The Knife - A Story by R. Conrad Teichert
The Knife: A story by R. Conrad Teichert
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Who Was Robert?

By Kimberly Teichert Parker

“The Knife” is based on a childhood memory of my father, Robert Conrad Teichert, born November 19, 1948. Conrad’s mother went to Salt Lake to wait for the baby to come for fear of being snowed in and unable to get to a doctor. Good thing because that fall, winter came early and the residents of Lyman, Wyoming and the surrounding towns remember it as being the winter of the “Big Snow.” After his birth, the roads opened enough to get back home to the little ranch house in Lyman, and then they were snowed in until Spring. Conrad’s grandmother, Minerva Teichert, used to tease him that the reason he was so small was because he was like a calf born in the middle of winter and couldn’t find enough green grass to eat.

Conrad spent much of his chidhood moving as his father was an educator taking jobs in Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah. Each summer, Conrad would return to work on the family ranch in Cokeville, Wyoming. His father was the Principal at the high school for the one year they lived in Randolph, UT, which is the setting for “The Knife.” For some reason, even unknown to my Dad, he went by the name of Robert that year. He was a determined, but obedient, good-natured kid who was easily liked by both peers and teachers. He had a big smile to go with his bright blue, ever observing eyes, and was confident and charismatic. A devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, his testimony of prayer developed at a young age through trying experiences working on the ranch. He pursued musical interests in piano, guitar and trumpet. Eventually, the family moved to Provo, UT where Conrad attended BYHigh and participated in football, basketball, track, and student government. As kids, we used to giggle over the yearbook pictures of Dad under the title “Most Prefered Man” and the silly things swooning girls wrote on the pages.

After graduating from high school, Conrad was a redshirt freshman on the BYU football team in 1966. After escaping the Vietnam draft due to flat feet, Conrad served a mission to the Philippine Islands from 1967 - 1969, opening new areas to hearing the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ for the first time. He served as Assistant to the President, and returned with a love for the Philippino people that lasted throughout his life. When he returned to Provo, he became president of the Young Ambassadors, where he met Diane Farnsworth, who agreed to marry him after he proposed…twice.

He graduated from BYU with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a Masters in Communications. He pursued careers in news media as Reporter/Anchorman for KSL and KIVI-TV in Idaho, was a Sportscaster for KTVX and KSL Newsradio in Salt Lake City. His resonant voice became the familiar voice for Intermountain Farmers Association (IFA) commercials. (”Better get your gloves!”) He put that voice talent to good use over the years as a voice-over specialist, announcer and MC. Conrad founded West Star Productions, a multi-media production company, and he worked as producer, film editor, actor, designer, photographer, and award-winning screenplay writer. He was Director of Video Productions for Word Perfect, and was marketing director for several firms. His last writing award was from the Houston International Film Festival in April 1999: the Gold Award for his historical screenplay, “All the Way,” the story of the legendary American mountain man, Hugh Glass. He could write a good story and he had the perfect voice to tell it with.

Storytelling was an intrinsic part of who Robert Conrad was. He had the inate ability to make everyone he came in contact with feel special and understood. He believed everyone had a story and was truly interested in each person he talked to. His kids would rather have him tell a story at bedtime, rather than read one. At two years old, his oldest daughter nestling down for the night asked for a story. He began opening a book, and she said, “No, Daddy! Out of your mouth!”

Conrad and Diane had two daughters, followed by two sons. He balanced family life with friends, church responsibilites, business, and horses. Sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and neighbors needing a little extra love and attention often found themselves on a horseback ride through the mountains. Sometimes they realized they had signed up for more than they had bargained for as Conrad never seemed to want to stay on the trail. His ever inquisitive mind was happier forging new trails giving him the reputation of being like the explorer, ”John C. Freemont.” No log was too big to jump your horse across, no hillside too steep, no waterfall too high…he taught by his example to finish what you start. As grandchildren came along, he showered them with love pulling candy out of their ears, sneaking them Lifesaver “I love you treats,” and giving them horseback rides around the pasture.

In August 1999, it was discovered that he had malignant melanoma that had metastasized rapidly. Over the next two and a half months, his family and friends rallied around him and expressions of love were exchanged frequently. Conrad was accepting of God’s plan for him and his family, as hard as it was to say goodbye. His final three days were spent in a coma surrounded by his family. At the young age of 51, on November 9, 2000, he left a tired, worn out body behind, and went on to another important work. The final words of “The Knife” written just one year before his death were fitting at the closure of his earthly existence. They were included in his funeral program:

”The greatest gift anyone can receive is better than a top. It’s more precious even than an elk horn knife. It’s the love of God; the sacrifice of His Beloved Son. Do we receive the gift with eyes cast down to hide the wish that it might be something else? May we always be accepting of the Savior as well as His offering, and meet His gaze with loving eyes.” — Robert Conrad Teichert “The Knife” 1999

See you down the trail, Dad.

With love,

Kimberly


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