Four additional biographies are presented here, with more to be included at future dates, for individuals who are not from the original line. All of the biographies were written by Richard Martin via interviews with the individuals.
Rhonda Truman Ford was born on April 21, 1960, in St. George, Utah, and died on March 18, 2020, in Provo, Utah. She was raised in St. George and loved family get-togethers. Even from a young age she had FOMO, “Fear of Missing Out,” and always wanted to be in on the fun. She learned to work hard at an early age, but didn’t take school seriously until she went to Brigham Young University and got a degree in teaching. While she was teaching in California she met Scott Ford and they were married on August 15, 1987, in St. George. She continued to teach elementary for a number of years and many students later told her that she was their favorite teacher.
Rhonda had two daughters and when she wasn’t teaching worked at many jobs. Once, she worked at five different jobs at the same time. She and Scott moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2001, where her brother, Dan Truman lived. (He was a founding member of the music band, “Diamond Rio,” which had a big hit, “One More Day,” that same year.) They prospered for a time and then had some major downturns, but then Doterra came into their lives and everything got better.
Rhonda had been healthy all of her life and even completed two half-marathons in 2005 and 2006. In September 2018 she found out that she had a brain tumor. This came as a direct result of being exposed when she was young to the radiation from atomic bomb tests that took place nearby in Nevada. In fact there are so many recorded cases that the term “Downwinder” is used for those so affected. She loved her children and grandsons so much and had everything to live for, but died in early 2020.
Richard Merrill Oveson was born on January 5, 1930, in Corvallis, Oregon. He grew up in the small town of Moro, Oregon, where he attended school for all twelve grades in the same schoolhouse. He served as a missionary in France for two and a half years from 1949 to 1952, and graduated from BYU in 1955, where he ran for student body president.
He met Alix Wells (1934-2018) in California and they were married in 1957. Dick was an officer and a pilot in the U.S. Air Force and flew 74 combat missions in Vietnam. He got a PhD at Harvard and taught at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. He later taught at the War College in Washington D.C. and served as the representative of the U.S. Air Force at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France, during the Cold War, answering directly to Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft.
After he retired from the Air Force, he taught Economics at BYU and served as President of the France Bordeaux Mission. He and Alix had three children: Virginia, Merrill, and Alice Oveson. Dick is now 92 years old and recently played 18 holes of golf.
Alexandra Campbell Wells Oveson was born on July 14, 1934, in New York City, New York, and died on August 21, 2018, in Provo, Utah. She grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was very close to her mother, siblings, and relatives. She was taught how to ski in grade school and was an outstanding skier all of her life. She was even on the University of Utah ski team.
Pretty and vivacious, she made many friends and was hired by Pan Am as a stewardess when that was a prestigious job, flying on routes to Asia and Australia. She met Dick Oveson in Los Angeles and felt that he was the nicest man that she had ever met. They married on August 30, 1957, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and had three children. He was an officer and a pilot in the US Air Force and they lived in many places over the years, including Paris, France, where he served as the Air Force’s representative to the American Embassy. After Dick retired, they moved to Provo, Utah, where he taught Economics at Brigham Young University. Later Dick and Alix served in the France Bordeaux Mission, where they oversaw the work of many missionaries.
Alix loved to travel and visited over 40 countries. She taught everyone in her family how to ski, played bridge two or three times a week, and even played a game of golf three weeks before she died.
Sherwin “Sherm” James Watkins was born on May 15, 1944, in Provo, Utah, and died on November 3, 2011, in Provo. He was a classic teenager of the late 50s and early 60s and on Friday and Saturday nights dragged Center Street in downtown Provo in his chromed wheeled, 1953 Ford Victoria, where he met his wife. He married young and worked in accounting for many years before going into sales, for which he was better suited. In fact he did so well that he was later credited for saving the jobs of over two hundred employees of a company that was about to go bankrupt. As sales manager he traveled to over 25 countries, but after his company was bought out, he began his own scholarship company that prospered and made him rich when he sold it a few years later.
He and his family loved tennis and while in New York City for the US Open, were viciously attacked by a street gang and his oldest son killed. This tragedy made national news and New Yorkers rallied behind his family to get changes made to the city’s emergency services and police system. Later, Sherm was credited as the main catalyst in getting reforms passed that are in place to this day.
Sherm’s heart was weakened by a dental infection, and when he was 64 he had become so weak that the doctors thought he would die. To the surprise of all of his doctors, an experimental procedure was successful and allowed him to live three more years.
Sherm was a good friend and when he told me that he had never written his personal history, I interviewed him and wrote it for him.