L Ray Harper was the tenth child of Renaldo and Mary Harper. Born May 6, 1940, in Ogden, Utah. After graduating from high school, he served in the Utah National Guard. When his service was over L Ray moved to California to work for his brothers, Tom and Craig, in the fumigation business. On a double date, he became smitten with his friend’s date, and pulled a fast one, dropping his friend off first so he could be alone with Alice Olivia Finlayson. His trick worked, as, for the next 63 years, Alice and L Ray were inseparable. They were married on July 1, 1960, in Salt Lake City and sealed in the Los Angeles Temple.
L Ray and Alice are the proud parents of Craig, Daniel, Denise and Debra. As young children, they loved following their father as he led the way on backpacking trips into the Sierra Nevada mountains. L Ray was an avid outdoorsman and hiker, a beloved scout master, and hiked the entire John Muir Trail (224 miles).
After marrying Alice, L Ray worked at General Electric, building jet engines, including the jet engine for the “Spirit of America,” which set the land speed record on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. He attended Chaffey College where he graduated at the top of his class in the criminal justice program. He was the distinguished graduate at the police academy, while working three jobs to support his wife and four children.
L Ray quickly moved up the ranks in the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, eventually becoming the Deputy Chief before retiring in 1995. He was awarded the Frank Bland Medal of Valor for his acts of bravery and courage.
After retiring, L Ray and Alice enjoyed many adventures together, serving first as community college missionaries at Chaffey College, and then a proselyting mission in Capetown, South Africa for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When they returned L Ray and Alice were called into the temple presidency for both the Redlands, California and Aba, Nigeria temple. They were blessed to serve together in 5 different temples, where Ray performed many sealings, including some of his grandchildren’s sealings. L Ray set a wonderful example for his children and grandchildren as a dedicated disciple of Jesus Christ.
L Ray and Alice’s greatest joy was as grandparents to 16 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren, taking them whale watching in Baja, snowmobiling in Yellowstone, and waterskiing all over the west.
Alice will miss the love of her life. L Ray’s children (4), grandchildren (16) and great grandchildren (8) love and miss him deeply, as well as L Ray’s brothers, Leslie and Robert. We are blessed to have had L Ray as a beloved brother of Leslie and Robert, Alice’s devoted husband and our loving father and to be part of the family they created together.
An Open House will be held on Thursday, January 25, 2024, from 7:00-8:00 pm at the Woodland Hills Chapel, 220 Woodland Hills Dr., Woodland Hills, UT 84653.
Funeral Services will be held on Friday, January 26, 2024, 11 am MT also at the Woodland Hills Chapel.
If you would like to make a donation in honor of L Ray Harper, please send them to your favorite charitable organization.