Charles C. Esplin passed away on November 23, 2013 in Cedar City, Utah at age 95 after a long, full life. He was a remarkable man who will be greatly missed by his family and loved ones, but we celebrate a life well lived and take comfort knowing that he is now reunited with his wife, Leah, and his parents and family who went before.
Charlie entered this world with the help of a rural midwife at his grandparent’s home in Glendale, Utah while his father was serving in France in World War I. His parents were Grace Cutler Esplin and Charles H. Esplin and he married Leah Crofts on October 27, 1943.
He grew up as the eldest of seven children in a livestock-raising family. When Charlie was five-years-old, the family moved from Orderville to Cedar City in a pair of horse-drawn wagons. He grew up helping his father with the livestock business raising sheep on the family ranch at Clear Creek, just east of Zion National Park, and on the North Fork of the Virgin River, just below Navajo Lake. For many years he helped his father and the hired men trail the sheep in the fall from the summer range on North Fork to the winter range on the Arizona Strip, then back in the spring, an annual odyssey of about 250 miles. The family later changed to the cattle business, which he managed for nearly 50 years following his father’s passing. Charlie supported his family by working for the local power company for over 40 years, but his first love and all his spare time was always in the family cattle business.
Charlie was an active, athletic person, competing for the Branch Agricultural College (now SUU) in football, basketball, and track as a young man. He built the home he lived in for over 60 years and was physically active in riding horses, hauling hay, and other ranch work well into his 80s. He was a devoted son to his parents and a caring and responsible parent and grandparent to his children and grandchildren.
He was also deeply committed to his church, having served an LDS mission as a young man to the Eastern States Mission, married in the temple, and serving in pretty much every local LDS church assignment possible throughout his long life. The three things he cared most about in life were the ranch, the LDS Church, and his family. Charlie was a naturally reserved person, not given to telling stories or giving sermons. But he lived in such a way that his life itself was a sermon on honesty, integrity, hard work, and the acquisition of a reputation for character that serves as an example to his children and grandchildren.
Charlie is survived by his sister, Doris Esplin of Cedar City, daughter, Sharon Swenson, and son, Fred Esplin (Gerry), both of Salt Lake City, and grandchildren Eric Esplin (Irene Shen), Jason Esplin (Mandy Moore), Caitlin Swenson, Grant Esplin, Erin Esplin, all of Salt Lake City, and Jonathan Swenson (Alysen Pedersen) of Nephi, and eight great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by five siblings, his wife, and pretty much everyone else he knew. The family expresses appreciation to the staff of the Kolob Regional Care Center and Alliance Hospice for their attentive care during Charlie’s final time with us.
Charlie’s funeral will be held at the Cedar 14th Ward at 400 North 500 West in on Saturday, December 7th. Friends and family may visit Friday evening, the 6th, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Southern Utah Mortuary and Saturday morning, the 7th, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the church. Interment will be in the Cedar City Cemetery. Condolences may be posted on our website at www.southernutahmortuary.com. In lieu of flowers, please enjoy a hamburger, steak, prime rib, or a nice roast beef in honor of Charlie and the dwindling number of cowboys in the West.