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Community remembers miner killed in collapse

HUNTINGTON, Utah (ABC 4 News) – ABC 4 is learning new information about the coal miner who died March 22 during a Rhino Mine collapse in Emery County. The new stories surfaced at a funeral in Huntington on March 27.
“Elam was at peace when he watched someone doing something they loved. He liked to watch people having a good time,” -Jesse Jones
HUNTINGTON, Utah (ABC 4 News) – ABC 4 is learning new information about the coal miner who died March 22 during a Rhino Mine collapse in Emery County. The new stories surfaced at a funeral in Huntington on March 27.

“This was one fine young man and everyone will tell you that,” said a man as he walked into Elam’s visitation.

An estimated 400 people filed a Latter-day Saint chapel to learn about the man who died in a coal mining accident.

Elam’s family was visibly thankful for the outpouring of love and support.

“I know I’m not on the program, but wow! Thank you,” said Elam’s grand father Robert Potts after offering a family prayer at the funeral. He looked into the audience and continued, “You don’t know how much this mean to us.”

One by one, friends and family walked to the pulpit to share information and stories about Elam.

“He couldn’t stop talking about his boys,” said Jesse Jones

Elam leaves behind two young son’s Kelsen and Dacyn Jones. A picture on the funeral program shows the two boys wrapped in Elam’s arms.

“Elam loved doing things with his family,” said his mother Julie Jones.

He would take the boys outdoors with his father Derk. He enjoyed riding four-wheelers and to snow mobiles.

“He loved the smell of two stroke oil,” said Jesse.

Elam was a kind hearted man who would try to help others. Jeanne Ward says he took a man and his two sons into his home about four years ago. It was not uncommon to see Elam reach out to help others.

One friend recalls a time when Elam dropped his plans to take him hunting because, the friend said, he didn’t want to hunt alone. The friend tried to turn the offer down to respect to Elam’s time, but Elam insisted on helping his friend.

“Elam was at peace when he watched someone doing something they loved. He liked to watch people having a good time,” said Jesse.

This kind of friendly treatment was standard for Elam. He welcomed and loved all people. “He considered everyone to be his family,” said Jesse.

Elam’s greatest source of happiness was his wife Jaqlynn Tolley Jones.

“She made him happier than I’d ever seen him and that’s saying something,” said Ron Hale.

Elam was known to be in good spirits. Friends say he was happy because he lived life to the fullest, but this sometimes got him into trouble.

One day, he crashed his four-wheeler into a barbed wire fence. The cuts to his body required 72 stitches. He told his family a wild animal attacked him. They believed the story for about six months, everyone seemed to laugh at the funeral as this story was shared.

“Elan was always having fun and had a smile on his face, Hale said.

Elam’s mother Julie Jones said her son survived two avalanches. She said he thought about the close calls and said, I won’t die early from an avalanche. He said if he ever dies early, it would be in the mine.

“I truly believe he knew life was going to be short. He lived everyday as if it was his last,” said Julie.

Friends say he made the most of everyday. He worked hard in the coal mines and he would also play hard. He loved the outdoors.

“He was the life of the party,” said Brady Larsen.
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