Monday, December 28, 2015

Til We Meet Again, Brother Shirl Brown

To his last breath on Monday, December 21, 2015, Shirl Alexander Brown considered himself a member of the Bloomington 7th Ward despite boundary changes announced during November’s stake conference.

Just 4 days past his 94th birthday, Shirl slipped quietly into eternity and into the waiting arms of his high school sweetheart Maxine Stewart, who became his wife in June 1942 and was by his side for more than 71 years.  Shirl was born in Lehi, Utah but at age 5, his family relocated to Seattle, Washington where he graduated from Lincoln High School and eventually earned his DDS at the University of Washington.  He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, after which he returned to his wife and dental practice in Seattle.  He retired to St. George with Maxine in 1983 where together they worked in the temple and for more than 25 years served as name extraction / indexing volunteers, while both of them enjoyed the chance to play after a lifetime of work.  In both Seattle and St. George, he loved horseback riding, snow skiing, golfing, bowling and raising roses.

Shirl was very gregarious, really enjoyed people and had many good friends. Throughout his entire lifetime, he was an active member of the Church serving in many capacities including bishopric counselor, stake high counselor and temple worker.  He leaves behind four daughters and a son, 23 grandchildren and 42 “greats” all who love and miss Grandpa and Grandma.

Those of us in the B7 Ward agree … he will be loved and missed.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Around the Neighborhood

Christmas Around the Neighborhood was another memorable holiday gathering when friends, neighbors – members and non-members alike – stopped by the homes of Dick and Ruth Graf, Rhett and Suzie Long and Boyd and Cheryl Kanenwisher (with help from Lori Bair) to enjoy beautiful holiday decorations and delectable – and plentiful – goodies.  It was another good opportunity to celebrate the holiday season and for ward members to get better acquainted in a non-structured social setting.  Thanks to those who opened up their homes … and to those who came out to support this wonderful annual event.

Friday, December 11, 2015

"A Dixie Christmas" Was Absolute Perfection

B7’s Relief Society Christmas party on Thursday, December 11 was a classic example of perfection!  In keeping with the theme of “A Dixie Christmas,” every table was uniquely decorated with amazing centerpieces and china by Shar Simkins, Linda Lowe, Lauretta Swansborough, Vicki Dove, Betty Owen, Trudy Oviatt, Rachel Gray, Anita Knowlton, Jill Jones, Sophia Ford and Margaret Hooks.  The homey decorations around the room were created by Joy Alldredge. The sisters feasted on a delicious dinner of delectable ham, a scrumptious potato casserole, and a refreshing tasty green salad created by our own Sister Rachel Gray, an accomplished caterer.  Her hard-working kitchen help included Carol Case, Barbara Lewis, Brandi Martinez, Patty Hymas, Iliana Carter, Pam Bingham, Roena Soliai, Shirley Golding and Darlene Rice.

Also, there were special treats for the dinner table including Dixie salad (or “saw-lod” as the French say it), homemade pies contributed by Relief Society sisters … and the yummiest of fresh, homemade rolls created by Brother Gary Anderson. 

The program, arranged by Jill Jones was a delightful sharing of pioneer stories relating to Christmas in Dixie, as written by local historian and author Lyman Hafen in his booklet, “A Dixie Christmas.”  Linda Sappington spoke of the first Dixie Christmas.  Trudy Oviatt shared the details of how oranges became a traditional stocking stuffer for pioneer children in St. George.  Dori Wilkerson read “No, Snow” a poem by Teri Draper.  Diane Biasi shared the origins of Dixie Salad and Debb Johnson told of how “Far, Far Away on Judea’s Plain” came to be one of only two Christmas carols originating in the United States.  During the program we also enjoyed beautiful vocal solos by Brother Boyd Kanenwisher with musical accompaniment by Kathryn Barclay.  Special thanks, too, to Emma Schaub who designed the invitations and posters with help from Shar Simkins and Brittney Munk.

No doubt about it ... the Relief Society knows how to organize a great program and this was the loveliest of gatherings!

Farewell, Brother Dick Ball

Richard (“Dick”) James Ball passed away quietly at his Salt Lake City home on December 8, 2015 at the age of 84.  Born in Idaho Falls, ID three days after Christmas in 1930, Richard was a special gift to his parents Leonard Garfield and Sybil Frongner Ball, as the youngest of their 14 children. Richard grew up in Ammon but went to high school in Idaho Falls where he excelled as a basketball player and where he met Bonnie Rae Matthews, who he called the love of his life.  When he reached the appropriate age, he was called to serve a mission in Germany, while Bonnie waited at home. On May 7, 1954 the two were married in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple, spending 60 years of their eternity together until she passed in March of 2014.

Richard and Bonnie lived in Provo while Richard earned his degree from BYU and Bonnie taught Home Education at Provo High School. After graduation, Dick and Bonnie moved with their children, Deborah and Bradford, to Tustin, CA near Richard's parents who had moved to Long Beach. Richard worked in banking for most of his career in Southern California and in Utah.

The family moved to St. George in 1972 and settled in Bloomington so Richard could pursue his passion for golf and where in those early years, he could walk out of his backyard and start a round. Richard’s love of golf is only surpassed by his love of family including daughter Deborah Roberts of Salt Lake City and son Bradford (Tracy) Ball of Gilbert, AZ.  He also leaves behind five beloved grandchildren and five precious great-grandchildren; two sisters and a sister-in-law.
His quiet, unassuming personality and friendly smile will be missed by those neighbors, friends and ward family members who knew and loved him.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

B7 Ward Family Christmas Party a Time to "Believe"

B7’s Ward Family Christmas Party on Saturday, December 5 was a fun opportunity for new and longtime ward members to get better acquainted while celebrating the holiday season together.  The kitchen had a hard time keeping up with the large number of hungry mouths to feed, but the Bishop had the solution … eat dessert first!  The program introduced members of the lively Owen Family – Brad, Betty, Barbie and Ben – new to the ward since the boundaries were realigned in November - who sang and danced their family into our hearts!  With a theme of “Believe” from the popular holiday movie Polar Express, each child was given a gold ticket from “the conductor” when they first arrived – and held it in an iron grip throughout the night knowing it was the key to being able to tell Santa Claus their secret wishes for Christmas.

Thanks to all who came out to ride the Polar Express; to “Just A Little Bite” for catering the dinner for nearly 250 ward members, neighbors, friends and family; the Owen family for providing our entertainment; to our flash mob (aka the ward choir) who came prepared to open the program with a rousing (and surprising) rendition of “Jingle Bells” and to an amazing decorating committee headed by Donna Ortiz, with talented help from Suzie Long, Ilaina Carter, Roena Soliai and Russ and Joy Alldredge; to Scott and Sophia Ford for creating posters and invitations; to Young Men and Young Women who navigated tight quarters to serve the dinner; to the Primary for providing treat bags for Santa Claus to distributed to the children … and of course, to the “Jolly Old Elf” for his “ho, ho, ho!”