George Edward “Ted” Pyper, 91, long time resident of Salt Lake City, Utah, passed away in South Jordan, Utah on Saturday, September 30, 2023, at Carrington Court Assisted Living surrounded by family.
George was born May 26, 1932, in Heber City, Utah, to George Albert “Sandy” and Alta Belva (Sorenson) Pyper.
His parents called him Ted from the very beginning. He didn’t know he was George until seminary graduation when the name George Edward Pyper was read. When no one stood up for the diploma, the officiator said, “Ted, this is yours.” He started introducing himself as George when he was in the Navy.
George was the second of six children. First came his older sister Bonnie, then George, Belva, Theron, Sandra, and Ralph. They didn’t have a lot of extras growing up, but his parents taught him to live well, and the siblings were all good friends.
George enjoyed playing sports at Wasatch High School including football, basketball, and track. His classmates from the class of 1950 were his lifelong friends. He diligently attended, and helped to organize class reunions throughout the years.
George enlisted in the Navy in 1951 during the Korean Conflict and completed his four years of military service. He was a machinist moving through the ranks from 3rd to 1st Class. It was in the Navy when he learned that God knew him by name and cared about him. He was on deck of the ship when he heard a loud voice say, “George! Move!” He moved and told others to do the same. Shortly after that a bomb shell hit right where he had been standing. George figured if God cared that much about him, he should make God a focus in his life.
Education was important to George. He attended Branch Agricultural College (BAC) in Southern Utah for a semester, attended and graduated from Chaffey Junior College in California, went back to Utah to attend Brigham Young University for a semester, and then transferred to the University of Utah. He took many classes to qualify him for work at Sperry Rand as a rocket test engineer. Although this was a good job, he longed for something different. He got hired as a hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey in the water resources division. He liked to tell people that his job was playing in the water. He continued to take university classes to help him in his work. Although qualified for his job, in order to get further promotions, George needed to complete his bachelor’s degree. He went back to the University of Utah in his 50’s and took courses that allowed him to complete the requirements for a BS in Geology.
George met Valera Mabel Jensen at a young adult dance held in the Edgehill Ward building. Following their dating, they were married and eternally sealed together November 6, 1959 in the Salt Lake Temple. They began their family and over the next four years Julie, Bruce, and Janet joined them. After a six-year gap came Ben, followed by twins Karen and Shelly, and then their seventh child Brian. Although for many years George struggled with outwardly expressing his feelings, he did love his wife and his family and worked diligently to raise his children and provide for them.
George’s family has continued to expand with children marrying and grandchildren being born. There are now 29 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren in the George and Valera Pyper posterity.
George retired in his early 60’s so he could have time to do what he really wanted to do, and that was to serve others. He was the neighborhood service ambassador on Redondo Avenue where he and Valera resided for over 50 years. Many were the recipients of him putting away their trash cans and removing snow from their sidewalks. This is not to say that George didn’t serve before his retirement. Many neighborhood children enjoyed when he spontaneously passed out ice cream cones, and some neighbors benefitted from his electrical expertise. He not only served his neighbors, but he served his family. His talents for home improvement blessed many in his posterity. He would go for a visit to some family member and always ask them what they wanted him to do. This extended to his parents as well. He often made the trip to Heber City to help them with projects and to visit.
George loved basketball and he was good at it. He played on teams in high school, in the Navy, and at Chaffey Junior College where he was known as Tiger Pyper. In 1958, while at Chaffey, he was selected for the All-Conference basketball team. He continued to play on church basketball teams in the years following.
Church service was another hallmark of George’s life. Among other things, he served as a stake missionary, many years as ward or stake clerk, as Bishop’s counselor, and as Bishop. He and Valera served an 18-month senior couple mission in the Michigan Lansing Mission from 2002-2003. George had a strong testimony of his Savior, Jesus the Christ.
George was also involved with the Boy Scouts of America. He had some great scouting experiences as a youth and then gave back to the organization as an adult. He served for more than 30 years as a merit badge counselor. He also served on the district eagle board of review for Eagle Scout candidates. He was awarded the Silver Beaver for his years of dedicated service in scouting.
George loved helping others. After retirement, he and Valera made a yearly trek to Canada. While Valera did quilting with her sister Paula, George helped his brother-in-law Wendell on the farm. George fixed machinery, and did whatever else he could do to help out. His help was a huge blessing.
George’s hobbies included fishing, hunting, hiking, basketball, photography, welding, electrical work, gardening, boondoggle, family history, and cross stitching. George loved tracking genealogy for both his ancestors and his posterity. His cross-stitch masterpieces are legendary. He stitched and gave away many temples with names and marriage dates, mission maps stitched with cities and areas served, and numerous other scenes that look like paintings or photographs from across the room. He also created many boondoggle keychains to delight his children and grandchildren.
Many thanks from George Pyper’s family to all those working at Carrington Court Assisted Living, Rose from Aspire Hospice, Rochelle, and Clint for all their dedicated service to George. Thank you for being earthly angels.
George is survived by his wife, Valera; children Julie Shumway; Bruce (Carolee); Janet (Craig) Wampler; Ben (Donna); Karen (Jeff) Anderson; Shelly (Sean) Biggs; Brian (Megan); brother Theron; sisters Belva Ford and Sandra Wilkins; 29 grandchildren, and 38 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Bonnie Davis, and brother Ralph.
A viewing and visitation will be held Sunday, October 8, 2023 from 6-8 p.m. at the Edgehill Ward, located at 1750 S. 1500 E. Salt Lake City, UT.
Funeral services will be held Monday, October 9, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at the Edgehill Ward, 1750 S. 1500 E. Salt Lake City, UT, with a viewing from 9:30-10:40 a.m. Interment to follow at Memorial Mountain View Cemetery, 3115 Bengal Blvd, Cottonwood Heights, UT.