Leaun G. Otten will be 83 on May 14th. His family moved to Salem in 1941 when he was 10 years old. His father, Glen Otten, was from Mt. Pleasant and his mother, Dora Otten, was from Sterling in Sanpete County. When Leaun was born the family lived in Kenilworth, Carbon County, Utah, but he was born in Sterling as his parents had gone there for his birth.
Leaun served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the North Central States Mission (Minnesota, North and South Dakota) from 1950-52. Upon returning home he attended BYU and the fall semester of 1952 he met Ella Rae, who as from Nampa, Idaho. They were married in the Logan Temple on July 16, 1953. In October 1953 he was drafted into the Army. This was at the time of the Korean War. He served for two years. They lived in Pacific Grove, california during this time. After his service, they returned to BYU where they both gradulated.
They have seven children, Patricia who lives in Logan; LeeAnn lives in Spring Lake; Gloria lives in Springville; Glen lives in Franklin, Idaho; CoralLee lives in Salem; DoraLeen lives in Benjamin; and Karen lives in Elk Ridge. They have 38 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren. They are usually all together at Christmas time and for family reunions.
After graduating he taught history at Lehi Jr. High School for one year. He was then asked to teach Seminary at Davis High School which he did for four years. Then he was asked to teach religion classes on a college level at Utah State Univeristy. He taught there for 10 yars. In 1972 BYU invited him to teach with their Department of Religion. He was part of this Department for 23 years.
They moved to West Mountain while he was teaching at BYU. In 1991 they sold their home at West Mountain and bought their property in Salem and built a beautiful home. In 1993 he was called as the Stake President of the Salem Utah Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served in this position for nine eyars. Some of those he served with were Stanley Green, Dale Allred, Fred Rowe and L. Dean Egbert. As a Stake Presidency they were able to work with the City for the Sesquicentennial Celebration, sharing facilities with the City. They opened the Salem Stake Center to the City during those nine years for the Salem Days Family Firesides. They instituted a Stake clean-up in conjunction with the City clean-up in the spring. After being released from the Stake Presidency, Mayor Randy Brailsford asked him to be in charge of getting the Fireside Speaker one year. In 2012 he served as the Grand Marshall for the Salem Days Parade.
During the time he was serving as Stake President, the Stake was divided. The Salem West Stake was created and he was instrumental in getting a Family History Center in this facility. He was told it was because of the great number of genealogy extractions and genealogy work that was going on in Salem that made this possible.
In June 2011 his wife passed away, which left a big void in his life. When asked what food he doesn't like, he said he doesn't care for green olives. When he was growing up his mother made "funeral potatoes" which became a favorite.
He loved horses when he was younger, but now it is more the 4-wheeler. When Ella Rae was alive they used to go riding their 4-wheelers with a group of friends called the "Trail Riders".
He loves the people of Salem. In his boyhood they always treated him well and were kind to him. People are just as kind today as they were then. He loves the peaceful city, but mostly the people. He is also an author and has written several religious books (just Google Leaun G. Otten). When asked if there was anything else he would like the citizens of Salem to know about him and his family he said "I'm just me."
Thank you, Leaun, for your many years of service to the citizens of Salem.
From "Senior Spotlight", Salem City Newsletter, May 2014 - P 3.