09242017

FAB 50

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blair

 

Bust of Steve Young, by Blair Buswell

People magazine has its “50 Most Beautiful People,” and Forbes has its 500. Now Utah Valley Magazine has its “50 Most Fabulous People,” our list of locals who have much more than beauty, brains and brawn — they’ve got talent, character and a sense of community. Read on for a look at 50 fabulous people (in no particular order) — celebrities not included.

 

By Natalie Hollingshead

 

1  SHAUNA ROHBOCK

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Shauna Rohbock (right) with brakeman Valerie Fleming

The first time Shauna Rohbock got in a bobsled, it made her sick. The second time, her vertigo got better. And the third time she was hooked.

   “On TV it looks pretty smooth but it’s like being put in a garbage can and going down a hill,” Shauna says. “It’s pretty rough.”

Shauna was introduced to bobsled in 1999 while she was a track and soccer All-American at BYU. She began as a brakeman but moved to the driver’s seat in 2002.

In 2006, Shauna won a silver medal in bobsled at the Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy. She finished the 2006-2007 season with seven World Cup medals and last year she won eight second-place medals. Shauna is currently touring Europe with the U.S. World Cup team. An Orem native, Shauna is a member of the Utah National Guard and a former member of the San Diego Spirit of the Women’s United Soccer Association.

Ben Cahoon

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Cedar Hills resident Ben Cahoon is a Canadian Football League all-star.

Five-foot-nine, 188-pound Ben Cahoon can bench press 225 pounds nineteen times. And that’s not even his most impressive accomplishment.

For the past 10 years, the Cedar Hills resident has been an all-star receiver for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. So far in his career, he’s amassed 754 catches for 10,329 yards and 54 touchdowns.  He’s broken every receiving record in the history of the franchise and was recently voted by CFL fans as the No.1 Montreal Alouette player of All-Time. He led his team to a Grey Cup Championship in 2002, and the following year he was awarded the Grey Cup Most Outstanding Player even though his team did not win — impressive stats for an “undersized” athlete who began his career as a walk-on at Ricks College in Idaho and later transferred to BYU.

“My goal was always to be able to play at BYU, so that was a dream come true for me when that happened,” Ben says. “I would’ve never thought that I would play for 10 years, and it’s been a pretty fun thing for us.”

Ten years is considered a lengthy career in football, and Ben says he’d like to “get out before I limp out.” He’ll give the team one more season and then plans on becoming more involved in his real estate company.

 

3 SHERRI HAAB

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Crafty doesn’t even begin to describe Springville resident Sherri Haab.

Sherri is the author of 21 books on crafting for adults and kids. Several of her books have sold more than a million copies, including her first book, “The Incredible Clay Book.” 

A frequent guest on HGTV’s “The Carol Duvall Show,” Sherri has written about making jewelry with clay, resin, metal, macramé and mixed media. Her books have won numerous awards, including the Parent’s Choice Award and Award of Creative Excellence from Craftrends Magazine. Sherri even has her own product line.

“It’s funny, I’m known all over except for in my own stomping ground,” she says.

Now you know her.

 

4 James Oneil Miner

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James Oneil Miner has been playing piano for more than 50 years, starting with lessons with his twin brother at age 9. When he was finally allowed to quit (after his LDS mission) he was too hooked to give it up.

James spent his career as a management trainer for such companies as Franklin Covey. He served one term as Utah County Commissioner in 1984. Although James integrated music into his seminars whenever possible, he didn’t record his first CD until 1997.

“It’s what I laughingly call a ‘Miner’ miracle,” he says.  James has recorded 12 albums, performed in 12 countries and 39 states. Last year, he put on 80 concerts. He plans to release a new CD this spring.

Jared Murillo

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So you think you can dance? Or sing? Mapleton’s Jared Murillo can do both.

The 19-year-old was hand-picked by executives at Warner Bros. Records to be a cornerstone for their new boy band, The Factory. It was Jared’s work in Disney’s “High School Musical” and “High School Musical 2” that caught their attention.

Jared was one of eight principal dancers in High School Musical, filmed in Salt Lake City. The director was so impressed with Jared’s performance that he invited the teenager to be an assistant choreographer for the show’s American tour. He was hired as a full-time assistant choreographer for the sequel and that’s when Warner Bros. came calling, says dad Alex Murillo.

“Being a Mormon boy in Hollywood, that already sets him apart,” Alex says. “But the way he behaves — he is a hard worker, a self-starter — you can’t put a price tag on that.”

One of seven children, Jared trained at the family dance studio, nationally-acclaimed Center Stage Performing Arts Studio.

The Factory recently wrapped their first album and will be heading on tour in July. And sorry, girls, Jared is taken. He has been dating “High School Musical” star Ashley Tisdale for a year and a half.

6. Nicole Hill

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When Nicole Hill first began her blog, she didn’t intend for people to read it.

“I actually wanted to get rid of the stickie notes I had everywhere,” says the 22-year-old, who blogs on www.nicolehill.blogspot.com.

But hundreds of people starting reading the blog anyway, and now more than 1,200 visit the blog daily to check out the site — called “A Little Sussy” — and the little lovelies she posts daily.

A professional photographer by trade, Nicole blogs about everything from clothes to children’s photography to cooking. The last topic is where her culinary training is indispensable.

Nicole grew up in Orem and graduated early from Orem High School. 

   She attended the Brooks Photography Institute in Santa Barbara and the French Culinary Institute in New York and graduated from both by age 20.

 

7 Hesther Rippy

Hesther Rippy moved to Lehi from Texas 23 years ago so she could spoil her grandchildren. But her maternal influence has shaped hundreds more lives than she ever imagined.

Hesther is the full-time volunteer director of the Lehi-Rippy Literacy Center, an organization she has worked tirelessly to build and promote. Through her efforts, and those of her late husband, the literacy center has helped more than 10,000 students and adults break the cycle of generational illiteracy. 

The center started in an 8-by-9 foot closet and is now housed in its own wing at the Lehi City Library. Nearly 300 volunteers tutor the students (ages “4 to 104,” Hesther says), in anything they want to learn.

“If anybody wants to learn anything we will find someone who wants to teach to them,” Hesther says.

In 2007, Hesther received the $10,000 Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education and was honored in October as a “Women of Worth” by L’Oreal Paris.

 

8 Lois Stout

The sound of students tuning their instruments is music to Lois Stout’s ears. And she’s been hearing that sound all her life.

Founder and conductor of the Timpanogos Chamber Orchestra, Lois has spent a lifetime working as a violinist, conductor and educator.

She started the Timpanogos Chamber Orchestra after “retiring” to Alpine and seeing a need for an orchestra to help the area’s gifted young musicians.

Lois spent the bulk of her career in Washington, D.C., where she performed with celebrities such as Bob Hope and Red Skelton, the Carpenters and Sammy Davis, Jr. 

 9. Jennie Creer-King

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Ballerina Jennie Creer-King is good on her toes.

A third-generation Spanish Fork resident, Jennie was trained locally and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in dance performance and teaching methods from the University of Utah. She danced professionally with Ballet West and Oregon Ballet Theatre in Portland.

She retired from professional ballet before the birth of her first child (she now has three: ages 8, 4 and 1) and became an assistant professor of dance at BYU. It was there that she developed her love of creating storybook ballets, a passion she shared with hundreds of elementary school children during her tenure as Mrs. Utah United States from 2005-2006.

In 2004, Jennie transitioned from teaching university students to school-age children by opening her own studio, the Classical Ballet Academy in Provo. She still choreographs by commission for the University of Utah, and in February her original ballet “Hansel and Gretel” premiered at the Covey Center for the Arts in Provo.

 

10 PAM ROBINSON

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Highland resident Pam Robinson’s got soul. And she wants to help others get in touch with theirs.

Owner and director of the Institute of Healing Arts, Pam’s mission in life is to liberate the soul; to help people come to the truth about who they are and what they are really capable of doing, she says. “Sometimes our belief systems get in the way or sabotage us,” she says. “When we clear all that out, we have greater energy, are less burdened, less stressed and because of that we have greater health.”

Pam was introduced to the power of emotional healing while dealing with a personal trauma that left her depressed and unconnected with herself. Four years after her own emotional healing, in 1999, she started the institute so she could share the “lightness” she now feels.

Pam chronicled her story in “The Bright Red Bow” and has created a course to teach others her technique.

 

11 DAN HIGGINSON

Salem’s Dan Higginson leads a double life: founder of Synergy Worldwide by day, philanthropist by night.

When he’s not pushing his company to new levels of success, he’s organizing projects such as Koins for Kenya, Winter Warmth Drive, the Save the Amazon initiative, or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation “Walk for a Cure.”

Dan and other Synergy distributors have raised thousands of dollars for nonprofits. The giving is part of Synergy’s guiding philosophy of giving back.

 

Larry Sagers’ thumbs are greener than most.

This constant gardener has loved plants and plant care since childhood. He never anticipated horticulture as a career, but it only took one plant propagation class at BYU to change that.

   “I never dreamed that I would do it for a living, but I found I just loved to do it,” Larry says.

After graduating from BYU, Larry completed a master’s in plant science at Utah State University. Larry has hosted a radio show on KSL for 24 years and written a column about gardening for the Deseret Morning News since 1989. The horticulture education director at Thanksgiving Point, Larry and his wife guide groups on garden tours throughout North America.

 

13 SAM DELIS

Are you being served? Perhaps, if Sam Delis is around.

The Saratoga Springs man was honored by President George W. Bush in 2007 and given the highest level of the President’s Volunteer Service Award. 

The president presented him with a pin and gave him a handshake for his efforts coordinating the thousands of volunteers who helped Hurricane Katrina evacuees at Camp Williams.

14 VAL HALE 

Call him Mr. Higher Education.

Advancement vice president at Utah Valley University, Val Hale oversees all of the institution’s external operations: marketing, public relations, fund-raising, media relations and alumni.

Although he’s been with UVU just over three years, his influence on the state school has been profound. Val helped influence a unanimous vote at the state legislature in favor of UVSC becoming a university. Most of his time is spent working on the transition from UVSC to UVU, which will become official on July 1.

“I feel like I’m on top of a surfboard right now going down at 80 miles per hour,” Val says. “It’s a thrilling ride.”

Val worked at BYU for 22 years before joining the administration at UVU.

15 JADEN BLISS

Jaden Bliss is proud to be an American.

So proud, in fact, that she was compelled to write her own patriotic songs when only 10 years old. Her first song, “God Bless Our Soldiers Tonight,” won a contest at Eagle Crest Elementary in Lehi. Together with her dad, Jaden wrote five more songs and put them on a CD. She went door-to-door selling her albums and donated the $1,350 she made to the Children of Fallen Soldiers Fund and Freedom Alliance.

Jaden was honored at the 2007 Freedom Festival and was the first child to ever receive a Freedom Award.

16  DR. RUSSELL CLARK

  At 107, Dr. Russell Clark knows a lot about longevity.

One of the oldest Utahns in the state, the longtime Orem resident has reached his venerable status by relying on optimism, exercise and hard work. And by hard work, we mean he’s never stopped working.

In 2003, Dr. Clark was honored as “America’s Oldest Worker.” He spent most of his life working as a physician and a surgeon. When he retired from medicine at age 83, he became more involved in overseeing his diverse real estate holdings — an interest sparked by his 1948 purchase of a clinic and hospital in Artesia, Calif.

Near the beginning of his career, a young Dr. Clark was on call on Feb. 14, 1929, at a Chicago hospital when Al Capone’s gang hit Bugs Moran’s gang, killing seven men at a warehouse. The incident became known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

17   KERRY DOWNS

AP English teacher Kerry Downs is a legend at Orem High School.

Demanding, yes, but inspirational and caring as well, Mr. Downs has helped hundreds of teenagers reach their potential — and pass the advancement placement test, too.

The teacher has become so legendary that nearly 300 past-and-present students have formed a page on social networking site Facebook in his honor.

18  CARL HERNANDEZ 

Newly elected councilman Carl Hernandez is getting a lot of attention for the new look he’s brought to the Orem City Council. Carl is the first minority candidate to be elected to the council — in fact, city records show he and fellow candidate Tom Sitake were the first minority candidates to ever run for city office. A graduate of BYU, Carl is assistant dean at the J. Reuben Clark Law School. Prior to his appointment there, Carl worked as a city attorney in Bakersfield, Calif., and as a deputy city attorney in Visalia, Calif.

19, 20, 21  MATTHEW, EMILY AND AUBREY TAYLOR 

The three children of Lane and Patty Taylor aren’t afraid to speak up — especially in front of the crowd. Matthew, Emily and Aubrey Taylor are youth storytellers who have spun their tales at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Aubrey, 12, has been telling tales on stage since the second grade, while Matthew, 8, has told stories at the festival for three years. Emily, 10, has joined them for the past two years. Their little sister, Brynna, 4, can’t wait to join them.

19th Annual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival: Aug. 28-30,2008

22, 23  Jean Dixon Elliot and Jane Petty

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The women that make up Jean’s Golden Girls may be grandmas, but their dance moves can put their teenage counterparts to shame.

The well-known dance troupe — comprised exclusively of women ages 50 to 91 — hasn’t let age get in its way. In fact, members are proud to boast about their numbers.

Founder and director Jean Dixon Elliot started the over-50 dance group 10 years ago to help speed her recovery from a knee injury. She’d been teaching dance for years but thought a class filled with other “golden” ladies would be a great source of motivation to all. When she started, the Golden Girls were only 16 strong; now, Jean teaches more than 100 grand dames. Together, the Golden Girls tour the country performing their signature moves on basketball courts and cruise decks nationwide.

“Everywhere we go, we get a standing ovation because we’re unique,” Jean says.

The crowd goes especially wild when 91-year-old Jane Petty does her solo, complete with high kicks over her head and the splits.

The Golden Girls have performed their country-western, tap, jazz and disco numbers for the Utah Jazz, the L.A. Clippers and the Sacramento Kings. They performed every day during the 2002 Olympics, have danced on a Royal Caribbean cruise and even made an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. 

“Once we go someplace they always want us back,” Jean says.

 

24  Rod Morley

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Rod Morley (left)

Rod Morley began his part-time auto-racing career in 2003, but if you ask his mother and the county sheriffs’ office, they might say he started car racing much earlier.

“They would say I began the second I got my driver’s license at 16,” Rod says.

There may be a discrepancy about when his auto career began, but there’s no disputing his accomplishments. As a road racer – which features tracks with long straights and tight, hairpin turns – Rod has grabbed 14 checkered flags, eight track records and a second place finish in the Sports Car Club of America National Championships. 

A race car driver by night, Utah County entrepreneur by day, Rod is the president and founder of Axiom Financial, a mortgage lending company with branches statewide. Rod created his first company at age 18 and his second at age 22. Prior to forming Axiom, Rod managed a consulting team that advised several Fortune 500 companies.

 

25 MARK HAYES

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Elementary school teacher Mark Hayes brings history to life. For the past five years, this teacher at Central Elementary School in Pleasant Grove has hosted a three-day reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg for fifth-grade students.

The theatrical affair includes costumes, props, music and narration and always draws a crowd. And, more importantly, the real-life scenarios bring history to life and have created history buffs out of formerly disinterested students, says Shauna DeBuck, former PTA President at the school.

“It’s really amazing the way he can turn history into real life, not just something in a book,” Shauna says. “So many students have been completely turned on to history and what’s happening in the world around them because of this event.”

 

26  Ralph Yarro

Five years ago, Ralph Yarro was forever changed when he read a newsmagazine article detailing the human trafficking and pornography trade in the United States.

“It carved a line in my very core and soul that I couldn’t escape from,” he says. “I decided right there and then that I had to do something. I had to do more.”

So the former CEO of Canopy Group and current president of Think Atomic started the CP80 Foundation. The foundation’s solution to the problem of Internet pornography is called the CP80 initiative.

Under the initiative, all content on the Internet will be categorized in a way similar to cable television, with different ports operating like different channels. It will give Internet users a choice of whether they want access to adult content on their Internet connection.

The CP80 Foundation is working to pass state initiatives in several states, including Utah, and hopes to launch a piece of federal legislation in April.

 

27  Cheri Maude

Hello, Dollies!

Cheri Maude, Alpine resident, is the creator of Ginger Brook Hollow, a collectible line of dolls that includes storybooks about seven orphan girls and a grandma, matching dolls, clothes and their many accessories.

Unlike their porcelain counterparts, Ginger Brook Hollow dolls are designed for play that is shared across generations: between mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters, sisters and friends.

28  Stephen Studdert

Washington insider and Utah Valley native Stephen Studdert recently added one more title to his resume: author.

Stephen, a former senior White House adviser to Presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, released his book, “America in Danger,” in January. The book draws upon his extensive experience in the White House and abroad as a United Nations delegate to outline 10 national and international situations with the potential to cause serious social, emotional, financial and even physical damage to the American people.

 

29 CHERIE CALL

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She’s known as the girl with the guitar. Singer/songwriter Cherie Call has been charming people nationwide with her brand of inspiration folk music ever since the release of her first album in 1997.

That album, “Taken,” and her subsequent two albums helped this Spanish Fork woman realize her dream of being a singer and songwriter. 

“I started writing songs when I was 12 or 13 years old,” Cherie says. “I didn’t pick up a guitar until I was in college … and it opened up a whole new world of songwriting.”

In 2001, Cherie was added to the Deseret Book lineup. She has released three CDs under that label.

Cherie’s work has won numerous PEARL awards, including Contemporary Album of the Year, Inspirational Song of the Year and Songwriter of the Year.

30 Daniel Bolz

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Photo by Kenneth Linge Photography

Daniel Bolz is working on a monumental task — literally.

The Payson man is president and CEO of the Statue of Responsibility Foundation, an organization that would like to erect a counterpart to the Statue of Liberty somewhere on the West Coast. At 300 feet tall, this counterpart — called the Statue of Responsibility, crafted by Springville sculptor Gary Lee Price — would stand as high as Lady Liberty and be an equally visible representation for the freedom-lovers around the world, Daniel says.

“Only by balancing liberty with responsibility can freedom be sustained,” he says.

The foundation plans to raise $5 million in 18 months. In all, Daniel estimates the project will cost around $300 million. 

 

31 Olivia Petty

When we say Pleasant Grove’s Olivia Petty is the funniest kid around, we’re not joking. At age 10, Olivia was officially dubbed “Utah’s Funniest Kid” at the Utah State Fair. Olivia earned the moniker by singing a self-mocking song about her dental retainer. The song won her a spot at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus street parade.

 

32 Ben Cook

Ben Cook has fast fingers — fast enough, at least, to earn him a world record for text messaging.  

This Provo teen set his first record on Nov. 16, 2004, while on the air at KUTV. Only 17 years old at the time, Ben keyed a 160-character Guinness-mandated phrase in a blazing 57.5 seconds. The record was beaten shortly after by a woman in Singapore but reclaimed by Ben on July 29, 2006. This time, he typed in the tongue-twisting phrase in 42.22 seconds. A 16-year-old in Singapore broke that record, but Ben regained the title on Dec. 16, 2006 by texting the phrase in 41 seconds. 

33 Kent Andersen

Six years ago, chef Kent Andersen transformed an empty baronial structure on State Street in Orem into one of the state’s most talked-about restaurants: The Chef’s Table. 

Applying French cooking methods to American seasonal produce, Kent produces a new menu five times a year that continues to please his large base of culinary fans. The chef’s personalized service (he knows many guests by name) and perfect pairings (the restaurant received a Zagat rating of “excellent”) keeps local foodies coming back.

Before striking out on his own, Kent worked on the banquet staff at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. He has also worked at the Ritz-Carlton in Boston.

 

34  Mary Louise Zeller

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  Mary Louise Zeller started taekwondo a mildly depressed, 46-year-old housewife who was 25 pounds overweight. Now 64, the Sundance resident is a fifth-degree master taekwondo instructor and 17-time U.S National and seven-time international gold medalist in Olympic sport Taekwondo. 

Dubbed the “Ninja Grandma,” Mary Louise still competes nationally and internationally and operates her own studio, World Class Taekwondo, in Orem.  She recently co-authored a book, “Secrets of the Fountain of Youth,” where she details her involvement in “youthing,” or the art of growing younger.

 

35 Pat Davis

Legendary Heritage Center Stage Director Pat Davis has been in show business in some form or another since she was 16 years old.

A writer, actress, entertainer, singer and director, Pat is the former founder and executive director of the Salt Lake Community College Grand Theatre. 

Pat, a member of the Heritage School Governing Board of Trustees, has directed musical productions at Provo’s Heritage School as well as more than 200 major musicals and plays. 

Among her awards are a 1991 Utah Honors in the Arts, 1996 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at SLCC and 1996 Salt Lake County Utah Business Woman of the Year.

 

36  Roseann Gunther

    If there is a humanitarian project happening in Utah Valley, there is a good chance RoseAnn Gunther is involved.

For the past 13 years, RoseAnn and her group of volunteers have been manufacturing school, newborn and hygiene kits for many small charities. In one year, they have been known to assemble more than 65,000 kits. The group has also started making safe birth kits, which include a piece of plastic so women in impoverished nations can give birth on something other than dirt.

RoseAnn has also volunteered her time with the American Fork Literacy Center and various humanitarian projects for the LDS Church. 

In 1999, RoseAnn was one of six Utahns given a Red Wagon Award for outstanding volunteer work. She is also being recognized in an exhibit at the LDS Museum of Church History and Art as the original founder of the humanitarian kits that are now provided by the Church in worldwide relief efforts.

37 Douglas Warren

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Douglas Warren made a career out of business consulting, but the Provo man is now making a name for himself as an author.

Doug began his career as a quality consultant in 1969, after serving in the military and a brief stint in politics. He joined a firm that installed improvement programs, then formed his own firm and provided business development consulting and developmental research. After excelling in those fields, Doug decided to concentrate his time on discovering how the human mind produces improvements. His book, “Mind Over Time,” is a result of that focused effort.

 

38 Zack Wilson

There must be something in the water at Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Orem.

Zack Wilson, of Saratoga Springs, is the latest Center Stage dancer to grab the national spotlight on network TV. A former member of BYU’s Young Ambassadors, the 25-year-old recently danced his way to victory on ABC’s new reality show, “Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann.”

Zack has been engaged – twice – to fellow Center Stage dancer Julianne Hough, who has won “Dancing with the Stars” — twice.

 

39 Karl Engemann

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Karl Engemann and his wife, Gerri, have seen all sides of the entertainment industry.

 

Provo’s Karl Engemann is like the Wizard of Oz.

“He is the man behind the scenes running everything,” says colleague Lisa Hatch.

Karl, the long-time manager of local sweetheart Marie Osmond, quietly makes things happen. Big things.

Bitten by the music bug while attending BYU, Karl turned down a business alliance with best buddy Jon Huntsman, Sr., to pursue a career in entertainment. He started at the bottom at Capitol Records but quickly worked his way up and helped launch bands such as The Lettermen and The Beach Boys. Karl was at the helm of Capitol when The Beatles received their first Grammy and because they weren’t in the country to receive it, Karl accepted it in their stead.

He left California for Utah to help the Osmond family manage their careers and has been Marie’s right-hand man for more than 30 years.
Karl is also father to country music singer Shawn King and father-in-law to CNN’s Larry King. 

 

40 SHARLENE BEHUNIN

When Sharlene Behunin heard that Provo’s Neighborhood Housing Services was looking for a new leader, she jumped at the opportunity. She wanted to be involved in the turnaround for the nonprofit, which works as part of the larger NeighborWorks organization. 

Within 18 months, she had guided the NHS through three home rehabilitation projects and had completed the long-awaited Franklin Common Project, which brought 17 new homeowners to Provo’s Franklin neighborhood.

Since then, Sharlene has continued to head up “extreme makeovers” while also pitching in to make service projects such as Pride in Provo and Paint Your Heart Out come to fruition.

 

41 Katie Millar

Katie Millar made headlines last year not for baring it all, but for covering up her assets.

The Miss Utah 2007 was the only woman in last year’s Miss America competition to sport a modest, one-piece swimsuit during the physical fitness portion of the contest.

The Highland native also wore a dress that wasn’t low cut, wasn’t slit and was stitched up in the front where it crisscrossed.

Her modest wares didn’t win her a prize, but it did win over the hearts of fellow beauties who were impressed Katie stuck with her standards.

 

42 David Nemelka

When Mapleton’s David Nemelka gets behind a cause, you better believe he’s going to stick with it. After family members and a neighbor died because they couldn’t get organs donated, David started the Gift for the Quest of Life Foundation to push for improvements in the organ donation system.

Thanks in part to David’s initiative – which included appearing before the state legislature – Utah became one of the first states to offer organ donation programs in the workplace and a donor registration system that is legally binding at the time of death (which relieves family members from making decisions.)

David’s health has kept his foundation from moving forward in recent years, but, thanks to his start, other groups have followed his lead.

43 Derryl Yeager

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There is no question Derryl Yeager, artistic director of Salt Lake City’s Odyssey Dance Theatre, is a dance industry insider.

Derryl started his dancing career in 1973 when, at the age of 18, he joined Ballet West. Thirty-five years later, Derryl is still in the middle of the world of dance.

The Orem resident is a film, TV and Broadway veteran who has performed in dozens of high-profile productions, including “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “Staying Alive” with John Travolta. On Broadway, Derryl danced in “A Chorus Line,” “Dreamgirls” and “Cats.”

He’s spent plenty of time in the director’s seat, working dozens of shows including the Tuacahn Amphitheatre productions of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Oklahoma” and “Cats.”

Odyssey Dance Theatre, which is Derryl’s dynamic dance company, has garnered plenty of national and international attention since it began 13 years ago. The company’s annual Christmas, Halloween and spring concerts sell out every year, and demand for the dancers has spread beyond the state. The company tours annually to Europe and in 2007, made its New York debut.

 

44  Carol Lynn Pearson

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   Author Carol Lynn Pearson doesn’t shy away from tough topics. In fact, out of the more than 40 books, plays and other works she’s produced, the ones she’s proudest of address topics that were, at the time, taboo.

“I think the things that have changed people’s lives the most are the things that, of course, I am most pleased with,” says Carol, who grew up in Provo. “My work on behalf of gay people and their families and on behalf of women.”

Her classic novel, “Goodbye, I Love You,” first published in 1986, tells the story of her marriage to a homosexual man.

 

45  BLAIR BUSWELL

 

Athletes are known more for their brawns than their brains. But former BYU running back Blair Buswell is known for his busts — sports busts, that is.

The highly acclaimed Alpine artist has been sculpting busts for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for more than 25 years. Every year, he sits down with new inductees to take their measurements and snap photos, and he puts them at ease by talking sports.

“It’s kind of a unique combination,” Blair says. “It puts them at ease right off.”

In addition to the 70 life-sized busts he’s created over the years, Blair’s monuments and other works are on display throughout the country. For the past six years, Blair has been creating a wagon trail that will span an entire block in downtown Omaha, Neb. 

“I’m about halfway through,” he says of the monumental project. “Mount Rushmore doesn’t come along very often, and so I bit the bullet and decided to go for it.”

 

46 JANIE THOMPSON

Provo’s Janie Thompson is a Living Legend.

After all, the 86-year-old founded the BYU performing troupe of the same name (then called the Lamanite Generation) and developed the Young Ambassadors while she was a member of the BYU music faculty.

Janie started her singing and performing career attending BYU in the early 1940s.  After graduation, she headed to San Francisco and got a job singing for GIs with the Civilian Actress Technician Service. She toured with the group in Europe and sang with young soldier Tony Bennett (yes, the Tony Bennett) and big names like Ike Carpenter. 

 

 

47 NOELLE PIKUS-PACE

Not many people can keep pace with Noelle Pikus-Pace. A skeleton racer with the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, Noelle is one of the best in the world at her sport.

She was introduced to skeleton during her junior year at Mountain View High School.

“Every season, every race that I did I just kept getting better and better,” Noelle says. “That was when I realized I could compete with a higher caliber of athletes.”

Noelle joined the World Cup team and won her first gold medal in a World Cup race in 2004 when she was only 20 years old. She captured two additional gold medals that season and was ranked No.1 in the world when a freak accident at the Olympic trials left her with a broken leg.

Unable to compete, Noelle took a year off but returned in 2007 and won the world championships. Noelle gave birth to her first daughter in January but will be back in the races at the end of March.

While pursing her skeleton career, Noelle also attended the University of Utah and UVSC, where she graduated with a degree in community health and competed with the track and field team.

 

48 Patti Richards

Patti Richards isn’t afraid to get out in the wild. Patti is one of a handful of practicing wildlife rehabilitators in the state. Responsible for wildlife efforts in Utah, Juab, Summit and Wasatch Counties, Patti rescues more than 200 animals every year. After rehabilitating the animals — mainly golden and bald eagles, hawks and owls — Patti releases them back into the wild.

Operating out of a rehabilitation center in Palmyra, Patti provides presentations to organizations like the Sundance Nordic Center and Thanksgiving Point.

   On March 22, Patti will be releasing a Golden Eagle named “Isis” at Camp Williams in honor of the Utah soldiers who have died in combat.

 

49 Chris Fogt

Alpine’s Chris Fogt is one of three U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation team members from Utah County. A newcomer to bobsledding, Chris was recruited into the sport in the summer of 2007. He made the World Cup team his rookie year as a push athlete. Chris ran track at UVSC, where he set an indoor record in the 100-meter sprint (10.53 seconds) and in the 60-meter dash (6.92 seconds).

 

50 Michelle Glasgow

Michelle Glasgow isn’t a heavyweight, but you’d be surprised at how much power her teenage biceps pack.

An 11th-grader at Provo High, Michelle is an avid ballroom dancer and nationally-ranked weightlifter who has been lifting weights since she was 8. Michelle began competing in 2005, and in 2006 she won a gold medal for the best female lifter at the Pam American Sub 15 Weightlifting Championships. She lifted 58 kilograms in the snatch and 77 in the clean and jerk.

Since then, Michelle has set state records, won the USA Weightlifting National School-age Championships and increased her personal best to around 140 kilograms.   UV

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