Ira Merrill Martineau, age 86, of St. George, Utah, passed away peacefully with family by his side, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021 of natural causes. He was born July 4, 1934 in Payette, Idaho, to Ira Albert Guthrie and Viola Mae Shields.
He spent his youngest years in the mining community of Stibnite, Idaho. Between the boredom, curiosity and his ever-present creativeness, there was always the opportunity for new daily adventures, mainly with his brother Erwin. We loved it when we could get him to share the stories from when he was a kid left to entertain himself. Sadly, he lost his parents at a very young age. This was a turning point in his life, where the cruel twist of fate actually set Dad off into a completely different direction. This would eventually bring him to the gospel that became a cornerstone in his life. He was adopted by loving parents Leigh Edward Martineau and Leah Harriet Bean of Newdale, Idaho. The family would spend the winters in the “house in town” and then move to the family farm five miles east of town for the growing season.
He attended Sugar-Salem High School, where he excelled in football and thoroughly enjoyed several teenage shenanigans with his friends. He went on to play football for Rick’s College in Rexburg, Idaho. He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Kentucky-Tennessee area, he always loved this opportunity to return to his “roots.”
After returning from his mission, he married his eternal sweetheart, Lula Parkinson on Dec. 13, 1957. They were blessed with nine children and a very happy, loving home. It was always a welcoming gathering place, full of laughter, hard work (not usually by dad) and amazing food. Many memories were made along the way. He and his family lived in Mesa, Arizona for a few short years where he worked at the custodial department of the Glendale Community College. The work was hard, the sun was warm and life was good.
His idea of babysitting sometimes consisted of the VW Bug with the top chopped off and taking a carload of laughing children out through the desert chasing rabbits. Dad always had time for family and friends and that was the seedbed of what would become many lifelong and deep friendships that will truly endure the eternities. He moved his family back to Idaho in 1967 with the offer to take over the family farm. They purchased a new home in Newdale, which would be the home they raised their children to adulthood in.
He was by all accounts a jack-of-all-trades and spent countless hours in his shop tinkering away. There was nothing he couldn’t do or create if he set his mind to it. He loved singing and playing music on several instruments, many that he built himself. He enjoyed writing poems, especially if they could put a funny spin on so many of life’s unfunny situations, put a smile on your face or just make your day a little better. He had a soft touch and a caring heart that were always there if you needed them. He loved to spend time in his den studying his scriptures or reading from his library of church books. He didn’t always know everything about his religion, but he wasn’t afraid to say, “I don’t know” and then set to work to find what his knowledge was lacking. He knew what he believed and loved to share it. Dad’s faith and beliefs guided his everyday life and eternal choices.
We will all miss his quick-witted jokes and his ever-present sense of humor. There was always laughter when dad was around, and I’m sure heaven is a little bit more fun today. He will be missed by his family and those closest to him on a daily basis.
He is survived by his children, Kristina (Bill) Roselli, Breck (Deanna) Martineau, Shawnee Paris, Leigh Edward (Shara) Martineau, Dorie (Craig) Boyle, Ferron (Rachelle) Martineau, Lexie (Jim) Dukes, Lalonni (Austin) Anderson, Alecia (Christian) Caprioglio and many grandchildren and not as many great-grandchildren; siblings, Della Candalaria, Zelda McWiggins, Barbara Neibaur and Mona “Ann” Grindstaff.
Merrill is preceded in death by his parents, Eternal Sweetheart Lula Parkinson, and siblings Darold Guthrie, Ruby “Susie” Swanson, Virginia Adams, Ethel Jones, Erwin Guthrie, and half-brother Ira Preston Guthrie and son-in-law Michael Paris.
A viewing will be held Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021 from 5-6:30 pm. Funeral services will be held Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 at 11 a.m. with a viewing prior to funeral at 9:30 a.m. at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S Bluff Street, St. George, UT, 435-673-2454.
For those who would like to view the funeral online, please log in to webcast.funeralrecording.com. Type in the event number 44673 and password IMM2021 .
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