Wendell LaVoy Hafen, age 81, passed away on February 1, 2022 in St. George, Utah, in the presence of his family, following a valiant battle with cancer.
LaVoy was born January 25, 1941, in Glendale, Utah, to Wanda Spencer and Leonard Hafen. He was delivered by his grandmother, Lydia Ann Johnson Spencer. LaVoy grew up in Glendale, Escalante, and Las Vegas, where he graduated from Rancho High School. While in high school, he worked in the food & beverage warehouse at Desert Inn.
LaVoy attended Dixie College and taught auto mechanics for a year while the professor was on sabbatical. While at Dixie, he was responsible for the yearbook and was the main photographer for events on campus. He met Edith Ann Barnum at Dixie and they began their eternal companionship on July 18, 1961, in the St. George Temple.
LaVoy attended BYU for a time and worked for US Rubber in Southern California.
LaVoy and Ann raised their family of eight in Mesquite, Nevada. During their time there, he worked for his father-in-law, Bud Barnum, at the Valley Garage. When Bud sold the garage, LaVoy went to work for Hafen Dairy, and later, for Nevada Power at the Reid Gardner Station in Moapa.
Many years were spent as a volunteer fireman and EMT for Mesquite. LaVoy was the fire chief for several years and was instrumental in Mesquite having its first ambulance. LaVoy was also elected to City Constable and served in that position for a term.
In 1990, LaVoy moved his family to Apple Valley, Utah. While there, he helped establish the fire department and served as the first fire chief. In 1998, LaVoy and Ann moved to Panaca, Nevada, and once again, he was active with the fire department. He also served on the Panaca Farmstead Water Board.
While in Apple Valley and Panaca, LaVoy continued to commute to Moapa to work at Nevada Power. When he retired, he went to work for Matthew’s Farms as a farm mechanic and worked for a time as the janitor at Panaca Elementary School. His “fix anything” skills were in high demand wherever he lived and worked.
LaVoy was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He and Ann served a mission to Columbus, Ohio. LaVoy served as ward secretary and on the high council. But his true calling was Scoutmaster. He helped numerous scouts earn their Eagle Badge and served as scoutmaster in every ward he was in. He ultimately was awarded the Silver Beaver scouting award.
LaVoy spent several years as a volunteer with 4-H. He was an accomplished wood carver and taught wood carving and dutch-oven cooking to many of the local youth. His dutch-oven meals were often requested for local celebrations, and he frequently catered for large groups. He also had a love of old cars and antiques. He was an avid philatelist and loved showing his collection to his children and grandchildren. He was a born storyteller and enjoyed regaling his friends and family with his adventures.
LaVoy enjoyed gardening and preserving what he grew. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, and camping with his family. Although he was not a fan of sports or horses, he supported his children in the activities in which they wished to participate. Many years later, they realized what a sacrifice he had made in his life to support them.
LaVoy is survived by his children: Edith (Lela), Leeds, Utah; Charles (Lorena), Panaca, Nevada; Shelley, Chesterfield, Idaho; Spencer (Danielle), St. George, Utah; Jared, Salt Lake City, Utah. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, numerous extended family, and his dear friend, Pamela Gardine Darrington. LaVoy was preceded in death by his wife, Ann, children, Michael, Lydia, and Kenneth, his parents, and several siblings.
The family would like to express their appreciation to the St. George Cancer Center, Intermountain Hospice, doctors, and nurses who worked so diligently in LaVoy’s behalf.
Visitation will be on Thursday, February 3, 2022 at 6:00-8:00 (Utah Time) at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S Bluff Street, St. George, Utah, and again on Friday, February 4, 2022 at the Panaca Chapel in Panaca, Nevada, at 9:00 (Nevada Time). Funeral service will be held at the Panaca chapel at 11:00.
Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary. Friends and family may sign Wendell’s guest book at
The family wishes to thank the Panaca 1st Ward and the Oakwood Ward for their compassionate service.