Val Ira Lefler
Val Ira Lefler, at age 85, passed away January 9, 2022 in Bountiful, Utah, from causes incident to age. He was born on September 25, 1936, in Park City, Utah, to Ira White Lefler and Loraine Nelson Lefler. He was their only child and was the center of their universe.
The Lefler family moved to Port Chicago, California and Val was raised in the Bay Area where Uncle Ira worked in the oil industry. They enjoyed attending the Martinez Ward where Aunt Loraine served as Ward Organist for 25 years. Val said that he never remembered a time when there wasn’t music in their home. Val took piano lessons from his mother and often said that his mom was the only piano teacher he ever had or needed, although Val went on to study with Dr. Roy Darley and Dr. Robert Manookin and was one of the few organists who studied under Alexander Schreiner and played the organ in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
During the summers, the Leflers often traveled east to Utah for vacations. Through those many car trips, Val developed very close relationships with his extended family members. Val loved Utah and spent many a wonderful vacation in Kamas and Woodland, UT with his Lefler Family relatives, experienced all the wonders of early Salt Lake City with the Carter family, and explored the country pleasures to be had while visiting the Carlisle’s in Heber City and in Pleasant Grove with the Nelsons.
Val attended school in Port Chicago and graduated from Mount Diablo High School. Music was one of Val’s many talents and he learned to play the saxophone, piano and organ with great skill. He played in many dance bands and earned enough money to help with his tuition to BYU where he graduated with a Bachelor of Independent Studies Degree. Val was a very capable employee and had many interesting jobs and worked in a variety of industries. One of Val’s more interesting jobs was working for the LDS Church in the Genealogical Department in the foreign language translation department and archiving documents for the Granite Vaults in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Val was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout his life and spent a great deal of time studying the scriptures in his later years. He served a full-time mission to Mexico when there were just two missions in the country, and he felt he had the unique privilege of visiting the entire country and every branch between Central Mexico to the southern border. Val felt it was a great blessing and opportunity to learn the Spanish language and to spread the message of the restored gospel. Val retained his command of the Spanish language to the end and was often see comforting and including others who needed a friend as he communicated with them in their native tongue. Val’s musical abilities blessed each area in which he lived and served as Ward Organist in many wards over his lifetime following in his mother’s footsteps.
Later in life, he was a devoted son in caring for his aging parents. He moved to Salt Lake City with his mother and father. First, they lived with Aunt Florence and then purchasing a charming bungalow just two doors south so they could have daily contact and attend the Douglas ward. Val was a wonderful giving son, uncle, nephew and cousin and followed Christ’s example of including everyone in his circle of friendship. Val often brought little presents and treats home for his parents and Aunt Florence and was known to initiate late evening trips to “Arby’s” for their tender roast beef sandwiches which was a favorite of his parents and Aunt Florence. Val enjoyed many years of close association with the Carter family and Salt Lake Douglas Ward members and appreciated being invited to and being included in many fun gatherings initiated by Cousin Jill and Wilford Hansen and their daughters.
Val was an avid reader and would have stacks of books in his room awaiting their turn to be consumed. He had a pleasant nature and a great sense of humor that sustained him to his last moments. Val was a person in whom there was no guile and had a Christ-like spirit to the end. He was a favorite patient with his doctors, nurses and health care givers and never wanted to be a bother to anyone. Val was quiet, appreciative, sympathetic, congenial, and kind to everyone he met.
Val often expressed appreciation for all the visits, phone calls, presents, BYU memorabilia, BYU sweat shirts, letters, cards, cans of Pepsi and celebrations in his honor throughout his life and particularly during his last years living in assisted living facilities. He would often say that “Family Relationships” have been his greatest joy and blessing throughout his life. Val appreciated the constant and continual care and attention he received from his cousin Joye and the Holzer family who live in the Bountiful area and who were our family ministering angels to Val when so many of us were unable to travel to visit as often as we would have liked.
On behalf of the family, we would like to express our deep appreciation for the kind and compassionate care which Val received during his years at the Welcome Home Assisted Living Center in Bountiful. Our thanks to the skilled physicians, nurses and housekeeping staff who assisted Val. The festive decorations, homey atmosphere and activities made life interesting and pleasant.