Gale J. Plato
Gale J. Plato, 91, returned to the arms of his beloved wife the morning of March 5, 2019 at Seasons of Santaquin in Santaquin, Utah. A stroke in November and a recent sip of hot chocolate that went down the wrong hole is what finally felled this mighty man.
He was born as John Gale Plato to John Sheffield and Nellie Eulalia “Eula” Ferrill Plato on May 20, 1927, in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The doctor being out of town, a substitute delivered him but neglecting to document it, he never had a birth certificate. However, the life he lived defied any question of his existence here on earth.
He was a busy little thing, and his mother would find herself tying a rope from his overalls to the clothesline just to keep him from wandering off and being hit by a train or drowning in the great Kootenai River. When he started school, she told him not to get into any fights and he didn’t, that is, until his older brother Jack and his friends made him fight another kid who also didn’t particularly want to fight. After dinner, his mother pulled him aside and told him that it was about time that he stood up for himself. He took that as permission to fight pretty much anyone who looked him wrong and there are a few reports to his children that their scrawny father packed a mean punch. So, if one was ever at the receiving end, his mother is to be blamed.
Gale graduated from Bonners Ferry High School in 1945 and soon found himself in the Army being shipped off to South Korea. Twenty months later, he was back at home in Bonners Ferry and became acquainted with Ramona Mae Holmes. As the town of Bonners Ferry was submerged in the great flood of 1948, Gale and Ramona went to Coeur d’Alene to be married on June 30th of that year. Gale spent the next 68 years teasing her mercilessly! She was not amused, but she loved him anyway.
Gale went to a diesel repair school in Portland, Ore., but not long after returning to Bonners Ferry to raise their family, he decided to work in the logging industry as a sawyer. He loved working in the woods, falling trees for nearly 40 years.
The Plato family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1961 and were sealed in the Cardston Alberta Temple in 1964. Gale served the Lord in many callings in the church but especially enjoyed sharing his love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through missionary work.
The Platos grew a large garden each year and Gale’s pet project was his orchard containing a variety of fruit trees, many types of berries, and grapes. He was especially proud of his grapes. He also had a great love for reading, history, and homemade pie. He served for several years on the Boundary County School Board. No one was a stranger to Gale, at least not for long.
After raising their family, Gale and Ramona moved to Santaquin, Utah, to be closer to three of their four children. In Utah they relished time with their children and grandchildren, making many new friends, exploring the state, and once again Gale grew his beloved grapes in their backyard. Gale drove truck for Olson’s Greenhouse and worked for a few years at Macey’s in Spanish Fork. An open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve eventually led to his retirement.
In 2016, Gale and Ramona moved into Seasons of Santaquin. Ramona passed away in December of that year. Despite his grief and loneliness for Ramona, Gale greatly enjoyed the company of his many friends there and loved to bask in the sun, share stories, and to help others whenever he found an opportunity. His abiding sense of humor lightened the burdens of many.
The family will be forever grateful to Richard Porter and his amazing staff at Seasons of Santaquin for their loving care and friendship. They are also grateful to First Choice Hospice for helping to care for Gale for his last few months.
Gale is survived by his children, Wanda Jones (Gene) of Salem, Utah, John (Cindy) of Kona-Kailua, Hawaii, Ferrill Bancroft (Brooke) of Payson, Utah, and Jared (Kate) of Pleasant Grove, Utah, as well as 21 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Ramona, parents John and Eula Plato, sister Winifred Simpson, brothers Jack and Leland Plato, and a grandson, Tanner James Plato.
Funeral services were held on Saturday, March 9, and interment was at the Santaquin City Cemetery.