Born in California in 1940, David Jacobsen Bennion spent most of his growing up and adult years in Palo Alto and his summers on Balboa Island. Though a mighty man in both body and spirit, David had the gentlest of hearts. He would first want to tell his wife, Connie, that he adores her beyond measure and thank her for giving him such a beautiful life.
Living with Dad meant hearing classical music in the wee hours of the morning, eating his homemade breakfasts, kneeling in family prayer, studying scriptures together, being chauffeured and made to feel the job was a great privilege, being read to, discovering love notes to Mom he’d stashed about the house, and seeing his eyes sparkle as he lovingly teased his wife or landed on a clever pun. He worked with us on our goals—whether it was his son’s basketball, tennis with a daughter at 5 am, or building blocks with a toddler. He’d say, “Let’s make a memory,” or “Connie, let’s make plans,” and adventures were sure to follow (perhaps within the hour)—it might be fishing with grandkids, a one-on-one bike ride, or piling into the car to go beaching, skiing, or hiking. He was not democratic—he’d call for family votes, but we all knew he’d declare Mom’s vote the winner. His deep base sang us to sleep—songs like Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Sixteen Tons, I Walk the Line, Amazing Grace, or Down in the Valley.
David earned his law degree at Stanford and was a highly successful trial attorney. A highlight of his career was working alongside some of the country’s top legal minds as a National Trustee for the American Inns of Court (an organization promoting a legal profession and judiciary dedicated to professionalism, ethics, civility, and excellence). He found great satisfaction in fighting for “the underdog” and was a formidable force to have on your side. However, even as a young, rising legal star, his profession never took precedence over family and faith.
David had tremendous love for God—his genuine love for all people (including the hard-to-love) was a natural extension of his faith, as was his unassailable integrity. He loved serving in various assignments for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including full-time missions in France, Belgium, and Switzerland. Ever after, he loved to hear and speak French anywhere. He cared deeply for each missionary who served with him when he was President of the Swiss, Geneva mission as well as for those he served in various bishoprics and other Church assignments. David knew deep joy in his faith and was eager to share it with others. He watched for those in need, and he quietly helped.
We loved his witty sense of humor, and his ability to use scraps of time to make meaningful connections. He believed his greatest mission in life was to be a good father and husband—and his wife, six children, five children-in-law, and 22 grandchildren will tell you they’ve never seen it done better.
David passed away at home January 7, 2019. We love you beyond words Dad—merci pour tout.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. in the Manila First Ward Chapel, 3396 North 900 West, Pleasant Grove. Family and friends may attend a viewing from 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. prior to the services. Interment will be in the Provo City Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.olpinmortuary.com.
We visited the Victory Ranch pool over winter break. It’s one of our family’s favorite places to go. The pool is warm, the snow is cold, the complimentary soft serve ice cream and goodies flow freely and the kids are in heaven.
Every year around Christmas time we watch Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. One of my favorite movies of all time. It hits close to home in so many ways and has spoken to me over the years. This year while watching, a dialogue in the movie stood out to me that I never caught before. George is talking to his Father about finally getting out of Bedford Falls, the small town that he simply can’t seem to escape. His Father asks George if he’d consider taking over the small family owned building and loan business. Below is the dialogue between George and his Father after his Father asks the question.
GEORGE: “I couldn't face being cooped up for the rest of my life in a shabby little office. Oh, I'm sorry, Pop, I didn't mean that, but this business of nickels and dimes and spending all your life trying to figure out how to save 3 cents on a length of pipe ... I'd go crazy. I want to do something big and something important.”
PA BAILEY: “You know, George, I feel that in a small way, we are doing something important. Satisfying a fundamental urge. It's deep in the race for a man to want his own roof and walls and fireplace, and we're helping him get those things in our shabby little office.”
At times I’ve wondered if my “something big and something important” has passed me by. But Pa Bailey’s words hit home for me this year. That “in our small way we are doing something important.” I’m beginning to believe that our big and important is really the small and important things we are doing in our lives right now and that by consistently doing the small and important things, they become a wonderful life.
I recently traveled back to my home town of Palo Alto, the heart of the real Silicon Valley and I was reminded just how impressive the Bay Area is. Driving down 101 and the jungle of high rise commercial buildings adorned with household brand company names I wondered how it all got started and how did it take off and how long did it take and where is Silicon Valley headed? In Utah we are proud of our newly coined Silicon Slopes and the handful of commercial buildings altering the skyline. It’s exciting and thrilling to see local companies taking off, Omniture being the prefect example recently selling for billions of dollars after its meteoric rise from our very own Provo. This article offers a fun look into the future and I can’t help but wonder with excitement what our little valley will look like a decade from now. With the excitement also comes some concerns. I-15 is already noticeably more congested, the air quality / inversion seems worse than ever this year, fresh drinking water has always been a topic of conversation...with growth comes significant challenges and pressures on infrastructure and communities. As I drove through Silicon Valley I wondered what challenges they faced 30 years ago and how they handled them and what new challenges do they face today. Growth and change is exciting and it’ll be exciting to see how the local challenges that we face today will be addressed over the next 10 years. What issues are you most concerned with and do you see any solutions?
Thanks to all who came and took photos with Santa last week. We had a great time and got some great shots. We will definitely do it again next year. A big thank you to Bill Hammond. Bill is a perfect Santa and if you need a Santa for your own event please reach out to me. I’ll set you up with his contact info. Merry Christmas to all! With Love, Joe and Sam Willis
Thank you to all those who came and took photos with Santa last night. We are waiting for the photos to come back so in the mean time I’ll share this candid chat with Santa telling the story of when I sold him a home in Provo eleven years ago that was a dump! I will forever be greatful to Santa, eleven years ago he was one of my very first customers. We’re still great friends eleven years later.
Today we celebrated Ruth’s 4th birthday and if you know Ruthie you know she has a strange love for all things princess and all things creepy For her party she chose creepy it turned out to be one of the best birthday party experiences of all time.
Every kid started out terrified but by the end every kid had a blast and held most if not all of the animals.
Kim with Kim’s Cold Blooded Creatures was the one who came and presented. She was fantastic and really we could not have dreamt up a better experience for kids and adults alike. Kim was custom fit her presentation for age group. She clearly has a passion and love for these creatures and her pets were friendly and patient with the kids. The kids could hold and play with the pets as much as they wanted and Kim encouraged and seemed to find joy in introducing her pets to each kid. I’m NOT a reptile person but this was truly a fun and thrilling experience. We highly highly recommend Kim and her company. I included her card below in case the experience peaks your interest. I felt like her price was reasonable for the remarkable experience that it was. It cost $150 plus a travel fee if $25 for I think an hour session which included a brief presentation and then plenty of time holding and playing with the animals that she brought. She probably brought about 15 animals. Geckos, snakes, a tarantula, a scorpion, turtles...the kids loved it.
This weekend my wife, Heidi, and I took a tour of a remarkable re-education center in Salt Lake City called The Other Side Academy. Few experiences have inspired us more than seeing the work and hearing the stories of those involved.
If you’re unfamiliar with The Other Side Academy or TOSA, it is an academy that through an application process accepts repeat offenders who have been in and out of the prison system. Over the course of two years, the program changes these men and women from the outside in. The program teaches participants through discipline, education, accountability, and love how to change their lives and live a life of joy and productivity as honest, law-abiding members of society.
The program is experiencing tremendous success. Over 95% of the program’s graduates are living productive, successful lives and are staying out of prison. The program is intense. Students say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done. But when they graduate they are changed people who have new hope and a new life.
The remarkable thing is that TOSA is not a government-run program. They do not rely on tax-payer money or donations to operate. TOSA, through their own student-run businesses, is a self-sustaining program. The Other Side Moving company ( https://theothersidemovers.com/)
and The Other Side Thrift Store (https://m.facebook.com/TOSAThriftBoutique) both run by the students, are able to pay for academy’s operations. Both the moving company and the boutique store have hundreds of five-star reviews. The moving company has quickly risen to the top as one of the premier, most trusted moving services in the state.
As my wife and I received the tour of the facilities, we met numerous academy students. Hearing their stories and feeling the spirit of change, hope, and love in that building, we were truly touched. If you’d like to learn more, visit their website:
There are many ways to help including spreading the word, using their moving services, donating to their thrift store, and being a mentor. Heidi and I look forward to partnering with TOSA and being more involved and hope you will join us.
This is a late post but we wanted to thank those who came to the office for our thanksgiving pumpkin pie event last month. Every year, the Tuesday before thanksgiving we give out huge pumpkin pies to those we keep in touch with for thanksgiving. It’s a way for us to express our gratitude and thanks to all of you who have supported us over the years. It’s one of our favorite client events because we get to see so many of you and visit for a few minutes and catch up. It was a special day for us and so much fun. If you missed it, don’t worry, plan on coming next year. Happy holidays everyone!
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