Happenings - June 2005
Grand County High School
Mike and Linda Bynum,
GCHS Class of 1965
by Jeff Richards
and Linda Bynum, graduates of Grand County High School’s
Class of 1965, have been married since midway through their
junior year of high school. Linda’s family, the Tangrens,
had lived in the Moab area for generations, while Mike’s
family had to moved Moab twice – once when he was
in the second grade and again several years later.
Although Mike’s family moved away to Farmington, N.M. during his
high school years, Mike and Linda – close friends throughout grade
school – continued to see each other. Midway through her junior
year, Linda found out she was pregnant. She and Mike were married soon
afterward, on New Year’s Eve 1963. Their oldest son Michael was
born the following July.
“We weren’t sure whether I was going to be allowed to attend school
while pregnant,” Linda recalls. “But the teachers and community were
very supportive during my pregnancy and also during our senior year, after the
baby was born.”
who was a cheerleader at GCHS, had enough credits to just attend school
for half a day during her senior year. “My grandmother Jane Eberle
would watch the baby in the mornings while I was at school until lunchtime,” Linda
Mike says that he and Linda are indebted to a number of Moab people who
helped them out as young parents still in high school, including Don
and Jo Ann Knowles and Ray Tibbetts. “Both of us have an appreciation
for the community, for all the help and support they gave to us,” he
Mike was a standout athlete at GCHS, lettering in football each year
and taking the team to state as the Red Devils’ quarterback his
sophomore and senior seasons. He also took the state championship in
wrestling, winning the 165-lb. weight class in his junior year.
It was Mike’s athletic involvement that eventually landed him a
college scholarship, at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colo.
GCHS head football coach Glen Richeson was instrumental in helping him
get the scholarship, Mike recalls. Mike played for CU as a safety for
three years, 1966-68, and later went on to law school.
and Linda raised their family in the Boulder area while Mike practiced
business law and served as a prosecuting attorney. Still, they maintained
their close ties to the Moab area, visiting friends and family in town
frequently and owning a business in Moab (the Best Western Canyonlands
motel) since 1978.
In 2002, Mike retired from the legal profession, and he and Linda moved
back to Moab, where they make their home at the shady west end of Pear
Tree Lane. In 2002, they turned the Knowles’ former hardware store
building into the popular Zax Pizza restaurant, located at 96 South Main.
“I’d been involved in restaurants all my life. I waited tables, washed
dishes,” recalls Mike, noting that his family had operated a restaurant
called the Westerner Grill (at 331 North Main, where Action Shots is now located)
during Moab’s uranium boom days of the 1950s. Although Mike and Linda have
been part owners of other restaurant ventures, Zax is the first restaurant they’ve
been directly involved as operators.
Although they liked living in Colorado, Linda says that she and Mike
appreciate the “slowed-down lifestyle” that Moab has to offer. “We
love camping, hiking, exploring and the red rocks,” she notes. “Moab
has always been a home to us.”
Mike and Linda recently traveled to the Pacific Northwest to see their
youngest son Zachary, 22, graduate in business from the University of
Puget Sound. They said they enjoyed being together again with all four
sons on that occasion. Oldest son Michael, 40, works as a construction
manager in Hawaii. Kelly, 25, lives with his wife Barbara and two children
in Grand Junction, Colo., where Kelly is an orthopedic surgeon. Casey,
28, attended Dartmouth University and now works as an engineer. Mike
and Linda say they always tried to encourage independence and self-confidence
in their boys as they were growing up.
“When we went through school with Michael, we were the youngest parents,
but by the time we got to Zachary we were the oldest,” says Mike, noting
the 18-year difference in the boys’ ages.
Mike and Linda’s most memorable teachers at GCHS include Richeson,
who was not only Mike’s football coach, but also was Linda’s
7th-grade health teacher. Mike also fondly recalls Gene Leonard (math
and wrestling), while Linda remembers Wendell Bowthorpe (drama, choir,
and dance) as being one of her most influential teachers.
Linda went to nursing school in Colorado and became an LPN. After working
at a Boulder area hospital, she then worked as a preschool teacher and
teen mentor at a high school in Boulder that had a teen parenting center
on site. “I guess I kind of came full circle there,” she
Both Mike and Linda remain avid supporters of GCHS activities, particularly
football and school plays. Mike helps coach the Red Devil football team,
and sees that banners supporting the school’s teams are prominently
displayed at his businesses. He and Linda both said they hope to help
other people get started, much in the same way they were helped over
40 years ago, in essence returning the favor by passing it on.