Lorne Leslie Clapson was born in Eston, Sakatchewan, Canada Nov 2, 1929 to Leonard George Clapson and Dorothy Wiltrude Thompson Clapson. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Gordon, sisters Gladys Mae and Merle Thelma, and daughter Karen Leslie.
Lorne graduated high school in Camrose, Alberta in 1947. He received a diploma from the Olds Alberta school of agriculture and a B.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Alberta.
In 1952 he married Leslie Gisela Clapson and they raised four children: Karen Leslie Clapson, David Brian Clapson (Lynn Stewart), Patricia Jane Dunlop (Denis Dunlop) and Susan Clapson Rehman. They have 8 grandchildren: Michael John Clapson, Hannah Elizabeth Dunlop-Relf, Julia Louise Dunlop Wibbels, Sara Lauren Rehman, Natasha Liana Rehman, Naomi Amina Marie Rehman, Maia Rose Rehman. He was immensely proud of his family and called his grandkids his precious jewels.
Lorne’s mother said that Lorne was very active and into mischief as a young man. This gave him lots of material for his future “Bud Stories” he told his children and grandchildren about his naughty childhood. (Bud was his nickname because his little sister couldn’t pronounce Lorne.)
Lorne loved his maternal grandparents, Simon Arthur Thompson of Norwegian descent and Irene Egan of Irish descent. They farmed north of Eston, Saskatchewan. He would try to spend as much time as he could at the farm. His Grandpa made him feel important and needed as they worked with animals, picking rocks, fencing, etc. He loved to ride a very quiet 20 year old horse named Blue to get the milk cows for his grandpa. His uncles Don and Melvin were a lot of fun as he worked alongside them—they were big teases and practical jokers. They also taught him how to operate a tractor and other implements. One fall he drove the tractor for Melvin while swathing and the tractor for Don while combining as there were no self-propelled implements in the 1930s. When harvest was finished, his grandpa Thompson gave him $30 for his labor, pinned the money under his shirt and put him back on the train to Camrose, Alberta.
As a boy, he always wanted to work. Once he planted potatoes for an old neighbor, another time he helped a ditchdigger, and later he had a newspaper route at the Camrose army camp, having to pick up the papers a mile away and deliver them in the camp. He worked in the garden at home and was also expected to keep the coal bucket for stove and furnace full, as well as take out the ashes. In the winter it was his job to keep the snow off the driveway beside the house. His only brother Gordon was 4 years older, and always working at his dad’s gasoline, service and car repair shop. Lorne’s dad had been paralyzed from the waist down in a surgery that went wrong, so his dad needed help to run his business.
At age 14, Charlie McCleary, his high school principal, arranged to get Lorne a job at Kerr’s Mens shop after school and on Saturdays. He sold shirts, ties, socks etc. but the suits were fitted by Mr. Kerr. He was asked to join Mr. Kerr’s curling team. Kerr was a Scotsman well schooled in ethics and sportsmanship. Later when Mr. McCleary formed a curling team to compete in the Alberta high school curling championship, Lorne was called to what is called to the “Third” and his pal, Cliff Lein, was the skip or captain. They became the high school curling champs and went on a train trip during a huge blizzard to play in the Western Canada High School Curling tournament. They came in second.
Charlie McCleary had Lorne join the Anglican church choir, take a lead part in a musical Cantata, and become an Army cadet officer. He was also a firm disciplinarian at school. Lorne received many hand strappings with a leather belt for some of his wayward ways. His mother always sided with Charlie and told Lorne that he probably deserved these and maybe more. In hindsight, he probably did because he and his friends often had bean shooter fights, teased girls, skipped classes, etc. However, Charlie had a huge positive influence on Lorne and the community of Camrose. After Lorne graduated from university, he went back to thank Charlie. Charlie just told him to go out and help others.
Lorne graduated high school in Camrose, Alberta in 1947. Lorne’s father wanted him to become a doctor, even offering to pay for his schooling if he would. But Lorne loved farming and business, and after his dad’s experience he wanted little to do with doctors, so he made his own way. He so he got a diploma in agriculture from the Olds, Alberta school of agriculture and then a B.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Alberta. At the University of Alberta, he was on the ski jumping and cross country ski teams, as well as curling. He was also part of a fraternity and had funny stories of the adventures he had with his frat brothers. He met Leslie, the love of his life, while they were each curling, because he saw Leslie was wearing an Olds school sweater and went to talk to her.
Lorne was a successful businessman in Canada. After college, he and Leslie managed his father’s farm near Camrose, Alberta for two years. Then they moved to Edmonton, where he worked in land sales and development, including developing roads in Northern Canada. He started and became manager of Ft. McMurray Land with 1000 acres of land in the heart of Ft. McMurray when the oil just started being extracted from the tar sands. Now it is a city of about 100,000 people and the site of huge oil sand plants. He later managed a large sand and gravel business in Edmonton, Alberta, which became the largest in Edmonton. In the early 70’s, he joined Cargill Canada, first as Vice President of corporate development and then became Vice President of Western Operations headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba with over 500 employees. (Cargill is one of the world’s largest international agricultural corporations.) After retirement he and his son-in-law Denis Dunlop started a large dairy in Melba, Idaho.
When doing a survey of rural Alberta and staying in a small town, he had nothing to read, so his business colleague Varge Gilchrist, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day, gave him some pamphlets. Lorne read them, and the doctrines made sense to him. So he started attending church with little Karen at 9 am every Sunday without fail for three years. Eventually he and Leslie started studying with the missionaries and were baptized together in March 1960 at age 30. They were very active in the church the rest of their lives.
When the children were young, the family enjoyed camping. On one trip to Jasper Park in the Rocky Mountains, Karen, age 5, got lost in the woods early one morning. As she had come out of the tent, Karen had seen a big dog and headed away into the bush. Lorne, who has a loud voice, called and called but never heard a reply. A full search was organized with people, planes, horses, and dogs. By nightfall she was finally found about a mile away in thick brush, covered in scratches and mosquito bites. A day after, she told her dad that she had heard and answered him, but he hadn’t heard her. He always said he learned a great lesson searching for his Karen: STOP and LISTEN.
Lorne had many wonderful callings and served faithfully. He loved people. At first, he served mostly in youth and missionary work at both the ward and stake levels. In Winnipeg, he was called as branch president, then district president, then as the first president of the newly formed Winnipeg, Manitoba Stake. The Manitoba Stake had 10 units and 2300 members, scattered from the border of Saskatchewan 200 miles west to Kenora, Ontario 200 miles to the east, up to Thompson, Manitoba 500 miles north and Warroad, Minnesota to the south.
After Susan graduated high school, Lorne and Leslie retired early to serve a missions. At the start of their first mission in 1987, they lost their beloved Karen. Karen, who was a fabulous teacher, musician and artist, was killed in a car accident in London. Despite this loss, after the funeral, they went on to fulfill their mission in the Singapore Mission. They served in India, Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka for a year and a half. On their next mission, Lorne worked for the Church Farm Management Company in Salt Lake City, while Leslie concentrated on genealogy and temple work. Next, Lorne was called as director of the Idaho Falls Temple visitor’s center. After that, Lorne and Leslie decided to settle in the US.
At age 65, Lorne went back to his first love and bought a 600 acre irrigated farm 25 miles southwest of Boise, Idaho where he and his son-in-law, Denis Dunlop, started a large dairy. At 66 he suffered a massive heart attack while working at the farm in the high August heat. Fortunately, that day Leslie was with him and quickly got him to hospital. Kirby Orme performed quadruple bypass surgery. (With Leslie looking after his health, Lorne went on to live 25 and a half more years!)
They served two more missions. First at the Palmyra, New York visitors center, then at the Sharon, Vermont visitors center, where they developed a special love for the founding prophet Joseph Smith and his wife Emma. Missions require couples to be in constant companionship and strengthen their marriages. He often joked that because Leslie is a week older than Lorne, she was the senior companion.
In truth, Lorne was always supportive of Leslie, including her education and careers as a nurse then a counselor and her church callings, and he greatly appreciated her as a wife, homemaker, and mother. He often called her “a marvelous work and a wonder,” and “a queen in Zion” (though sometimes he grumbled quietly about being bossed around 😉). He was proud of their comfortable, well decorated and well maintained homes, and felt they were a sanctuary filled with family and gospel pictures, family dinners, good books, years of food supply, and lovely yards, lawns and gardens. He especially loved their home on 5 acres in Meridian.
Lorne downhill skied until 75 years of age and could outwork many men half his age. However, after returning from their last mission at age 80, he started to slow down. He and Leslie became more involved in Family History and Temple work. He continued to love farming and was full of ideas for new ventures. After passing 85, he found all the work on the 5 acres and their home a big load. By this time both he and Leslie had many age-related health problems but were a great support to each other. At age 88, he slowed down more. Leslie encouraged him to quit completely but had little success. As time went one, he lost more and more heart function until it was working at only a fraction of capacity. Still he wanted to work and farm and contribute.
Lorne had a positive and optimistic point of view. One of his mottoes was “Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.” He was very friendly and curious. He was never shy about talking to people! He loved to meet new people and learn from them. He was also generous with compliments and thanks and affection. He loved to discuss new ideas and projects and was delighted by a good conversation. In his career, he was known as an idea man. He was committed to productivity and improvement and liked to take the lead. He loved to read and research new techniques in agriculture. He was also an avid reader of the scriptures, church magazines and books, and would ponder and pray on them every night. He had a deep love of missionary work, which continued all his life, even sharing the Gospel with one his caregivers only days before his passing at Grace Memory Care. Although he loved farming all his days, the Gospel and his family were the most important to him. He loved the precept of eternal marriage and family. He was grateful for his supportive daughters Patricia and Susan who lived nearby, and for the closeness that developed with David as they grew older. He was so appreciative of each thing they did to help. He was very proud of each of his grandkids, often marveling at their intelligence and accomplishments. As the time drew near for him to leave this earth, he looked forward to meeting his beloved Karen again. When he passed, we imagined him on the other side, free of suffering, with Karen, his beloved Grandpa and Grandma Thompson, and many more loved ones there to greet him. Till we meet again, Dad.