A St. Johns wind started blowing Timothy Richard Udall home and by the early hours of a gentle spring morning on the Lord’s Day he left this world and his beautiful and faithful wife of 52 years, Maria Evangelina “Vangie”, to be with God who gave him life.
Tim was born to Gwendolyn Vivian and Raymond Keith Udall. The family was poor, but he considered himself fortunate to spend his formative years harvesting asparagus along the ditch banks of Fredonia, Arizona before he was planted and deeply rooted in the St. Johns soil of his forebears. Over the better part of forty-five years, Tim would grow to resemble the historic hundred-year-old elm tree on Main Street. What defined Elder Udall (served a two-and-a-half year church mission to Western Mexico as one of its first missionaries); Private/Specialist Udall (drafted into the U.S. Army at age 25 in the summer of 1968 and served two tours of active combat duty at LZ Sandy and Nha Trang, Vietnam); Mr. Udall (spent most of his forty years teaching in the third and fourth grades and influenced (taught) some 2,200 students who “graced” his classroom); and Brother Udall (friend and missionary to all - especially those outside of church) was what he did, not how and why. Once he figured out that everyone involved in combat returns home as “damaged goods” (his words), he spent the remainder of his life growing people and plants, including a "test" orchard of 300 apple trees with over 400 varieties. This “tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord” (Isaiah 61:3), was a strength to his family, community and country and under his branches ALL people - especially the forgotten and fatherless, the downtrodden and disillusioned, the misunderstood and marginalized, the widows and wanderers, the young and yearning - received Christ-like relief from the storms of life.
His wife, Vangie recalls him coming home from the Apache County Fair to locate clean underwear for a carnival worker, which he no doubt obtained from the local thrift store. His son, Pacer remembers a down-and-out single father and his son coming to the house in need of help. Tim put them to work with Pacer digging the foundation for an addition to our home. They then were treated to one of Vangie’s sought-after meals and given some money. His daughter, Tana remembers her own daughter going with grandpa (like she used to with her dad) to visit a woman who needed to tell her story. The granddaughter returned with edible lavender which she still makes into lemonade on special occasions. His newlywed daughter Leti ran into a man at church who asked if she was Tim Udall’s daughter. He said he joined the church because he remembered as a young boy that her dad went out of his way to take care of his divorced mother’s yard weekly. His youngest daughter, Lena remembers working on the farm and in the orchard was her special time with dad. One day Lena had to share her dad with a troubled, young boy who needed a father figure to spend time with and teach him how to work. YOU have your own personal story with him. His 4 children and 24 grandchildren invite you to share it with them.
A funeral service will be held Thursday, May 4, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. “right after school” at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints downtown chapel, St. Johns, Arizona, followed by interment with Military Honors at St. Johns Cemetery. In lieu of flowers the family suggests planting and growing someone on gospel sod like Tim always did.
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