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Martha (Betty) Rockwood Carlson was born July 4, 1923, in Iona, ID. She died September 22, 2022, supported and surrounded by the love of her family. Martha was born of humble beginnings - a farm girl from small town Idaho. She was the youngest daughter of Amos and Melissa Rockwood. Her nine siblings preceded her in death. She is survived by her six children: Gary (Silvia); Sharon (Kevin) Holland; Brian; Marilyn (Tom) Gough; Karen (Jeff) Ross; David (Joey). Martha had 15 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren.
As a young woman Martha ventured to the big city to attend business school. While in Salt Lake City, she met her Prince Charming - Wayne Carlson. Martha fell hard for this dashing soldier. When he came home on leave from the army and asked her to run away with him to Elko, Nevada to get married, she said “Yes!” and didn’t look back. Her family learned of her marriage through a phone call, and she was already on her way across the country to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. She and Wayne survived a car accident on their way, hopped the UP rail, thanks to Wayne’s employment with the Union Pacific, and made their way to the Army base where Captain Carlson would spend the rest of his war time service. Martha and Wayne started their family during this period and returned to Salt Lake City at the end of the war with two babies, Gary and Sharon, in tow. Wayne built Martha their family home on Adams Street at the end of the war. She loved this home, raised her entire family of six in it, and lived there until the last day of her life. It was always a welcome place for friends, with home cooked meals served nightly and a full refrigerator and pantry.
Martha was born of pioneer stock. She was an active leader in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. She was a tough and resilient Queen of her own tiny universe. Martha was matriarch and reigning ruler of a family of 50 people, including children, grandchildren, spouses, and great grandchildren. Martha’s proudest achievement was her family. She lived independently after the death of her husband Wayne, for 36 years. She ran an informal boarding house for friends, grandchildren, extended family, and other young adults in need of a safe and loving place to stay, including an extended stay by Ace Woodward who lived with the family during his high school years.
Martha will be remembered for her gardening skills. She prepared the soil, planted seeds, and tended her garden until she was 98. She generously shared her garden produce whether fresh or recently canned. Martha was known as a great cook. She continued to prepare family meals until her late 90’s, she cooked for her entire Lions Club until her mid 90’s and hosted her Daughters of the Utah Pioneers group with food and friendship. Her chicken soup was famous among family and friends - the cure for all ills.
Traits that endeared Martha to everyone included her ability to listen with an open mind and without judgment or unwanted advice. She had a wicked sense of humor and a great grasp of politics and current events. Martha had a willingness to travel and try new things well into her late 90’s. She was an avid reader and library patron. Despite failing eyesight, she was reading a book on the last night of her life. Martha loved to sew. Her beautiful quilts were famous among family members. Lovingly made and given for special occasions. Even though Martha was an introvert by nature, she was a well-respected leader who was organized and hard working. One of her last church callings was Stake Relief Society President and she was a dedicated visiting teacher. Martha was a good friend, always driving friends to church and willing to help others. Her ability to finally learn to ask for and accept help with grace and gratitude was one of her last, great lessons.
The family wishes to thank the many people who made the last days of Martha’s life more comfortable. Her granddaughter Jaimie, who cared for her with tender love. All her children and their spouses, who stood by her and provided her the ability to stay in her home until the end of her life. Her grandchildren, who helped her adapt to changing needs with skill, love, and generosity. Her Inspiration Hospice team, who provided end of life care with love and compassion. Members of the Central Park Ward, who visited her, brought her meals and fresh produce, hauled her garbage to the curb, shoveled snow from her sidewalk and driveway, weeded and cleaned up her yard, cleaned her windows, and generally showed her the love and respect she so richly earned. True examples of love and service.
Martha was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She and Wayne were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple in 1949 (along with their three children at the time). She is now in eternal rest, reunited with Wayne and her many family members and friends who passed before her.
A viewing will be held Tuesday, September 27, 2022, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Central Park Ward on 2700 South 300 East in Salt Lake City. A second viewing will be held Wednesday, September 28 from 10:30 to 11:45 followed by funeral service at 12:00 p.m. A recording of the service can be watched using the following link:
Interment will be at the Salt Lake City Cemetery with graveside services at 1:45 p.m. Arrangements are being handled by Larkin Mortuary, 260 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT.
Aunt Betty always brought a smile to everyone’s face when she visited Iona. My dad, her older brother, was always so happy when he got to visit his baby sister. My wife and I would like to express our sincere love and condolences to Betty’s family, our Salt Lake cousins. With love. Craig
So sorry for your loss.
I am so sad at the passing of my dear Aunt Betty! She was always so gracious and kind to me. In the past several years when I would tell her she was my favorite aunt she would reply,” i’m your only living aunt!“ I will miss her quick wit!
I loved learning so much about my sweet Aunt Betty during her funeral. She was always so good to me; so kind and welcoming whenever we visited her in Salt Lake. We exchanged Christmas cards each year, and she was always so thoughtful in taking the time to write a letter, keeping us informed of her many activities. I loved her feisty, spunky self. Rest in peace.