Alvin Lisonbee passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, December 4, 2009, surrounded by his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, who loved him dearly. Alvin was born May 27, 1927 in Lakeside, Arizona, to James Lorenzo and Eda Kohlhepp Lisonbee. He was raised on a five-acre farm in Mesa, Arizona, near Alma School Road. He had seven siblings whom he adored: five older brothers, two who died in infancy, and two younger sisters, one who also died in infancy.
Early Life and Education
As a young child, Alvin enjoyed the typical pleasures of life on a farm, taking care of chickens and cows and swimming in canals and irrigation ditches. When he was five years old, he contracted polio. Because of this illness, Alvin learned at an early age to deal with trials and adversity with perseverance and courage. In spite of his physical challenges, Alvin was a great worker throughout his life. He continued to work hard on the farm, irrigating fields"often in the middle of the night"and milking cows for both his own family and the neighbors. During the summer, he did field work for the neighboring farms. When Alvin was in high school, he began to show a real talent for music. He sang in the choir and performed in many of the musicals. In the play, The Desert Song, he had the lead and sang the song, "One Alone."
During World War II, Alvin got a job at an air field that trained English flyers. He would get up early in the morning and drive there in the family's striped down Chevy that they called "Hoot N Annie." During the war, Alvin's father was called to Samoa on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A lot was expected of Alvin at this time, as his father was gone for four years. When his father came home, Alvin was already a student at Brigham Young University. Alvin was blessed with the opportunity to help on the ranch in Wyoming owned by his Aunt Minerva Teichert and her husband Herman. Aunt Minerva helped to finance his education at Brigham Young University by trading some of her paintings for his tuition. Alvin was forever grateful for that.
Alvin graduated from BYU with a degree in Music. He then served a mission for the LDS Church in France in 1948-51. While on his mission, Alvin's parents moved to Ashland, Oregon. It was there that he met the love of his life, Louise Tenney. They were married on June 3, 1952 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. While living in Oregon, Alvin taught elementary school in the winter and drove a logging truck in the summer.
Alvin was a natural teacher, and he was always learning about a wide variety of topics. If anyone brought up an interesting topic with Alvin"whether it was history, the arts, or the gospel"that person was certain to have a great discussion. Alvin was extremely well-read on just about every subject, but his greatest interest was in the study of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He had a particular love for the temple and served for several years as a veil worker and in the baptistry with his sweetheart Louise, at the Mount Timpanogos Temple. Alvin served for over 50 years as the ward organist, using his talents and love for music to bless others. He also loved being a home teacher because his natural love for people made it a pleasure and not a chore for him to visit with others.
Anyone who knew Alvin well knew that his greatest love was his family. He and Louise are the parents of four children, 13 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. All of the grandchildren were blessed to have wonderful memories of time with their grandparents at "The Cabin" they had for many years in Timber Lakes, Utah. Alvin was affectionately referred to as "The Maintenance Man," because of his constant efforts to keep the cabin in tip-top shape so all of the family could enjoy many hours of snowmobiling, hiking, and learning to love the great wonders of nature which he appreciated so much.
Alvin was strong, vigorous, and faithful until he took his last breath on this earth. He ended his time here as any great father would hope to do"with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren at his bedside. They dearly loved to hear his counsel. Alvin will be sorely missed, but his legacy is one of great faith, hope, and love.
Alvin is preceded in death by his daughter Jana Lisonbee. He is survived by his brother Frederick Lisonbee (Mae), sister LaPreal Johns (Bob), wife Louise Mae Tenney Lisonbee, their children: David Lisonbee (Bianca) (currently serving in the Italy, Milan Mission), Deanne Lisonbee Krieger (Kurt), and Mark Lisonbee (Terri); grandchildren: Adam (Tennille), Jenna, Micah (Carly), Matthew, Megan, Jana (Lewis), Jordan (Matt), Jackie (Brian), Elder Kip Krieger (currently serving in the Argentina, Cordoba Mission), John, Lindsi, Carli, and Christian; and 12 great-grandchildren.