CASTLE DALE - Montell Seely, 74, passed away on Tuesday, Aug.12, 2008, during a handcart expedition in Fairview.
He was born Feb. 5, 1934 in Castle Dale, the fourth of six children born to Karl A. Seely and Cora Guymon Seely. He married Kathryn Pincock Aug. 27, 1963 in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple, Idaho Falls, Idaho.
He grew up and attended school in Castle Dale and Ferron, where he was active in athletics and leadership of FFA and served as studentbody president at South Emery High School Class of 1952. He lived in Emery County all his life, except for a few years in Logan and Provo to attend college and in North Carolina 1954-56 to serve an LDS mission in the Central Atlantic States.
In 1965, he graduated from BYU with a BS degree in animal science. While at BYU, he was a member of the ballroom dance team and enjoyed ballroom and square dancing for many years.
For four years the family lived in Orangeville. In 1970, they returned to Provo, where Montell earned a master's degree in 1972 and was employed in the counseling department at Provo High for three years.
In June 1975 while moving the family back to Castle Dale, Montell was involved in a serious accident beneath a mobile home. The family returned to Provo during his hospitalization and recovery, which lasted through the summer. Kind friends assisted with the farming until he was fully recovered.
Montell was engaged in farming and livestock ranching all his life. He enjoyed running his farm that was originally homesteaded by his grandfather, Justus Wellington Seely II.
An early interest in pioneers and the westward movement of the Saints in 1847 prompted him to acquire wagons and buggies and the work horses to pull them. He became friends with several Amish families and enjoyed their association as he worked with them in their fields with horses and old-fashioned equipment.
In 1977, he organized a ward/community trek over the mountain from Fairview to Castle Dale. In 1978, he formed a committee to produce a pageant to tell the story of the first settlers who came to Castle Valley. Performed annually, the Castle Valley Pageant completed its 31st season on Aug. 9.
After Montell wrote the script for the pageant, he pursued other writing ventures, including a large Emery County History in 1981, Seely History books in 1988 and 1996 and Castle Valley Pageant History in 2003.
He kept a daily personal journal from 1976 until the day of his passing.
Montell is survived by his wife, Kathryn; son-in-law, Brant James, Adams, Ore.; children, Karla (Thane) Thalman, Surprise, Ariz.; Fawn (Tim) Miller, Manti; LeAnne Seely, Castle Dale; Mark (Brenda) Seely, West Valley City; and Janell (Kyle) Beagley, Price; sisters, Betty Jane Poulsen, Provo, and Dorothy (Gary) Barlow, Bountiful; brothers, Guy Seely, Clawson, and James (Joyce) Seely, Centerville; 19 grandchildren, Brandon, Emilie and Ryan James; KariElle, Edison, Audrey and Peyton Thalman; Dakota, Hunter, Cassidy, Ridge and Brooke Miller; Hannah, Jonathan, Matthew and Luke Seely; Jannika, Kirsten and Clarissa Beagley; and "adopted" family, Mani and Lippa Grewal and daughter Shehnoor, Fairview. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother Thomas; daughter, Valerie Seely James; and daughter, Monette Seely, who died as an infant.
Funeral services were Saturday, Aug.16, at the Castle Dale LDS Stake Center. Interment was in the Castle Dale cemetery under the direction of Fausett Mortuary.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Justus Azel Seely Family Organization, c/o Dal Seely, 4253 S. 2785 West, West Valley City, UT 84119; or Sons of Utah Pioneers, 3301 E. 2920 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84109.