Sunday, Sep 22, 2019
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Lynn & JoAnn Andersen

Willard Lynn and Joann Call Andersen

Lynn Andersen was born 19 February 1949 in Pocatello, Idaho, to Willard John and Mamie Haney Andersen. He was the youngest of six children, with three older brothers and two older sisters.  He is a third generation Arbonite, since his grandfather, John Christian Andersen, homesteaded in the valley about 1895.  

Lynn grew up doing what many families in the dry valleys did at that time – spent the school year in town, and summers on the ranch. His father Willard John was the LDS branch president at the time so he attended services both in town and in Arbon Valley. But going to church in Arbon was a little different than in town.  For the most part, they stayed in a two-room homestead cabin that had been his great-uncle’s, Bruce Pett  “For church I would get up and build a fire for breakfast and heat some water in a copper boiler and take my bath in a tin tub on the porch. I would wash out the old pickup and off to church I would go. The pickup never had brakes so to stop I would turn the key off and shift to low and coast to a stop. Luckily I had no accidents” (p. 34).

Lynn graduated from high school and went to Ricks College, in Rexburg, Idaho. He was kept busy as a janitor before each day’s classes, starting his day at 4:00 a.m. He majored in mathematics but spent most of his time in the music department.    He was also the lead in the play, The King and I, where his performance was highly praised.

Lynn was known all his life for his beautiful, rich, trained tenor voice.  He has performed in many plays, and Christmas in Arbon Valley just wouldn’t be Christmas without hearing Lynn sing “O Holy Night” in his church sacrament meeting.

After a year at Ricks College, he went on an LDS mission to Australia, having many wonderful experiences. After his mission, he returned to Ricks College.  Ricks College was then only a two-year college, so after his second year, he transferred to Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho. “To help with expenses, I also drove school bus in Pocatello [and] the rest of my summers were spent on the farm. When winter set in I headed to town to find a job, usually driving bus.”

For most young men, meeting the love of your life is always memorable, and Lynn was no exception.  He met JoAnn Call in March 1973 and they were married in November that same year. “That winter I spent with my brother David in Montpelier building a house, seeing Jo on weekends. What a way to start a marriage.”

His bride might not have known what she was in for when she married an Arbon boy. “We moved to the farm for the summer [in 1974], living in a house the folks had moved out [from Pocatello] some years earlier. It was this spring that Jo was officially introduced to the farm by helping me deliver a calf. This was special because Jo was expecting our son, John. [He was] born September 15, 1974” (p. 35). (One wonders if the experience of delivering the calf was as wonderful for Jo…?). They added to their family until they were a family of seven, with John, Jenny, Jake, Joe, and Janae.

Arbon farmers often have to do a lot to make ends meet, especially when they are just starting out in life, with a young, growing family. “The next winter I spent working for Roto Rooter. Jo’s mom said she could smell me coming home from work a mile away.” Lynn also spent two winters running his brother David’s saw mill, and the following winter driving a fuel truck. In December of 1978 Lynn and Jo bought some cows and started living in Arbon all winter to keep them fed. “And so as spring breaks we start another year hoping for the right conditions that will bring the crops and money needed to continue our dream, to live and raise our family in the valley I love.” He and JoAnn have been called the “richest family” in Arbon for the fine family they raised. Today his son Jacob, the fourth generation Andersen in the valley, carries on the tradition of farming in Arbon Valley.

Sources:

Call, Laurie Jean, Bannock Valley (Providence, Utah: Keith Watkins and Sons, 1989).