Mary White Obituary (1929-2021) – Layton, UT

Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother

Mary Helen Hardy White of Layton, Utah returned to her heavenly home on August 18, 2021.

Mary Helen was the third daughter of Elsworth Colton Hardy and Mary Elizabeth Reese Hardy on December 20, 1929 in Kemmer, Wyoming. Maria came from a strong lineage; she was a cousin of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the second great-granddaughter of George A. Smith, a pioneer who immigrated west and known as “The Potato Saint,” who saved the pioneers from scurvy. Mary’s grandfather George and two others planted five acres of potatoes where the Salt Lake City office is today. The city of St. George, Utah was later named after him.

Shortly after Mary was born, the family moved to Vernal, Utah, where their pioneering grandparents and the rest of their family lived. Her devoted parents cared for Mary; She cherished the memories of her school days, teachers and family members. Then, at age 13, her family moved to Price, Utah. Mary attended Carbon High School; there she was active in the sports program and in the Pep Club; she enjoyed her time there and graduated in 1948.

Mary met her husband Ray L. White while attending the College of Eastern Utah, a branch of Utah State University. The two were married on March 7, 1949 in the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A short month later, Ray was called to serve a two-year mission for the Church. During those years in Salt Lake City, Mary lived with Ray’s brother Tom and sister-in-law Jessie. There she was employed by the ZCMI and served weekly in the Salt Lake Temple. After completing Ray’s mission, the couple moved near the University of Utah, eventually bought a house and settled in Granger, Utah.

Mary was busy raising her eight children while her husband was called to be a bishop at the age of 26, something that was only possible through her. Later, with four children in college, Mary accepted an invitation from the founder and president of Zions Bank to serve as the branch manager of the newly built bank in Granger. She worked for Zions Bank for 19 years as head of three branches and as vice president. As the head of the first southern branch in Salt Lake City, the bank was robbed. Mary chased the thief up the street and returned with the stolen money.

Mary enjoyed working with Barbara Smith, Chair of the National Mother of the Year Committee. She has received many honors that he seldom mentioned, such as West Valley Business Woman of the Year and a Senior Honor Award from the West Valley City Police Department. Mary traveled with Ray across Europe, from Greece to Norway, where she helped arrange the Utah Symphony’s host dinners and activities. She and Ray participated in leadership activities in Australia with the MIA General Board, and together they were responsible for celebrating the Golden Gleaner Dance at BYU. They traveled as Advance Man Planning for the Far East trade mission that took them to Korea, Hong Kong and other islands. Mary worked closely with Ray to serve and lead as he served as the executive director of the National Campaign for the Right to Life in the Fight Against Abortion.

Mary has held many life leadership positions in Latter-day Saints Jesus Christ, including serving as young women ward president, ward Relief Society president, stake Relief Society counselor, and stake Young Women president. Mary and her husband served six Church missions including mission president and wife of the Texas Fort Worth Mission; Orlando, Florida Temple; Preston, England Temple; Nauvoo Temple; and Dallas, Texas temples.

Mary was liked, loved, and respected by those she met and with whom she was associated. She received the prophet, general authorities, and other leaders in her home for many years. Mary loved people and had a knack for remembering someone’s name, even after a brief introduction. From this talent her husband called her his memory bank.

Mary has always been a role model for believers. She carried her religion in her heart. Nothing she ever did or hinted at was motivated by self-enhancement. Mary was referred to as the “Chosen Lady” by a former President of the Church. Mary Helen Hardy White will be remembered as one who practiced virtue and got things done.

Mary is survived by her 73-year-old husband, Ray L White; Sisters, June Klapakis, Joanne (Richard) Thompson; Children, Debra (Mike) Gundersen, Shauna (Ted) Olsen, Marsha White, Cynthia (Jeffrey) Sweet, Bruce H. (Maryann) White, Laura (Paul) VanWagenen, Lisa (J. Stephen) Erekson; 57 grandchildren including spouse; and 82 great-grandchildren for a total of 139. Her parents precede her in death; Sister, Francis; Son, Ray L. White (son); Grandson, Austin Van Wagenen; and great-grandchildren, Wade Gundersen and Seth Sweet.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Oakhills Ward, located at 1410 East Gentile Street, Layton, Utah, will tour Monday, August 23, 2021 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

The funeral will take place on Monday, August 23, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Oakhills Ward at 1410 East Gentile Street, Layton, Utah 84040. The funeral will take place at Valley View Memorial Park located at 4335 West 4100 South, West Valley City, Utah 84120.

Services will be streamed live at the time of the service at the end of their obituary

Published by Deseret News from August 19 to August 20, 2021.

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