County High School graduates Liz Backus Shumway and Jared
Shumway don’t have any children in high school yet,
but they’re already bracing themselves for the next
The Shumways are the parents of 11 children (six boys and
five girls), ranging in age from 13 to 1. They are: Trevin,
13; Calen, 12; Benni, 11; Joseph, 9; Sidney, 8; Jacob, 7;
Alexandra, 5; Richard, 4; Jessica, 3; Nicole, 2; and Andrea,
1. The oldest seven kids are currently enrolled in Grand
County schools, in kindergarten through 8th grade. Oldest
son Trevin will be a freshman at GCHS next year.
“Our life is never going to slow down,” says
Liz, whose family recently moved into a new seven-bedroom
home in Spanish Valley.
a member of the GCHS Class of 1989, is the third of
nine children of Chris and the late Dick Shumway. All
of Jared’s brothers and sisters graduated from
GCHS with the exception of youngest sibling Dani, who
graduated from Monticello High. Three of Jared’s
siblings (Dirk Shumway, Charla Saunders, and Sam Sheets)
reside in the Moab area, along with their families.
Liz, a member of the GCHS Class of 1992, is the youngest
of five children of longtime Moab residents Delano and Mary
Backus, who are currently living in Mexico but are scheduled
to return to Moab in May. One of Liz’s brothers still
lives in Moab: Brian Backus and his wife Kelsie.
After graduating from high school, Jared served a two-year
LDS church mission in Vancouver, Canada, then returned home
to Moab in February 1992. Shortly thereafter, he asked Liz
(then a high school senior) out on a date.
“He asked me out to a Valentines dance, but I already
had a date, so he asked me out again right after that,” recalls
Neither Liz nor Jared clearly remembers the exact details
of their first date, but they seem to think it included a
drive into Arches National Park. “Then, on our second
date, I’m pretty sure we went horseback riding in the
mountains,” Liz recalls.
a few months of dating, Jared proposed in July of 1992,
a few weeks after Liz finished high school. They were
married in September, six weeks after their engagement.
The newlyweds made Cedar City their home, spending six years
there while attending school at Southern Utah University.
Liz attended SUU for one and a half years, then stopped to
raise her children, a job she’s been doing ever since.
Meantime, Jared completed his masters degree in accounting
from SUU. After leaving Cedar City, the family spent another
couple of years in Hurricane, Utah, before moving back to
Moab in 2001.
Jared says his accounting degree provided him with practical
knowledge that he uses in his business. “I use it all
the time,” he says. “I just can’t sit behind
a desk all day.”
Liz says she never envisioned having so many children. “Especially
not one every year. If I’d have known that then, I
think I would have run,” she notes with a laugh.
Both Liz and Jared retain their youthful-looking appearance,
often eliciting expressions of disbelief when telling people
how large their family is. “A lot of people will see
me with my youngest baby and ask if it’s my first,” says
Liz. “They don’t believe me when I tell them
she’s No. 11.”
Jared has worked in a variety of different jobs over the
years, including subcontracting, construction, and operating
a mineral water business. Three years ago, he and partner
Steve Risenhoover started their own heating and air conditioning
company, Moab Heat-N-Cool, which has a staff of around a
dozen employees and stays busy year round. The business serves
mostly residential clients throughout Grand and San Juan
Back in high school, Jared participated in various activities,
including football, band, and chorus. Meantime, Liz was on
the drill team, played tennis, was in the strings orchestra,
and took outdoor education.
“I really loved outdoor ed, especially the rock climbing,” says
Liz. “[Teacher] Steve Hren really cared whether or
not you were learning.” After teaching at GCHS for
18 years, Hren is now midway through his first year as principal
of the school. Liz also has fond memories of high school
math teacher Gene Leonard and his wife Martha, who was Liz’s
kindergarten teacher. The Leonards are still a familiar sight
at GCHS games and activities. “They still know the
names of everyone they’ve ever taught,” says
Liz, adding that tennis coach Ron Pierce was another of her
favorites. Meantime, Jared remembers liking his 5th grade
teacher Mr. Warren, still a fixture at Red Rock Elementary.
The Shumways enjoy spending time in the outdoors, including
camping, hiking, dirt bike riding, and horseback riding.
They are often seen attending their children’s sporting
events, including soccer, baseball, and football games. The
family also enjoys attending school sporting events and activities,
ranging from football games to band concerts.
“There’s more excitement about football now than
there ever has been,” notes Jared, a former Red Devil
player himself, adding that his two oldest sons have played
little league football over the past few years.
In addition to seven bedrooms, the Shumways’ new home
has four and a half bathrooms, plus double washing machines,
dryers, and refrigerators to accommodate their large family.
Although chauffeuring the children around to their various
activities can sometimes be a chore, Liz and Jared take things
in stride. “No matter how busy it gets, we somehow
manage to get everyone where they need to be,” says
Liz. “Everyone pitches in and helps out, including
the younger ones.”
“The kids aren’t always really good together,
but most of the time they are,” adds Jared.
Despite their somewhat hectic nature of their “Cheaper
by the Dozen” lifestyle, Jared and Liz both say they
enjoy being in Moab. “I love being close to family,
and having so many things to do,” says Liz.
“It seems like there’s always a million things
going on,” agrees Jared.