he smiled the most. He was majestic."
Elder Mackintosh graduated from Pahranagat Valley High School, where he was an honor student, wrestled and was a member of the football team. He attended Brigham Young University and left for Russia in November 1997.
"He was a sense of joy. Like a sunset," Elder Holland said. "God knows everything about losing a son on a mission," he told the crowd as both men and women dabbed at their eyes. "I'm sorry it is so hard. I'm sorry it is such a loss."
Among those attending Monday's services were Myrna and Dale Borden, the parents of Bradley Borden. Myrna Borden said she wanted to be at the services to show support from her family, and her son would have been there if he had been well enough to do so.
Elder Borden is recuperating in Frankfurt, Germany.
Wesley Wilson, a friend of the family, watched as Elder Mackintosh's parents, his sister and two brothers left the church behind the casket, the sun glinting between gathering storm clouds, a cold wind whipping flowers as they were carried to a waiting van. Among the arrangements was a large bow tie of red and white carnations. Elder Mackintosh had once been chided by church officials for wearing a bow tie rather than a regulation tie.
"Jose was always smiling, a very loving, caring young man," Wilson said sadly.