Charles Arthur Woffinden was born September 7, 1932, in Cedar City, Utah. He was the ninth of 10 children born to Franklin and Vaneese Harris Woffinden. He was born during the great depression in the United States. The family moved to at least two small towns in Nevada where Frank was able to secure enough employment to support the family. They eventually moved to Orem, Utah and moved in with Vaneese’s grandmother Lexia Harris.
Franklin was a talented builder and eventually secured building contracts in Utah. Frank taught his boys well in carpentry and most things connected with the building trade. Art learned the skills that enabled him to repair, restore and create many building projects throughout his adult life. In other words, he was a talented “handyman” in his adult years.
Art was educated in Orem City schools and graduated from Lincoln High School. He enrolled in Brigham Young University in 1950 and majored in Psychology and Social Sciences. His favorite class was varsity band. He taught himself to play the tuba in High School. His band teacher told him he would always have a place in the band if he could master the tuba. When he enrolled at B.Y.U. sure enough the band instructor was searching for a tuba player and Art became the official tuba player in the varsity band and when he volunteered in the R.O.T.C., he was once again the tuba player in the R.O.T.C. Band. He enjoyed playing tuba and as a result he was able to attend all the sporting events in college as well as High School.
He met his future wife, Carolyn Egbert when he was 18 years old, and she was 16. They fell in love and their desire to marry was on a fast track because of his R.O.T.C. deferment. When they became engaged, they were both attending BYU. Because they kept late hours, Art was often late to class or was absent altogether. He received a “D” in his Air Science class. The U.S. Army sent him “greetings”, which meant that he was drafted into the U.S. Army Infantry, and he was required to report at Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City and would receive his basic training at Fort Ord, California. The Korean War was being fought and Art was trained to shoot rifles, use hand grenades, dig trenches, clean latrines and all the activities that soldiers need to know for hand-to-hand combat.
Art and Carolyn married March 23, 1953, in the Manti LDS Temple in Manti, Utah. After a short honeymoon, Art returned to his schooling and Carolyn worked as a stenographer to support the two of them. After 75 days of marriage, Art reported to Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City and when the bus arrived at the Fort, all the inductees boarded the bus and were driven to Monterey, California where Fort Ord was waiting to train these very green G.I. Joes. After 4 months of basic training where he was taught to be a soldier, he was given a 13 day leave of absence to return to Utah and say good-bye to his wife and family. At the end of the 13 days, he returned to California and boarded a troop ship with thousands of other soldiers bound for Korea and the front lines. He lived in a tent during his time in Korea and eventually was promoted to Sergeant and was appointed as Company Clerk (a desk job), but he was still required to walk guard duty at night because the Chinese military was a great threat to Korea and the American military who was occupied there. He served 15 months in Korea but was rotated to return to America in February 1955. He was lucky to fly back to the U.S.A. because of his rank as Sergeant. He and his wife were both overjoyed that he was finally home and out of a dangerous place. He immediately enrolled at BYU, obtained a job with Arrow Cab Company in Provo, Utah and they settled down to await the birth of their first baby, Annette.
He graduated from BYU with a bachelor's degree in Sociology/Psychology and was offered employment in Price, Utah as a Juvenile Probation Officer, working and dealing with juvenile delinquents. He soon realized that he would need a master's degree if he was going to be able to support a family. Shortly after the birth of their second child, Dennis, he was offered a stipend that paid a full salary for part time employment, provided he would promise to work for the State of Utah Welfare Department when he received his master's degree. This turned out to be a real blessing for this young family and he had lots of opportunities to develop programs in Utah that are still in use today. He was instrumental in developing and forming the first Child Protective Services in Utah. In 1966 he applied for and was hired by the Health Care Financing Division of the Federal Government’s Health and Human Services Department. He was given a choice of regional offices to work for Denver, Colorado or San Francisco, California. The interview for employment was conducted by telephone and he was offered a position, sight unseen.
By this time two more daughters were added to the family. Charlynn was born in December 1958 and Kelly was born in July 1961. The family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where they obtained housing in the small town of Belmont, California. The family enjoyed California and spent lots of weekends exploring beaches, tourist sites, mountains and all the other beautiful places in the Bay Area. Eventually their fifth child joined the family in 1971 and that was Jon. He brought so much joy to his parents and siblings. Everyone spoiled and indulged him. The birth of Jon required a larger house and they moved from Belmont to the east bay in Lafayette, California.
Art continued commuting to San Francisco and was always looking for ways to provide a better living for his family. He kept up the grueling schedule of traveling every day by Bay Area Rapid Transit. He did this for 26 years without a single word of complaint. He took great care of his family, and he did it with a great attitude and served his family as a loving father and husband. During this time, he served as a Bishop and member of the Stake Presidency in the Oakland Stake of the Church.
When the children were married and out of the home, he retired in 1997 and sent in application papers to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Art and Carolyn were called to establish institutes and seminaries in Novosibirsk, Russia – deep into Siberia. After a short training period at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, they flew to Germany and then onto Novosibirsk, Russia.
Serving in Russia, under a communist government taught us to cherish our freedoms in the United States. We saw up front the suffering of Russian citizens as they endured a controlling and cruel government. How blessed we felt to be citizens of a true democracy. That is a blessing they cherished. Following their release from the Russia mission, they purchased a home in Roseville, California and served as a couple in the Sacramento Regional Employment Center for two years and then they served a one year mission on Temple Square in Salt Lake City and finally Art was called to serve in the Accra, Ghana Temple Presidency and they went to Ghana, Africa to serve the members of the Church there for 18 months. Upon returning from Africa, they settled down to retired life. At this time Art was called to serve as a Sealer in the Sacramento Temple. He served in that position for 12 years. They lived in Roseville, California until September 2020 and then followed daughters Charlynn and Kelly who had both moved to St. George, Utah.
Art lived out the final year of his life here in St. George in good health, but when a skin cancer was discovered deep in his ear, he endured surgery and his general health declined rather rapidly, terminating on July 20, 2021, in St. George, Utah.
He felt very blessed to have beautiful children and he spoke often of his progeny, and he prayed for each one of them every day. He has always wanted the very best for his wife and children. At the time of his passing, he leaves a wife, 5 children, 19 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. He would want each member of his family to know that he loves all of you and is proud of your accomplishments. He believed that all his children and grandchildren are great talented people. As he would say, “anyone got a problem with that?!”
A private memorial will be help at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in St. George Utah, August 27th, 2021. Services will start at 10:00 am Mountain day light time. Here is the recording from the zoom meeting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG4lCPN6s9E
Interment at the National Cemetery in Las Vegas Nevada at a later date. In Lieu of flowers please donate to the Lewy Body Dementia Society, https://www.lbda.org/donate/
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