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Tragic accident: Evanston man perishes while removing debris on canyon road

Modified: Monday, Oct 21st, 2013

PROVO CANYON, Utah — Joe Broadbent spent the final moments of his life much the same way he spent the previous 74 years — helping others.

Broadbent died Tuesday night in Utah’s Provo Canyon after being struck by a car. He was pulling a trailer with his truck and had a flat tire.

Broadbent pulled over and in typical fashion, started clearing debris from the roadway. The same debris that had caused his flat tire could injure someone else, he surely thought, and he worked to remove the big pieces of tire tread from the road before another accident occurred.

Witnesses on the scene said the road was nearly impassable because of the debris. Broadbent was trying to save someone else from an accident and in so doing he sacrificed his own life.

If you meet the Broadbent family, you quickly realize that Joe Broadbent was a man who sacrificed much so his family could be better.

A houseful of Joe Broadbent’s kids, their spouses and grandchildren gathered on Thursday morning, to remember the man who taught them so much.

The lessons Joe Broadbent imparted to his own family were the same ones he lived in the community. As a rancher, he worked long, hard hours doing what he loved.

And although he dissuaded his children from pursuing ranching, he encouraged them to follow their dreams and to pursue their passion.

“Dad always encouraged us to do the best we could,” recalled one of Joe’s sons, N.J. Broadbent. “He said the power to want is the power to get.”

Daughter Lorna Adams said, “He encouraged us to find and pursue what we loved.”

Joe referred to himself as a broken-down sheepherder from Wyoming, but he lived a large life. Not only did he work tirelessly on his ranch, but he also enjoyed serving in his church and helping others.

“He was very generous, but most times, he did things anonymously,” JoAnn Johnson, another daughter, said. “He hated the spotlight when it came to giving and generosity.”

“He always told me, when it came to giving, ‘Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,’” Ben Broadbent, another of Joe’s sons, said. “It was his nature to give anonymously.”

Joe Broadbent’s daughter, Alicia Williamson, recalled that with the birth of each grandchild, Joe gave $100 to start a fund to serve an LDS mission.

“All six of our boys have their Eagle Scout,” his wife Carol Broadbent said. “Seven of our children served missions for the church. We have three grandchildren on missions now, and one getting ready to go on a mission. Joe was proud of our kids and grandkids and their service to the church.”

Joe Broadbent encouraged education, not only for his children, but also for himself and those around him.

“Education was important to him, he wanted us all to get a degree,” Lorna Adams said.

Carol Broadbent shared that Joe loved to read and always wanted to learn. “He loved books, and he would buy lots of them and give them away,” she said.

Vance Broadbent, the oldest son, said, “He really cared about education. Anytime there was a training or seminar, he attended it. He always wanted to keep learning.”

“When I was going to college, he was always checking to make sure I was doing OK,” Ben Broadbent said. “But beyond education he wanted us to learn to be successful. He was always talking about the four pillars of success.”

Knowledge, integrity, cash and credit: The Four Pillars of Success. Joe Broadbent wanted his children to learn the importance of those pillars and to have them reflected in their lives, as much as in his own life.

Joe Broadbent placed his family at the top of his priority list, spending time with them even when they were young.

“He would go out of his way to attend our sporting events, our wrestling meets, anything we were doing,” N.J. Broadbent said. “Anytime we were nearby, he always came. He came in his work clothes. It was more important for him to be there than to look good.”

How does one sum up the life of a man? In the case of Joe Broadbent, his life can be summed up in one word: love. He loved his family. He loved his church. He loved his work.

Joe Broadbent was a man who spent his life doing what he loved, and that is the message he passed on to his family and those who knew him.

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