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Family, friends share memories of Utah missionary who died in Sweden

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Posted at 9:25 PM, Mar 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-03 23:25:12-05

RICHFIELD, Utah -- The community of Richfield is mourning the loss of an LDS missionary.

Elder Mason Lewis Bailey, 19, was hit and killed by a car while walking home from a baptism in Stockholm, Sweden on Sunday night.

Bailey had been serving there with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since July of 2013.

“He touched a lot of people,” said Nicole Persons, who is Bailey’s aunt.

As a junior in high school, Bailey decided he wanted to move down to Richfield to live with his aunt and uncle.

“He’s just such a tender hearted, tender hearted one that can make everyone feel loved and welcomed,” said his uncle, Rex Persons.

In his two years there, the Persons said Bailey became a fixture in the community, someone respected by his classmates and church.

“It’s hard to imagine that we won’t see him again, or hear his voice or his cute little laugh,” said his aunt. “But we have a lot of happy memories.”

Those memories can be found all throughout town. Corey Winkel, an LDS Bishop for Richfield’s 16th Ward, spoke about Bailey.

“Mason likes rural Utah,” he said. “He likes horses, snowmobiles, hunting, fishing and so do I.”

An active member of the LDS Church, Bailey made it clear to his friends and family he wanted to lead a life of purpose and of service.

“He’s the kind of young man that you’d want your daughter to bring home to introduce the family to,” Winkel said. “He had a very friendly, easy personality. There was nothing pretentious about Mason. What you saw was what you got.”

At the age of 16, Bailey knew he wanted to serve a mission as soon as he could.

“He was part of that first wave of 18 year olds that had the opportunity to go,” said Kenneth Thomas, stake president of Richfield’s east stake.

While his mission overseas was cut short, his family believes he has gone on to serve elsewhere.

“We have an understanding and belief that we will see him again and that his work here is done and that he’s needed there,” Nicole Persons said.  “It was a huge blessing, the example he set for our kids and the way he helped them mature and grow. It was a blessing for us.”