Castle Valley Comments: Feb. 6, 2020

Ron Drake

The membership of the Castle Valley Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sustained new leadership during their meeting last Sunday, Feb. 6 and released the existing branch presidency.

Sustained as the new branch president was George Dalton, who has previously served on the Moab Stake High Council and most recently was the stake young men president, as well as other stake and ward leadership positions. Dalton is a lifelong resident of Moab and he and wife Paula are parents of six children. He retired from United Parcel Service several years ago.

Ed Welling was selected to serve as Dalton’s first counselor and George Johnson was sustained as second counselor with Joseph Braithwaite as branch clerk and executive secretary to round out the new branch presidency. Welling is a retired Grand County High School teacher and, along with his wife Elaine, served several missions for the church. Johnson was born and raised in Moab and returned to Moab after retirement.

Stake President Duane Riches presided over the changing of the branch presidency and he was accompanied by his counselors Doug Garrett and Danny Dalton. Manuel Torres was released from his position as branch president, a position he held for the past five years. He has performed dedicated service to the church and the community during that time. He and wife, Ginger will continue to serve in the baptistery at the Monticello Temple. Also released as counselors to Torres were Rick Thompson and DeVon Parson and their wives, Cindy and Marlene, respectively.

The Castle Valley Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a unit under the stewardship of the Moab Stake, under the direction of President Duane Riches and counselors Doug Garrett and Danny Dalton and a high council comprised of 12 individuals from throughout the stake boundaries.

Five Moab wards, a Green River ward and three branches in Moab and Castle Valley comprise the Moab Stake. Each ward or branch is led by a bishop and counselors or a branch president and his counselors. A branch is basically the same as a ward except a branch will have fewer members than a ward. All ecclesiastical duties in the church are voluntary and are performed without monetary compensation.

The new Castle Valley branch presidency all reside in Moab, which varies from tradition in that local leaders usually live within the unit’s boundaries. Five years ago, the stake presidency elected to bring a new branch presidency and a few more couples from Moab to help bolster the attendance of the local branch.


Forty years ago this week, this column featured Merrill Brady, who was a member of the Castle Valley River Ranchos Property Owners Association board of directors. He served on the board with Hersel Nokes, Roger Christensen, and Jeff Whitney.

The property owners association was created in 1973 by the original developers of the development, Carlsberg Development Corporation of California, when the land was subdivided and put on the market for sale. The POA was inactive for five years until 1978 when the valley began to populate and community services were needed and dues were required to generate funds, primarily for road maintenance.

The first members elected to the POA board of directors were Nokes, Ray Taylor, Fred Johnson, Tom Rees and Walt Cluff. The town picked up the operation of community services and the role of the POA changed and remained in the background until it was dissolved about 10 years ago.

That same column also reported on a basketball game. As a fund-raising effort for the Castle Valley Fire Department for equipment, the members challenged the Moab Fire Department to a basketball game. This year was the third match between the two departments and the win-loss record was split. This game 40 years ago was one-sided in favor of the Moab team, beating Castle Valley 22 to 11. But it was all in fun and raised some much-need cash for the financially strapped Castle Valley Fire Department.