Clarence Michael Hitz died peacefully in his home on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, after battling numerous health conditions.
Mike was born on July 31, 1948, to Clarence Sessions Hitz and Lorna Allred Hitz. He was the eldest of six children.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents and a stillborn sister, Christine.
Mike grew up in Byron at the family homestead just south of the Byron Ward Chapel. He helped his parents raise cows and other animals at the home. Growing up, Mike learned the value of hard work from his parents.
Helping his father around the home formed a desire to learn the industrial arts. Mike was a talented welder and builder. He worked hard on projects as a teenager that helped him hone his welding skills, which led to placing second nationally in the Lincoln Arc Welding Contest, for building a completely from-scratch stock trailer.
He and other Byron boys who entered the contest were featured in a three-page Improvement Era article in 1966, of which, Mike was featured prominently. Mike’s talent and perfectionism led to a small welding business in his early married years.
Mike took part in numerous extracurricular activities in junior high and high school. He was a member of track, basketball and football teams. He also helped with backstage duties in school melodramas. (If you knew Mike, you know that’s where he preferred to be!) Mike was also a member of the local FFA chapter as an officer and enjoyed all the trips to the county and state fairs, along with other fairs in the region.
Mike had a big family on his mom’s side, and he enjoyed spending time with them. Family gatherings always included guitars, banjos and lots of singing. Mike had a great singing voice. He was shy in his younger years though, so he didn’t often share that talent. In fact, the only time he ever appeared alone on stage was when he played the accordion from sixth through eighth grade.
1966 was an important year for Mike. In addition to being featured in the Improvement Era article, he was also named the junior prom king, and was made the FHA chapter brother for winning a baking competition with his pineapple upside-down cake.
Perhaps more important than all that, though, was that was the year he met his soul mate, Linda JoAnn Morrison. Mike met Linda while they both were involved in a Stake Musical Roadshow for their church. They began dating that summer with a trip in a friend’s convertible to the old drive-in movie theater in Lovell.
After graduating from Byron High School in 1967, Mike attended Northwest Community College in Powell for a year. He then moved to Orem, Utah, to take classes in the welding program at Utah Tech, while Linda was enrolled at BYU.
In the fall of 1969, Mike joined the Wyoming National Guard and received cannon and artillery training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He was a member of the guard for six years, before he was honorably discharged.
Mike and Linda were sealed for all time and eternity in the Salt Lake City Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Nov. 23, 1970. This year would have been their 50th wedding anniversary. Mike and Linda moved into Mike’s grandfather’s old home in Byron, where they lived for six years. They welcomed their firstborn, Michael Lynn Hitz, in 1971. Mike and Linda adopted their second child, Kyle Elizabeth Hitz, in 1980, after years of trying for more children. Jordan Morrison Hitz, Destiny Melinda Hitz, and Braden Gifford Hitz followed in the 1980s to round out their family. Mike moved his family to their current residence in 1977. Mike’s family was always the number one priority in his life. He taught his children the lessons that he learned as a child, teaching them the value of hard work, and to honor their commitments.
Mike served in countless ways in his church. His first calling as a married man was to be a Webelo leader in the Byron Ward. He was soon called to the Elder’s Quorum Presidency and served in three different presidencies. Mike was called as the Elder’s Quorum President soon after moving to Lovell and served in that capacity for three years. He was dedicated to making sure every family in the ward was visited by someone at least once a month. He loved serving as a home teacher with his sons as companions throughout the years. In 1987, he was called to serve on the Stake High Council until 1990 when he was called as bishop of the Lovell First Ward. Mike served as bishop until 1998, a rather lengthy stay in that office, but never complained about it. Mike was able to help and serve a countless amount of people in those years as bishop. Mike and Linda were called to be Stake Missionaries for two years following his days as bishop, and he served in various high priest group callings. His favorite calling after the bishopric was when he was called to be a primary teacher. He never felt confident as a teacher but loved teaching the children in primary.
Mike is survived by his loving wife Linda; children Lynn (Jill) Hitz, Kyle Durtsche, Jordan (Angie) Hitz, Destiny (Steven) Hultgren, Braden (Jaci) Hitz; siblings Ken (Betty) Hitz, Joann (Ron) Larsen, Steven (Ginger) Hitz, Jay (Lisa) Hitz; 15 grandchildren with one on the way; and four great-grandchildren along with numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and other relatives.