A Relative in LDS Borderlands

Last Sunday, my aunt Kay died.  She was 94 years old, and had been suffering from dimentia.  Her death was not unexpected.  Aunt Kay and my genetic uncle had been married for 71 years.  Uncle Vincent, who is 98 (+or- a year), attended the funeral, as did my genetic aunt who is 94.  My mother, who is 91, was unable to attend because she is currently on oxygen and tethered to her home in St. George.

At Aunt Kay’s funeral, her 4 children (all about my age) spoke.  I didn’t know my aunt well, so this was a timely opportunity for me to learn more about her life.

She was born in Kentucky and was raised in a Southern Baptist home.  During the Great Depression, times were difficult but her family was able to scrape together enought money to send her to a nearby nursing school, where she did well.  From there she took a job and continued her education in Ann Arbor MI.

In Ann Arbor, she met and fell in love with my uncle, who was attending medical school at the University of Michigan.  My uncle was raised in Smithfield UT, the son of a respected country doctor, and local civic and LDS Church leader.  My aunt and uncle married in a Southern Baptist Chapel in Ann Arbor.

After moving to Salt Lake City, my uncle was dedicated to his work (respected surgeon) and it fell on my aunt to take the children to church, which she did.  She took them to the local LDS Ward.  My aunt occasionally attended Presbyterian services, but after one of their meetings, the minister criticized her for taking her children to a Mormon church.  She never returned to that Presbyterian church.

After ten years of marriage, my aunt invited the missionaries over, and after sufficient indoctrination joined the LDS Church.  She and her husband’s marriage was sealed in a Mormon temple.

According to her children, she was active in the LDS Church, but never gained a strong testimony.  Her reason for joining had more to do with her family than with a strong religious conviction. 

In other words, she lived in the LDS borderlands (a word stolen from Sunstone).  Apparently, it’s a very popular place.

PS.  There is a park in northern SLC that is named in honor of my aunt.  She wanted a place for children to play.

Marker Honoring my Aunt in a City Park High in the Avenues District of Salt Lake City

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