Our loving father, husband, grandfather, and great grandfather, Keith ZoBell, passed away peacefully on Saturday, October 30, 2021, surrounded by his wife and family members. Although Keith had been experiencing declining health, his hospitalization and death came suddenly.
Keith was born July 17,1932 in Price, Utah to parents Ira Deloss and Amy Jensen ZoBell. His great grandfather, Hans ZoBell, was from Denmark and Keith was very proud of his Danish Heritage. Hans and brother Ole were very early settlers in the Vineyard area and changed their name from Pederson to ZoBell, their mother's grandfather's name, upon arriving in America.
Keith's father was a County Agriculture Agent, and the family moved several times, finally settling in Ronan, Montana where Keith spent his school years. Keith adored his mother, who died at an early age, leaving a wound in his heart.
Keith learned to work hard. His first job was at age seven, stoking the furnace and sweeping the floors at the local theater. Due to some fibbing about his age, he obtained employment at age 15 fighting fires and later worked on the Hungry Horse Dam construction.
Keith was a Professional Forester obtaining his bachelor’s at BYU and his master’s at Utah State.
He eventually became the District Forest Ranger in both Oregon and Washington. He was also honored as Grant County's Father of the Year. Eventually, he moved to Spanish Fork and then to Salem, Utah where he was the District Forest Ranger for the Uinta National Forest.
While at BYU, on September 29, 1953, he married Afton Jensen and they were blessed with five children. The early years of their marriage were during the Korean War and Keith enlisted in the US Army and spent the last part of his service at Ladd Air Force base near Fairbanks, Alaska. Following his discharge, he stayed and helped homestead the Alaskan frontier. He loved working with the youth and had a special passion for scouting. He assisted many young men in achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. Winter Campouts were a favorite of his and at least tolerated by some of the scouts. Working with the MIA, he organized hayrides and closed off roads for sledding-things not permitted today, but the youth loved them!
In the mid 70's, he left the forest service and became an Environmental Engineer for the Coal Industry. He would get up at 4:30 AM, milk the cows on his Salem Farm, and catch the mining bus for the hour trip to the mine. Keith was an avid biker and would often return home at night and then go bike riding for 50-100 miles. He competed in and won several biking competitions.
After his retirement in 1969, he and Afton served a mission to Joseph Smith's birthplace in Sharon, Vermont where he developed a preservation program for the farm's 400-acre wooded area. They served an enjoyable and honorable mission. Upon his return, he was called by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve as one of the church's First Forest Service Missionaries traveling across the United States inspecting and preparing service plans for multiple areas including the Hill Cumorah and the Sacred Grove. Lumber sales and inspection of lumber yards were also included as were church building sites. This calling continued for 18 years.
For four years, Keith cared for his darling wife, Afton, as her health declined, even preparing meals, and bottling produce, including beets. Following Afton's passing in 2010, he married and was sealed to Donalda (Dee) De Adder in the Mount Timpanogas Temple after only a six-week courtship and gained seven stepchildren. Their life was filled with many exciting adventures and trips including a bottled beets competition between the two and trips to Dee's home in Nova Scotia where she had purchased her grandparents farm. Keith enjoyed walking through and inspecting the trees on Dee's property as well as traveling over the hill to the famous Bay of Fundy. It was also discovered they were both descendants of those making the first Mayflower voyage. In 2013, they purchased a home in St. George and would spend their time between St. George and Orem.
At the age of 82, Keith took up the art of acrylic painting, and wood tie making, becoming quite proficient at both. His paintings were displayed at competitions at Zion's bank in St. George where he won several awards.
Keith always had side interests. If you rode on a mechanical animal outside the grocery stores or K-Mart, you were probably on one he owned. He also built coffins and loved new and varied inventions and adventures. His wooden ties were received and enjoyed by many. In fact, the members of his ward, this past Sunday, had Wooden Tie Day in honor of Keith with ward recipients of his work wearing them.
Keith was an amazing man, inquisitive, and humorous-never afraid to express an opinion and always well respected. He loved people. He loved the gospel and served in many church positions such as ward clerk and youth teacher. He enjoyed home teaching and helped bring several back into church activity.
He will be missed by those who knew him, especially his wife Dee and family members.
Keith is survived by four children Wade (Yvette) Highland, Paula Hatch (Larry) Oregon, Mary Johnson (Kelly) Orem and Karen Taylor, Texas, his seven stepchildren that he referred to and loved as his own, Chris De Adder (Karen) Spanish Fork, Kim-Michelle Pullan (Scott) St George, Stefani Ellison (Stephen) Cedar City, Kevin De Adder, Orem, Craig DeAdder (Stephanie) Minnesota, and twins
Tyler, Oregon, and Tiffani Ericksen (Mike) Orem; 46 grandchildren and 48 great grandchildren. He is survived by sisters Amy Clegg, Alma Ruth Boyce, and Janet Swanson. He was preceded in death by his first wife Afton, his parents, son Eric Zobell, sister Helen Shurtz, and brothers Rex, Karl, and Grant.
A viewing will be held Thursday, November 4 at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St. in St. George, Utah from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Funeral Services will be held Saturday, November 6, 2021, at 1:30 pm at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chapel, 80 S. 280 E., Orem, Utah, preceded by a viewing at the chapel from 12:30 pm to 1:15 pm. Burial at the Spanish Fork Cemetery immediately following the funeral service.
Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S Bluff Street, St George, Utah. 435-673-2454. Family and friends are invited to sign Keith’s online guest book at