Erda resident Lynn Falkner has many stories to tell from his time spent traveling the world, working ski patrol, being a physician’s assistant, diving, and drag racing.
Falkner now lives a fairly quiet life in Erda with his wife Mickey, his dogs, Clydesdale horses, and feral cats, but when he was younger, his life was packed full of adventure.
Falkner was born and raised in Davis County where he grew up with his five siblings working for his dad’s military surplus store.
During his time in high school, he was on the debate and wrestling teams, but claims he never won his wrestling matches, because local farm boys always beat him.
Right after graduating high school in 1970, Falkner’s friend convinced him to begin working for Alta Ski Resort as a ski patrolman.
“Nobody asked me my age when I was hired,” he said. “You had to be 21 but I was only 18.”
After he was hired, Falkner had to relearn how to ski in dangerous circumstances and to save skiers in trouble.
“I had to relearn, because I was a fancy skier. I had to learn how to ski in the deep and the steep and take people out in toboggans when they were injured,” Falkner said.
During the 20 years Falkner spent working part time as a patrolman, he encountered many dangerous situations, made many rescues, and met many people.
“It was pretty incredible. “I met a number of interesting people… For avalanche control, we used these World War II cannons,” Falkner reminisced.
Falkner and his wife were married in 1982 at the ski resort and had one of the last weddings there before an avalanche destroyed the church the next year.
Many of Falkner’s stories from his time working ski patrol can be found in his daughter’s book titled “Steep Terrain” written by Brichelle Young.
Some of Falkner’s friends convinced him to go to medical school to become a physician’s assistant in 1989. Falkner then began working at Primary Children’s Hospital.
Falkner worked 120 hours a week in the neurosurgery department of the hospital where his boss even allowed him to help perform surgery.
“We had a lot of traumas, brain tumors, and birth defects,” he said. “There was a conjoined twin from Honduras and they were joined at the head. The surgeons were finally able to separate them and they went back to Honduras as two people instead of one … I even got a call one time from the Vatican and the guy said, ‘We have an eight-year-old with a tumor in the back of her brain.’ They wanted to come see a doctor and have it removed. I had them read me the MRI report and it sounded like an easy tumor to remove, so I told them to call a doctor in Rome and save them a trip to Salt Lake.”
Falkner remembers meeting different types of people during his time at Primary Children’s Hospital. He was able to travel all around the world for medical conferences.
“We would often go to medical meetings,” Falkner said. “They were in places like Rio de Janeiro, Switzerland, or Austria. Istanbul was my favorite place.”
Falkner’s favorite thing about his job was working with the children.
“Kids are so resilient,” he said. “They bounce back from everything.”
In 1991, Falkner took a brief hiatus from his PA job when he was called to service in California from the Navy Reserves. He was in California for around five months where he performed doctor’s duties.
Falkner and his wife moved to their current home in Erda in 1995.
“We couldn’t find the right place and then there was an ad for a place in Tooele County,” Falkner said. “I didn’t think there was anything out here. I was surprised.”
Falkner remembers all of the neighbors in Erda helping each other with whatever they needed.
Around 15 years ago, Falkner began working at the Stansbury University of Utah clinic as a PA.
There he met many friends and became a known member of the community.
He also served on the Tooele County Board of Health.
After that, he began working at the Greenwood Midville Clinic and an urgent care on Redwood Road in the Salt Lake Valley.
He officially retired in 2018 as a result of Parkinson’s disease.
During his career, when he wasn’t working, Falkner enjoyed drag racing, sea diving, flying his plane, and traveling. His favorite family trip was to Mexico.
Falkner even lived on a deserted island in the south pacific for nearly two months.
“The guy that owns Western Rivers Fly Fishing in Salt Lake leased the island from the king and the queen of Micronesia,” Falkner said. “He invited 11 of us to fly there. We had to go from here to Los Angeles, to Hawaii, to Johnson Island, to the Marshall Islands. We got dropped off by a plane and they said, ‘If you have an emergency, call any Tuesday at 9:00.’”
During his time on the island, Falkner lived off of the land, eating sea creatures and fish, along with bananas and coconuts, and stayed in tents, but he almost didn’t make it home.
“So a month went by and we didn’t see our ride to get out, so we called everyday and we finally got somebody to answer the phone,” he said. “We had to get on a boat and head to the island where the airport was…We made it home okay, but it ended up being more like a seven-week adventure, rather than a four- week trip.”
Flash forward to present times, Falkner enjoys spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren.
If he could change one thing about the world, he would create more peace and safety.