BURLEY • LaVar Hollist Hamblin, 55, passed away Tuesday, March 19, 2013, in Burley, Idaho.
LaVar was born March 29, 1957, in Rexburg, Idaho, to Rex Mangum and Norine Hollist Hamblin. He was the first of their four sons. When LaVar was 2, the family moved to Burley, Idaho. LaVar graduated from Burley High School in 1975. He attended LDS Business College in Salt Lake City, Utah, for a year. In 1976, LaVar was called to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served from 1976 to 1978 in the Indiana Indianapolis Mission. He especially enjoyed the rolling hills and colorful hardwoods of central and southern Indiana. Near the end of his mission, he was transferred back to an area he’d already served in (which was unusual). On his first night there, he was asked to play piano for a baptism. He didn’t know the girl being baptized but he knew he would marry her. He returned to Indiana after his mission to date his soul mate. On June 27, 1979, he was married to Christine Shaffer for time and all eternity in the Ogden Utah LDS Temple. They were blessed with two children, Andrea and Eric.
LaVar and Chris made their home in Indiana for the next 20 years. He was employed as a quality inspector at Goshen Rubber and later at Modine Manufacturing in Logansport. In 1992, LaVar was hired as a reporter/writer for The Rochester Sentinel. He attended “Quark” training in St. Louis and added copy editor to his job. He truly enjoyed the varied stories he covered. His favorite was a flight in the belly of a C-130 refueling a jet somewhere over Ohio. Also during that time, LaVar served as a reserve police officer with the Rochester City Police Department, which began his love of handguns and target shooting. He made many friends in Indiana that remain special to him. In 1999, they moved to Burley. The family remained in Burley, and LaVar worked for the South Idaho Press and later for the Times-News in Twin Falls until his health forced him to retire in December 2011.
As a member of the LDS Church, LaVar served in many callings. He served in the Young Men, high priests group, as ward clerk and as a counselor in the Logansport bishopric for a number of years. Dearest to him was music. He was the pianist and chorister and sang in the choir and was always ready to lead the music during meetings if needed. LaVar enjoyed, most of all, spending time with family. Chris and his children were always with him in his spare time. They did not spend time apart. LaVar and Chris made their home on the Shaffer Farm in Indiana for 20 years. In 1999, they moved to Burley to care for LaVar’s mother. She passed away before the move to Idaho was completed. The family chose to stay, as Burley seemed like home.
LaVar had many talents and hobbies. An avid reader, he enjoyed using the Library of Congress for research and teaching history to his children through living history events of the Revolutionary War era. The family became immersed in camping, wearing clothing made by him and living the life of the period at rendezvous. He especially enjoyed participating with Brad and Wes and their families in the historic encampment at Nauvoo in 2002 during the open house of the Nauvoo Temple.
LaVar enjoyed quilting (many times designing his own patterns), later using a long-arm quilting machine as use of his hands was limited by rheumatoid arthritis. He loved playing the guitar, singing, camping, Dutch-oven cooking and photography. These were regular weekend activities. He was also a bead worker and enjoyed using his loom in making items in the woodland Indian style.
LaVar was preceded in death by his parents, Rex and Norine Hamblin; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Vic and Wilma Shaffer; a sister-in-law, Nancy Hamblin; and a nephew, Jonathon Hamblin. He is survived by his wife, Chris; one daughter, Andrea (Ryan) Tegan of Raft River; one son, Eric of Burley; his four grandchildren who were so cherished by him (his eyes would light up when they came to visit), Madison, Grant and Taylor Tegan and Hayden Hamblin; and his three brothers, Garth (Sandy), Brad (Tamara) and Wesley (Nancy, deceased).
A funeral service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at the Rasmussen Funeral Home, 1350 East 16th St. in Burley, where friends may call from 6 until 8 p.m. Friday, March 22, and from 1:30 until 2:15 p.m. Saturday. Burial will be in the Pleasant View Cemetery.
The family will be forever grateful to doctors, Kevin Owens, Eric Harris, Keith Harmon and Michael Francisco; the staff and friends of Cassia Regional Medical Center; the staff at Portneuf Cancer Center; and Intermountain Home Health/Hospice, with special thanks to Lisa, Debbie, Tawny and Dr. Michael Klett.
In lieu of flowers, the family reminds you to get a screening colonoscopy as directed by your physician and encourages you to make a donation to your local hospice foundation or the American Cancer Society.