Hunter, gatherer, farmer, family provider, father, and friend, James LaMar Tarbet, almost 92, passed away on November 17, 2022. LaMar had a long, wonderful life filled mostly with joy and only a few tragedies. In all, he was the glue that held the family together. He will be remembered for being completely dedicated to his family, and a kind, generous, gentle man, who made a difference in the lives of everyone who knew him.
LaMar came into the world in Burley, Idaho as the third child of Bourke and Caroline (Kitty) Tarbet in 1930. Times were hard as the country was going through the Great Depression. However, the Tarbet family knew how to work smartly and stretch a dollar to sustain the family unit. LaMar and his siblings always had “enough” and that, coupled with a loving, nurturing father and mother, sustained them. LaMar’s earliest memories were of working with his father in the fields, going to school, and swimming in the canals around Burley (Although that skill seems to have been lost as he got older as he never got in the water as an adult!). A monumental move was made by the family in 1943 as Bourke and Kitty had bought the family farm in Benson, Utah.
The rest of LaMar’s story is written almost exclusively in Cache County, Utah. As LaMar got older he became an outdoorsman mostly because he loved nature but also for the bounty that could be obtained by a smart hunter and fisherman. He was always involved helping the family by bringing home deer, ducks, pheasants and of course fish to eat. He received the fishing gene from his father who was a remarkable fisherman. LaMar also learned to trap muskrats and other small fury critters in the marshes along Bear River. This skill supplied much needed income, from the sale of the furs, in the winter months when construction work was halted because of the cold and snow. The cold or snow didn’t ever seem to faze him.
A strong, dedicated worker, LaMar always had a job. He worked for his father and anyone who needed a strong back in Benson, including at times Uncle Moni Watterson, who he greatly admired. He told many stories of harvesting grain on Moni’s farm and sometimes getting in trouble for messing up this or that with Moni getting mad and then taking the whole crew to Roy and Ruby’s store for a bag of peanuts and a Coke! LaMar learned at an early age the value of work and the advantages of having a large family around him. He told a story of going off to work as a teenager, with only bus fare in his pocket, on a road construction project in Pocatello, where Cousin Ed already worked. Ed met him, gave him a place to stay and his first meal, then LaMar was on his own.
LaMar met Joyce Buxton in 1949 and they were later married. He worked construction jobs, farm jobs and then at the Cache Valley Dairy making cheese, with cheese curds as a specialty. He loved to eat them right up to the end! Kids came quickly, with three in diapers at one time! Six total. LaMar and Joyce were dedicated to their ever-growing family and each other. Throughout their lives they had an undying love for children. Again, not a great deal of money but extraordinary amounts of hard work, common sense, frugality, and ties to extended family allowed them to thrive.
In 1957 a meeting with Robert Griffith resulted in an offer to manage the Griffith Dairy in Benson. This became the place where the family grew up, and the fondest memories of good times developed. Located only 4 or so miles from the Tarbet homestead farm and deep in the middle of the extended Watterson and Tarbet families, along with many of the people, LaMar and Joyce had grown up with, made for an excellent life filled with work, love, and adventure. Often, LaMar would get up at 3 AM to milk the cows so he and the boys could go hunting or fishing. As time went on, the hunting of once plentiful pheasants became an annual Buxton safari. Again, LaMar would milk the cows early and then spend the weekend guiding upwards of 16 people to the elusive pheasants. Joyce would prepare a massive breakfast for the hunters, and all would get their bellies full. The stories that are still being told of these hunts have bonded the families over these many years. Farming the land, raising cattle, and milking cows gave the entire family a solid foundation for life.
LaMar left the Griffith Dairy in 1979 and started his own Dairy operation in Cornish, Utah. By this time, the kids had all grown up and moved away. Later LaMar took a job with Bear River Technical College (BATC) as a Maintenance Engineer where he worked until he retired in 1996. However, not to be too sedentary, he still worked maintaining several industrial buildings for many more years.
LaMar left this world to be with his beloved family, relatives, and friends who are rejoicing to have him amongst them, telling stories and occasionally fishing with his dad. May he rest in peace and enjoy the afterlife. He deserves a special place.
Siblings: Bourke Dewain Tarbet (deceased), Doris Marie Sweeten (deceased), Floyd Lee Tarbet, Robert Max Tarbet (deceased), Lois Jean McWhirter, and Bonnie Ann Anderson. Children: Kellen Lester Tarbet (), Laren Dean Tarbet (Rachel), Julie Bergeson (Dan), Terri Lee Tarbet (deceased), James Alan Tarbet (deceased), and Brett LaMar Tarbet (Melinda).
Grand Children: Carey, Mark, Brian, Cole, Alex, Tina, Sean, Alexa, and Steven
Great Grand Children: Danny, Jazzy, Skylar, Rosie, and Ledger.
A celebration of life for friends and family will be held on June 17, 2023, from 1 PM to 5 PM, at the Sportsman’s Paradise, 750 West 8700 South, Paradise, Utah 84328. Phone 435-245-3035. Goodtrout@aol.com POC Grant White.
The family suggests donations may be made to the Cache Food Pantry at 359 South Main Street, Logan, Utah 84321. Phone 435-753-7140.
Please share a favorite memory of LaMar or offer condolences to the family by leaving a tribute on this page.