September 30, 1923 ~ May 25, 2019
Shirlene Saunders Jones, age 95, peacefully passed away surrounded by family, May 25, 2019, at Mission Maple Springs – Skilled Nursing Center in Brigham City, UT. She was born September 30, 1923, in Collinston, UT, to Earl and Wilhelmina Elizabeth Erickson Saunders. She would say, “I was born at home in a Hospital in SeptOber”, because her parents had bought Dr. Walks home, which in those days, doubled as his Office/Hospital. Her father died young (age 33) of sleeping sickness contracted after tending to one of their sick horses, leaving her mother (“Minnie”) a Widow with their five young children to raise, so she grew up fast working hard on the Family Farm tending animals, growing and preserving their own fruits and vegetables, trading their wheat for flour to make bread for their survival.
During the school year they walked (no bus) the couple of miles from the South end to attend the new Red Brick multi grade Elementary on the North end of Collinston and trudged thru the snow drifts during winter. The old school house has since been remodeled into a nice family home. She loved music, so she joined the School Band and played drums/percussion and graduated from Bear River High School (1941/42), when the old BR Bear was still out front. By then, they took the Bus or rode Bikes.
In the fall she started College at USU in Logan, UT, in Nursing, one semester, when WWII happened. She and several girl friends then patriotically signed on with Civil Service at Hillfield/Defense Depot, Ogden, UT. She was assigned and trained as an Aircraft Electrical Repair Technician and to teach groups of Soldiers, which is where and how she met Ralph, 8th Army Air Core. It was “Love at first site”, when her friends noticed, they set them up as a “Blind Date” and the rest is “Herstory”. She married Ralph Jones on July 31, 1943, in Ogden, UT, after just a few short weeks of dating at the “Midnight Movies”, due to work schedules. One week later, Ralph was shipped out to England for 3 long-distance years, (1943 ~ 1945), after their very short Honeymoon!!! She then shared an apartment with her sister, Bernice, and niece, Kaylene, in Ogden.
After the War ended, Ralph and Shirlene moved out to the Marysville, CA, area and worked for awhile in some of the Fruit Orchards, then moved to Pacific Grove, Monterey Bay, CA, area near his widowed mother, Arminty (“Mam”) Jones, for better work.
Ralph then began his life’s career in the Auto Industry as an Auto Body/Paint Mechanic, working in an Auto Shop in Monterey, CA. Shirlene also then worked in the local Holman’s Department Store in Pacific Grove, CA (1946/48) before family came along. Then she started her life’s career as a Homemaker – “Chief Cook”, “Domestic Engineer” “Personal Nurse” and “Loving Mother” to her family. Later, after kids were a little older and in school, she worked in the Health Food Store in Carmel, CA, (1967/69) for a couple of years after Ralph changed jobs, retrained as an Auto Insurance Adjustor for State Farm Insurance and started supporting their kids on Missions for LDS Church.
She enjoyed Yard/Gardening, sharing with neighbors, loved flowers, whistling with songbirds, the California Ocean and Beaches, Lakes/Streams, Nature and Outdoors. She was skilled at Quilting, Knitting, Crochet, Sewed own clothes and patterns for family. She tried to be a “Friend” to everyone and faithfully served others thru out life.
Because the Monterey Bay/Salinas, CA, area was a multi-Military area, she and her family gained many special treasured friendships throughout the years there.
She was a life-time member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
She discovered Genealogy (Family History) in her teens and became an avid Researcher and Family Historian there after. They supported each of their four children as they served missions for the LDS Church in various areas. Later, after husband Ralph retired, they served together in their church as Home Teachers, in Genealogy Records Extractions, and in LDS Temple service.
Thru the Gospel of Jesus Christ, His Atonement and Resurrection, she and family gained a comfort and peace in the hope and reassurance of a “Reunion” with our loved ones on the other side. Shirlene had a special blessing/gift through out her life to experience and learn just how thin the “veil of separation” really is between us and loved ones who have gone on before us.
She was preceded in death by Grandparents: John M. Saunders and Matilda Germer, early settlers of Collinston, Deweyville and Harrisville, UT;
Johan W. Erickson and Ellen M. Hulphers, early settlers of Preston, ID;
Parents: Earl Saunders and Wilhelmina Elizabeth Erickson;
Brother: Theron E. Saunders, Sisters: Ardis M. Packer, Bernice Clark, and Brother: Blaine E. Saunders; and Grandson: Brian D. Jones. Shirlene was the oldest and last living of both her and Ralph’s family generation.
She is survived by Son: David E. (Carol) Jones, Tremonton, UT;
Daughter: Judy A. Jones (Paul) Leonhardt, North Garland, UT;
Sons: Allan R. (RaNae) Jones, Manti, UT; Terry W. (Monica), Spokane, WA;
Grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a few great-great-grandchildren.
An informal Family Memorial and Dedication was held in Shirlene’s honor, Sunday afternoon, May 26, 2019, while immediate family were still able to be gathered together and to pay tribute also to the memory of their father, Ralph, as a family. Interment was on Thursday afternoon, May 30, 2019, at Deweyville, UT Cemetery were she was peacefully laid beside her loving husband, Ralph in their final resting place.
Our many thanks to the caregivers and friendships of her neighbors at Maple Springs Independent/Assisted Living in Brigham City, UT, where she lived for the last seven (7) years, (2012 – 2019). She was able to enjoy the many entertainments together with her neighbors, including tapping, clapping, singing, bouncing, dancing with their “walkers” to the various Music groups who come, along with good conversations and laughter. She put a sign on the inside of her door, “Bloom where you’re planted”.
Special thanks also to Integrity Home Health Hospice group for the loving care given to Shirlene and family at the Mission at Maple Springs – Skilled Nursing Center in her final days.
We are so grateful for those friends from her home church/neighborhood who continued to remember her by phone, cards and visits as well as those in her Maple Springs Branch who watched over her during her years there.
Also, much appreciation to those at Rudd Funeral Home who provided compassionate assistance to our family with her final arrangements and resting place.