A very wonderful, honorable, and unique man, Lyle Baaron Gomm passed November 22, 2018 in Lehi, UT of causes incident to a stroke. He was born to Ben C. & Opal A. Gomm in the upstairs of his grandparent’s home in Star Valley, Afton, Wyoming, on July 18, 1941, together with his twin sister, Lila.
He spent his early childhood in Afton, Wyoming, then when he was four, his parents became teachers in the Uinta Basin, so he attended schools there during the winter graduating in 1959 from Altamont High School where he was Senior Class President and played basketball on the high school team that won the State championship.
He especially loved the long summers on the family ranch at Star Valley, Wyoming, and had many entertaining stories of experiences and adventures there with his parents and siblings including milking cows, riding horses, hauling hay, and fishing in the river. Many of these are detailed in his nearly completed 400-page personal history.
Following high school he attended Utah State University in Logan, UT then worked on the ranch until the fall of 1960. He then went to Hawaii and worked six months for the Hawaii Testing Laboratory. From 1960 to 1962, he filled a contract for the Hawaii Testing Lab in Kwajalein, Marshall Islands where he designed concrete for silos on a missile base, an experience that matured him greatly and had a major influence on his future life. He also became an expert water skiier and scuba diver and, among other things, had experiences in meeting and escaping from sharks in the water. It was also where he met his future wife, Marilyn Litchfield Najar, the daughter of an Aramco engineer also working in the islands.
When he returned to Utah in the fall of 1962, he enrolled at Snow College in Ephraim, UT. Marilyn soon followed and attended BYU while they continued their courtship; and they were married in the Logan, Utah, temple on Aug. 23, 1963. Then they both attended Utah State University where they were dorm parents and started their family. During this time, he earned several awards for his excellence and creativity in design and graduated in 1966 with a degree in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. He was offered a prestigious scholarship to study at Harvard, but after careful consideration of the career path that would lead primarily to urban design in large cities, decided to accept employment with the Forest Service doing work he loved in the outdoors instead, a choice he never regretted. He was first assigned to the Manti-La Sal and Fishlake National Forests near Moroni/Richfield where they lived for several years, added to their family, and lost a little son in a tragic gun accident. He was then transferred to the Uinta-Wasatch/Cache National Forest with headquarters in Provo and moved to Orem where they lived for many years and completed their family.
His work for the U.S. Forest Service from 1965-1996 spanned over 30 years and he received numerous awards for performance. In 1975 he received the Department of Agriculture’s highest award from the Secretary of Agriculture, Earl
Butz, during a special presentation accompanied by the Marine Band at the base of the Washington Monument in Washington DC for heroism in saving the lives of three men in a daring rescue from a burning helicopter that had crashed. Later in his career, he became widely recognized as the “Father of the Great Western Trail” for his vision and work in bringing into existence a national long-distance trail that extends from Canada to Mexico, a legacy which millions will continue to enjoy into the future. In 2000, President Clinton designated the Great Western Trail as one of 15 Millennial Trails and segments of it were included by Governor Leavitt in the Utah Centennial Trail. He was also selected to complete a special, year-long internship with Representative Jim Hansen in Washington, DC, an opportunity he felt greatly honored to be given and which he tremendously enjoyed.
In 1988 he was transferred to Missoula, MT where he worked for over two years for all 10 forests in that State as Coordinator of Volunteers for the Forest Service. Among other things, he received recognition on the floor of the U. S. Senate for his work with the Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for coordinating the building of a Forest Service campground that was later gifted to the public.
Following Marilyn’s untimely death in an auto accident in Montana, he returned to Utah and married Annette J. Thomason, a former neighbor and friend, on June 29, 1990 in Provo, UT. They were later sealed on June 29, 1991 in the Provo Temple and enjoyed 28 very happy years together as parents, grandparents, travelers, explorers, sweethearts, and very compatible companions.
He was very adventurous and in February of 1994 as part of his regional tourism and economic development responsibilities for the Forest Service, organized and led 25 riders on a week-long, 1,000 mile snowmobile trip from Bryce Canyon to West Yellowstone that was very successful and long remembered by all who participated.
In 1995 he was honored as an Outstanding Alumni by Utah State University in recognition of his accomplishments and professional contributions to the field.
He also sponsored and organized a national conference bringing together leaders of all the major land management areas in the United States including the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Utah Department of Natural Resources, and others in which they signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to work together to develop and make available government lands to the public.
After commuting from Orem to Ogden four days a week for several years, he finished his career with the Forest Service in 1996 working as the Dispersed Recreation Coordinator and Regional Landscape Architect for Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada.
During his career he worked in the following management positions:
1. Forest Landscape Architect during which he designed several major sites and campgrounds including Cascade Springs near Midway and the BlackRock Campground above Spanish Fork which many of you have likely visited and enjoyed.
2. Forest Planner and Environmental Coordinator
3. Branch Chief of Recreation and Lands
4. Branch Chief of Fire and Aviation during which he coordinated fire fighting efforts along the Wasatch Front and was involved in several major fires
5. Forest Law Enforcement Coordinator during which he attended several law enforcement programs and became an expert marksman
Volunteer Coordinator for all 10 forests in
7. Regional Trails Coordinator
8. Regional Snowmobile Coordinator
9. Regional Caves Management Coordinator
10. Regional Tourism and Economic Development Coordinator
11. U. S. Forest Service Dispersed Recreation Coordinator and Regional Landscape Architect for Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Nevada
Lyle was a life-long and faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with a strong testimony of the Savior and the gospel. He knew and loved the scriptures and shared his beliefs widely and was responsible for bringing a number of others into the church. He served diligently in many callings throughout his life including as a member of a bishopric and a temple worker at the Mt. Timpanogos Temple for many years. He was also a teacher and leader in many capacities, a beloved scout master, and an always faithful home teacher.
He was talented and skilled in many fields and there was almost nothing he couldn’t do or fix. He was a builder and rancher at heart; and among other things, he was a talented artist and poet, a licensed pilot, and he built an experimental airplane from plans and scratch. He was a hard worker and always seemed to have a big project in place like remodeling a house or an apartment, erecting a huge steel building, building a bridge across the river, or relandscaping something. In retirement he personally designed and built a large home in Lehi, UT, and his collection of tools was the envy of all.
He was 6'2" tall with an athletic build, a “man’s man” demeanor, and was considered handsome by most. His ranching and Western background was obvious in his appearance and attitude. He was kind, caring, thoughtful, fun, and unfailingly fair,and he always saw the good in everyone. He always did his part and pulled his weight, and he was widely respected and loved by those around him. His word was his bond and he could be trusted to do what he said he would. He was truly one of a kind.
Though he had some difficulty and pain in his life, particularly within his own family, he did not bear anyone ill will and always remained open to and hopeful that things would improve. He loved all his children and especially wanted ALL his grandchildren and great grandchildren to know that he loved them dearly, and he was proud of them and their accomplishments. Most considered him an “awesome hero,” and those who did not take or have the opportunity to enjoy him and his love missed a great deal.
He is survived by his wife, Annette,seven children and one step son: Marlee DiCristofano (Louie), Loralee Dodson (David), Tracy Laws (Roger), Anastasia Najarian, Jenny Lynn Diesen (Joe), Seth Gomm (Nicail), Sara Jane “Sadie” Allison (Jesse) and Allen F. Thomason (Arlene). He is also survived by two brothers Bryant and Thiel Gomm and twin sister and “womb mate” Lila G. Webb. He also has 26 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. Added to these were 9 step grandchildren and 1 step great grandchild all of whom he loved as his own.
Lyle was preceded in death by his first wife Marilyn, his parents, a young son Morgan, a step-son Mark R. Thomason, brothers Merrell and Ben Gomm, and a sister Veretta G. Jenkins.
A viewing will be held Thursday, November 29, at the Sundberg-Olpin Mortuary at 495 South State in Orem. Funeral services will be held Friday, November 30, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the church located at the corner of Pioneer Crossing and 2300 West in Lehi, Utah (901 South 2300 West), with a viewing from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. prior. Burial will be among others of his family on Saturday, December l, 2018, at 1:00 pm in the Smoot, Wyoming cemetery in Smoot, Wyoming. Due to the weather, friends and family are invited to gather by 12:45 pm at the Osmond Chapel in Smoot prior to the burial and travel together to the cemetery if they wish. A full obituary is available on the Sundberg-Olpin website.