27 Years of Blessing the Lives of Countless Fifth Graders at Salem Elementary

Submitted by pam.lynn on

Our husband, father, brother, teacher, and best friend returned to his Heavenly Father on January 11th, 2021 after a long and hard battle in the Provo ICU with COVID-19. We are so proud of him and how strong he is, and truly feel that he could tell us: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

Chris was born on March 25, 1958 in Provo, Utah, but he was raised in Payson by his parents, Gene Vest and Elaine Shuler Vest, and lived there his entire life. He loved hunting with his dad and brothers, swimming on the Payson swim team, helping his dad on the farm, and playing football for Payson High School.

After he graduated, he worked in construction for about 15 years before going back to school and graduating from BYU with a degree in elementary education. For the next 27 years, he would bless the lives of countless fifth graders and their families at Salem Elementary. We all remember his funny stories and the way he empowered us to be our best selves and to love learning. In the summers, he ran the family farm and served on the Salem Canal Company board, eventually as its president, advocating for water rights and other farmers.

Within his first few years of teaching, Chris met Janet Panhorst, the new teacher in his grade level, and they fell in love. They were married in the Mt.Timpanogos temple in 1997 and soon after started their family of three daughters: Kylee, Sheridan, and Alaina.

Chris’ family was absolutely everything to him. We always knew we were his top priority. He took us on four wheeler trips to his favorite former hunting spots in Fish Lake, Utah, and he never missed a soccer game, piano recital, or a chance to teach us how to work on the farm. We will never forget his legacy of hard work, kindness, and the influence one person can have on hundreds in a small sphere. We love him, are so proud of him, and will miss him so much.

We want to give a special thank you to the doctors, nurses, and staff at Utah Valley Hospital that worked so selflessly and bravely to take care of Chris. They cared for him as if he was their own loved family member. You are all our heroes.
Chris is preceded in death by his parents Gene Vest and Elaine Shuler Vest. He is survived by his brothers Randy (Joycelyn) and Jeff (Cynthia), his sister Gina (Greg), his nieces and nephews, his wife Janet, his daughters; Kylee (Taylor), Sheridan, and Alaina, one grandson who will be born in May, and Janet’s family, who consider him one of their own.

Funeral services for family and very close friends will be held on Saturday, January 16th at 11 AM, by invitation only, but services will be broadcast live at bit.ly/ChrisVestFuneral. A viewing for the public will be held on Friday, January 15th from 6-8 PM at 1130 E. 100 S. Payson, UT. Masks and social distancing will be required if you choose to attend.

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