Michael Ray Arehart was born Dec. 5, 1950, to Edgar Thorpe (Bud) and Edna Lenore Johnson Arehart in Salmon, Idaho. He returned to the loving arms of his Heavenly Father on May 14, 2020 due to respiratory failure.
Mike spent the first four years of his life in Patterson, Idaho, and then the family moved to the Moab area. He attended elementary and secondary school in Grand County. After graduating from Grand County High School he served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Austria for two years. Mike learned to love the Austrian people and traditions and became very fluent in the German language, which he utilized the rest of his life.
On Nov. 21, 1973, he married his wife of 47 years, Ann Sparks of Nephi, Utah, in the Manti Temple. To this union came four children, Teresa “Tee,” Mindee, Trevor and Monica.
Mike was constantly continuing his education while working beside his wife to provide for their family. They owned and operated the Taco Bender, a local favorite eating spot, always filled with happy satisfied customers, which included friends and family.
He also was a member of the Grand County Board of Education for 12 years, serving as president for 10 of those years. He proudly passed out diplomas to many, many Grand County students and loved serving the community.
While running the Taco Bender, Mike went back to school and earned his teaching degree and started teaching. After the sale of the Taco Bender he continued his education obtaining a Masters Degree with a secondary endorsement and continued his life calling to teach. He absolutely adored his students and with the help of his wife found clever and fun ways to teach. He had a gift in getting students interested in learning.
Mike loved being involved in community chorus and musical productions. He participated in many of the musicals and usually stole the show. He loved to sing and to share his beautiful vocal talent, singing at many, many, weddings, funerals and special occasions, always accompanied by his special and talented friend, Ginger Clark. Many people have said that they had asked him to sing at their funeral, but he has left us too soon.
He also loved to travel and had a gift for leadership. He and Ann both supervised and chaperoned several classes of students on fun trips all over the United States and also to various countries.
He retired after teaching 19 years, which included sixth grade, eighth grade history, and German in high school. However, he wasn’t ready to stop working and decided to take a job managing the elderly housing complex, the Rock Ridge Senior Housing. Once a month he hosted a luncheon for the occupants, infusing positivity to all of them.
He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving a two year mission, a member of several Bishoprics, the Stake High Counsel, and years of teaching Sunday School.
Mike treasured his family and friends and his door was always open to others, and especially the friends of his children. Mandii Hodges Olsen was one of his favorites.
In 2018, Mike suffered a stroke that forced him to retire from Rock Ridge and he spent the remainder of his life with his wife and family trying to overcome the challenges of the stroke. He was a devoted papa and adored his family, loving them unconditionally and cherished the hours he spent with them.
His wife, Ann, four children, Teresa “Tee” (Larry) Croasmun, of Moab; Mindee (Trevor) Bradford, North Salt Lake; Trevor T. (Nichole) Arehart, Cedar City; and Monica (Nick) Oldroyd, Moab; his mother, E. Lenore Arehart, Moab; sister, Ginger (Manuel) Torres of Moab; and brother-in-law, Paul Cox, Centerville, Utah; 14 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews survive him.
His father, Edgar Thorpe (Bud) Arehart and his sister, Debbie Arehart Cox preceded him in death.
Services were held Monday, May 18 at the Spanish Valley Mortuary. Internment was at the Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery.