Newsmaker: Award-Winning Judge

Alfred “Bucky” Edgar, Wood River Justice Court judge in northern Klamath County, Oregon, was chosen to receive the 1997 Kenneth L. MacEachern Memorial Award by the National Judges Association. The award recognizes the most outstanding nonattorney judge in the United States. Brother Edgar, who has served in his position since 1982, is known for sometimes giving unorthodox sentences to help offenders get a new perspective. One time, for example, he sentenced a juvenile to go mountain climbing with him and his family. Several years later the youth’s father thanked Brother Edgar for turning the child’s life around.

One of about 1,400 nonattorney judges nationally, Brother Edgar hears more than 300 misdemeanor and violation cases each month and still finds time to work for a health and wellness company. He is credited with starting Oregon’s first teen court, in which high school students serve as attorneys and jurors.

He often drops by the jail to see if inmates need extra help, such as a ride home after they have served their jail time. He says of his sentencing philosophy, “I try to follow the 121st section of the Doctrine and Covenants—to reprove with sharpness and then afterwards show an increase of love.”

Brother Edgar is the deacons quorum adviser in the Chiloquin Branch, Klamath Falls Oregon Stake. He is married to Judy Skinner Edgar, and they are the parents of 10 children.Shelli Edgar Smith, Everett, Massachusetts

Rodeo Queen

“I’ve always had a love of horses,” says Mary Shaw, Miss Rodeo America 1998. A native of North Ogden, Utah, she went by the nickname “Mare” while growing up and liked to find images of horses in the clouds overhead. While she was in the eighth grade those fanciful horses in the sky were replaced by her first real horse, and shortly thereafter she began competing in rodeo pageants.

“Most contestants start when they’re at least five or six years old,” she says. “In a way, I had to catch up.” And catch up she did, winning the Utah state title last year and then, in December, taking the national title in Las Vegas, where she competed against 35 other women. As the winner of the pageant, Mary will represent the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in a variety of private and civic duties.

“In a sense I’m going on a mission,” says Mary. “I’ll be representing the standards I believe in, and while doing that I can hopefully touch people’s lives.”

Mary, the daughter of Jerry and Jana Rae Shaw and a member of the Ben Lomond Seventh Ward, North Ogden Utah Ben Lomond Stake, is the latest in a string of Latter-day Saint Miss Rodeo Americas. MiQuel Holyoak of Mesa, Arizona, was 1997’s Miss Rodeo America; Tanya McKinnon of Randolph, Utah, was the reigning queen in 1996; and Michele Green of Blackwell, Oklahoma, won the 1994 pageant.

Australia Area Authority

Elder P. Bruce Mitchell, Second Counselor in the Pacific Area Presidency, was introduced to the Church at age 12, when he first heard the Joseph Smith story. “I immediately knew it was true,” he says. At age 19, when he approached his father for his consent to be baptized, his father said, “Son, I don’t mind your being a Mormon, but I don’t want you to think about becoming one of those missionaries!” Elder Mitchell replied, “Dad, I have absolutely no intention of becoming a missionary.” He later served four missions. During his first mission his father and his brother Bryon were baptized.

Elder Mitchell’s father, Charles “Red” Mitchell, was a well-known boxer and instructor, having been boxing champion of the British and Australian armies during World War I. For a time Elder Mitchell followed in his father’s footsteps.

“I can’t remember when I first put on boxing gloves, but it was certainly preschool age,” he recalls. “By the time Bryon and I were ages seven and five respectively, we were boxing each other in exhibitions at the main stadium.” Dubbed “Red Mitchell’s Paperweight Champions,” the boys were part of a boxing troupe that traveled around the countryside entertaining armed forces and raising funds for the World War II effort.

While Elder Mitchell’s father coached the children in athletics, his mother, Ada Gage Mitchell, ensured that they developed an appreciation for music. With her encouragement Elder Mitchell learned to play the piano, a skill he still enjoys.

At age 24 Elder Mitchell met and married Elva Merle Trost, and the couple now have 4 children and 10 grandchildren. The Mitchell family has developed a successful franchise business, and currently Elder Mitchell’s sons, Loren, Cameron, and Lachlan, handle the major management responsibilities.

“One of the main keys of success in business or anything else is the payment of an honest tithe and generous offerings to the Lord so that he can ‘open the windows of heaven’ and bless our lives,” Elder Mitchell says.

Inspiring Scout Leader

The influence of James H. Rogers, a member of the Menlo Park First Ward, Menlo Park California Stake, is still felt by the boys who were in his Scout troop 30 years ago. Most members of Troop 215 obtained their Eagle Scout awards and went on to serve missions, marry in the temple, and raise children in the gospel. Many of them cite their Scoutmaster, Brother Rogers, as being instrumental in shaping their characters.

“Even though we had a large troop, he still focused on the individual,” recalls Steven Lund of the Pleasanton Second Ward, Pleasanton California Stake. “He also had the ability to motivate and lead through love and not force.”

Murray W. Hunt of the Hibbard Third Ward, Rexburg Idaho Stake, remembers him as a Scoutmaster who encouraged those in his charge to always do their best. “He insisted that our camp be the finest and the tidiest—and it was: neat tents and cooking areas, trim paths lined with rocks, lashed archways and signal towers, a rough-hewn timber flagpole,” he says.

Scouts sometimes would work at night by firelight if necessary to complete merit badge requirements, Brother Hunt explains. But having fun was also an important part of camping with Brother Rogers and the other Scouts: “There was always the troop’s nighttime campfire, with jokes, stories, songs, skits, and Brother Rogers’s reverent and thoughtful Scoutmaster’s minute.”

Now fighting cancer, Brother Rogers continues to motivate those around him. Says Robert Leonard of the Menlo Park First Ward, Menlo Park California Stake: “For those of us blessed to know him as a leader, teacher, and friend, his champion attitude is a constant inspiration.”