Kay Robert Ence, 86, passed away Sept. 26 in Pinto at his ranch. This was heaven on earth for him and mom for the past 33 years. He often said, “Ain’t this livin’?” He was born Feb. 18, 1931, (his dad’s birthday) in Ivins to Milo John and Lillie Tobler Ence who were among the first 13 settlers in Ivins. Our Dad married his high school sweetheart, Doris Ellen Snow Ence, in the St. George Temple on Aug. 29, 1950.
Dad was born and raised in Ivins where his family raised turkeys. He attended elementary school in Santa Clara and the remainder of his school years were spent at Woodward and Dixie in St. George. In his early years of marriage, he continued with the turkey industry and farming. From 1972-1994 he was employed by the city of Ivins. He did every job that you can think to keep the city running. He was well loved by all the citizens of Ivins because of his work ethics, honesty, friendliness and integrity.
On the side of his day jobs and his church responsibilities, Dad, along with his brother Irvin, was a farmer, rancher and cattleman. It was in these places that he taught his family the value of hard work. Dad worked from sun up to sun down on a daily basis. Mom was always supportive of Dad and his endeavors. After their mission, they lived in Pinto during the summer months where Mom worked by his side on a daily basis. The day Dad passed, he was out working, doing what he loved to do.
Dad served faithfully throughout his entire life in many church positions. He has served in bishoprics, as a bishop and on the high council. Dad and Mom served a mission in the New Zealand Wellington Mission where they have made lasting friendships. For the past 21 years Dad and Mom have greeted the temple patrons as they came to the temple on Saturday mornings.
Dad was a man of many talents. He could take a piece of dilapidated wood and turn it into a masterpiece. You have to know that his mainstays in these projects were bailing wire and gorilla glue. We sure hope heaven has it! Yearly, Dad and Mom would gather the worn jeans from the entire family and create amazing pieced-denim quilts. Dad was the designer of the fancy jean pockets and where they were placed in the quilt top. He would then “coach” mom on how to sew the quilt top together. Sometimes this could result in a disagreement. Dad was precise in helping mom get the tops on the quilting frames just right, Mom would tie, dad would roll and mom would bind. All of their kids and grandkids are proud recipients of these quilts.
Dad was privileged to always be one of Santa’s helpers. For many years he would keep the spirit of Christmas real for many family members and friends when Santa Claus visited. Dad loved the Christmas season. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the Ence home were, and continue to be, a beloved tradition and will live on in every one of us throughout our lives. Dad was a loving and exciting gift-giver. Christmas is the best time of year.
Dad is survived by his devoted wife Doris Ellen Ence, his children Doris (Steven) Leavitt, Marie (Randy) Hansen, Kalyn (Bruce) Gubler, Anreta (Wesley) Frei, Ruth (Steven) Roberts, Robert (Shelly) Ence, Lydia (Troy) Nelson and Linda Denetclaw (foster daughter). He is loved and adored by his 29 grandchildren, 61 great-grandchildren (plus six on the way). Don’t you know we are always improving over the old stock as dad would say. He is also survived by his lifelong farming partner, best friend and brother Irvin (Betty) Ence, many brothers and sisters-in-law and many nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, his grandson (Jake Ence), his brothers Vendon (Gert) Ence, Afton (Afton) Ence and his father and mother in-law Harold and Lydia Snow.
Dad, as you keep “Ain’t this Livin’?” in heaven, we will keep “Ain’t this Livin’?” on earth.
See you around dad.
- Funeral services will be Oct. 2 at 11 a.m. at the Ivins Main Street Chapel, 15 N. Main St., Ivins.
- Viewing will be at the same location Oct. 1, from 6 to 8 p.m., and before the services on Oct. 1 from 9 to 10:30 a.m.
- Interment will take place in the Ivins City Cemetery.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Spilsbury Mortuary, 435-673-2454.
For condolences, full obituary, and funeral listings please visit Spilsbury Mortuary online.