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Heritage Day: Larsens serve community by helping others find their history



Dean and Etana Larsen have made contributions to the community of Lehi by connecting citizens to their history and helping them find their past. They were workers at the Lehi Family History Center for more than 20 years, eventually becoming the directors. 

Etana served as captain of the Bluebell Camp of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (DUP). She was instrumental in placing DUP markers on some of Lehi’s oldest buildings. An example of this is the old Lehi Hotel on Main Street where you can still finda historical marker. She was also instrumental in identifying pioneer graves in the Lehi City Cemetery and placing a pioneer plaque on their headstones. 

Dean and Etana keep their own heritage alive as they are part of the committee that organizes yearly class reunions for the Lehi High School Class of 1954. They cherish the friendships they have had with their classmates and feel it is important for them to gather. When one of their classmates passes away, they arrange for purple and white flowers for their funeral. 

Dean served 30 years in the Lehi branch of the National Guard. He was a master sergeant in the 117th Engineering Battalion. 

Both Dean and Etana have served on the Old Folks Committee. They have been a part of many committees, including building floats for the Lehi Round-Up Miniature Parade and helping with concessions and clean-up at the Lehi Round-Up Rodeo. 

During the 1960s, they established a Cub Scout den for their son and other young boys in the neighborhood. That began a 60-year love for scouting in the Larsen household. 

They have both been election judges in their voting precinct where Dean served as the head election judge. Etana has helped with past Lehi Heritage Days by providing displays and serving as a hostess.

In 1935, Etana Mae was born at home to Harold LeRoy and Edna Fern Reynolds Gammon on her father’s farm in Vineyard.She has eight siblings. Her father sold his farm to Geneva Steel at the beginning of World War II and bought a large dairy farm at the end of Lake Road on 500 West in Lehi. In 1946, her father purchased a nice big home in town on 100 West and 400 North. 


Dean was born to Alton Lorenzo and Eona Lugene Nielsen Larsen in 1936 in Ferron. The family moved to Logan for a short time and then to Salt Lake City during World War II. While in Salt Lake, Dean had the privilege of being baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square. In 1948, his parentsbought a home in Lehi at 500 West and 900 North in the old Third Ward of the Church.

Dean and Etana were sweethearts at Lehi High School in the early 1950s. Dean bought Etana a diamond ring for high school graduation. “The ring was supposed to be a surprise,” remembered Etana. “In those days Dean’s parents were on a four-party telephone line. When the jeweler called to say the ring was ready, there were more than just his ears listening in.” 

Many of Etana’s friends knew about the ring before she did. The couple was married in December of 1954 in the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They made their first home, where they still live today, in Lehi. 

For 37 years, Dean worked at the Tooele Army Depot where he retired in 2002. The couple served a mission for the Church in Canada from 2002-2004. 

The Larsens have five children, 16 grandchildren and more than 50 great-grandchildren.

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