Karma Dale and Junie Gay Harlow will lead the Grantsville Fourth of July parade this year as grand marshals. They will ride in remembrance of LaVerne Hunt, who was also chosen as grand marshal but passed away earlier this year.
In Tooele City, Rowe Harrison will lead the parade as the City’s grand marshal.
LaVerne Hunt was chosen as one of the Fourth of July grand marshals earlier this year by Grantsville Mayor Neil Critchlow, but she passed away shortly after on March 14 at 92.
In her memory, Grantsville’s other two grand marshals: Hunt’s daughter, Junie Gay Harlow and Karma Dale, will carry a photograph of her in their carriage during the parade.
LaVerne was born Caineville, Utah on June 1, 1931. When she was young, her family moved to Torrey, Utah where she was raised with four sisters. LaVerne grew up during the Great Depression but she never felt poor, because her family grew vegetables and farmed, according to her daughter, Junie Harlow.
At 16, LaVerne was crowned “Miss Torrey.” After graduating from high school, LaVerne married Junior Taylor, or JT, when she was 18.
She met JT in Grantsville, because her sister was married to one of his brothers who lived in Grantsville. After they were married, JT joined the Navy and they moved to San Diego. In 1951, LaVerne and her family moved to Grantsville.
LaVerne was a stay-at-home mother while her children were growing up. LaVerne was also the mastermind who started Westside Auto Wrecking Yard in Grantsville in 1957, Junie said.
After JT passed away, LaVerne took a job as a legislative kitchen assistant working for the State of Utah.
“During the general sessions, they would come in and prepare toasts and meals for the legislatures,” Junie explained.
After retirement, LaVerne enjoyed knitting and crocheting. She also liked to bowl, work in the temple, and was a relief society president. At LaVerne’s funeral, many community members showed up, showing how many friends she had
“My mom was so kind, generous, and selfless,” Junie said. “All my mom did was love, and everyone loved her … She was the sweetest lady in the whole world.”
LaVerne’s legacy lives on in her five children, 19 grandchildren, 49 great grandchildren, and eight great-great grandchildren.
Junie Gay Harlow, was born on Sept. 9, 1951 in San Diego, California while LaVerne and JT were there for the Navy.
Junie was six weeks old when her parents moved to Grantsville. Growing up, Junie was taught to yodel and sing by her dad at a very young age. Junie performed at the Old Folks Sociables and around town at various events. She graduated from Grantsville High School in 1969.
Junie won the title of Miss Utah State Fair in 1970 after earning the titles of Miss Grantsville and Miss Tooele County. She was also a runner-up at the Miss Utah Pageant.
In 1970, Junie married Denny Anderson, a musician. Junie and Denny had four children, all daughters. The couple made their living for the first 17 years touring, creating country-western music together. Their band was called “Junie Gay and the Whitewater.”
Together they traveled throughout the western United States and Canada, leaving Grantsville to live in other various places. After 17 years performing in 1995, Junie left the music business, moved back to Grantsville, and began to work for the state legislature as a legal assistant.
“I’ve had a pretty diverse life,” Junie said. “I’ve definitely never been bored.”
Denny passed away in 2014.
Shortly before she retired from the legislature’s office, Junie married Cal Harlow in 2015. Cal had two children from a previous marriage. Junie and Cal, also a musician, often perform at Grantsville Sociables, funerals, and family gatherings.
“Music is what feelings sound like,” Junie said. “I think that’s really true, because I express myself the very most through music.”
In her free time, Junie enjoys traveling, visiting with family, and participating in church activities. Junie has 14 grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
She now lives in Vernal with her husband. Although she lives in Vernal, Junie loves Grantsville and the people who live there.
“The people are awesome in Grantsville,” she said. “The people have shown me so much love and I’ve felt it. I’ve loved them back too.”
During the parade, Junie will carry a portrait of her mother.
Karma Dale was born in Tooele City on Aug. 20, 1952. Karma grew up in Grantsville with her seven siblings and parents in a small home.
“Grantsville was a magical place to grow up,” Karma said. “At noon every weekday they would ring the siren and that would be a clue to all children that it was time to go home for lunch.”
Karma knew she wanted to be a teacher from a young age and would set up her dolls as if they were in a classroom. During high school, Karma was a cheerleader and participated in drama. She graduated as salutatorian from Grantsville High School in 1970.
After high school, Karma attended Weber State University on a teacher’s scholarship. There, she obtained an associate’s degree in early childhood development. After graduating, Karma opened up her preschool called “Karma’s Kiddie Korner” in a basement. Over the next 13 years, the preschool occupied several Grantsville locations.
After finishing a four-year degree at Utah State University, Karma began working at Tooele’s East Elementary where she taught kindergarten for 20 years. She spent another year teaching first grade at Northlake Elementary before moving to Rose Springs Elementary in 2005.
While working, Karma also worked to raise her four children – two boys and two girls – alone.
Karma now teaches preschool at the Grantsville Clark Historic Farm. She has spent nearly 50 years in education.
“My heart just swells bigger and bigger with every class I teach,” she said.
One of Karma’s favorite quotes is, “I believe kids learn better on their feet than sitting on their seats.”
In her free time, Karma teaches the primary at church, likes to garden, read, plays the piano, and knits slippers for members of the community. She has knitted over 1,000 pairs.
Karma didn’t want to be nominated as one of Grantsville’s grand marshals because she doesn’t like to be in the spotlight, but she considers the nomination a blessing.
Rowe Harrison, Tooele City’s grand marshal, was born on Dec. 31, 1938 in Pocatello, Idaho, but he was raised in Spanish Fork, Utah with his two brothers and three sisters.
After graduating from high school in 1957, Harrison attended Utah State University where his advisor convinced him to pursue a career in education. His advisor also convinced him to teach in Tooele.
During college, Rowe played the trombone in a dance band called the “Starlighters.”
In 1961, Rowe moved to Tooele where he began teaching the fourth grade at Central Elementary. Rowe found his passion teaching art and working in library arts with students. On June 29, 1962, he married his current wife, Dixie. They had three children: Holli, Rick, and Stacey.
After five years teaching at Central Elementary, Rowe transferred to East Elementary and spent 15 years teaching students to love art, music, and reading. During his time at East Elementary, Rowe also taught the ukulele and had a ukulele club with around 80 students who traveled and performed at malls and Utah Stars games.
During his time in elementary education, Rowe worked as a librarian, a PE teacher, a music teacher, and an audio/visual director while earning his master’s degree in audio/visual media. He also oversaw the library science program in each school in the Tooele County School District. This led him to teach art classes in all of the schools.
In 1983, Rowe transferred to Tooele High School where he started out working as a librarian, but eventually became the full time art and photography teacher. Along with teaching art and photography, Rowe helped produce yearbooks.
Also during his time at Tooele High School, Rowe accompanied students on school trips to Europe where he continued to teach them his love for art and history. In 2003, Rowe retired, but was persuaded to come back to Tooele High School and continue teaching. Eventually, he officially retired again in 2013.
While working at Tooele High School, Rowe was also a member of the Tooele City Fire Department where he served as chief from 2000-2001. Today, he has gained over 40 years of active service at the department. He has also spent eight years representing the department as secretary of the Utah State Firefighters Association.
Rowe also created artwork for many fire department annual banquets around the state.
After retirement, Rowe frequently returned to be an announcer for basketball and football games. Because of his support of the high school students and athletic department, Rowe was nominated and presented with the Utah High School Activities Association’s Super Fan of the Year Award earlier this year. Only six super fans from across the state are recognized each year.
Rowe was one of the original members of the Tooele City Arts Council Board and he enjoyed sharing and teaching art to teens and adults.
His paintings can be seen on every high school basketball gym floor in Tooele County. He has also designed many homecoming floats and painted football fields for homecoming games.
During his free time now, Rowe enjoys playing his guitar with the band “The Big Belly Boys.” Each Thursday afternoon they play for the residents of several assisted living facilities in Tooele.
He has six grandchildren: Erin, Jaxon, Devin, Brooks, Nate (Amanda), and Kade.
As grand marshal, Rowe helped with the Miss Tooele City Pageant on Tuesday evening. He will also ride in the parade on the Fourth of July and participate in the activities after the parade at the Aquatic Center Park.
Rowe is happy to have been chosen as grand marshal this year.
“It was a surprise,” he said. “I’m honored. It was quite a compliment.”