We often marvel at those with elite talent or exceptional abilities. They become heroes. Judy was such a person. Her capacity for kindness and selfless love towards others was awe-inspiring, and has profoundly influenced us to live better lives and experience the deepest of joy.
Judy was born the oldest of Joe and Dora Olson Dana’s seven children on April 20, 1939, in Phoenix, Arizona. Her parents provided a loving, supportive home, instilling in Judy the values and confidence that inspired her lifelong devotion to family, service, and success. Judy often said, “my parents’ love gave me the confidence to do anything.” This was clearly evident as an elementary and high school student. Academics, music, dance- she was determined to do it all, and she did so with excellence. She was also a leader in various clubs and organizations including student council, pompon, Girls State, music clubs and more. Remarkably, she was perhaps most highly regarded for her kindness to everyone, which made her all the more beautiful.
Though she enjoyed success in many pursuits, Judy cherished her family above all else. She idolized her father and adored her mother. Her sisters were her best friends and her brothers were her heroes. From beach vacations and building the family cabin in Greer, Arizona to simply spending time laughing with each other at family meals, being with her family was her favorite pastime.
Judy attended Brigham Young University where she performed as a Songleader and a Cougarette, served as president of the social club O.S. Trovata, and made lifelong friends. Judy remained a true-blue Cougar her entire life, often returning to reunite with classmates and participate in Homecoming activities. In the last few years of her life, to the delight of her children and grandchildren, she would join alumni Cougarettes on the field during halftime to perform the BYU fight song and dance.
In 1961, she married Jerry Eagleston and moved to California where they started their new life. She taught elementary school and welcomed her first-born, Lori. Eventually, business opportunities and the lure of Judy’s loving family brought the three of them back to Arizona. Over the next several years they lived in the old Dana family home on Edgemont, and their family grew as Julie, Paul, and David were born.
In 1970 Jerry and Judy built a home in Moon Valley located in North Phoenix. Karen, Robert, Scott and John were born here, completing their family. Judy was deeply grateful for the friendships she made in the community she called home for 25 years. She was especially thankful for those that had a positive influence on her 8 children, including friends and their families, church and community leaders, and the educators at Lookout Mountain Elementary, Mountain Sky and Thunderbird High School.
In 1995, Judy moved to Utah. Here she was married to Vaughn Rasmussen for almost 15 years, taught school at Westland Elementary until she retired in 2012, and spent years volunteering as an usher at the LDS conference center. She loved living near the mountains and the close proximity to BYU. She especially loved being near family that lived in Utah, including her children and her siblings.
Judy did have trials to overcome. As a single mother of 8, she went back to work teaching school to make ends meet. In order to teach, she attended night school to earn her master’s degree. She suffered a heart attack, but she recovered and worked hard to keep herself healthy for decades. She fought breast cancer in 2004, but was diligent in taking precautions to keep it in remission. Although she had to endure the pain of divorce, she never regretted marriage. She was deeply thankful for the new family and friends she gained and enjoyed close relationships with many of them for the rest of her life. More importantly, her marriage to Jerry provided them with what she often described as “the joy of my life,” her 8 children.
Judy’s greatest desire was that her children would love and support each other. She went to great lengths to make this happen including spending time on her knees praying for each child’s specific needs.
Her children always felt her unconditional love. It gave them confidence and strength to achieve any goal or overcome any hardship. Her grandchildren felt her love through her words, actions and even through her adoring gaze. She made them feel as if their imperfections melted away, and provided them an unmatched warmth.
Judy’s life was a living sermon of Christlike principles. She taught her children by example to love and serve others, to honor one’s parents, to forgive and love family unconditionally, and to have faith in a loving Father in Heaven. She was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, treasured the friendships developed through attending church and its activities; and was eternally grateful for the support, direction, comfort and joy it afforded her.
On August 31, 2019 she married Ken Bentley, who she referred to as her Knight in Shining Armor. Ken helped provide a fairy tale ending to her life. They purchased a home within walking distance to family and friends, enjoyed traveling with family members, and simply loved being in each other’s constant company.
May we all love like Judy. She taught us that through service and kindness to others, we will not only experience joy, but create it in the lives of others.
She is survived by her husband Ken Bentley, five sons Paul Eagleston (Amy), David Eagleston (Leigh), Robert Eagleston (Brooke), Scott Eagleston (Miranda) and John Eagleston (Nicole) and her three daughters Lori Costello (Joe), Julie Borman and Karen Allen (Billy). She has thirty four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her parents Joe and Dora Dana, and her grandson Isaac Eagleston.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 12:00 pm at the Willowcreek 1st Ward, 2115 East Sublette Place, Sandy, Utah 84093. Friends and family may call Monday evening from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 East Dimple Dell Road, Sandy, Utah 84092 and on Tuesday morning from 10:30 - 11:30 at the ward building.
Services will also be available to view via Zoom with the following link:
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