Rey Kartchner

Obituary of Rey Burton Kartchner

Rey Burton Kartchner, 89, of Mesa, Arizona passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 10, 2023. He was born on May 31, 1934 in Williams, AZ to Lafayette (Lafe) and Alice Kartchner. He was the youngest of 5, his siblings being Felice, Roxie (who died 3 months after birth), Lucele and Rulon, with Rey being the last to pass on. Because his father was a forest ranger, the family moved quite often within the State of AZ, which allowed the family to experience many parts of Northern Arizona and develop a deep love and respect for nature. Rey attended grade school in Flagstaff then Heber, AZ, and Round Valley High School in Eager, AZ, where he was a member of the football and basketball teams. There he developed lifelong friendships (including meeting his wife, Shirley) and an appreciation for learning. His childhood was an idyllic time in his life, which he recalled fondly. He was an Army Veteran of the Korean War from 1953-1955, after which he served a Christian mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Mexico Vera Cruz Mission between 1955-1958. He married Shirley LaRue Reynolds on July 19, 1958 in the Mesa Arizona LDS Temple. Together they have 4 Children (Randy, Kim, ShiRey, and RaShel), 17 grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren. 


Rey attended both Brigham Young University and Arizona State University, graduating with a BA in Latin American Studies and a Masters of Spanish Education. Early in college, he contemplated a career with the Forest Service like his father, but felt strongly that his calling in life was to be a teacher. He taught Spanish, French, and AZ History throughout his High School/Jr. College teaching tenure, which included a 2 year commitment to the Church College of Hawaii (later named BYUH) between 1966-1968. He loved his fellow teachers, but more-so his students. By most accounts, he provided witty and hilarious observations of his life that students could relate to, but mostly, he cared about them individually and instilled in them each day that they had the ability to succeed. He was voted “teacher of the year” on many occasions, which is a testament to his true love and dedication to his students and peers alike. Although he did teach French, his love for the Spanish language and Hispanic culture leaked out of everything he did in his life, and was a giddy school boy anytime he got to converse in what felt more like his native tongue. 


His hobbies mostly included being outdoors; backpacking in the mountains (this love was fostered by his father), watching BYU football games with any of his male family members available, service projects (or DIY projects brought to him alongside his kids/grandkids), music-specifically playing/teaching guitar-and singing, and, of course, supporting his outgoing and creative visionary wife with many a community play or production by being the sound guy, roadie, or general stagehand. He was a devoted father and grandfather. He was always up for a game, outdoor activity, fireside chat, or a ride in the back of his pickup to the dump at the family’s Ranch in Nutrioso. He looked forward to visits from his grandkids and instilled in them a love for life and integrity, concentrating firmly on the Savior Jesus Christ and His teachings. He was committed to his faith and community by serving as a church bishop, counselor in the AZ Tempe Mission Presidency and as a Stake Patriarch. He was a great storyteller and resource for information with a running joke in the family that Grandpa Rey would give you the root word and ALL history of a particular topic you needed help with, not only in English, but in Spanish as well :)  "Love you Dad/Grandpa!"


He is survived by his wife, Shirley Reynolds Kartchner and children, Randel Emmett Kartchner with (wife) Jeannette Kartchner, Kim Burton Kartchner with (wife) Tracey Kartchner, ShiRey Kartchner Carroll with (husband) Douglas Carroll, and RaShel Kartchner Ferrin with (husband) Robert Ferrin.  


Funeral services will be held on Saturday, July 22, 2023 at 10:00 am, at the Mesa North LDS Stake Center:  933 E. Brown Rd. Mesa, AZ 85203. The viewing will be held from 8:30-9:45 AM before the service. 

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Rey
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Meldrum Mortuary
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