Evelyn LaDean Sanderson was born July 5, 1930, to Dick and Louie Heap Sanderson. She was born in her Grandmother Heap’s house in Thayne, Wyoming and was the oldest of seven children. They were in order, LaDean, Delmar, Joyce, Lloyd, Yvonne, Dennis and Linda.
LaDean grew up in Freedom. Her family lived next door to her Grandma and Grandpa Sanderson. She loved it when the family got together with aunts, uncles and cousins at her Grandparent’s house. The extended family spent a lot of time picnicking up Greys River and Snake River. Those were wonderful days for the young girl.
LaDean was a tomboy and was her dad’s right hand “man” for many years. She spent a lot of time in the hayfields and helping on the farm.
A lifelong learner, LaDean learned to read at an early age. She was a voracious reader throughout her life until her eyesight began failing in later years.
At 16, LaDean married Wendell O’Keefe in Paris, Idaho. During this marriage, she and Wendell lived in Afton, Dry Creek, Tygee, California and even spent one winter up Crow Creek on the Alleman ranch. Wendell and LaDean had three children, Judy, Karen and Kelly. They divorced in 1957 and LaDean and her children moved to Salt Lake where she worked as a waitress.
LaDean married Allen Clark in 1958, after which they moved to Muddy String in Thayne, Wyoming. Dale (Slim) and Kurt were born during this time. LaDean enjoyed living there as she made many lifelong friends during those years while she was a member of the Thayne Variety Club.
Allen and LaDean moved to Etna in 1962 where Allen rented the Beeline Service Station to run his trucking business out of. While living in the basement house by the service station, Nicci was born. The family then moved to a farm just east of Etna where Angie and Tyson were born.
LaDean was a hard worker. She helped run the farm, kept the books for the trucking company and even delivered coal and drove semi on occasion. When Allen purchased the feed store in Afton, she was right there keeping the books and taking care of business.
Allen died in 1975. The next year LaDean’s Etna home burned down. The feed store was struggling financially and so she eventually sold it. After this she began working at the Alpine Bakery. The next year she went to work at the Thayne, Maverik store.
During the 80’s LaDean moved to Utah. She continued working for Maverik Country Stores while attending Utah State University. During her years working for Maverik, she opened a new store in Layton, Utah; managed the Winnemucca and Elko, Nevada stores; supervised the Farmington, New Mexico region; and eventually moved back to Brigham City and finally Roy, Utah where she supervised most of the northern Utah Maverik's.
LaDean graduated from Weber State University at 67 years old. At the time she was the oldest person in Weber State history to earn their 4-year degree.
She returned to her childhood home in Freedom after her retirement to care for her mother before she passed. After Louie’s death, LaDean continued to live in Freedom and enjoy her family. She babysat grandchildren and great grandchildren, hosted cookouts, and fed whoever looked like they needed feeding.
One thing that LaDean will be remembered for throughout generations to come is her hand knit Christmas stockings.They are legendary. Not only has she made them for her own posterity but she has knit dozens upon request for other family and friends.
If LaDean’s life could be summed up quickly, it would be – Her love of family; Her ability to overcome trials and challenges; Her capacity for hard work; Her ability to find happiness and make things fun; Her sense of humor; Her Dutch oven cooking; and her desire to serve friends and family.
LaDean is survived by her sisters, Yvonne Card and Linda Call; Her children, Judy (Dick) Rose, Karen (Steve) Johnson, Kelly O’Keefe, Dale (Janelle) Clark, Kurt (Lisa) Clark, Nikki (Bob) Pilster, Angie Kirby, and Tyson Clark; 28 grandchildren; 59.5 great grandchildren; and 9 great-great grandchildren.