Coral Kerr Clifford
11/16/1918 - 09/17/2019
On the afternoon of Sept 17th, attended by her adoring children, an elect lady, our wonderful family matriarch, passed from mortality into eternal life. Her remarkable experience spanned 100 years of achievement and service, with a manifest love of family, faith, and country. Having “endured to the end” a life far longer than desired, her steadfast testimony never wavered: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” We mourn the loss of her presence yet rejoice in her marvelous legacy.
Born near St Anthony ID to Annie Spori Kerr and Robert Marriner Kerr, Coral was the only daughter among five children. Her mother loved to tell of the hope she felt for her unborn child while hearing the bells ring to celebrate the Armistice ending WWI. She was born into a family of educators; her grandfather, Jacob Spori founded Ricks College (now BYU Idaho), her father was the high school principal, and her mother a teacher of English and literature. Mom always considered teaching the noblest of professions. Raised in the close community of Rexburg ID, she was valedictorian of both her Madison High School and Ricks College classes, later graduating with honors from BYU. Before marriage she taught at the high school and college level, also serving as a legal secretary to her oldest brother.
While teaching a class at Ricks College, Coral caught the eye of a student named John W Clifford. Following a nearly five-year correspondence courtship while he served in the Pacific during WWII, they were married in the Salt Lake Temple in April 1945. Dad was a career US Army officer whose postings were all over the US, Europe, and the Far East. Mom raised her family, served in military family support, and did extensive volunteer work. Her children fondly remember trips to view the geographic and cultural wonders of the world nearby. She hosted generals, heads of state, missionaries, and church authorities. Her hospitality was legendary. Our parents taught and practiced cultural, racial, and religious sensitivity that their children will never forget. Theirs was a marriage of harmony and loving service.
After retiring from military life, Mom and Dad devoted their remaining years to Church activity. While Dad served as Bishop and Stake President, Mom served in Relief Society, Primary, and Young Women’s groups. Later, they considered their lengthy calling as the first President and matron of the Taipei Taiwan Temple an unforgettable experience. At an advanced age they worked in the Salt Lake Temple until their health declined.
Mother’s last 14 years were spent at Capitol Hill Senior Living (formerly Brighton Gardens). Suffering from diminished sight, hearing, and increasing Alzheimer’s, she maintained an uncanny sense of dignity and grace toward all. Intentional kiss marks left from her trademark red lipstick reminded us of her enduring affection. Our family is eternally grateful to individual caregivers over the years who treated Coral like their own: Debra, Min, Jessica, James, Bonnie, Morgan, Gloria, Helen. among many others. We are grateful to Marcia Pinkerman for years of loving primary care, and to Noemi Jimenez her hospice nurse. These are all angels amongst us!
Preceded in death by her four brothers, and her eternal companion John W (Jack 2005). Coral is survived by her children and their spouses: Bob (Kathy), Brett (Don Austin), Neil (Debbie), Diane Erhard (Dwight). Her posterity includes 14 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren, who all basked in her love.
Funeral services will be held at the Larkin Mortuary Chapel (260 East South Temple) on Thursday, Sept 26 at noon. Viewing that morning from 10:30-11:30 and Wednesday evening from 6-8 PM. Interment at Utah Veterans Memorial Park (17111 South 1700 West, Bluffdale). Online condolences welcomed at www.LarkinCares.com.
“Charity never faileth”