Thursday, Feb 02, 2023

David Wayne Lusk

David Wayne Lusk and Bette Anne Neilsen Lusk

David Wayne Lusk was born 31 December 1919 in Malad, Idaho to parents David Thomas Lusk and Susannah (Annie) Bailey Lusk.  His grandparents on both sides were homesteaders and ranchers in Arbon Valley, Idaho. He was the fourth child in a family of seven.

Two of David’s brothers, Jim and Ralph, were actually his double cousins, as his mother Annie and their mother Erma were sisters, and his father David Thomas and their father Park were brothers.  Jim and Ralph’s mother Erma had died when they were very young, so their Dave and Annie raised them. David Wayne fit right in between Jim and Ralph, as Jim was eighteen months older than he was, and Ralph was six months younger than Dave.

According to his obituary, Dave lived all his life in Arbon Valley, taking over the ranch from his mother after his father’s death. He attended all eight grades at the Pauline Elementary School.

Dave related: “Us kids were like all the other kids in the Valley. We walked to school when it was dry, and rode horses or a sleigh in the winter. I guess I was just an average school boy. I didn’t care too much for school, but kinda liked things we did at noon and recess. Like snow-balling or spinning tops in the winter. I remember we couldn’t wait until the snow was gone so we could play marbles. Then when all the snow was gone we would play baseball, both the boys and girls played baseball. I remember when Mr. May was teaching, he took our ball team over to play Rockland, and they beat us 30 to 6” (Bannock Valley, p. 223).

“When we were kids we went to church and Primary, in a church house a mile west of our place. It was known as the Meadow Ward. We would go to church on Sunday in an old Model T Ford pickup. But on Primary day [which at that time was held on weekdays] we would walk or ride saddle horses. The Domans lived up the creek from us and sometimes Aunt Katie would bring their team and buggy and take us and her family to Primary. After Primary we would stop at home and make ice cream out of good homemade cream” (p. 223).

Like many children during that time period, formal schooling was at an end after the eighth grade. “After [our] school years was over we all stayed and helped run the ranch. There were seven of us kids, six boys and a girl. This was the good old days when you farmed with horses. We always had something to look forward to each morning and night – about twenty to twenty-five Holstein milk cows to milk by hand. We plowed with three bottom plows with eight horses on a plow. We used to plow about eighteen to twenty acres a day. In 1937 my dad traded the horses off on a Model M crawler tractor. That was quite a change. That tractor cost my dad $1,650 – a far cry [from] what one costs these days” (p. 223).

Dave married Bette Ann Neilsen on 14 April 1944 in Pocatello, Idaho. Bette was from “over the hill” in the next valley east of Arbon, a place called Hawkins Basin. Her parents were Mervin Lauritz Neilsen and Velda Elizabeth Brower.  She was the third child of six children in the family. To Dave and Bette, two boys and a girl were born – Steve, Susan, and David.

In his church, Dave served in many different capacities, including as branch president starting in 1967. Prior to 1968, church in the valley was not held in the winter, so he oversaw making the church building more amenable to winter meetings. One of his favorite callings was as nursery leader. “He especially loved teaching the children of the branch, and was proud of each of them as they grew up and continued their lives” (obituary). Betty also served as a stalwart member of her community and church.

In 1968, a neighbor, C.T. Hansen, had a bad tractor accident. He was in the hospital for over two weeks, and then was home on bed rest for another two weeks. “The good people of Arbon came and did his farming, seeding, summer fallowing and etc. Dave Lusk took over and he and his son and hired man…brought their big farm equipment and did all the planting and cultivating, [and] summer fallowing…I’m sure that was the first time our work was done earlier then it had ever been before” (Sadie B. Hansen, as related in Bannock Valley, p. 207).

According to Dave himself in 1980, when explaining his farm and ranch operation, he stated: “We raise Hereford range cattle, dryland wheat, wild and alfalfa hay, chickens, and have a milk cow,” (Bannock Valley, p. 223).

Dave loved his family, all animals, baseball, hunting, and fishing. He also loved his community. He served as chairman of the school board for many years. He also coached the Arbon women’s softball team for several years, and even after he was no longer the coach, he attended as many games as he could to show his continued love and support.

Dave died on 13 October 1991 at age seventy-one in Arbon. He was buried in the Arbon Cemetery.

His son and daughter-in-law, David N. and Helen Lusk, now run the ranch.


Ward, Laurie Jean, Bannock Valley (Providence, Utah: Keith Watkins and Sons, 1982).

The links provided here will lead to information for other family members.