Funeral

Today I felt calm. We got to the church and everything was handled with care and precision by our church leaders and the funeral home. There was a massive turn out that filled the entire stake center to capacity. Amos is definitely loved.

My love for Amos grew today and I was filled with thoughts of the wonderful day we would be reunited.

I’ll share a little each day as photos, videos, recordings, memories and thoughts of the funeral proceedings come in.

Today I’ll share the life sketch delivered by Porter and my nephew Nick.

P: My dad was born December 11, 1975 in Malad Idaho, the 2nd son of Dean Abplanalp and Sandra Carol Sagers. He joined big brother Tom and 2 sisters, Tracy and Katie Jo.

N: He was happy baby, and nick-named fat boy by his dad. That name only stuck till he was about 3 because he just grew straight up. He had the same sized waist at 12 as he did as a baby.

P: He loved life, always had a big smile on his face and ran before he walked.

N: He was almost 3 when his family moved from Malad to Blackfoot. He and Tom thought their hearts would break in two when they had to leave their beloved babysitter, Trudy. But she made many trips to Blackfoot to continue to hold her spot in the family.

P: When baby sister, Abbe joined the family later that year, the family was complete.

N: On their little country road, Amos had a gang of friends. He would be gone in the morning until the sun went down occasionally coming in for lunch or cookies.

P: One day he was at the neighbor’s when his mom called him to come home. After calling him several times, his friend’s mom said “Amos, your mom wants you”. He said”Oh, I thought that was my imagination. Everyone has one, you know.”  And boy did he ever have one.

N: He had his own way of describing things. One day they were going to Grandpa and Grandma Sager’s house in Burley. At one point a bored little voice from the back seat asked, ” How many more go unders till we get there?  His parents looked at each other like “go unders”?  They finally realized he meant overpasses.

P: Even though he was a happy child, he liked to get his own way. He usually did, but when he didn’t, he could throw a pretty mean temper tantrum. He would hold his breath till he turned blue, scaring his mom half to death. Thank goodness, he outgrew those before he started school.

N: Amos loved to learn. He ate up anything new he heard and never forgot anything. His 4th grade teacher once told his mom she wished she could have a whole classroom of Amos’s. He never lost that need to learn everything he could.

P: Dad’d greatest knowledge came from the scriptures. He absolutely loved the gospel and its teachings of our Savior.  His favorite scripture is 3 Nephi: and 27:27. And know ye that “Ye shall be judges of this people. According to the judgment I shall give unto you which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be.”  Verily I say unto you, even as I am.

N: When he was 9, his mom and dad divorced which was devastating to the little family. But when his mom married Evan Dance, everything was okay again. Amos had an instant bond with Evan. They truly loved each other. Just recently, Evan introduced himself as the step-dad and Amos got upset and told him to never introduce himself as the step-dad. He’s just dad. He has two #1 dads and he loves them both.

P: He not only got a new dad, but 3 new brothers: Russell, Jeremy and Dustin and 3 new sisters: Jennie, Amanda and Hilary as partners in crime. My dad grew up on a potato farm west of Blackfoot moving pipe, hunting rabbits and owning the desert. That’s where he gained a desire for an education. He was dang sure he did not want to move pipe for the rest of his life.

N: Amos loved sports. He grew up playing little league baseball and basketball. He once pitched a no-hitter in an All-Star Tournament and was named MVP. But his real love was wrestling. He started when he was 4 in free-style tournaments. His big brother, Tom was a wrestler, and he loved his brother, so he wanted to be a wrestler, too. He was always in the lightest weight. When he got to high school at Snake River, he had to eat to get to the lightest weight class. While his brothers were going to bed in down parkas, hats and down sleeping bags to lose weight, he was eating to gain. Didn’t make him too popular at home at the time.

P: My dad was on 2 state championship wrestling teams his Jr and Sr years. He finished 4th in the state his Sr. year. His love and passion for wrestling never diminished.

N: He graduated from Snake River High School in 1994. He then fulfilled his dream of being a missionary. Ever since he was a very small boy, he had the desire to go on a mission. Every single Fast Sunday Amos would go to the podium and declare his desire to go on a mission.

P: He also said Fast Sunday should be called slow Sunday because he was always so hungry by the time he was able to break his Fast. His favorite Primary song was “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission which they did. He served in the Canada Toronto Mission for two years, once again following in his big brother, Tom’s footsteps. He had served there 2 years before.

N: For the first 6 months of his mission he had the same mission president as Tom had his last 6 months. The family decided he needed to go to the same mission, because that was the only mission president in the church who would be able to pronounce his last name correctly.

P: As soon as he returned from his mission, he left to further his education at Brigham Young University where he quickly met the love his life and eternal companion, Hillary Clair Mann.

N: Amos met Hillary the summer just after his mission before he even started a class at BYU. He had a personal commitment that he was never going to spend money on someone else’s wife so 6 weeks after meeting Hillary, the first dime he spent on her was for an engagement ring.

P: They were married a few weeks later before the fall semester at BYU started. Mom and dad worked through college and it was almost 5 years until they were able to have children. They were so excited to find out mom was finally pregnant with me!

N: After Porter was born their lives got difficult as they tried to balance school and work and parenting. Amos did a psychology internship at the Utah State Prison then worked nights at a mental health facility. He went to school and slept in a hammock on the deck of our apartment with Porter during the days. Hillary worked days and cared for Porter at night.

P: Dad graduated from BYU just in time because babies only sleep 20 hours a day for the first little while. Our little family then moved from Utah to Arizona for graduate school at ASU.

N: Amos would do anything for his wife and was happy to select a school that was close to her family. He helped her start a music school in down town Mesa.

P: Dad loved mom but he hated to DJ karaoke nights at the music school. A thousand preteens asking him to put on the same songs over and over got old fast.

N: Thank goodness for his brother in law Ken who provided some real entertainment with Van Halen’s JUMP or Guns and Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle. Amos would only ever get up himself to sing one song;

P: What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong style!

N: Yes! (Sing: I see trees of green)

P: Soon my sister Evelyn was on the way. Mom taught high school music and dad held down the fort while he continued in graduate school.

N: Amos loved to cook and loved caring for his wife as she struggled with the morning sickness that came with each child. While they had Kirra, Ruth and Blakely, Amos taught high school to emotionally disabled students and also and coached wrestling.

P: My parents loved having summers off together and traveling to Idaho to visit grandma and grandpa Dance.

N: Amos had many callings in the church that he loved during this time. His favorite was Cub Master. He would dress up and become different characters for pack meetings. He was also the young men’s president and enjoyed preparing his priests for missions.

P: His main purpose in life an one he honored was to preside in our family as a husband and father. He made it a point to eat dinner with us and talk with his children about our lives and struggles. He held family home evening each Monday night and held family prayer and scripture study each night with great consistency.

N: After becoming highly qualified to teach many high school subjects, he felt a desire to go back to school himself and return to his original goal in the field of psychology.

P: As he accomplished that goal and became a licensed counselor, a job opportunity took his family to the prison town of Florence. He was shortly called as Bishop and 3 months later received a cancer diagnosis. He worked hard and served his church and family for a year and a half as his body declined and he was released as bishop just before passing away on September 7th, 2017.

N: This past year Amos’s fear wasn’t of dying but of not being able to provide for his family or see them accomplish their goals. He was given a tender mercy to stay long enough to baptize all of his children and witness a small piece of the great things they will do in this life.

P: My dad was understanding, wise, patient, funny, humble, kind and loved by all who knew him.

Amos Abplanalp – Obituary

Amos Dean Abplanalp 1975-2017

Amos Dean Abplanalp was born December 11, 1975 in Malad, Idaho. He passed away September 7th, 2017 at Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert, Arizona surrounded by his wife and children, mother and brother. He fought a courageous fight with colon cancer for a year and a half. He lost the battle, but won the war enduring well until the end.

Amos was born the third child of Dean Abplanalp and Sandra Carol Sagers. He joined his brother, Tom, and sister, Katie Jo. Three years later Abbe completed the family.

When he was two, the family moved to Blackfoot where he spent the next 17 years of his life. When he was nine, his parents divorced. His mother later met and married Evan Dance and six more siblings were added to his family.

He grew up on a potato farm where he learned to work hard. He also learned that he wanted an education.

Amos loved sports. He played little league baseball and basketball, but his real love was wrestling. He was on a state championship wrestling team at Snake River High School where he graduated in 1994.

He served in the Canada Toronto Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After returning honorably after two years he attended Brigham Young University and met the love of his life and eternal companion, Hillary Clair Mann.

Amos graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He and his wife and son then moved to Arizona where he attended Arizona State University to persue a master’s degree in Criminal Justice.

He was a teacher for emotionally disabled students at Gilbert High School for 10 years and a wrestling coach. He was certified to teach multiple high school subjects and was a beloved teacher.

He and his wife had five beautiful children together who have brought them incredible joy.

He later received a Master’s Degree in Counseling and worked as a Licensed Professional Counselor at the Florence, AZ prison in the Eyman Complex.

He served in many church callings and his most recent calling was as bishop of the Magma Ranch Ward in the SanTan Valley Stake.

Just as Amos learned of his cancer diagnosis his daughter, Evie Clair, was invited to audition for the show “America’s Got Talent.” Her musical talents, bright spirit and love for her father propelled her forward in the show. She made it to the finals the night before her father passed away. He lived his last few months seeing his daughter’s dreams play out and it was the highlight of his life.

Amos affected many in his life for good through his kindness, humility, wisdom and service. To know Amos was to love him.  His faith in God and great love for his family, friends, neighbors and coworkers inspired many.

Amos is survived by his wife: Hillary; his children: Porter, Evelyn, Kirra, Ruth and Blakely; his parents: Sandra and Evan Dance (ID) and Dean and Connie Abplanalp (FL), his siblings: Tracy Beede (UT) Tom (Paije) Abplanalp (WA), Katie Jo Abplanalp (ID), Abbe (Les) Fisher (ID), Russell (Tammy) Dance (WA), Jeremy (Jennifer) Dance (WA), Dustin Dance (WA), Jennie (Josh) Cobb (Philippines), Amanda Dance (ID), Hilary (Shawn) Wilmot (WA); grandmother: Janet Abplanalp (UT).

He was preceded in death by his grandparents: Moe and Carol Sagers, Tom Abplanalp and Ora Ezell; his nephew: Daniel Gurr and mother in law: Pamalee Mann.

There will be a viewing at the funeral home Tuesday evening from 6 to 8pm at 33 N Centennial Way Mesa, AZ 85201. Flowers, etc. can be sent to that address.

The funeral services will be held 10am Wednesday, September 13th at 1521 E Bella Vista Rd San Tan Valley, AZ 85143 with a viewing at 9am.

Amos’s body will be laid to rest in the Mesa Cemetery.

Death Has No Victory

Last night I stayed at the hospital with my sweetheart. He couldn’t communicate with me but I felt his spirit and rested well. The deep pain and anxiety of Tuesday were gone and I felt peace.

This morning I sat with Amos’s brother Tom in Amos’s hospital room. We were both struggling with understanding God’s will because we both believed Amos would be healed from this affliction. We studied and prayed and discussed. He never attempted to convince me of anything but just loved me and said that he knew all Amos wanted was for his wife to be happy.

After some pondering we came to the conclusion that faith is action. We wanted to show our trust in God and His will for Amos.

Tom received inspiration that our action should be to take Amos off life support and allow for God’s will to be done while allowing room for a miracle of healing or room for Amos to be released from a body that had been taken over by cancer.

He said the answers are usually simple but not always easy.

Grandma picked up the kids from school and brought them to the hospital. The nurses were so kind to prepare refreshments for our kids.

When our faithful children arrived we explained the situation and asked for their council in making this decision. They all agreed with tear filled eyes. We gave them each time alone with dad before turning off life-sustaining machines.







We watched him take his last breaths as he continued to breathe for about 15 minutes on his own. The children burst into tears but are now at home laughing at old home movies of daddy and remembering our great love for the most wonderful man any of us have ever known.

We find constant peace and joy in the knowledge that Jesus Christ paid the price of death so that it has no lasting victory. We will be with Amos again and we feel he can now be with us without the restrictions of his mortal body. Our faith in the Savior has grown today and our family has been strengthened forever.

Upswing

Amos said to me tonight that he is sensing an upswing. We did notice that he had more energy. Getting worse wasn’t an option so the only way was up. It really helps to be able to drain his stomach at home.

He actually wanted to get dressed this afternoon and as he came down the stairs for the first time in a couple days, he realized his brother, Tom, from Washington was sitting on the couch. Tom loves surprises and thought he would come into town early to see his brother. 

It was a good thing he came early because I had to run Evie to Gilbert and Amos needed to start his TPN before I got back. Dean and Tom worked together to figure out all the complicated steps with the help of FaceTime and Nurse Margene.

Evie was a hit tonight as the guest speaker/performer for a young women mutual night in Gilbert.

She told them about her experiences on AGT and answered questions. She made them cry with some really special songs then made them laugh with her Miranda Sings impression.

Thanks Phoebe and Michelle Owens Rigby for setting up such a fun night.

The timing was perfect because NBC aired a special “Road to the Finals” edition of America’s Got Talent Tonight so all the girls got to watch Evie on TV while they were with her.

If you missed this episode, catch it on NBC.com tomorrow. It had lots of footage we hadn’t seen and was really well done.

Dean and Connie were super stars today. Cleaning, cooking, shopping, caring for Amos, spending time with my kids, installing lighting and finding ways to make things more efficient. What a blessing they are.

We all plan to keep the upswing going and get Amos through this rough patch.

Great Names

I never in a million years imagined I would marry someone named Amos Abplanalp. I now love the name but mostly because it represents my favorite person in the world. As long as I’ve known him, he’s always been confident and unashamed of his unique name. Over the years his confidence has given me confidence that it’s a great name and I’m happy to be an Abplanalp.

Amos took me on a date today and it was wonderful. We figured out that his pain gets worse at the end of the day and he can’t stay awake past 8pm anymore so we did a daytime lunch and a movie date.

Evelyn’s stage name ‘Evie Clair’ wasn’t selected to hide her Swiss Alps heritage, just for a level of security, ease of spelling and to give tribute to her musical grandmothers who share the name ‘Clair’ for generations back. Evelyn’s middle name is Clair as is mine and my mom’s and her mom’s and her mom’s.

Evie’s great grandmother Virginia Clair was a Jesse. We are also related to the famous outlaw Jesse James through her line. The name Jesse was passed to my favorite friend and neice Jesse who passed away at age 7.’ Jesse’ was also passed from grandma to my little brother and his son. They posted this picture today at the father and son’s campout and I can’t get over how cute it is.

We have some other great names in our family but I think my favorite is ‘Brighton Jolley.’ She is my great niece and she has the bright and jolly face to go with her name. Her mom posted the cutest video of her first roller coaster ride today. I could watch this all day.

The Inside-out Approach

This is a paper my nephew Kenneth Morris just wrote about Amos’s cancer journey for his college English class…

The Doctor entered, gripping his clipboard, his face consumed with the grimace of bad news. The sharp “clack!” of the door closing came as an acute contrast to the low hum of the medical equipment quietly buzzing in the tiny hospital room of the Gilbert Cancer center. Hillary was the first to know, as Amos slept through the doctor’s report. His words seemed to hang in the air for minutes amidst the silence like the slow fall of a light feather. She was still in shock when she called her sister, Phoebe, whose tears finally brought Hillary’s emotions out as well. Hillary and Amos Abplanalp had lived through some intense experiences over the past few months.  They reflected over their life, how Amos had suffered and how much he would continue to do so. Amos had been having stomach pains for a couple of weeks, and as they got more intense, it began to worry him and his wife Hillary. Amos figured he was just getting old and fat, or that it was possibly the result of his poor diet–that is, until the pain grew so intense that he simply couldn’t stand up one day. That’s when they knew they had to seek medical attention. Amos and Hillary had experienced a wide range of emotions, fear, then relief, and finally sorrow as doctor after doctor each seemed to have a different prognosis. Finally, after a CT scan showed lesions on his liver, a following colonoscopy discovered a large tumor in his colon. Hillary got her emotions under control and again focused on the present moment, as the Doctor explained what the following steps would be for Amos’ fight with Stage 4 Colon Cancer.  

Not long before the diagnosis, Amos had been asked to serve as a local leader called a “Bishop” for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This was a large responsibility requiring hours upon hours of work and planning. He was responsible for a group of about 400 people, planning and running church services and other social gatherings each week. On top of that he was to record and budget local donations to the church and maintain the welfare programs it offers. Not to mention the youth groups, the instruction of organization heads, and spiritual instruction of the local members.  After pondering and praying about his situation, Amos spoke to his superiors in the Church. In an interview with them, he let them know how he felt about his situation. Before they could even begin telling him if they wanted him to keep serving as Bishop or not, Amos told them boldly, “You better not release me. God knew I had cancer when he called me. He wanted me here.” Amos continues to serve in this capacity to this day. He never doubted his decision– attributing much of his ability to stay happy and sane to the fact that being the Bishop gave him the opportunity to focus on other people’s needs, and let his own worries dissipate in their service.

According to Amos, day to day life “hasn’t changed much” (Amos). Other than tiring very quickly, getting no exercise, and often collapsing at the end of the day, life goes on as normal. Amos has not even missed a single day of work other than attending his Chemo-Therapy sessions, and surgeries, including his colostomy bag installation. He continues to work as counselor in a Suicide Watch pod for a maximum-security prison, helping high-risk prisoners be rehabilitated back into a normal environment. “These are men who are just dangerous, like, threats to themselves and threats to everyone they come in contact with. They just want to hurt everybody. And they will if we let them out.” Amos explained. Amos keeps “lots and lots of notes, like entire pages of notes…” (Amos) on about 15-25 inmates, observing their level of self-danger; why and what they do that makes them so volatile. He helps them not be slaves to the situations that happen to them in their lives, which is likely a big reason that Amos hasn’t let his situation control him. His teachings have had significant impact on the prisoners’ lives.

While the identity of the inmate must remain confidential, one inmate in specific, who shall be called David, has been specifically affected. David was particularly dangerous, and after hearing that his son was murdered while he was there, he became a threat even to himself. After Amos shared his cancer diagnosis with David, the two have had a special connection. When asked about David, and how Amos’ cancer diagnosis affected their sessions, Amos said, “Well, he[David] seems to have related really well with me about it. I mean, he used to be this crazy dangerous guy, his son was murdered while he was in prison…just extremely violent, he just wanted to kill everyone and kill himself, but after talking with me, and after sharing my trial with him, and how I dealt with my trials, he was sort of able to see his situation in a different light. You know, was his son’s murder a tragedy? Maybe not. Sure, it was sad, and awful, but maybe those trials in our lives can actually be building blocks for positive change.”(Amos). David is often heard asking the prison guards about Amos and his health and wellbeing, always sending his regards and gratitude. David is now safe enough to not only be alone, but even mingle with other prisoners without harming them.

It is clear from Amos’ experiences that he is not allowing any situation take control of his life. All the things that Amos has been teaching to help others have come full circle to help him in his own life. He has found the strength to empathize with other people who live these terrible experiences, and really connect with them, helping them change for good. And in the process, has found strength beyond his own and has been uplifted himself from helping and counseling others. Amos is living proof that the trials in our lives don’t have to define us, but that we can define the world around us by how we react to it. Trials never need be tragedies. Famous writer Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, of playing a poor hand well.” Amos has proven that a “poor hand played well”, can make a considerable difference in the world. This ‘Inside-out’ approach to viewing not only the difficulties of life, but the people in them has become one of Amos’ secret weapons in his own mental and emotional fight against cancer. Instead of self-pity, self-less service. Instead of wallowing in worry, finding freedom firm belief. As he continues to battle cancer and is about to take on his next round of Chemo-Therapy, there is no doubt, Amos will continue to stand tall, and lift those that surround him. After all, victory doesn’t always come as expected. But to those selfless souls who live with purpose and help others on their way, it always comes.

President’s Day

It was a fun President’s Day at the Abplanalp’s. Amos had to work, but the kids and I soaked up some Arizona sun on the tennis court. Porter was helping Kirra with her serve.

After Amos got home, we had a family night lesson about the “mighty change of heart” spoken of by Alma. We learned to self evaluate our own hearts asking the questions Alma asked the Nephites who had been converted. We had everyone ask themselves following questions:

Do I seek true repentance?

Do I reflect the attributes of Christ?

Do I strive to submit my will to God’s will?

Sometimes pride and selfishness, jealously or bitterness, anger or even exhaustion can distract us from the Holy Ghost who is always trying to soften and heal and change our hearts.

We played graveyard for our game. Since Amos started chemo, that has been his favorite family night game. It’s the one where you have to lay very still and if you make the slightest move you are out.

Just as we were about to have ice cream for our family night treat, we got a knock on the door from Amos’s previous bishop who surprised him at church yesterday. I now realized that I called him the “old bishop” in my last post and I need to repent for that. We shared wonderful memories and had a joyful visit with Bishop and Sister Murdock.

We were talking about all the prayers and blessings Amos has received since this journey began. Amos works with a Jewish man who vocally says his name in his synagogue every week. Amos’s name has also been on the prayer roll in countless temples. The waitress at a restaurant near our home confirmed that her Christian congregation has been praying for him too. I know that the Lord is aware of Amos and aware of the prayers of many faiths on his behalf. We want you to know that we know He hears them all and we appreciate them.

Amos has one more good day of energy to look forward to before the chemo cycle starts again on Wednesday.

He Loves Me

Today was Amos’s day off. He spent it taking care of me and Evelyn, who is also sick now. He brought me breakfast in bed, made all the meals, went through our plates and bowls then took the extra ones to Goodwill, took the kids to and from school, walked the dogs and even cleaned out the fridge. I know! He loves me. People always ask me how I am and how I hold it all together. The truth is I don’t hold anything together. He does. He has held everything together from the beginning and he will always have my heart.

Family

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So fun to have so many of us together for Carlie’s mission farewell today. Love these people and all the ones far away who couldn’t make it. Family is so important to us. We will miss our missionaries but at least we will be able to see them tomorrow for one last time. We are excited to see lots of you tomorrow for Amos’s fundraiser at the movie theater as well. I’m so grateful to you for supporting us in this. There are still plenty of seats left. They got us the big theater. Hopefully we can fill it.

This will be a big week and I am planning on having Amos for two more days until he is out of commission. We are ramping up for a big week. We have a birthday and a baptism and grandpa coming into town and Amos has to speak in church for ward conference next Sunday. That should be interesting since Sunday was his worst day. At least he can’t fall asleep if he’s speaking. 😉

Final Round

Today is the last round of chemo before we make a new plan for Amos’s treatment. We just saw two ladies next to us at the cancer center have terrible reactions to their chemo and it made me realize how blessed Amos has been to have had such limited side effects.

He does have a crazy new one this week. Whenever he tilts his head forward, it sends an electric shock from his foot to his knee. We’ll take that over mouth sores any day.

We are praying for Grandpa Dean today and everyone else who may be in the path of Hurricane Matthew.

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If you can’t tell, these boys are tired of photos. What are those faces?! We are in the elevator at the cancer center and Porter says “Here we go again; never ending photo op!”

I had a sweet angel from our ward take care of my girls all day again. Linnea Ketcher is a wonderful blessing and my girls had so much fun!

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She took them out and spoiled them rotten in true grandma fashion. In every ward we have been in since I lost my mother to cancer, we have had someone who has filled her position and cared for my kids as their own grandchildren. In Gilbert it was Diena Black, in Mesa it was Kathy Atwood. #blessings

One of Amos’s doctors was hillarious today. Someone showed her that there was a picture of her with Amos’s story on the cover of The Beehive Newspaper this month. She came in today and exclaimed, “I didn’t know you were a bishop!” I don’t even think she is a member of our church but was so taken back that one of her patients was a bishop. #teamamos