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Moroni city picks grand marshals for 2022 parade

By Staff | Jun 22, 2022

Leonard and Laura Blackham.

Leonard and Laura Blackham are proud to call Moroni home. Leonard has lived his whole life in Moroni and Laura came to Moroni at the age of 14 when her Dad, Dr. Bagley returned back home. They grew up in wonderful families and still enjoy their association with their brothers and sisters still living.

They met in Junior High and were one of several high school classmates to marry and raise their family in Moroni. They enjoyed the academics and activities of North Sanpete High School, Snow College and Utah State University. Laura graduated in Home Economics and Leonard in Agriculture Economics.

They married in 1970 and raised six wonderful children, Tony, Amy, Thomas, Jenny, Michelle and Jeanette. They are most treasured next to their 13 grandchildren.

Their lives have revolved around the three focuses of family, service and the turkey business. Family is first and of most importance to them. Active family participation by the whole family has been required on the farm and in service. Their parents, Moyle and Gayle Blackham and Royal and Iris Bagley, taught them service by example. Laura has served in many Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society positions and as a Cub Scout and Girl Scout leader. She also served in the 4-H, PTA and as an election judge for many years. She is a detail person and never neglects her responsibilities. She has enjoyed serving in the Daughter of the Utah Pioneers the last few years and as a missionary in the History Records Operations Center.

They decided when Leonard’s father died, just before they were married to make a living in the turkey business. A lot of hard work and help from others was required. It became apparent that it would require a considerable growth in the farm to make the living they desired for their family. Over the next 15 years, the farm grew from 34,000 turkeys per year to 360,000 when Leonard turned the farm to his sons. He was very involved in Moroni Feed Company and served on the board and as part of the management team for several years. The turkey business was very challenging in many years. They have also been involved in the Utah Young Farmers and the Utah Farm Bureau.

Leonard’s service in those days was primarily Boy Scouts. He started as a scout leader at age 15. He was awarded the Silver Beaver and served many times as a Jamboree scoutmaster and Woodbadge leader. He has also served in many leadership and teaching positions with his church. They were always a wonderful experience.

The Moroni 4th of July turkey BBQ was started as a Eagle Court of Honor in 1974 and many scouts for many years learned to cook and eat BBQ turkey. After a few years it became a city celebration activity and later transition to the Blackham family cooking rather than the scouts. Leonard especially has loved and is grateful for his scouting experiences. Leonard chaired the early development and building of the Tifie Scout Camp, with a lot of local help.

Political service in their early marriage included several park improvement projects. When the farm was large enough to hire full time employees, it was possible for him to serve as a Sanpete County Commissioner and then as a Utah State Senator for twelve years and finally as the Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food for nine years. Twenty-five years in political service required the support of the whole family and yielded many great friends. Leonard often slept in Sait Lake and Bountiful during those years, but as he says I have always lived in Moroni. While attending Utah State University they would drive home almost every weekend and that continued in their political life.

They are also grateful for the opportunity to serve with others in the restoration of the Moroni Opera House.

They are now retired and rather tired. They love the people and their Moroni and Sanpete County heritage. Thanks to all of you as good citizens and friends.

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