Latter-day Saints Named ‘Great American Families’

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“Latter-day Saints Named ‘Great American Families’” Ensign, Sept. 1983, 79

Latter-day Saints Named “Great American Families”

Two Latter-day Saint families were among nine families honored by the American Family Society in ceremonies held 22 June 1983 at the White House in Washington, D.C. Nancy Reagan, wife of U.S. President Ronald Reagan, presented the awards and personally thanked each family for helping to build a better country through their example to others.

The families were selected by a nationwide panel of judges and represent a diversity of family situations, including single-parent, two-parent, foster, and adoptive families. The David Keala family of Pukalani, Maui, Hawaii, and the Raymond Oeth family, who recently transferred to Colorado from West Germany, were the two LDS families honored.

The Kealas represent the extended family. Four generations of Kealas live in one family home—parents, sons and daughters-in-law, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. A retired sugar company employee, David Keala is currently a teacher for the Kupuna Hawaiian language program. Both he and his wife, Rebecca, are active in the Maui Extension Homemakers Council, where David won the “Homemaker of the Year” award, its first male recipient.

A particular interest of Brother Keala is oral history. He shares his knowledge of Hawaiian history and folklore with the children in public schools. Also through his efforts, traditional trees and vines have been planted on school grounds as living, decorative reminders of Hawaiian culture.

First Sergeant Raymond Oeth and his wife, Nadine, have served the military community in many parts of the world. The Oeths have reached out in numerous ways to help other military families. They have encouraged Scouting activities, have furnished an information and referral service for distressed families, and have provided a lending closet and welcome packets for new families. They have devoted many hours to army chapel activities and have organized recreational activities in stations around the world. For over ten years, the Oeths have helped military children in need by providing them with a foster home. Captain Dennis Menard, chief of Army Community Services in Germany, stated, “It is almost impossible to count the number of lives the Oeths have touched.”