Lowell L. Bennion
Lowell Lindsay Bennion was an educator and humanitarian. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and lived a life of service.
He was born on July 26, 1908, in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 1928, he graduated from the University of Utah, married Merle Colton, and accepted a call to serve in the Swiss-German Mission. After his service concluded, his wife joined him in Europe while he worked to obtain his PhD from the University of Strasbourg. He obtained the degree in sociology in 1933 and returned with his family to Salt Lake City.
In 1934, Bennion set aside his scholarly career in the sociology of religion to accept the position of first director of the newly created Institute of Religion adjacent to the University of Utah. He also founded the Lambda Delta Sigma fraternity and for the next thirty years, he devoted most Saturdays to working with college students to serve in the community. He hoped students would combine service with learning by painting houses, helping in yards, delivering food, or other service to those in need.
From 1962 to 1972, Bennion was a professor of sociology and associate dean of students at the University of Utah. He then became the director of the Salt Lake Community Services Council. During this time he founded one of the first food banks and homeless shelters in Utah. He organized volunteers to help the elderly and handicapped with chores. He came to be known as the Patriarch of Volunteerism. He was honored in many ways for his humanitarian work.
He then founded the Teton Valley Boys Ranch in Driggs, Idaho, and served as the director. The ranch gave boys the opportunity for summers of outdoor recreation and work.
He was the author of numerous essays and books, such as Things That Matter Most, The Religion of the Latter-day Saints, Legacies of Jesus, and The Religion of the Latter-day Saints. How Can I Help?: Final Selections By the Legendary Writer, Teacher, and Humanitarian was published in 1996. He also wrote curricula for the Sunday School and priesthood quorums of the Church.
Bennion was the father of six children. He died on February 21, 1996.