Mary Joanne Hicken Chalmers, Beloved Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Great-grandmother, Great-great-grandmother, and friend to many, passed away peacefully Nov 3rd, 2021, at the home of her daughter Merry Taintor, North Salt Lake, Utah.
Joanne was born in Salt Lake City, July 15th 1926, daughter of Harmon Reed Hicken and Mary Margaret Andrews. In her lifetime she was blessed with 7 children, 37 grandchildren, 115 great-grandchildren & 1 great-great -grandchild.
While very young, Joanne lived in Yellowstone National Park where her father was employed in painting, refinishing and helping to build the Old Faithful Lodge. Around the age of two, her family moved to California and settled in Modesto. Mary Joanne grew up in this beautiful valley town surrounded by almond orchards, grape vines and palm trees. Her life was filled with music as she became accomplished in voice and piano.
After graduating from Modesto High School, she was awarded a scholarship to Juilliard School of Music. Joanne’s mother didn’t feel she would be safe in New York, so instead she attended a Junior collage in Modesto as a music major.
In the summer of 1945, she moved to Cal (University of California at Berkley), where she entered as a sophomore. In 1946 she met, and fell in love with Robert Wallace Chalmers Jr. They eventually married at Joanne’s parents’ home in Modesto June 20th,1948. After Bob’s graduation, the couple moved and experienced a beautiful life in the Hawaiian Islands. Thanks to the missionary program of the Church (Elders Ken Anderson and Bob Smoot), with Joanne’s prayers, her example, and through Bob’s diligent study of the Gospel, Bob was converted and joined the Church. Their marriage was solemnized in the Hawaiian Temple, November 9, 1951.
Joanne and Bob raised their family in the Bay Area town of Pleasant Hills, California. The Gospel was also paramount in their lives, as their children’s testimonies grew and were strengthened. The Chalmers family participated in the building of their chapels, witnessed the building of the Oakland Temple, and eventually participated in the Oakland Temple Pageant. Joanne had a very active role in The LDS faith. She taught early morning seminary many years, taught a monthly Literature lesson in relief society, and helped direct Ward Roadshows.
She was a very creative and talented woman, composed music, wrote poetry, diligently kept a very significant journal, dabbled in water colors, oil painting, loved to draw, performed in musicals, instructed piano and voice lessons. She loved to accompany her children in singing engagements.
In the early 1970’s, the family left California for the state of Utah settling into the Mill Creek area of Salt Lake City. Joanne then became involved in community service becoming part of the Utah Opera Guild.
In her later years she was remembered for her unique free-style crocheted items she gifted to her grand-children. She actively taught her children the Gospel and bore a strong testimony of its truthfulness. In 1977, soon after her husband’s death, Joanne served a proselytizing mission to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1979.
Music was always the window to her soul, as was her last words, as she sung, “Oh it is wonderful, that He should care for me, enough to die for me. Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me.” We love you momma; you will be sorely missed. We look forward to our reunion with you some day!
She is survived by her six children, Robert Wallace Chalmers III (Kelly), Margaret Anne Hunt, Holly Jane Hiller (Craig), Merry Henrietta Taintor (Read), Rebecca Blythe Burton (Howard), and Kathleen Kanani Nowell (William).
She was preceded in death by her Husband, Robert Wallace Chalmers Jr, and her daughter Melinda Johanna Hicken Miner (Robert).
Her funeral will be held in person (masks highly encouraged) and on Zoom, with Bishop Sam Wood conducting, Thursday November 18th, 2021 at noon, at the LDS Orchard 3rd Ward chapel, 261 East Center Street, North Salt Lake, Utah 84054. A viewing for friends and family will be held one hour prior to the service. Interment will be at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, Millcreek, Utah. A special thank you to the Orchard Third ward for hosting the services, and to the Orchard Third Ward Relief Society for kindly providing the family luncheon following the interment.
Dear Merry and Holly. We loved your sweet mom. Everyone who met her loved her instantly. What a great celebration your mom and dad are having. We are so blessed to have the gospel in our lives and the joy in knowing that we will see our loved ones again that have passed. We have a prayer in our hearts for you and your families. ❤
Sister Chalmers was a vibrant personality as I was growing up in the Pleasant Hill Ward. I sometimes would babysit her younger children. My parents were good friends with Bob and Joanne, and they and other young couples who were raising families were involved in many Church activities. They even put on a Musical variety show for the public and sold tickets to raise money to help build a chapel in Walnut Creek. I think that Sister Chalmers is the last of that close knit group of women to pass away. She always was so friendly and was very talented. It is sad to see that group finally pass, but I am sure there is a great reunion on the other side of the veil. Love and comforting prayers for the family.
While I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing your Mother, she was clearly a woman who blessed many throughout her life.
I know she is deeply missed, yet all is right.
Peace be with you all.