Mern Lee Draper, a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle and friend passed away peacefully on June 3, 2021, surrounded by family at his home, where he lived in Idaho Falls for the past 10 years.
He was the youngest of 8 children born on July 5, 1944 to John and Beatrice Draper in Moroni, Utah. After his mom passed in 1950, when he was 6 years old, Mern was raised by his sisters, Lois and Irene. Each time they picked him up, he was waiting with his bags packed and ready to go!
Mern enlisted in the United States Army when he was 18 years old and served in the Vietnam War. While stationed in Seoul, South Korea, Mern began writing to a beautiful hairdresser from Magna, Utah, named Gayle Sudbury.
After Mern suffered burns in the line of duty, he was sent home and began dating Gayle. They fell in love and married on May 26, 1966. Together they had six children.
After Mern retired from the Army, he became a truck driver. Covering thousands of miles in over 25 years, he became an expert on planning out his routes, keeping logbooks up to date, strapping down the loads, and chaining tires. He spent most of his trucking career with Diehl Lumber/Highland Transportation where he formed a long-lasting friendship with the owner, Tip and his daughter, Sandy. He loved them dearly.
Mern enjoyed fishing and camping with Gayle and the kids, putting old car models together and taking them apart, watching his favorite shows, listening to the oldies and country western music, and reading about lost gold mines. He daydreamed of finding the lost Spanish gold in the Henry Mountains.
Mern also loved to spend time with his family, his loving cats (Giget loved him the most), and especially his grandkids. Each of them held a special place in his heart. He may have told Daisy that she was his favorite granddaughter, but I wouldn’t doubt he had also told the others the same thing. He was so proud of all of them!
Mern is survived by his wife, Gayle, his six children Michael Draper, Brett Draper, Tina Draper, Rebecca (Shawn Williams) Draper, Christine (Ben) Jorgensen, and Jennifer Draper. 15 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, four brothers, three sisters, and his sweetest golden retriever “Muffins”.
"Turkeys are so stupid that when you turn the corner in the truck, they don't lean into the turn so the truck doesn’t tip over." -Dad's story of why his truck tipped over when he was transporting turkeys, although it could have been from excessive speed.
"Breaker Breaker 1-9, this is BackAgain, anyone got a copy?"
Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, June 26, 2021, at 955 Memorial Drive, Idaho Falls, Idaho.