In Memory


Eric Vogel

Eric's family posted this on 15 Nov.

Our beloved dad, Eric, passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by his family.  Our hearts are broken and we will miss him terribly but we know that he is happier now and is no longer suffering.  He fought a long and difficult fight against this cancer for four years and we are grateful that he is no longer in pain and that he can be with his parents. We all feel so privileged to have had him as our father.  We could not have asked for a better father, husband, and grandfather.  He touched so many people through his life of faith and service.  In his short 54 years he has accomplished so much and helped so many people.  We have never known a more Christlike person.  We hope to be able to live up to his legacy.  We will post funeral details when plans have been finalized.  Thank you for all your love, support, and prayers.


Our beloved husband and dad, Eric Vogel (54), passed away peacefully at home on Sunday November 15, 2015 surrounded by his family. Eric valiantly fought a difficult, four-year battle with jaw cancer. Our hearts are broken by his passing and we will miss him dearly. We are comforted knowing that we will see him again. We are grateful that he is no longer suffering and can be with his parents again. 

Eric was born in Ogden, Utah on December 24th, 1960 to George and Gwen (Fronk) Vogel. His father tragically died in a plane crash when Eric was three, and his mother later remarried Keith Whatcott who was a wonderful stepfather to him. Eric served an LDS mission in Bolivia and after returning home, was introduced to his sweetheart, JoLynne Christensen, by Keith at a dental visit. Eric and JoLynne married in the Provo Temple on September 3, 1983. He always found ways to show her that she was the love of his life. They had eight children together and have one granddaughter that he adored.

Eric loved being with his family. He was the most wonderful father, always doing fun and creative things with his children: building blanket forts, bowling with coconuts and soda bottles, mowing mazes in the lawn for the kids, and making up stories with his children as the main characters. He loved taking long road trips with his family in the motorhome, especially the annual Christmas trip to Mexico. Eric was an avid distance runner. He also loved to garden, cook, and bike. 

Eric graduated from BYU before attending dental school at Creighton in Omaha. He was a third generation dentist following his father, stepfather, and grandfather into practice. He joined Keith's dental practice in Provo and practiced general dentistry for 27 years. He received many awards and recognitions for excellence in dentistry. However, what he really valued most about his work was caring for his patients, who he counted as friends.

He had a profound love for everyone around him, especially the poor and overlooked. No matter what their circumstances, he saw them for who they truly were and always believed in them. In 2000 he founded Share a Smile, a non-profit that provides free dental care for the homeless and needy in Utah County, as well as expeditions in Bolivia, Mexico, China, Russia, Belarus, and Morocco. He served faithfully in the LDS church as a teacher, Young Men's president, Scout master, Elder's quorum president, Bishop, and Stake presidency counselor. He was happiest working with the young men and had a great influence on many of them.

He is preceded in death by his father, George, and his mother, Gwen. He is survived by his wife, JoLynne (Christensen) Vogel and their eight children; Shanelle (Mike Robinson) and their daughter Vivian, Seth Vogel, Jarom (Natalie) Vogel, John (Callie) Vogel, Peter Vogel, Spencer Vogel, Adam Vogel, and Elizabeth Vogel. 

Viewing will be held on Friday, November 20, 5:30-8:00 at Walker Sanderson Funeral Home (646 E 800 N Orem), and Saturday, November 21, 9:30-10:45 at the Lakeview Stake Center (450 W 1800 S Orem). Funeral Services will follow at 11:00. Condolences may be offered to the family online at

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to continue his work for the homeless with Share a Smile by visiting or by contacting Heather Hogue at 801-477-6193.

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11/18/15 07:12 AM #4    

Charles Cook

Eric always had a positive attitude no matter what came his way.  He cared for others, and was devoted in his service to God and his family.  Eric was a wonderful example for us all.  He will be missed.

11/18/15 07:14 AM #5    

Carolee Wilkinson (Adams)

I grew up with Eric.   I was the only girl on our street and so in grade school and junior high we would meet at the top of the street and play night games. I was more of a tomboy back then but it was so fun to be around these boys who were such great influences. I didn't know at the time great men I was surrounded by, but I do know that each of these young boys were great friends. I was so sad to hear of Eric's Battle of cancer. He is one of the kindest most gentle men In our community!  my mother also received such tender care in her later years when she needed a dentist.  Eric placed the patient above his own needs and strived to make each person feel comfortable and important. I'm so grateful that I was able to grow up with such a great example.  We have truly  been blessed by Eric's compassionate soul.  May his family know they are in our thoughts and prayers!

11/18/15 10:41 AM #6    

David Pace

Condolences to the Vogel family. As a boy and adolescent Eric and I were close friends in the same neighborhood in Oak Hills. A gentle loving soul. JoLynn was also a friend of mine at PHS.

11/18/15 12:00 PM #7    

Kathleen Felt (Covey)

Eric was a kind, faithful, loving man. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.


Kathy FeltCovey

11/19/15 07:00 AM #8    

Janet Melville (Hatch)

So sad to hear of Eric's passing. The Vogle children are all near the ages of my children. I would see Eric at every activity or concert at Mountain view. He always greeted me with his great smile, a hug and big hello! What an amazing man, wonderful dad and great community member. He will be missed! My prayers go out to his wife, and family!

11/19/15 08:50 AM #9    

Wayne Fagg



Prayers to the Vogel and Whatcott families on Eric's passing. He was consistently good in his dealings with everyone and was slow to anger and take offense. The world needs more men like Eric. May God's grace attend his family and loved ones as they cope during this transitional time.

Warmest regards,


11/19/15 09:32 PM #10    

James (Jim) Bennion

I moved into the neighborhood when I was 5 and Eric’s was the only other house on the street (at least that is what I remember now).  We were like most little boys and quite prone to mischief, stealing gun powder, gasoline and matches, sneaking into houses under construction, starting fires (he burned down my father’s hay stack, accidentally), crawling in caves, roping down into sink holes, pushing rocks off of cliffs, crossing a raging river with back packs on at age 12, waterskiing, eating 4 or 5 breakfasts until out bellies were as tight as drums and crawling into the bow of his dad’s boat, feeling our bellies might burst with every bump the boat made when it hit a wave, backpacking for a week (twice) in the Uintas with his brothers, building huts high up on the mountain, in rock canyon etc. (we weren’t environmentalists yet), we hiked all over and explored almost all of the nearby caves and mines, we’d get on his dad’s CB radio and irritate people, call people up and ask if their refrigerators were running, play pranks on our neighbors (my favorite involved a valentine card at night on valentine’s day and an automatic fishing reel).  We ran cross country together in high school, were both in A Cappella Choir. We went skiing at Sundance on Monday nights (it was cheap).  We took hard classes at BYU together.   But I was just one of his friends.


When he was 10 years old, he decided to be good.  He had read a few books and decided what he wanted to make of himself in life.  He didn’t just sort of decide, he made a permanent, lasting decision—not to say he was immediately successful, but it was his aspiration and great desire.  It wasn’t my idea, but I thought it was a good one and so decided to try myself.  He had hardly known his father when his father died in a private plane crash when he was very young, maybe that had something to do with it.  He studied very hard, worked hard.  We wrote each other on our missions (we went to the two poorest countries in Latin America).  He observed in his letters that you get out of a mission what you put into it and that if you are not having fun on a mission, you’re not doing it right.  I believe the same is true of life in general.  I think he understood the Gospel, believed it, lived it.  We had a study group for about a year making our way through the D&C.  When we got back from our missions, we worked a baptismal font shift in the Temple every Saturday for about a year.  We were clerks together in our singles ward.  He was the first to get married of my friends I knew in college.  He took 21 credit hours a semester and punched through quickly.  He was the one who provided the TV and generator when we watched scary movies with our dates in the water tank cave (my future wife was present).  We double dated the first Friday after I turned 16 and many times after. 


He spent his life serving other people in church and outside of church.  He was an elite athlete and would run from his home out past the Orem mall, up Provo canyon, out and around and back down through rock canyon and home, sometimes three times a week by himself.  He was about as kind, humble and Christ-like a person as one might encounter in a lifetime.  He set his priorities and lived his life well.  I am certain he held God first and foremost, then his family, then people in general.  I strongly suspect he died only regretting that he would not be there to raise his children that were still at home, accompany his wife into old age, and set up more free dental clinics around the world.  We should all die like that (though hopefully without the 3 year battle with cancer).  He struggled with his cancer and went through many procedures and operations, had the soft tissue separate from his jaw bone, remaining witty and courageous through most of it.  And, even though I had to endure some truly awful jokes when we were young, I am very fortunate to have had him as a friend.   I’ve only seen him a few times since college.   He was and remains a powerful influence for good in my life.

11/20/15 03:28 PM #11    

Scott Woolley

Eric was just good and kind and loving. I remember talking with him when we were both in the Oak Hills singles ward shortly before he married. He was very happy.  He said he was learning a great deal and coming closer to Heavenly Father.  It was clear his joy was full. My life is better for having known Eric.  I wish for his family peace and comfort at this difficult time and in the years to come.  

11/21/15 10:02 AM #12    

Kip Clark

Such a loss. Eric made the world a better place by giving of himself to help others. In his practice, church work, and personal life, he was committed to service. And I don't know anyone who didn't like him. He will be missed. Condolences to his family.

11/21/15 12:21 PM #13    

John Barton

I am in shock to hear this news.  Eric was such a great kid, classmate, priesthood holder, etc.. I'm moved to type something because I was a recepiant of Eric's "Share a smile" group.  I was unable to obtain dentures on my own and looked for assistance through Utah State Vocational Rehabilitation.  They were able to purchase the dentures but I needed some additional help and was pointed in the "Share a smile" foundation direction. What a first class operation, with quality people coming and going as far as the dental professionals side, and as far as the clients.  I never heard one negative comment about the foundation, and personally it didn't surprise me that Eric was the person who saw the vision, the need, and the tanasity to get it on its feet and moving.  I beleive I met with the dental professionals there like 3 times and though I still have yet to get a pair of fitted dentures (as mine will require some interlocking implants) I always thought I could personaly look up Eric and explain my situation and felt him to be my "ace in the hole" no matter how things turned out, and now he is gone. Theres not been one day since I read the notice of his death that I haven't shed a tear and a memory from my old friend of the Oak Hills Wards growing up.  God speed Eric!

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