3/25/1930 ~ 7/20/2023
Our loving husband, father, brother, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Burke Martin Smith passed away peacefully on July 20, 2023, surrounded by many of his family members. Burke was born on March 25, 1930, in Richfield, Utah to John Jackson Smith and Janice Joy Nielson. He was raised by his mother and stepfather, Orin Randall Ferguson.
Burke grew up in Richfield, Utah and graduated from Richfield High School. Following High School, he attended and graduated from Snow College. He then attended one semester at BYU before serving a 2 ½ year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1953-1956. He was a wonderful missionary and served in West Germany. He loved serving and had a special relationship with the German people.
In 1956 he returned home and continued his schooling at BYU. He graduated from BYU’s 4-year program as a professional Teacher and taught at Moreland (Idaho), Salina, and Heber City High Schools, as well as Loa Elementary in Loa, Utah. He taught for over 28 years. He also earned a degree in High School Counseling and taught Special Ed.
While attending BYU, he met and fell in love with Arlene Peterson from Fairview, UT. In 1957 they were married and sealed in the Manti Temple. They were blessed with three children (Terri, Kathleen & Martin).
After almost 29 years of marriage, Burke was left alone following the passing of his beautiful Arlene. About a year later, his family arranged for him to meet Verla Olsen of Mt. Pleasant, UT. Burke and Verla were married for time on February 12, 1987, in the Provo Temple. Along with this marriage, Burke gained 4 more children (Russ, Brenda, Jim, & Jeff Olsen).
Among the many talents he had, Burke was a gifted artist. He painted hundreds of beautiful landscapes and temple pictures. He gave quite a few of those paintings to family and friends. He used his artistic ability and creative genius to build his own home and help with construction projects for many others. He had a keen eye for spotting arrowheads and loved exploring the outdoors. He was a continued student of history and learning. He read thousands of books in his lifetime. Burke is one of the few that can say he traveled the entire route of Lewis & Clark. His mind was sharp up until his last days and he continued to maintain the Germanic language he acquired on his mission.
Burke was a man of the earth and he loved to grow a garden. He always planted and nurtured a beautiful garden and enjoyed the harvest every year up until the age of 92. He loved to share his produce with family and friends as he always grew more than what he and Verla needed. He carried his hoe with him whenever he was in the yard.
Burke was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in many positions in the church. He loved to attend the temple and in 1988 he and Verla were called to be Ordinance Workers in the Manti Temple. They served there for over 30 years. Burke was called to be a Sealer in the Manti Temple in 1993 and had the blessing of performing the marriage ceremonies for many of his grandchildren. During their service as Ordinance Workers, Burke and Verla were blessed to take time away to serve a Family History Mission to Frankfurt, Germany. They served from 1995 to 1997 and returned home to continue their work in the Manti Temple. Burke had a quiet testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and loved the Lord. He was a kind and gracious man.
He is survived by his wife Verla Taylor Olsen Smith, children, Kathleen (Dan) Berry (Roy, UT), Martin B. (Valeree) Smith, Washington, UT., Russ (Debi) Olsen, Cottonwood Heights, UT., Brenda (Brad) Aagard, Ftn. Green, UT., Jim (Angie) Olsen, Estherville, IA, and Jeff Olsen, Salem, UT; sisters, Gloria Bibe and Jeanine Leone, as well as 14 grandchildren and 52 great-grandchildren.
Burke was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Arlene, his daughter, Terri Ann Smith, his brother, Bob Ferguson, and his sister, Phyllis Nelson.
A visitation will be held from 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 28, 2023, at 49 S. State, Mt. Pleasant, UT (Red Church). A celebration of Burke’s life will follow at 11 a.m. Interment will be at the Fairview City Cemetery under the direction of Rasmussen Mortuary.
The recorded funeral services will be available for 60 days from time of service.