Thursday, June 11, 2009

Evelyn Leatham Smith Funeral

Two years ago, Evelyn traveled to Irvine with Pam to attend Michael's mission farewell (pictured above outside the Irvine Stake Center). When she found out she had cancer two months ago, her first thought was that she hoped she could hold on long enough to see her two missionaries come home - Michael on July 3 and Jacob Smith on August 18. She decided against chemo and dialysis but hoped that the port to drain fluid from her kidneys and bladder would give her extra time.

It was not to be. She took a turn for the worse a couple of weeks ago. The day before John and Beth left for their two week trip to Asia, John was able to give his grandma a Priesthood blessing that was very inspired and powerful. I was very proud to be able to stand beside him as he blessed his grandma. During the next two weeks he checked in frequently with me to get updates on Grandma's status and was able to talk to her once by phone. When he and Beth landed last Saturday evening in SLC they drove directly to Logan to see grandma. She recognized John. John said, "Hi Grandma" and she replied, "Hi John". He said, "I love you" and she replied, "I love you". John told her a little about her trip and then left. Kristin was also with grandma that night and was able to tell her she loved her. After John, Beth and Kristin left, the 6 siblings had some time with Evelyn and then Rod, Annie and Pam found a spot to lay down for some sleep. Sometime after 2AM, Rod checked on his mom and found that she had passed away. Annie and Pam joined Rod at her bedside and Craig, Jana and Mark arrived back at the house within a few minutes.

It is impossible to put into words how proud I am of Annie and her sisters for the round the clock care they provided their mother these past few weeks. It was a very difficult and stressful task and their performance was stellar. The three sons were also very dutiful, but there were many things related to Evelyn's care that only the daughters were able to do.

The 3rd west neighbors were very impressed at the flood of cars parked in the driveway for the past 3-4 weeks. It was a pleasure to chat with many of them last night at the Mortuary. One of my favorite mortuary moments came in my conversation with Heber Lundberg. He told me of a time in the early 60's when Annie's dad, Jack Smith, and his brother, Strat, stopped by to get some gas for their new Dodge 4X4 trucks. Jack told Heber that "The only difference between a 2 wheel drive and a 4 wheel drive is that you have a longer walk out when you get stuck with a 4 wheel drive".

Pallbearers - Jed Smith, Brett Smith, Rod Smith, Andy Hansen on the left and Mike Hansen, Craig Smith, Mark Smith and Bob Emmett on the right. Mike Hansen filled in for Brian who was not able to make the trip from Miami. We really missed Brian and Michael. First I booked Brian's flights for the wrong day, but once we got that straightened out his flight from Miami was going to be delayed so that he would miss his connection in Dallas. We looked at flying him to Vegas or LAX but decided it would not work out. As it turns out, he would not have been able to get home tonight either as all flights in and out of Dallas tonight have been delayed or canceled due to weather.

John getting ready to dedicate the grave. He did an awesome job - just as we all expected.
Jack was less interested in a photo op and more interested in being a 'tad'

Six Great Kids - Pam, Mark, Annie, Craig, Jana and Rod (l-r)

There were many tears shed today. I think this picture of Kristin and Annie at Evelyn and Jack's gravesite after the funeral is very touching. Annie spoke for 5 minutes today at the funeral was did an incredible job both in words spoken and her ablility to maintain her composure. All six of the siblings spoke and did a great job. Many tears, but also plenty of smiles and laughs were shared.

Thank you to all for your kind words, thoughts and prayers during these past few weeks. Bill and Lorie (Lorie is part of the 3rd West / 3rd Ward family) were at the mortuary last night and the funeral today. Tom and mom were able to leave dad alone for an hour this morning and visited before the funeral in Hyrum. Flowers from the Emmett family and Smith family (Lorie's siblings) were much appreciated and very beautiful.


  1. Thanks for the beautiful posting, Bob. Evelyn was a very special lady and we really loved her. Although we both have excellent relationships with all of the in-law parents, she was always easy to be around and talk to. She never professed to be anything other than who she was and we loved her for that. The loving care she received from her family and grand-children, especially during these difficult past few weeks, was especially evident.

  2. A great report and touching tribute to a wonderful woman. Wish we could have been there to give Annie and all the Irvine Emmetts a big hug of love and support. The Smith family has certainly been in our prayers and will continue to be so. Families are forever.

  3. Dito to everything John and Chad said above. The Smith family will always be one of my favortie "3rd Ward" families.