Calvin Aaron Richards Obituary

A humble farm boy, veterinarian, husband, father, and grandfather. Calvin’s loss is felt by the many people he touched throughout his life. But like the morning rays he appreciated so much, his legacy lives on.

Calvin grew up on one of the original dairy farms in Farmington, Utah. His fourth-grade teacher instilled in him a love of reading and learning that served him his whole life. From a young age, Cal had a compassion for animals and a closeness to the spirit. His sister remembers finding Calvin kneeling down in the grain room praying for a sick cow to recover. Choosing to pursue a career as a veterinarian allowed him to combine his passion for science, animals, and service. Cal attended Davis High school where he enjoyed being part of FFA and was known by his classmates as a quiet leader and friend.

After serving an LDS mission in Paris, France, Calvin went to Utah State to obtain double degrees in Veterinary Science and Dairy Science. It was there that he met his Gospel Doctrine co-teacher Cheryl Jacobson, a ranch girl and Home Ec. student from Randolph, Utah. She soon became his sweetheart and wife. Days after they both graduated and blessed their first son, Jake, they moved to Corvallis, Oregon for vet school. Once residency was complete and he gained experience working at several clinics, his father Aaron financed the family farm to help them build Fairfield Veterinary Hospital in Layton, Utah.

As a veterinarian, he was more than a doctor but a gentle caretaker. His clients quickly became dear friends and particularly appreciated the kind way he took care and comforted their pets during the end of their lives. This service came full circle to Cal as he suffered in the final stages of mortality himself. A quote he often repeated was that “The good ones never last long enough.”

Calvin was a supportive and tender husband to his wife and love of his life, Cheryl. He was a proud father to Jake and Kori, Aubrey and Drew, Michelle and Luke, Dallin, and Austin. But his favorite role was being a Papa to his eleven grandchildren. They were his light and reason to press on. Each grandchild had a special and bond with their grandpa and each prayed for him daily. His youngest two grandchildren were announced just as he received his second liver transplant. Those babies served as treasured markers to him of the bonus time he was donated.

Cal had a quick wit and an always positive perspective. During his years of sickness, when asked how he was doing, his consistent answer was “Doing great, and getting better!” As the man who never quit, he insisted on being dropped off on his way home from the hospital for Friday afternoon basketball, volunteering to babysit between doctors appointments, and washing the Sunday dishes even when he just didn’t feel good.

Service wasn’t something Cal did, it was who he was. He followed the example of his parents in getting to sincerely know people and connect with them on their level. His service as Bishop of the Crestwood Ward was an opportunity he enjoyed as he got to know his neighbors and youth. Calvin had a gift for teaching the gospel both in front of a group and in how he lived his life. When he bore his testimony of Jesus Christ his deep conviction resonated with those who listened. We find comfort knowing he has now returned to live with Him.

Calvin was a scholar and was constantly learning. He loved science and history and had an incredible knack for picking out a good novel in a bookstore. He was intrigued by the life of Abraham Lincoln and those who served in World War II. Any spare minute he had allowed him to turn a few pages and immerse himself in another world.

Always climbing to be better, Calvin was a pillar of strength to many. He is affectionately known by his family as a “Mountain of a Man”. Hiking his beloved Adam’s Canyon and trails around the world provided solace and relief for him. Some of his favorite experiences were leading scouts, family and friends on adventures to appreciate God’s creations. Dad always taught us to look up, making it easy for us to know where to find him.

After 15 years with liver disease and two liver transplants, his body reluctantly gave up the fight, allowing him to be reunited with his father Aaron Richards, mother Jetta Richards, and younger sister Gloria Ann.

As a family, we celebrate his life. In his memory, we hope you will get outdoors, immerse yourself in a good book and share a warm hug and conversation with those you love.

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An opportunity to visit the family will be Wednesday, September 20th from 6-8 pm at the Lindquist Mortuary at 400 S Main St, Kaysville. The funeral will be Thursday, September 21st at 11:00 am with an opportunity to visit the family from 9:30-10:30 am at the Crestwood Chapel, 1059 E Crestwood Rd, Kaysville. Calvin will be laid to rest in the Farmington, Utah cemetery.

Special thanks are given to the Liver Transplant Team at the University of Utah Hospital for their excellent care and his two donors’ families for the gift of life. We encourage you to become an organ donor yourself at yesutah.org or your state’s registry.

 

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How to Give Up the Fight

Dad and I backpacking the Tetons. Our “Joy in the (brutal) journey trip.”

I asked my children about Papa and how he’s lived with his sickness and their quick responses were “He always fights!” , “He never gives up!”, “He never complains.”

And here we are, waiting for his body that has been through so much to finally give up. Dammit.

We are losing our rock, our example of meekness and tenderness, our brilliant dad to whom love and adventure came so naturally. We sing to him and tell him stories, promise him how we’ll care for our mom and each other and remind our minds of the beautiful moments we’ve shared.

But he’s still here, and we are here. The gravity that has so generously held him on this earth is weakening. His valiance is tangible in the air. Every thought and memory recalled of him admirable. His children are united together as dear friends in awe of their heritage. While leaving all this world has offered him, he is taking what matters most. 


The same forces we have petitioned and pleaded with to keep him here are now being summoned to take him home. His grandchildren will soon realize the giant hole in their lives and in their daily prayers when they will no longer sweetly plea “Please bless Papa to get better.” But those sweet children understand more than we do. Their Papa will get better when he’s free of the pain of this world. 

Dad on top of the Grand Teton, his 40th birthday celebration.


For years this great man conditioned his heart to climb mountains and connect with many souls. And when that good heart does finish its course I pray mine will have the peace and courage to continue on the trail.

 

 

 

To Give Without Constraint

I think the ability to give without constraint or expectation is one of the greatest qualities we can attain in life. 

And that explains both of my parents. My mom and dad are two of the hardest working people and the best examples I could ever ask for. Together they put themselves through vet school and built a successful veterinary practice in Layton. In addition to the financial support it provided our family, it was a place that served so many in our community and their loved animals.

My dad wasn’t very happy when I threw him a big retirement party and made this plaque for the clinic (he’s more of a “fade off into the sunset” kind of guy) but I’m glad we did.

Two months after his second liver transplant in 2015 we were in downtown Kaysville taking family pictures (celebrating him being HOME and looking great!) and I thought it was odd when my dad’s vet partner Alan came to sign some papers on the hood of his truck. We came back to their house to a beautiful lunch and he and my mom told us the news that he’d just signed on the sale of his clinic. It was such a blessing he was able to do that and focus on recovering and savoring time with his family. 

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As part of the sale, they told us, they’d set aside a chunk of money for each child. With the cutest smile on his face he told us “I want to give you this money so I can watch you enjoy it!” Nothing they have ever given has come with constraints or expectations attached. They viewed gifts as what they truly are, ways to express their love. 

That extra money was just the boost Luke and I needed to finish our basement after saving for years. We talked to our kids about how grateful we are and how we wanted to remember Papa and his work and sacrifice together. 

Together we built the “Papa Cal Library” under our basement stairs. A place we can always have, no matter where we go, to remember Papa’s example of always learning, always giving, and always being thankful. 

Two great years we were given since that transplant. Even though his health has deteriorated and the incurable side affects are taking over his body, we are thankful. 

The Papa Cal Library est. 2016

Madam Librarian Jetta got right to the checkout system.

I love both signs


On August 11, he was having a particularly good day. We made sure he came down again in our beautiful basement he’s loved enjoying with us. We watched Dallin’s play Little Mermaid, he stayed alert through the whole thing enjoying seeing his son so happy preforming on the big screen. Then we showed him the hand carved sign by Uniquely Jane we finally had made and installed in his library. We read stories to him, talked to our kids about how Papa always had a book in his pocket and his library checkout maxed. That brilliant mind may not be on this earth for long but I know that knowledge will go on to serve us on this earth and I believe in the next. 

No matter where we go this sign and stacks of books will always come with us to remind us all that this man provided. 

But for now, I’m mad.

Looking through posts from just a year ago and finding candid, typically beautiful moments with my dad scattered throughout has me grieving.

From one storyteller to another. #ourpapacal #rossluke #mybarber2016

From one storyteller to another. #ourpapacal #rossluke #mybarber2016


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The Calvin Richards Scholars Club. Today’s field trip taught this long line of kids about Davis County history, outdoor safety, avoiding rattlesnakes (including a real live demonstration! ??????), how to identify plants and insects, and mostly how to keep going when you really want go quit. #ourpapacal #themanwhoneverquits #mybarber2016


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My favorite picture I’ve been sent from the trip. It takes a lot to wear those girls out (especially the dramatic fake sleeper on the ground) but it doesn’t take much for my dad to break out a good book anytime. #laurelandava #spentlittleminnie #mybarber2016

Facing his liver failure head on is hard. Watching his body degress and his brilliant mind being taken from him is torturous. We knew it would be. We’re prepared, you could say. We’re tough, you know. We’re faithful, you better believe. But why?

I’ve written and shared how thankful we are for his life. For his organ donations allowing him 11 extra, priceless years. We are so grateful we got to celebrate his 60th birthday with him recently. I have shared about the many blessings we’ve received and the unity and love our family has gained from this trial. And that is all still true. But it does not make it easy.

A thought shared by many with the best of intentions about the heartbreak of a life ending prematurely is the notion that “They’re called to a higher purpose on the other side.” “Heavenly Father is sure filling callings with the very best right now.” I’m thankful this brings comfort to some. We all deal with trials and grief and pain differently.

To me, I see pain and sickness and death as a consequence of mortality. It’s what we signed up for. One thing you can count on in life is that it will be unfair and at times cruel. I do believe in a beautiful afterlife. I have a strong testimony of eternal families. I believe that my ancestors, my friends that have passed on, and my dad will all be doing important work in heaven. I believe they are still very involved in blessing our lives. I have some very personal experiences and faith in the resolution that will come after our time on this earth. And maybe when my heart softens past this stage I can open up about them.

But not right now.

I can’t think of a higher calling than being with your family on this earth. I see young parents taken early and wouldn’t dare devalue their work here by assuming there’s something better they need to get on to. Or when children die and babies are not allowed to join their family that desperately wants them. It’s heartbreaking and feels wrong. And I think my dad getting to stay with us longer and in good health to share his wisdom and knowledge, his genuine love, to teach and serve and read stories to his grandchildren yet to come would be a pretty important calling! The list of injustices goes on.

And somehow, in light of all that, the explanation I do resonate with is that we don’t get to choose. No one is exempt from the trials of this life. Ultimately and logically we all face the same destiny. It sucks and somehow the unfairness is comforting.

And maybe someday, years or eons from now, I’ll look back and realize the timing and the rightness in these things we don’t understand.

But for now, I’m mad.

 

 

Old Fashioned Parade

Of all of our parade pictures taken on the 4th of July, this one of me holding Cybil with the kids in front and behind is my favorite. Over the past 8 years, I’ve learned to do nearly everything with a baby on my hip, toddler in toe and and now big kids leading the way. Baby C needed some extra love as the parade started right at her nap time, so together we went. Being a mother has taught me how to be a part of something bigger than myself. Opportunities usually don’t come when it’s easy or when it’s convenient and we have the time, and don’t fall within our comfort zone. Making the decision to run for office certainly wasn’t any of those things for our family. But, sometimes in life we all find a way to pick the baby up, stand up a little taller, get to work and enjoy the ride!

And what a great ride the parade was. I’m so glad we chose to enter a campaign float. It takes a lot to literally put yourself out there in front of thousands of people in your city’s hottest and most anticipated event. The sense of community can’t be beaten. My only regret was not getting to see the rest of the parade. But from what I’ve heard it was awesome.

Parade Prep

 

 

Support

My mom and Aubrey spent a couple days sewing Barber Poles and banners for the float. You know we couldn’t resist a chance to capitalize on a theme! Luke jimmy-rigged, assembled and disassembled countless times.

The morning of I was walking the kids and my nephews over to meet Luke, just as I thought my arms would give out carrying the baby in her car seat, I heard “Hey, is that the Candidate Michelle Barber!?” and turned to see none other than our Big D, my favorite heavy-lifting brother, just at the exact moment I needed him! Always.

A few things my brother Jake loves are crowds, heat, and traffic (not!). And yet, there he and his wife Kori were, driving the mobile Barber Shop.

And it wouldn’t be one of our events without a bit of chaos. At the last minute, we realized the truck was on EMPTY (long story!). Luckily more supportive family lives nearby and I was overjoyed and laughed my head off when my uncle Kib showed up on his four wheeler with two tanks of gas, saving the day and earning his campaign hat!

My awesome cousin Karen and her family are the most supportive bunch of people ever. In spite of their car breaking down, they drove from Boise to see Dallin rock the part of Chef Louis in Kaysville’s Little Mermaid play, cheer us on in the parade and join our post-festivities party. (You know how those candidates are that import out-of-town supporters are! Haha.)

The list goes on, thank you to everyone who is there for us, cheers for us, and is willing to be part of this and every journey with us.

 

 

When I discussed running for city council with my dad I confided in him my hesitation to take on something big right now during this trying time with his health. Even though he is weak and no always himself he told me in no uncertain terms “When you feel a conviction, you go for it!” and that being able to watch me pursue this dream was the best thing for him. It means the world to have him and my mom and the rest of our family close. Being united together in a cause is maybe exactly what we need.

Parade

It was so fun walking the streets as a family, meeting many even for a moment.

This picture of Jetta and I made me laugh! I hope she’s always so happy to be with her energetic mother!

 

The best is that there’s no me or you, just us.

 

“Vote Michelle Barber!” repeated 1,000x.

 

Swag

Designing sweet swag is one of my favorite things. It was fun to see the cutest kids ever sporting our hats. The combs were a hit and I think the adults in the crowd liked that for once they were the target. And little Ross even dumped an entire 5 lb bag of candy in the middle of the road to some really lucky participants! (headshake) More swag available if you didn’t catch any.

     

It was a great day and a great push to our campaign leading up to the vote in the fall. #bethechangekaysville

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain of a Man

Happy 60th birthday to my dad!

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We’ve been anticipating this day for a long time. 60 isn’t very old, but it is a remarkable milestone in his life. Words can’t describe the gratitude we have for the miracle of having him here with us. We adjusted the celebration plans for his birthday this past Sunday, and it was exactly what we all needed. Because his health didn’t allow us to invite everyone for a big party, I’ve felt like I needed share in the wonderful feeling and tribute that day with our friends and family.

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To start with, it wouldn’t be one of our family’s celebrations without fantastic food and great company. My mom flew Austin in from working in New York for the weekend and he and his darling girlfriend Becca made the evening complete. We upped even our usual Sunday Dinner with all of us contributing, prepping and plating a fantastic meal on my mom’s 14′ table Jake custom made and surprised her with for Mother’s Day last year. With a catered lemonade stand in front, steak grilled to perfection, and a grandbaby on each side I think my dad was pretty well served.

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Thank you to all who shared memories, letters and birthday wishes for my dad. One of my gifts to him is compiling those thoughts into a book he and my mom can read as they’re home or as they wait at appointments and that we’ll treasure forever. It will never be too late to send an addition (to my email: barberbell @ gmail.com) to the ongoing collection. After we finished eating and the kids retreated outside I read a few of them, starting with one of my favorite funny stories.

We were living in Hess Farms and our house was two doors from the Church and I was was late as I walked down to the Church one Sunday and I met your Dad in the parking lot and I said to him…..”I live too far away to get here on time..what is your excuse?”…and he said to me without missing a beat…”I just washed my hair and I can’t do a thing with it!” -Dave Smith

Another fun one to share and to learn from was from my dad’s sister Eileen. She has always been one of my heroes, and I recognize my aspirations for serving my family and preserving our history more in her each day. She wrote a beautiful poem for my dad, with attributions to each memory. (See what I’m saying!)

 

The next part of the evening was my favorite. Aubrey had stayed at my house the entire week before to help and be with my dad. I really can’t say enough about how great she is (or about how nice it was to have another mom, friend, carpool driver and cook around the house!). She asked me to help her write a song for my dad. One night she couldn’t sleep and while she was awake she was inspired to write a beautiful framework for his song; “A Mountain of a Man”. She and I tweaked the words together and she worked her musical magic. It was a really neat experience for both of us seeing our talents and thoughts about our dad that we love and admire so much come together.

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Aubrey sat next to my dad and played the song for him. You can see from the video that he is very weak right now, but his gratitude and sweet disposition are unchanged. I could listen to her sing all day long and I know we have all replayed that song over and over this week.

Dallin helped Aubrey record the song later with just the audio that is easier to hear. It can be played and downloaded here.

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I put the words together to gave them to each of our family. A PDF that can be download here.

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I had completed a triathlon in Morgan, UT the day before and as I biked down East Canyon in those beautiful mountains I replayed and finalized the words in my mind, thinking about my dad and how he taught me to appreciate such beauty.

These two lines have been on my mind for a long time about my dad and I’m so glad to have them in his song.

Our dad is in the mountains, he’s in the breeze that blows

And when we are standing still, we always feel him close

We finished with eating his favorite carrot cake (with raisins! much to Dallin’s dismay) and a chocolate cake to celebrate Grant’s 12th birthday. Grant had been ordained a Deacon just before the party and I can’t think of a better gift to give his grandpa.

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I am so thankful for my dad’s 60 years. Looking forward to each day more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Barber for Kaysville

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If not me, then who?

I’ve always known I would enter the political scene. I’ve been active with Kaysville City for most of my life and my husband and I looked forward to the day I could run for city office. This year as I evaluated all that is at stake for our city, all the changes that I believe need to happen, the unity that needs to resolve our division, I was very interested in our candidates and their plans for leadership.

I’ve been privileged to get to know Katie for Kaysville, one of the four mayoral candidates. Katie has been instrumental in helping citizens like me become educated about what’s going on in the city through her Kaysville Condensed with Katie Witt recaps of city council meetings and city issues. One won’t need to spend long with her communications to realize there is much work to be done in Kaysville and that Katie is incredibly passionate and qualified for the role of our Mayor.

Upon talking to Katie at the final hour of the filing window I realized with the two open City Council positions there were only two declared candidates. That’s it! I was frustrated to realize they may run unopposed. In a city of our size, with the potential we have, this shouldn’t happen. I recognized the feeling I’ve had burning inside of me. I believe we’ve all felt the call to do more, to stand up, to be informed and to BE THE CHANGE. And at that final moment, I knew the time was right for me to throw my hat into the arena.And so I invite you to join me on this journey as I campaign for Kaysville City Council. I feel honored for the opportunity. Stay tuned as I will share more about myself, my plans on City Council and how I look forward to working together! See my Facebook page here.

 

#bethechangekaysville