The ugliest man in Bingham County got his wish. He had read that the winner of the contest for The Ugliest Man in Bingham County would win the prize of kissing as many girls as would line up to kiss him. So Lou entered the contest. And won. He had no idea that he would eventually meet, date and marry the love of his life after a line of girls formed to kiss the smiling winner. But that’s how Lou met his wife Verna Gay Phillips in 1954 after winning a fun competition at the Bingham County Fair in Blackfoot, Idaho.
Lou passed away on December 11, 2020 at the age of 91 after a brief battle with Covid-19. He was surrounded by family and friends and will be sorely missed by many. He was born July 20, 1929 in Salt Lake City, Utah to parents Vera Adelaide Dye Marsden and Louis Hyrum Marsden. They moved to Firth, Idaho shortly thereafter. Lou was raised with his younger brother Ronald LaMar Marsden in Firth and attended school there. He was always a practical joker and loved to memorize funny songs and poems that he often recited his whole life. A great trick was played on his brother Ron when a group of boys got together to see who had the strongest lung capacity. They found a set of hollow bicycle handlebars and would choose two boys who would simultaneously blow into each end to see who could overpower the other. When Lou and his brother Ron were chosen, Lou surreptitiously picked up some manure and shoved it into the handlebars before anyone could see. Knowing that the contest would start when the count reached 3, Lou prepared with a big breath and when the count reached 2 – just when Ron took a big breath to prepare – Lou blew with all his might and Ron got a mouthful of manure!
Lou went on to study mathematics and English at Utah State University after graduating High School. He graduated from USU with a Bachelors degree in math and a Minor degree in English in 1951. He began his professional work in Colorado at Lowry Air Force Base. He moved back to Idaho in 1954 and worked at the Atomic Energy Commission site near Arco. After marrying his sweetheart Verna and starting their own family, he obtained a Masters degree in math and physics as well as a teaching certificate from the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho in 1961.
The man who was once judged to be the ugliest man in Bingham County went on to become a pillar of the community in Shelley, Idaho where Lou and Verna lived for ten years. He was made Bishop of the Shelley 4th ward in 1966. After moving to Kennewick, Washington he was ordained Bishop of the Kennewick 2nd ward by Thomas S. Monson. An extraordinary man, Lou possessed a brilliant mind. He received numerous accolades and awards for his work in computer security. He utilized his mathematical and computer skills when he worked at Central Washington State College as the Director of Computer Services. He also travelled the country installing large computer systems for Computer Science Corporation. But one of his most gratifying and fulfilling careers was in teaching. Not only was he the Bishop at the time, but he taught early morning Seminary in Kennewick. He also taught seminary in Ellensburg, Washington during his time there. His love of teaching went with him everywhere. Even after moving to Boise, Idaho where he worked as the Director of Data Processing for the state of Idaho, he taught Seminary. In 1975, Lou and Verna moved their family back to Firth where Lou worked for the Atomic Energy Commission until he retired in 1996. Along with teaching seminary students, Lou also taught math courses for the University of Idaho. After retiring from the AEC, he started teaching full-time for Idaho State University until 2008.
Lou’s church service is exemplary. Besides being an LDS Bishop twice, and teaching Seminary for many years, Lou is well known for his calling of Stake Patriarch. He began this calling in 2003 and has given 650 Patriarchal blessings since then. Many hundreds of people have been truly blessed and inspired by him.
Lou and Verna have 9 children: Jessie (Dustin) Lyon, Wally (Kathy), Kellie (Steve) Farrar, Charlotte (Terrel) Transtrum, Glenna, Ron (Nancy), Jay (Betsy), Russell, and Stuart. They are also blessed with 27 grandchildren, 47 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren. All of whom dearly miss their dad and grandpa.
A remarkable and brilliant man, Lou’s legacy and spirit will live with us forever. His many friends and large family will surely miss his intellect, wit and humor. We miss you, Lou!
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m., Monday, December 21, 2020 at the Firth LDS Chapel. Burial will follow at the Firth Cemetery nearby. The funeral service will be streamed live using the following URL:
Friends are welcome to meet with Lou’s family Sunday evening, December 20, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Nalder Funeral Home in Shelley.