PRICE - John Edward "Big John" Hartzell, age 94, passed away peacefully at his home with family on Aug. 24, 2013.
He was born Sept. 1, 1918 in NuMine, Penn., to Alberta Alta Smail and Elmer Hartzell.
Dad's family made their trek to Sego, UT in 1923 to attend his ailing grandfather, Edward Hartzell. Later moving to Carbon County where he resided the rest of his life. He went in the coal mine at the early age of 13, where he worked alongside his father and his Uncle Jim. Dad learned black smithing and coal mining from his father.
John proudly served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II based out of Camp Carson, Colo., where he received many medals for his sharp shooting abilities.
After returning to Carbon County, he worked as a coal miner in several of the local mines including Hiawatha, Wattis, Spring Canyon and Hardscrabble where he made lifelong friends and gained a life full of stories he loved to tell up until the end. He was known for his tall tales and practical jokes. Dad was a proud advocate supporter and strong member of the UMWA with over 70 years of membership. He was an active member of the NRA, enjoyed fishing, camping, gold prospecting, carpentry, auto mechanics and reading.
Towards the end of his life he had a special relationship with "grandpa's baby" Lil' Miss Harley, his great great granddaughter with whom he spend every morning sharing his coffee.
John married Lucille Adams and they later divorced. He married Twila Jane "Mickie" Hayes Vestal on May 6, 1955 in Grand Junction, Colo., and together they raised eight children. She preceded him in death on July 22, 2003.
Survived by his children, John (Elena) Hartzell, North Cape May, N.J.; Janet (David) Meye, Lake Ozark, MO, Jaime Hartzell, Price; Alfreda Hurlich, West Valley, Louise Wilkinson, Salina; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren; great-great-grandchildren; siblings, Lula Grundvig, West Valley, Rosalee Buckly, Bothel, Wash.
Preceded in death by his wife Twila "Mickie"; four children, Connie Echols, Sharon Stokes, Larry Vestal, Rodger Vestal; siblings, Dorothy Wilcox, Mae Aho, Dewey Hartzell, Alta Knorp, Ernest Hartzell, George Williams, Annie Duran and Charley Williams.
I want to thank Dad for the principles he instilled in us, honesty, hard work and truthfulness. A special thanks to his grandchildren Twila Martak and Katie Marquez for tending to his daily needs. With their help he left us with dignity. We love you Dad. Until we meet again.
As per John's request there will be no funeral service. A memorial graveside will be held at a later date. Arrangements entrusted to Mitchell Funeral Home of Price where friends are always welcome daily and may share memories of John online at www.mitchellfuneralhome.net.