This month we would like to spotlight Paul and Mary Jo Tervort. Paul was born on June 20, 1935, in Spring Lake, Utah in his parents' home. He said at that time their home was the closest one in location to where the Payson Temple is. It is still standing and is located 200 yards east of the Payson Temple. His parents were Clyde and Hattie Wride Tervort. There were nine children in his family; four boys and five girls and he was next to the youngest.
Mary Jo was born July 2, 1937, in Salem in her parent’s adobe home. Her parents were Clifton and Ruth Hanks Carson. Her mother and Mel Hanks were sister and brother. She had one brother and one sister and she was the oldest child. She was expected to be born on July 4th and the doctor told her mother she was going to have a “Fire Cracker”. She was born two days early, but Paul says she is still a fire cracker.
Paul and Mary Jo were married 60 years ago on May 31, 1956. Mary Jo was friends with Paul’s cousin who wanted to introduce Mary Jo to him. Mary Jo was taking tickets at the Saddie Hawkins dance and Paul came through, but she didn’t pay any attention to him. Shortly after this she broke up with her boyfriend and said she wanted to meet Paul.
One Sunday after church they went on a date and it was history from there. Paul and Mary Jo are the parents of six children; five girls and one boy: Pauline (Don) Smith, Salem; Becky Diamond, Salem; LaDean Tervort, Salem; Sherrie Tervort, Salem; Denise (Rock) Johnson, Taylorsville; and Brent (Amy) Tervort, Salem. They have 13 living grandchildren and 1 deceased and 16 great grandchildren with one on the way. Mary Jo said next year they will celebrate a 40-60-80 year. Their oldest granddaughter, Hattie, will be 40, their oldest daughter, Pauline, will be 60 and Mary Jo will be 80. What a year!
Growing up Mary Jo took care of her mother who had poor health, and she also did seasonal work in fruit packing. After high school she attended Vocational School in Provo and received her degree as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) before getting married. She has worked at Utah Valley Hospital, Price City Hospital, Payson City Hospital, Cedar City Hospital, the State Hospital in Provo, and the El Rancho Nursing Home. Mary Jo said she kept working even after she could have retired, because she likes to help people.
Paul was a “farm boy” during high school. After high school he worked for U.S. Steel until Ironton closed down. He worked for two years at Barbizon of Utah as a sewing machine mechanic. [Mary Jo said this training has been very beneficial to her and her family.] He went to BYU and received a degree in Botany and Range Science. In October 1960 he went to work for the Utah State Division of Wildlife Resources. He has worked in Price on the game farm, Springville as Assistant Supervisor of the game farm, Cedar City as Game Biologist, Provo as the Game Biologist and then back to Springville as the Regional Game Manager.
Mary Jo and Paul have lived in Salem for all but six years of their married life. Paul served as a Salem City Councilman for 10 years over the Sewer and Water Departments. He has served on the Planning and Zoning Commission and a number of committees. When he was first on the council he served under Mayor Allen Woodhouse and then under Mayor Randy A. Brailsford. Mary Jo said she has supported Paul in all of his civic duties. They are both active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have served in several callings. Mary Jo volunteers at the State Hospital where she helps do quilts once a week with the proceeds going to the hospital. She also plays the organ at the Payson LDS Temple.
Paul doesn’t like yogurt but likes anything that’s bad for him, especially chocolate. Mary Jo likes everything. She was raised on meat, potatoes and gravy and likes zucchini chocolate chip cookies and zucchini cake.
Paul likes to garden and read. Mary Jo loves to knit, crochet, quilt, play the piano and organ and do any type of handwork.
Paul said he likes the nice friendly atmosphere, the quiet and smallness of Salem, but it is not the case anymore as it is growing. Mary Jo said she always brought Paul back to Salem because she loved Salem and wanted to raise her family here. Paul said they’d be here until the resurrection (they already have plots in the cemetery).
Thank you Paul and Mary Jo for your dedication to Salem.