Our beloved Conrad — inscrutable, artistic, shy, tender, funny, opinionated and contrarian to the very end, died at home in the company of family and friends. Born in 1940 in Ogden, Utah, Conrad double-majored in music and German at Brigham Young University. On his LDS mission to Germany he met Gerda Stoltz and her children Erika and Heiner. While Conrad did not continue to be active in the church, he and Gerda went on to be lifelong friends and partners. They spent time in San Francisco in the late 1960s, where Conrad sang professionally with the opera. In 1975 they moved to Moab and opened Life Stream Natural Foods. This was the first health food store in Moab, which is now known as the Moonflower Cooperative. He was an avid reader who had a wealth of knowledge regarding herbs and the alternative treatment for any ailments of both mind and body. If you were one seeking an alternative, he became the go-to person for treating whatever issue you might have thought you had. Because of Conrad’s generosity in giving his time freely to provide his advice to those in need of this knowledge he was well known, loved in his community, and by travelers from all over the world visiting Moab.
Conrad had many loves: To retreat/enter into and explore the desert hideaways, and to sing and vocalize in caves with his pots and pans, frame drums or humming bowls of all types and sizes, either alone or with various privileged friends or family. He took up photography and, initially using a Minolta camera loaned to him by a very close friend, created hundreds of multifaceted images that became known as Konrad’s Kaleidoscapes. These photographic wonders came from caves, waterfalls, and a myriad of trees, unique structures, and areas of the Canyonlands from these exploratory adventures. Conrad shared but mostly gave away these photographs to a multitude of friends and admirers of his work.
If you had the opportunity to be invited on one of these adventures with Conrad you needed to be prepared for “self-rescue” as on some occasions he would simply disappear in his quirky playful way of sending the message that you couldn’t keep up with his pace.
Conrad also spent much of his indoor time playing classical piano, inspired by his mother and music teacher Dean, with whom he shared a love for Rachmaninoff, the great pianist of the 17th century. Over the years he crafted several unique cottages on the land, which he shared with Gerda on the outskirts of town. One of the cottages, known as the piano house, appropriately identified for its array of eclectic musical instruments, became the gathering place for special friends, artists, musicians, and sometimes people just passing through town.
Conrad was a true Luddite, never owning, and loathing the existence of anything electronic, a longtime and regular composer of handwritten letters full of wit, wordplay, and insight and care, which highlighted his playful view of life. He was never much for fashion, or dressing up, preferring to be in jean cutoffs, a tee shirt, sandals, and a hat, or, better yet, nothing at all.
Enigmatic and paradoxical: Conrad was a self-described recluse, yet loved being with people of all ages and from all walks of life. He was generous and compassionate with his time, and yet never had much interest in money or ownership of anything, with the exceptions of art specially created by friends and given to him, his photography, frame drums, and his most treasured piano.
Conrad’s siblings Stephen Sorenson (Linda), Carol Plowman (Boyd), David Sorenson (Jane), niece Daisy Parker (Paul Marrujo) and extended family members Erika Stoltz and Chuck Robertson (KrisDee) are incredibly grateful for Community Nursing Services, Home Health and Hospice, and Christina King and her team who gave tirelessly of their time to care for Conrad over the past several months of his life. Conrad was also profoundly grateful that he was able to care for Gerda in her final years and fulfill a promise that she would never have to leave her home.
Special appreciation to: Chris Kauffman, Adrea Lund, Noah Kauffman, Allen Schenck and Mary Franklin, D’ahna Chalmers and Kiran Renfrow, Terry Galen, Thackary Grossmansky, Jane May, June Armbruster, Lucy Pederson, Freka Nature, Krista Guss, Cha Tori, Marie Moore, Dashu, Derek and Sarah Whitworth, the fabulous crew of the Moonflower Co-op, Christina King, Dr. Pablo Johnson, Dr. Julia Heaton, and Dr. Steven Rouzer, whose concern for Conrad and the family touched our lives, by providing invaluable guidance, insight, compassion and laughter throughout this difficult time. The family would also like to thank Chris Conrad, who for years worked with our brother in developing and printing his photography.
Where there was indifference-forgiveness, Conrad loved deeply, and was loved dearly and will be greatly missed by those friends and family who appreciated his talents and who were mutually blessed to spend time with each other. There will be a tremendous void in the hearts of so many by the passing of our gifted brother and friend Conrad. He is survived by so many whom he loved unconditionally, and to all others near and far that knew, loved and cared for Conrad.
Time it was and what a time it was, it was — a time of innocence, a time of confidences.
Long ago it must be I have a photograph to preserve your memories.
A celebration of Conrad’s life will take place May 5, from 2 p.m. to whenever at 1925 Shumway Lane. Those interested in making donations may do so with Grand County Hospice (cns-cares.org). Moonflower Cooperative is catering the event.