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In Memory

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This page is dedicated to all the missionaries who have lost their life while serving the Lord in Thailand.

If you have any additional information, please send me a comment. I am also interested in pictures of these missionaries if you have any.

There were 2 Elders who died among the first 100 in Thailand. Robert Bradford Huntington & Gary Lynn Willis were returning from Laos where they had renewed their Visas to Khon Kaen in a taxi and both killed in a traffic accident on May 29, 1971.
Sister Marilyn Kay Ogden died of encephalitis, It was in 1976. She was serving in Korat at the time. She died right after her first trip to Malaysia to have her Visa renewed. The day after she got back she wasn't feeling good and the Zone leaders went to the sisters apartment to give her a blessing. They took her to Bangkok to the hospital but she was unconcious by the time they got there and she died the next day.
Elder Gregory Lawrence Farley of Tyler Texas, who passed on October 18, 1978 while assigned to the Bangnaa District. He had gotten out of bed early that day, so none of the other missionaries noticed anything wrong until about an hour after his death. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning from the gas water heater in the bathroom. He had apparently forgotten to open a window in the bathroom (or perhaps the window had blown closed after he opened it) before lighting the water heater for a shower. Those of you who have served in Thailand will know the type of water heater mentioned. Very dangerous.

Elder Joseph Israel Bookstaber, November 7, 1997 after being hit by a pickup truck, was a smart person with a bright future, his family members say.

"He was a brilliant boy," said his father, Richard Bookstaber. "He loved physics and he loved math. The thing that made him different from other smart kids is that he had a pure love for ideas and learning; he was fascinated by it."

Elder Bookstaber, 19, spent one year at Yale University, where he was a Math and Physics major. He left school to serve a mission in Chiang Rai, Thailand, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

His life came to an end after the truck struck him from behind while he was standing with his bike at an intersection. He died about 1:15 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, 1997 from massive head injuries at a Chiang Rai hospital, said Elder Josh Hays, an assistant to the president in the Thailand Bangkok Mission.

"He was on the way to visit a less-active member when he was hit," Elder Hays said. "He was going to remind the member to go to church on Sunday, and then he was going home."

Elder Bookstaber, Short Hills, N.J., was waiting in the right turn lane at a traffic light just after dark, about 8:30 p.m. A dark-colored pickup truck apparently swerved into the lane, struck Elder Bookstaber, swerved out of the lane and sped away. The truck missed his companion, Elder Joshua L. Jones, 21, Elder Hays said.

Elder Jones, Missoula, Mont., didn't see the accident because his head was turned, Elder Hays said. One witness saw the incident but didn't get a license plate number, police told mission leaders. Investigators don't have any leads at this point.

"He (Elder Bookstaber) was doing very well here," Elder Hays said. "All the church members in Chiang Rai praised him for the his language abilities. He had an awesome desire to do the work and he was humble about his abilities."

Elder Bookstaber began his missionary service in Thailand in September, said church spokesman Don LeFevre.

Back home, family members and friends were trying to deal with the loss.

"No father wants to lose a son," Richard Bookstaber said. "He was an incredible boy. We had a great relationship and now it's gone, not just for me, but for my kids."

Elder Bookstaber's father is Jewish and his mother is a member of the LDS Church. He also leaves behind four brothers and one sister.

Thomas Dale Cram, 72, Thailand Bangkok, Salt Lake City, UT 2000

These missionaries died while in the service of Heavenly Father and have a special blessing for their ultimate sacrifice.

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