Mary Parsons Obituary (1931 – 2021) – Salt Lake City, UT

Mary Helen Tweedie Parsons

1931 ~ 2021

In loving memory

Mary Helen Tweedie Parsons of Salt Lake City, Utah, died on August 29, 2021 at the age of 90.

Although anyone lucky enough to know Mary Helen knew her as gracious and gracious, she was much more than that. She was a woman of many roles: a musician, an adventurer, an intellectual, a mother, a grandmother, and a healer.

She was born on April 13 in Hurricane, Utah, to David Hume Tweedie and Flora Beryl Workman Tweedie.
1931. She was the fifth of six children and her father succumbed to lung disease when Mary Helen was a toddler. This left Flora, a young mother, alone with a large family to raise. This gave birth to one of the first key values ​​in Mary Helen’s life: knowing the importance of thrift and hard work. This often meant extremely hard work, such as harvesting strawberries when she was five years old.

Mary Helen earned a BS in Nutritional Science from Utah State University, taught at Brigham Young University’s Nursing Extension in Salt Lake City, and received her MS in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Utah. She has also earned her credentials as a registered nutritionist. Mary Helen’s intellectual discoveries never ended. A voracious reader, she attended BYU Education Week year after year, immersed itself in all sorts of study groups, and volunteered as a lecturer in the LDS Church History Museum for twenty years.

Mary Helen met Alan Thayer Parsons while entering an LDS church for a ward basketball game and left with a lead role in the play she was directing. Alan soon converted and was baptized as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They married in 1956.

Six children soon followed, with Mary Helen juggling babies, teaching nursing students to nutrition, and serving in several church positions. Most children are notorious for casually mentioning that they promised their mother that they would bake three dozen cookies for a cake sale the next day. Or that on Monday, on a Sunday evening, they have a ten-page assignment about ancient Rome. Now imagine that by six. But every time biscuits were baked, ancient Rome was built in one day, excursions were voluntary and the positions of carpenters were filled. Not only for their children, but later also for their grandchildren.

Mary Helen’s greatest passion was music and the arts. She performed with the Utah Symphony Chorus for twenty years and served on the board of directors. Mary Helen was a devoted season ticket holder for the Utah Symphony and Opera for decades. She primarily visited every art museum and attended every musical performance that she could while traveling. Mary Helen has been the talented bedrock of the music programming in her community, as a choir singer, choir director, and neighborhood choir member.

After twenty years of marriage, Mary Helen divorced Alan, but insisted on courtesy and kindness between them. This meant that he and his current wife were welcome to family gatherings, holidays, even some vacations. This crystallized another key element of Mary Helen’s personality, her selflessness.

But those who knew Mary Helen because of her selflessness and loving nature may have missed her sharp wits
and keen mind. Working at the Utah Maternal and Infant Clinic, a government program to assist high-risk pregnancies, was a perfect fit for Mary Helen. She guided countless women with serious illnesses through healthy pregnancies, often traveling through rural Utah and the Ute and Navajo reservations to deliberate on cases. She was particularly proud of her research with PKU patients and of the work that she published together with a doctor at the clinic.

Mary Helen’s wanderlust only really got worse when she retired and traveled around the United States, inclusive
Alaska and Hawaii. She traveled overseas, everywhere from Russia, Israel, Peru and China

especially in Fiji, South Africa, Europe and Argentina to visit their children living abroad. But the real heart of her travels lay in Scotland, where she visited the castle of the Fraser clan and admired the “fluffiest, wooliest sheep in the world!” ”.

Mary Helen may have started her life with very conservative beliefs, but she was never afraid of change and development. She had the ability to see that two opposing things could both be true. She could hold on to her core values, but always return to her “factory setting”, which was love. She faced the extremely challenging events of the pandemic and chaos here in America with a stern determination to “get people to listen to each other. Really hear what the other has to say! “Even in the particularly intense phases of political conflict and discord in the last two years, Mary Helen was amazed again and again:” How good people can be. There is so much love in this world! “”

Here is a word that some people who knew and loved Mary Helen might not associate with her: invincible. She overcame challenges that would crush the strongest of us, but perhaps the biggest challenge was her diagnosis of colon cancer in November 2020, which metastasized to her liver and lungs. Her oncologist warned the family that she might have five months, but in late August she scoured the Lehman Caves in Nevada and watched the Perseids meteor shower with her daughters and grandchildren.

Mary Helen preceded her son Tym Parsons in death; her grandson MacLean Collard; her brothers
Wild Tweedie and Armand Tweedie; her sister Barbara Poulson; and her ex-spouse, Alan Parsons.

Mary Helen leaves behind her children Tamara (David) Pitman, Kelly (Vicki) Parsons, Erin (Todd) Collard, Jenne (Bill Allred) Parsons, Juli (Don) Ulvestad and daughter-in-law Marcia Tapp. Her beloved grandchildren include Elizabeth and Mary-Helen Pitman; Kyle, Lindsay, Riley, Devin, and Connor (Christina) Parsons; Zachary and Zoe Collard; Gabriel and Flora Allred; and Jake, Jenny, Zack and Matthew Ulvestad. She is also survived by her sisters Florine Morris and Charliene Reed.

Services will be held at LDS 27 Ward in Salt Lake City on Saturday, September 4, 2021 at 12 noon. A
The visit is scheduled for 11 a.m. Masks are required in accordance with LDS Church and Ministry of Health recommendations. The family respectfully suggests donating flowers to the Primary Children’s Medical Center instead of flowers.

Published by Deseret News September 2-3, 2021.

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