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Parowan mother encourages patriotism, education
by Ashley Langston
May 04, 2011 | 1190 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PAROWAN – Carey Shurtleff has a posterity of five children, 19 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, and is proud of her family’s military service and love of education.

In her home office, Carey has created a “Wall of Freedom,” where she has hung framed patriotic documents and photos of family members who have served in the United States military.

Her brother was a lieutenant in the Army, her husband was a pharmacist mate in the Navy, her son Richard was a colonel in the Air Force, and her son Jim was a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps. She also has grandsons in the service, and one of them, who recently entered the military, was so proud to be able to get his photo on her wall.

“I’m very proud,” she said.

Carey has worn a flag pin for years, and flown the flag in her yard every day from sunrise to sunset, which she pledged to do when her sons joined the service. She flies the flag on the flagpole from the old Iron County courthouse, which has special meaning for her and she is grateful to have in her yard.

Carey currently serves as president of the American Legion Auxiliary, which is just one way she shows her continued support for the U.S. Armed Forces.

Just as she has supported the men in her life in their military service, she has also supported them in the scouting program.

“Scouting is very precious to me,” she said.

Her husband, Clyde, was involved in scouting for 40 years and was once a scout master. While serving on a scouting committee, in 1979, he went on a hike with the boys during which he had a heart attack and passed away. At that difficult time in her life, Carey moved away from California and back to Parowan.

“It was good to come home,” she said.

Carey was born and raised in Parowan, on the same corner where her home is now. She was born to Joseph E. Ward and Lily Dale Matheson Ward, one of eight children. She had one brother and six sisters and they all lived in a four-room adobe house.

She had many wonderful experiences as a child and continually benefited from the goodness and kindness of other Parowan residents, instilling in her a passion for the community and a desire to give back.

After graduating from Parowan High School, she received a scholarship for a quarter at Brigham Young University, which was $75 for her tuition and books.

At BYU, she met Clyde, and they were married in 1949. They lived in a few different communities in Utah, before moving to California, where they would spend the next 20 years until Clyde’s death.

Clyde was a school teacher and principal. In Monticello, Utah, Carey taught school on a special certificate and in California she taught at a private school. They lived in both Chatsworth and Santa Barbara, Calif.

In addition to raising their own kids, Carey and Clyde welcomed a foreign exchange student from Thailand into their home, and she took care of 22 newborn babies from the time they were born until they could be placed with adoptive families. She had one for three months, and though she missed them when homes were found, she knew they were going to families that would love them.

She also played the role of mother for Indian placement students and provided a place to stay for full-time LDS missionaries and, at one point, her brother and his family.

When Clyde passed away, their children – Richard, Jim, Mary Gai, Russell, and John – were grown, with the youngest being 18.

Carey said it was important to her that her children learn how to work, take responsibility for their own decisions, and be taught to take care of themselves.

Two of her children have followed in their parents’ footsteps and become school teachers. Jim, her second child, is a popular teacher at Parowan High School and Mary Gai is a teacher in Sandy.

Richard is currently living in Paris, working for Brinks Corporation’s European operation, Russell is in West Jordan and works for Little Caesar’s Pizza, building their stores, and John works for BYU with the school’s traveling groups. As of last week he was in Moscow and he has been all over the world.

Carey gets to see all of her children at least once a year, despite their distance, she said. Richard’s family always comes and stays for Christmas, and the rest of the family visits around the holiday as well. It is the most special time of the year for her, she said.

She also gets a lot of calls from her kids and grandkids when they can’t be there, which is nice, she said.

“They’re so good to me,” Carey said.

In addition to being a wonderful mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Carey is a valuable asset to the community of Parowan. She works at the visitor center, where she started as a volunteer, has been involved with the Daughters of Utah Pioneers for years, served a term on the city council, and has served on various board such as the library board, the cemetery board and the Parowan Heritage Foundation.

Her son Jim said she has always been willing to serve and do whatever is needed.

“I just think that her concern for other people is her big thing,” he said.

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