Kelly Cecil Dutton completed his mortal mission and returned home to both his Heavenly and Earthly Parents on Monday, August 2, 2021 after 80 years on this beautiful earth. Kelly passed away peacefully, from the damage done by Covid pneumonia to his lungs, surrounded by loving family members, thanks to the hospital’s graciousness in coordination.
He was born March 2, 1941 in LaVerkin, Utah to Cecil and Delma Sanders Dutton. Kelly was a good natured, playful, sometimes mischievous child. He especially enjoyed jumping out from under the table or out of the coat closet to surprise his mother. He exclaimed: “I can’t believe she slapped me!”
He was blessed to grow up in the Hurricane valley, attending school in the old Elementary which also served as the church’s South Ward building. It had the old bell that was rung ½ hour before school and church so everyone knew how soon to be ready. He graduated from Hurricane High School…”Go Tigers!” Kelly was a classic All American high school student. He was Student Body President, co-captain of the football team, played center on the basketball team, and lettered in track in shot put, discus and javelin, sang in the choir and played a Tuba in the band.
Kelly married his high school sweetheart, Sheila Wright on June 10, 1960 shortly after Sheila graduated from high school. Kelly and Sheila recently celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. Their union resulted in 13 amazing children: Ted (Diana Harris), Kelly Sue Mellor, Daphne (Kevin Thomas), Jamie (Ty Robinson), Nanette (Willie Billings), Camille (Ralph Hawkins), Brenda (Troy Watts), Cecil (Laura Deines), Murna (Tom Trump), Veronica (Martell Simons), Stan (Shani Allen), Elliot (Kimber Worwood), Danny Dutton, 66 grandchildren, and 57 great-grandchildren.
Before their marriage ‘dad’ Dutton took them to Vegas to buy their first home (an 8’ by 30’ trailer) which they lived in 11 years before he and his dad and brother built their home at 137 W 300 S. They pulled the trailer to Hurricane, and after the honeymoon, to Cedar City for the summer. Kelly worked construction with the Hall Brothers. He worked an 11 hour day and drove one hour each way so he was gone 13 hours and she prepared his dinner and packed his lunch before leaving for her night job as waitress at the Melody Lane Cafe.
Next he worked for Allen Webb at the old Flour Mill in Hurricane the first year and a half while he was attending Dixie College.
He had planned to go into ‘coaching’. He decided he was not cut out to be a teacher and he moved his wife and 1st baby to Salt Lake City to study auto mechanics at Salt Lake Community College. Changed his mind again and hired on with Hercules Powder Co working on the Polaris missiles. He packed two lunches so when he clocked out at Hercules he went to his second job at the service station. They lived in a trailer park with good friends on 900 South State St in the Harvard Ward.
Their second baby was born in Salt Lake. When Hercules announced their contract was ending and he knew the big lay-off would be in December, and it would be very difficult to find a job with so many out of work, he looked into both policing and fire fighting before finding that the ‘phone’ company was hiring. He hired on with the agreement they would transfer him to Southern Utah. Expecting their 3rd baby they moved home on the 1st day of May 1964, in a blizzard. Grandpa and Kelly in their old 1940 Ford with only plastic for a window, stopping to refill the leaking radiator from rain puddles every few miles, with wife and babies following in the car. First assigned to Cedar City but when they pulled the trailer down, there were no spaces available, they came to Hurricane and commuted until reassigned to St George and later the Hurricane office.
Kelly spent 38 years working for the ‘telephone company’ as it changed from AT & T (Ma Bell. as it was known, was forced to break up the monopoly to become AT&T & Mountain Bell, later became U.S. West, and finally retiring under the name of Qwest. (Has since become Centurylink and now Lumen). He started as a lineman, worked as a technician in both business and residentail, worked in coin, with cable and as a manager then back to craft. He spent long hours working to support his family, a sacrifice he willingly made so that Sheila could stay home and do what he called her most important work of being a mother. One notable story from his career even made Paul Harvey News! A St. George business called for repair. The trouble was that when the secretary would sit on the toilet the phone would ring. She would run to answer it and no one would be on the line. Returning to the toilet, it would ring again. Kelly was dispatched. He went, sat on the toilet, and sure enough, the phone rang! Tracing the cold water pipe downstairs, it connected the ground wire to the phone system. A faulty water heater was feeding electrical current to the pipe. He quickly fixed the problem and saved the day for the grateful secretary and business. Kelly saved the day for so many people over the years in many different ways. He was always willing and available to help anyone in need, and leaves a legacy of people who can tell you how and when he rescued them.
Eight more children were born in St George, while in Hurricane.
The last three, sons, were born in Richfield while in Monroe.Just before moving to Monroe he was voted in to be the Rotarian President in Hurricane. Upon accepting the new job he had to give this up just before he was ready to take office. He did get to enjoy being a member of the Richfield Rotarians.
After 38 years with the company Kelly retired in early 2002 and started his own telephone business which he ran successfully for 20 years, mostly a one man business but with every son and a couple of grandsons helping when needed. Sheila named it Telephone Kelly, Installation and Repair, Inc. His son Stan called one day to tell him he had found him the perfect work van, complete with doors, bins, ladders, etc. He continued “There’s only one problem, it’s Hot Pink”. Not true. But he ‘got’ his dad.
Kelly spent lots of time with the people he loved. He attended hundreds of baptisms, weddings, ordinations, birthday parties, and dinners. Kelly and Sheila loved and supported their children and grandchildren as they participated in countless activities. Whether it was a state championship or a little league tee ball game, a dance recital, musical performance or one single line in a primary program they would be there supporting and cheering just the same.
One of their favorite vacation destinations was Lake Powell. Kelly and Sheila bought a boat because they knew that even the teenagers want to go on vacation when you have a boat!
Kelly was physically active and loved sports, participating in them throughout his life. He was a talented pitcher and enjoyed playing with his softball team, traveling to play in tournaments up until the month before his death. He treasured the friendships he formed with his teammates.
His absence will definitely be felt in the softball community and the Huntsman World Senior Games.
Kelly and Sheila enjoyed square dancing almost weekly with the special friends made there. Started in Hurricane with dancers their parents age, again in Monroe starting the first Jaboree done at Marysvale. Attending National Jamboree in Salt Lake City. Back to dance with Scott smith, Ralph and Linda Rawlinson in the double R Squares, and short bit of Round dancing with Bob and Mary Townsend and refreshers with Dave and Alice Harbour.
He loved to hunt deer, elk, and moose and enjoyed the challenge of everything from bow to muzzleloader. He especially enjoyed the wild game jerky that resulted from all of that hunting, the time spent with family in nature and processing the meat after the hunt. Always including the women and children in the hunting excursions.
He loved riding motor bikes. He owned and rode a ‘scooter’ as a youth and he and Sheila made a trip to Vegas and bought his first 350 Honda and made the 150 mile ride home. Many fun road trips with friends and he rode for over 20 years never having ‘laid it down’ before having 3 separate accidents. A week before contracting Covid he asked his wife: “Do you care if I buy another motorcycle?”
Kelly lived his life with integrity, honoring the name he was given. He was known to be honest in word and deed. He was a friend to all, and was an expert at making people smile and laugh with his humor and jokes, especially scaring people. He was musically talented, learning the guitar from his dad. Some of our most precious memories involve him singing and playing the guitar. He would play to our requests until his fingers were sore.
A favorite Family Home Evening activity was dad pulling honey and Vinegar taffy. He could pull it until it was golden and airy. Which is difficult because of the heat and the muscle strength it took to pull taffy.
Kelly was a great example teaching his kids and grandkids to work hard, to laugh and have fun, and to love and serve others with their whole heart. He was so tender and loving to the women around him. After his father passed he spent many evenings visiting his mother. They watched many Jazz and BYU games together. He was always conscious about taking care of his mother. He was a mama’s boy and he loved Sheila with that same sweet devotion. One of his final requests was that we make sure Sheila was loved and cared for.
Kelly never served in the military but was very proud of his son, son-in-law and several grandsons, his father-in-law and brother-in-law who served their country.
Kelly had a quiet spiritual strength as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He loved the Savior. Kelly served in a variety of church callings over the years including Elders Quorum Presidency and President, two Bishoprics, Branch Presidency (serving the youth in the Juvenile Detention Center), New Scout Leader with Sheila, High Priest Group Leader, and Ward Mission Leader, but his favorite calling was serving as a Primary teacher.
They loved their exchange students, (bonus children), Anna, Arturo, Adrian, and Guillermo, and Indian Placement Student, Teressa. They also have other children they claim as family. And they were blessed to host many families who were between homes of their own.
The way he lived his life was his best sermon. His final piece of advice was to make good choices. His last words on this earth were, “Help me pray.”
Kelly was preceded in death by his father, mother, and grandson, Levi Kelly Thomas. He is survived by his beloved wife Sheila, his brother, Dean (Sheila Porter), his sister Terrie (Steve Woodis), his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins, and numerous friends. Our sorrow at saying farewell is tempered by the joyful reunion we know he is having with loved ones on the other side of the veil.
Memorial services include a viewing on Friday, August 13th from 6:30-8:30 PM at the Red Brick Church (274 S. 100 W. Hurricane) and a viewing Saturday, August 14th from 9:00-10:30 AM at the Hurricane Stake Center (677 S. 700 W. Hurricane), followed by funeral services at 11 AM at the same location followed by Burial at the Hurricane City Cemetery 225 E 600 N Hurricane Utah.