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Lyman Ollerton Leavitt

Lyman Leavitt fishing at Flaming GorgeLyman was born July 5, 1909, in Salt Lake City, Utah, a son of John William and Mary Jane Ollerton Leavitt.  He was born at home at 48 North 9th West.  He was number 7 of 9 children and was brought up in a close knit family.  He was baptized a member of the LDS Church on Dec. 6, 1919.

When he was really young he and his brother Dean were in charge of spading their garden plot and it was a large amount of land. They were to keep it weeded. Lyman hated to weed, but all his father had to say was "I want that work done by the time I get home" and it would be done. Even though he hated the job he would do it.

He learned at a young age to work hard and take responsibility and to complete what was expected of him. To the present time he still works hard and gets a lot accomplished and he keeps himself busy.

Lyman completed the 10th grade at Jackson Jr. High School, which was a good education at that time. He remembers when one of his teachers asked him to ride his bike to her house and pick up a book for her. They were repairing books at school and she wanted to get it repaired. On his way back to school, he accidentally dropped the book and it got caught in the spokes and then fell to the ground. He picked it up, brushed it off and put it together the best he could. He made it back to school and he gave the book to the teacher and she looked at it and said, "Gee, that book is in worst shape than I thought!" He was glad she didn't find out (probably she knew) and scold him for his mishap.

During his life he has had a broad background of experience working at many different types of jobs. In his teens, he used to go to many areas in Utah and trap all different kinds of animals -- mostly muskrats, but also weasels, skunks, etc., and he would sell the hides to the R.C. Elliot Fur Co. to earn money. He said he would do anything to earn money.

Another job he did was delivering ironing boards on street cars for Utah Power and Light Co. Also he worked as a mechanic at Del Whittakers shop. Lyman learned to put boats together when he was young. Del Whittaker had a canal in the back of his house and a pier was built and they would run boats down the canal. He built a boat before he went into the Navy. It was called Lydel - a combination of Lyman and Del. He built his first boat at 17-18 years of age. He learned much on his own about boats and how to build them because he had such an interest in it. He had his own little car repair shop in Garland, Utah.  He lived in a Hotel and ran his shop on his own. He was around 20 years old.

In 1932 he enlisted in the Navy. He received his Naval training in Norfolk, Virginia. He graduated with high honors from the Blacksmith Class of the Engineering School. He was assigned to the Battleship Colorado in San Pedro for six months. When he completed his six months he was suppose to go to Guam. He was waiting to go and he was told he wasn’t going to Guam, but to Manila. He was assigned to the Blackhawk and was with the Asiatic Fleet for two and a half years. He fired the engines of the ship. He visited many places while in the Navy including China, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and the Hawaiian Islands to name a few.

USS Colorado (BB-45) USS Black Hawk (AD-9)

USS Colorado (BB-45) Battleship and USS Blackhawk (AD-9) Destroyer Tender

He completed his Navy commitment in 1936.In the same year of 1936 he met his future wife. While Lyman was visiting his friend Joe Wade he met Lynnette Young. Lynnette went to help her sister Helen, who was Joe's wife. Helen had just had a new baby and Lynnette was there to give support and to help take care of the baby. Lynnette and Lyman were introduced to each other. Lyman asked her out and within time they went with each other more and more frequently. He decided he had met the girl he wanted to marry. They were married on November 25, 1939. They have been a beautiful couple, each caring and showing love and respect to each other. Lynnette has commented on what an easy going person Lyman is. He is easily pleased -easy to get along with, a very kind and gentle person, a good husband!

Lyman and Lynnette had three children: Gary, Mike and Lynne. As a family they shared many happy years on fishing and boating trips. Often they would go to Jackson Hole three times a summer, Pinedale Wyoming and Island Park, Idaho. It became a tradition to visit these places in the summer when the children were home. The family would usually be accompanied by one of Lyman's brothers or close friends on these summer trips. They most always took a boat and camped out in tents and trailers a lot of the time. Lyman loves to run rivers in rubber boats and many family outings included a float down the river to get to that special fishing hole.

Lyman's two boys Gary and Mike remember a couple of summers when their dad raced his specially built aluminum 135 hydroplane boat. The name of Lyman's boat was the "Flying Ute". They would travel from lake to lake as a family to participate in the races. This was a lot of fun for the family and many friends were made and many trophies won by Lyman in the many races he entered. He was some what of a hero to his two sons. Lyman did a lot of boat racing. He ran the 200 mile Greenriver to Moab River Race three times with George Craig his business partner. They won the Tribune Trophy at least two times, which was for the best time racing a stock boat.

Lyman has always liked doing things with his friends and especially his brothers - Dean, Gerald and Clyde. He and his brothers were always planning a trip together and sometimes they left with only a couple hours notice. Those were some of the funnest trips. Lyman loved to duck hunt and was a member of the Chesapeake Duck Club near Corrine Utah. Among the members at the Chesapeake duck club were Lyman's friends, Lynn Hansen, Orville Coon, John Dooley, and Dr. Russell Frazier. John Dooley owned the ranch on Antelope Island. Dr. Russell Frazier was a noted explorer and a member of the Explorer's Club. He went with Admiral Byrd on his second expedition to the South Pole. Mike, Lyman's son was Dr. Frazier hunting partner when he and his brother Gary went to the Chesapeak Duck Club with their dad.

Lyman liked to run rivers and has been to the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon at least three time. The first time was with river runner Buss Hatch running one of his boats down the rapids. The second time he again went with Buss Hatch searching for a man who was running the rapids in an inner tube. When they got to Phantom Ranch it was learned that the individual had walked out of the canyon and the main purpose was to rob the grave site of two planes that crashed over the Grand Canyon on June 30, 1956. The last time was on an expedition to try and run up the river with large power boats. The expedition failed at Lava Falls, a number 10 rated rapid on the river.

Lyman and Dean are close brothers and have built summer homes together in Manilla, Utah. Their summer homes are side by side just as they have been side by side all their lives. They spend many days of the spring, summer and fall at their home away from home in Manilla where they can boat, fish, cut fire wood, pitch horseshoes, finish the next project or just relax in their comfortable trailers.

Lyman was in his own business with several different partners over a span of more than 35 years. The name of the company was Anchor Boat and Steel Company, which was first located at State Street and 37th South. The business later moved to 1605 West North Temple. Lyman was the distributor of Mercury Outboard Motors for Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. He was always honest and fair in his business dealings. He was successful in operating and building his business into a multi-state distributorship of boats, outboard motors, and marine supplies.

He was very skilled and smart and a great mechanic and inventer. He along with his friend Don Pitt invented the imboard-outboard drive. (see Photo)They used both belt and chain drives to power the drive. In one of his test boats he used a Volvo engine and the Volvo representative came to Lyman's shop to see what they were using their engine. Lyman showed him the drive and the representative of Vovo convinced Lyman to send two drives to the Volvo company, so they could study it. Within a year Volvo came out with their own inboard outboard drive and never contacted Lyman again. Lyman received no credit or compensation for his invention. Carl Kiekhaefer the founder of Mercury Outboard motors credited Lyman for being the inventor of the inboard-outboard drive.

His two boys Gary and Mike were given an opportunity to learn their fathers boat business and grew up working with their dad. They not only acquired a valuable education in business, but were afforded many years to be associated with there dad and enjoy many experiences with him.

Lyman sold his businesses in the late 70's and has enjoyed retirement though he always has some project going and always has time to help his family. His children remember their dad as one who is willing to help in many different ways. He is willing to share anything he has for the well-being and happiness of his family. He has given them more than time or material substance -- he has given them his love and concern for their comfort and enjoyment of life. His children remember their happy home life and never a cross word or command only kind admonition from their father. They learned that their dad taught by example with just enough lean words to get the point across.

Lyman's life is one characterized by steady growth, consistency and a quiet calmness. He is loved by his friends and thought of as a gentle quiet person who has control of his life and enjoys it. His hard working and perseverance through his business years have paid off and he now enjoys doing those things which give him the most in life -- helping his wife and companion and closely with her. The words Lyman and Lynnette are almost inseparable as one cannot think of the one without the other. He spends many hours with his family. He has 9 grandchildren who love to be with their grandfather and do things with him - whether helping cut his lawn or playing together or going to Flaming Gorge.

Lyman has many talents and one of them is his ability to build almost anything. He is a very handy person and likes to build things with his hands. He keeps in contact with some of his childhood friends and is a real friend to those who know him. His generosity, kindness, honesty and stable life style make him a cherished friend, loving companion, trusted father, and super Grandpa.

About 1997 Lyman's loving wife Lynnette suffered a serious stroke and never recovered. She was in a nursing home for the last three years of her life. Lyman faithfully visited her everyday staying with her during her lunch. Lynnette died on December 26, 1999.

Lyman continued living at the family home at 420 Oakley Street, a home he had built, which was finished in 1951. As he got older and was unable to do things for himself, his daughter Lynne lived with him for approximately three years until she retired from Delta Airlines and moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado to run her own business with her daughter Kami.

For the last few years of Lyman's life he had his grandson Diego and his wife Angelia staying with him at his home caring for him. Lyman passed away on January 23, 2007 at his home. He was a loving father, grandfather and great grandfather and was loved by all who knew him.

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