George Wayne Shamo, 82, of Hurricane, Utah, passed away Dec. 15, 2020, in Washington, Utah from COVID-19 pneumonia, complicating severe dementia. He was born June 24, 1938, in Hurricane, Utah in the family’s one-room adobe home, the eldest child of George Harry and Irene Brooksby Shamo.
Wayne was a brilliant young man, encouraged by his parents and caring teachers and mentors to pursue serious studies, in order to redirect his mischievous energies. He graduated from Hurricane High School and attended Dixie Junior College. Following graduation from Dixie, Wayne served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Gulf States Mission. He developed a deep love of the Gospel by the loving examples and teaching of his parents and dedicated seminary instructors. His kind and calm demeanor, along with his broad smile led many to listen to his message, not only as a missionary, but also as a teacher.
Wayne next attended BYU, where he completed his degree in speech communication. He then attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, where he completed his doctorate in speech communication. He taught communication at Memphis State University and Purdue University. He eventually sacrificed his career to return to Hurricane and take over the family business, Shamo Box and Lumber Company. The move led to wonderful opportunities for his children to grow and thrive in the shadow of a temple, surrounded by extended family and Southern Utah tradition.
During his BYU days, Wayne fell in love with a tall, slender brunette from Boise, Idaho, Phyllis Ann Dougal, when he crashed her Sunday dinner party. Their courtship blossomed and they were married Dec. 15, 1961, in the Idaho Falls Temple. This started a wonderful journey with many twists and turns. The couple brought five children into the world — Steven Wayne (Bonnie) Shamo of Delta Utah, Michelle (John) Peek of Wrightwood, California, Laurel (David) Bruner, of Provo, Utah, Katrice (Stacy) Schimbeck of Washington, Utah, and Lynette (Justin) Heideman of Provo, Utah, along with 23 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
After leaving the lumber business, Wayne started the Washington County Adult Literacy Program and wrote grants for the Library to fund their programs and provide monies to build branches in communities around the area. Next, he was hired as an instructor at Dixie College and eventually was asked to assist in transitioning the Dixie College Department of Communications from a 2-year to a 4-year program.
Wayne was very service-oriented and volunteered in many ways. He was involved with Buenas Amigas, the Hurricane Lion’s Club, a certified judge for the American Rose Society, Washington County Fair, and a non-drinking honorary member of the Hurricane Fraternal Order of Eagles, whose generosity he delivered as surprise Christmas baskets. He also served on the Hurricane City Council, Hurricane Planning and Zoning Committee and was influential in the annexation of the large parcel of ground that attracted the Wal-Mart distribution center, along with the accompanying water rights.
He was a member of the Hurricane Area Chamber of Commerce, the Washington County Water Conservancy District, the Five-County Association of Governments, and the Zion Natural History Association. The Governor of Utah honored him by appointing him to the Utah Commission on Volunteers. Wayne also served on the Dixie College Institutional Council. His service in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was extensive and included his favorite as Gospel Doctrine Teacher, along with accumulated time on various Stake High Councils for decades and Bishop of the Hurricane 8th Ward.
He was a rock of faith when his beloved wife of 47 years, Phyllis, died unexpectedly of complications of breast cancer. His grief was eased when he met another beautiful brunette, Teresa Ellen Brown, who brought the twinkle back to his eye. They were married by Wayne’s son in Hurricane on Oct. 13, 2007. They enjoyed wonderful years together, dampened after he began suffering with progressive dementia. Terri tenderly cared for Wayne and attentively watched over him, even after he was unable to remain at home. She was reading to him the Christmas story in Luke 2, when he quietly passed away.
His sister and brother-in-law, Sharon Shamo and Carl Morgensen, also preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Teresa, of Washington, Utah, his brothers, Ronald (Marilyn) Shamo of Hurricane, Utah and Lyle (Tracy) Shamo of South Jordan, Utah, and his sister Elaine (Burke) McConkie of Gilroy, CA, and his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
The family appreciatively acknowledges the care provided by Spring Gardens Memory Care staff and administrator Logan Endsley, Brigette, RN, Dr. Mel Carter, Grant Needham, P.A., and the attentive team from Zion’s Way Home Health and Hospice.
“In lieu of flowers, we would encourage donations to the Zion Natural History Association.
Funeral Services for immediate family will be on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, at 10 a.m. at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St, St. George, Utah, 435-673-2454. We are requesting that face coverings be worn for the safety of everybody. The services will be broadcast for others interested in celebrating his life, please log in to webcast.funeralrecording.com. Type in the event number 43065 and password GWS2020. Interment will be at Hurricane City Cemetery.
Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St., St. George, Utah. Friends and family are invited to sign his online guestbook at www.spilsburymortuary.com