-- By Jane W. Topham
This month we are spotlighting a very prominent couple of Salem, Stephen M. and Linda B. Rees. Stephen’s parents, Spencer and Luzenia Rees, lived in Loa, Utah and he was born in Salina where the nearest hospital was located. Linda’s parents, Floyd and Lois Bonner, lived in Midway, Utah and she was born in Heber, which was the nearest hospital. Stephen was the oldest of four boys and two girls. Linda was the fourth child of three boys and three girls. Stephen’s youngest sibling, Sterling Rees, currently serves on the Salem City Council., and his mother also lives in Salem. Growing up Stephen was on the school baseball, wrestling and track teams. He played the tuba and baritone in the school band and sang in the school choir. Linda played the piano, organ, played softball, and was Rodeo Queen for the Heber Valley Rodeo. She liked horses and was a “Tom Boy”. Linda said she would rather be out with her Dad and the horses than doing house work.
Stephen and Linda both attended BYU. They didn’t know each other but both wanted to do something different for the summer so they signed up to work at a resort at Jacobs Lake, Arizona. There was a motel, cabins, restaurant and gas station. Stephen worked at the gas station and Linda worked in the office. Stephen said Linda’s boyfriend took her down there to work for the summer not knowing he was delivering her right into Stephen’s hands. They became friends and enjoyed walking out through the trees and watching the moon come up. They both were raised on a farm so they had similar backgrounds. They were married in December 1968. They have two boys and three girls: Scott (Amy), Orem; Mike (Amber), St. George; Jennifer (Kelly) Nielsen, Salem; Michelle (Chauncy) Thornton, Salem; and Angela (Rhett) Chambers, Salem. They have 18 grandchildren who are all special friends with each other.
Stephen and Linda both graduated from BYU about 5 months after being married. He was in the medical field and Linda got her masters in Business Education. Stephen was drafted shortly after they were married. He served two years in the Army; one year was in Viet Nam. While he was in Viet Nam, Linda moved to Heber with her parents and their first son was born here. Linda taught school in Heber and was the Drill Team Advisor. They were doing a fund raiser and unbeknownst to Linda they had arranged to fly Stephen from his base in Washington to Heber. They did a “This is your Life” story for Linda, and out pops Stephen from a box. What a thrill!! They were able to spend a couple of days together. After Stephen was discharged from the Army they went to medical school at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. While in North Carolina Linda worked in the Admissions Office of the School of Medicine, and taught at two different business colleges. When their second son was born she stayed home but did typing for students and other people to help out. Stephen did his residency in Phoenix, Arizona. Linda tended children in their home during this time. They made a lot of good friends while there.
Stephen served on the Salem City Council from 1988-1991. He served on the Medical Board at Mt. View Hospital for 15 years and was Chairman of that Board for 12 of those years. He retired from being an OBGYN after 30 years of service. While working Stephen was able to do some Humanitarian service with Neonatal Resuscitation in Brazil. He and Linda also went to Armenia to serve, but were called home a day after getting there because of the death of Linda’s mother. Linda helped several years with the Miss Salem Pageant, and the Salem Day Pageant.
Stephen and Linda were able to serve a Mission to Russia for the LDS Church from 2008-2010. He was the Area Medical Advisor for the missionaries, and Linda worked with the Area Presidency as coordinator of Patriarchal Blessings. She was originally called to be an assistant to Stephen which she was said was to give hugs and apply band aids. They enjoyed their time there. Stephen is currently a Stake Patriarch. They have both served in several callings in the LDS Church. They both like music, reading and golfing together. Linda likes to piece quilts. Stephen likes steak, potatoes and homemade bread. Linda likes ice cream, especially Bunny Tracks. They love everything about Salem: the smaller town, the sense of community and belonging, Salem Days, the good people, living close to the Pond, and being able to raise their family here. As they travel they are grateful when they get back home that they live in Salem.
Stephen and Linda we are grateful for both of you and your example to us.
**NOTE: This is the last Spotlight from this writer; next month we will enjoy a new perspective.