John Orvil Hepworth
Aug 27, 1938 – July 11, 2022
John Orvil Hepworth, 83, of Hailey, ID passed away peacefully on July 11, 2022, at the home of his daughter in Boise after a long illness. He was under the care of Horizon Hospice Care.
John was born August 27, 1938, in a tent house in Wendell, ID. He was the second of five children born to Lydia & Samuel Squire Hepworth. He came in at a whopping 11 pounds and was delivered by a midwife in a tent at a labor camp after the Dr. fell asleep in his car and they couldn’t find him to deliver the baby.
John grew up in and around Jerome, Idaho and loved the outdoor life of hunting and fishing with his dad and brothers. He used to say that his dad could catch fish in a bucket. John attended schools in Jerome and Graduated Jerome high school, in1956. After Graduation, John enlisted in the US Navy, and entered the submarine service.
After attending sub school in New London, Conn. he returned to Idaho and in September 1958 married the love of his life Norma Jean Young.
John and Norma met while picking spuds together in 1954, and they dated throughout high school. They started their long journey together in Pocatello, while dad finished sub school in Arco, and shortly after moved to New London, Conn. where John served aboard the nuclear submarine USS Skate (SSN 578). During their time “back East” they welcomed their first of four children. Kenneth Allen was born in 1959.
Life was hard on a submariner’s family as in 1960 John was only in port for 67 days the entire year. After seeing what his absence was doing to his family, John finished his term and made the decision to get out of the Navy and was honorably discharged in 1961. They returned to Jerome, Idaho that year, and shortly thereafter welcomed their second son Marvin Douglas in 1962. During the next several years John worked summers for the US Forest Service at Fourth of July Ranger Station in Sawtooth Valley, a job he described as the best paid summer vacation you could ever have despite the hard work. Winters were spent in a little house in Jerome next-door to Norma’s parents. During the winter months John worked for P&E Concrete, and various other jobs. In 1963, Daddy’s little girl Jeanette Kay was born and has held her father's heart ever since. Their family became complete with the addition of Russell Todd in 1967. John received a permanent position with the Forest Service later that same year, and started his job in Hailey, ID. In October that year, the couple purchased their little two-bedroom house on Silver St, and after some growing pains and a lot of adding on, they raised their family in that home they still reside in today.
John was a Fire Behavior Officer for the Forest Service, and traveled all over the country fighting fires, and even spent time in Alaska during the Exxon Valdez Oil spill. When he was home, he commuted daily to the SNRA building north of Ketchum. He had countless friends who worked with him in Uncle Fuds service. He loved hunting and fishing with his sons and friends and extended family.
John retired from the Forest Service in 1994 after 33 years, however he found it hard to be away from his beloved forest, so he took a job as a campground maintenance worker in the Sawtooth Forest which he did for a couple of summers. He then took a job with the Wood River School district in 1997 and ultimately retired for good in 2003. It was during this time that John's health began to decline, and he endured the last 25 years of his life dealing with many medical issues and countless surgeries. Norma was his strength and support, as she became his primary caregiver, and never left his side attending to his every need. John and Norma recently celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary.
John was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and he and Norma were sealed to their family for time and all eternity in the Idaho Falls Temple in 1965. He held many positions in the church including 1st Counselor in the Bishopric, Sunday School President & teacher, and he loved his time in the Primary, as he had a very special place in his heart for children.
John was the last surviving member of his family and was preceded in death by his parents Samuel Squire and Lydia, his half-sister Leora, and brothers Harmon (Hap) & Mel, and sisters Ella and Illa. He was also preceded in death by a grandson Steven who died at birth.
He is Survived by his wife Norma, sons Kenneth Allen (AnnaB) of West Valley, UT, Marvin (Ann) of Idaho Falls, ID and Russell (Debbie) of Meridian, ID and Daughter Jeanette (Mitch) of Boise, ID. John and Norma have 11 grandchildren and will soon welcome their 14th great grandchild this week and recently found out that number 15 will arrive in January of next year.
There will be a viewing at the Wood River Chapel Funeral Home from 6pm-8pm on Friday July 15th and Funeral services will be held Saturday July 16th at the Hailey LDS Church at 11am, with a viewing 1 hour prior to the service. The burial will be in Hailey Cemetery.