Fourteen year-old Bruce Rhiddlehoover, known affectionately as “Rocky” to family and countless friends, was tragically killed on July 9, 2013 at a Boy Scout camp in Sanpete County while engaged in one of his favorite pursuits: unselfishly providing service to others.
Rocky was born to Janice Lee Henry Rhiddlehoover and Bruce Alan Rhiddlehoover on December 3, 1998, in Hot Springs, Garland County, Arkansas and was raised until the age of nine in Bismarck, an adjacent town. He and his parents moved to Cedar Hills five years ago.
He cultivated many interests and hobbies, including the saxophone, taekwondo lessons, football (especially the Philadelphia Eagles) and scout camps… with the exception of fifty-mile hikes. Like many teenagers, he had a hollow leg as manifest in his hearty consumption of pizza and twizzlers, as well as in his title of “champion pie eater” earned at a recent father and sons outing. Undoubtedly, his most favorite activity consisted of “groupees,” the three-person hugs that he daily requested and shared with Mom and Dad.
Those who had the privilege of associating with Rocky honor him as a model teen who typically recognized others for their efforts in his behalf: ‘Thank you, Mom, for washing my clothes.” Unlike many of his peers, his friendships transcended all ages. Youths and adults alike commemorate him as having a “zest for life,” of being “so awesome,” “dedicated,” “humble,” cheerful,” “bright” and “generous.” A neighborhood boy offered the following: “Bruce was such a good friend; he was always kind. He was willing to lose himself in others and not get recognition for it. I wish I was more like him.” An adult member of his church congregation declared, “Youcould NEVER meet a sweeter, more kind hearted young man…. The description ‘heart of gold’ could have been created specifically for him. He always had a smile on his face and was quick to help with anything anyone needed. He came to every youth activity excited to be there and up for anything….” At the time of his passing, he was performing faithfully as First Counselor in his LDS Teachers’ Quorum. To quote a member of that group, “He was always serving and helping us. He always sacrificed. He was one of the best priesthood holders ever.”
His bishop, Jerry Redd, aptly described him as “truly a celestial soul in a fourteen year-old body.”
Rocky had just finished the eighth grade at the Mountain Ridge Junior High School and was looking forward to joining the school’s jazz band this coming fall. Also, having earned twenty-five merit badges, he was excited about the prospects of completing the requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout. Among his written goals, we find: “Church Mission – Beginning December 3, 2016” (his eighteenth birthday). It would likely be accurate to conclude that he just received his mission call earlier than expected. Family and friends take great solace in the words of Joseph Fielding Smith: : “No righteous man is ever taken before his time. In the case of the faithful Saints, they are simply transferred to other fields of labor.”
Rocky is survived by his parents and eleven siblings: two brothers–Eddie and Robert–and nine sisters–Stacie, Wendy, Joi, Rachel, Audra, Amanda, Ashley, Jessie and Lilly. Others who will deeply miss him include their respective spouses, his grandparents David Rhiddlehoover, Sr., Lulubelle Howell and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his beloved reptilian companion, Scales, and preceded in death by grandparents Pauline Rhiddlehoover, Carter and Rose Henry and by Uncle Jon Rhiddlehoover.
The family would like to extend its sincere appreciation to the many individuals who have expressed their love and support. If this unique young man were still with us, he would likely react to such an outpouring by uttering a favorite expression through his characteristically angelic smile: “That’s really beast!”
The Warenski Funeral Home in American Fork is in charge of the funeral arrangements. The viewing will take place on Monday, July 15, 2013, between 9:30 and 10:30 am at the Cedar Hills Utah Stake Center, 3950 West Cedar Hills Drive, Cedar Hills, Utah 84062. The funeral will follow at 11:00 am at the same location. The interment will begin at approximately 12:15 pm at the American Fork Cemetery. All current and former scouts are encouraged to wear their uniforms to the services. Donations to the Rocky Rhiddlehoover Memorial Fund can be submitted to any Mountain America Credit Union and will be used to finance some of the multiple charitable projects to which he personally donated and/or hoped to support in the future. Among them are the two major goals of his Eagle Scout project: to send school supplies to needy children in Arkansas and Chad, Africa, as well as to sponsor in a third-world country a self-sustaining ark from Heifer International. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.warenski.com