[Courtesy photo]

Michael Ray Arehart was born December 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 for the rest of his life.

On November 21, 1973, he married his wife, Ann Sparks of Nephi, Utah in the Manti Temple. To this union of 47 years 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 School Board for 12 years, serving as President for ten 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 got his teaching degree and started teaching. After the sale of the Taco Bender, he continued his education obtaining a master’s degree with a secondary endorsement and continued his life-calling of being a teacher. 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 choral and musical productions. He participated in many of the musicals and usually stole the show. He loved to sing and to share his beautiful voice, singing at 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 foreign countries.

After teaching for nineteen years, Mike retired. However, he wasn’t ready to stop working and decided to take a job managing the elderly housing complex, the Rockridge Apartments. Once a month, he hosted a luncheon for the occupants, infusing positivity into all of them.

He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, serving a two-year mission and being a member of several Bishoprics, the Stake High Council, and teaching Sunday School for many years.

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 which forced him to retire from Rockridge 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.

Mike is survived by his wife, Ann; his four children, Teresa “Tee” (Larry) Croasmun of Moab, Mindee (Trevor) Bradford of North Salt Lake, Trevor T. (Nichole) Arehart of Cedar City and Monica (Nick) Oldroyd of Moab; his mother, E. Lenore Arehart of Moab; his sister, Ginger (Manuel) Torres of Moab; his brother in-law, Paul Cox of Centerville as well as 14 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, Edgar Thorpe (Bud) Arehart, and his sister, Debbie Arehart Cox.

Services were held May 18 at the Spanish Valley Mortuary. Interment was at the Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery.