Mary Lou Jenkins Thurston Smoot

1930 ~ 2022


Jan. 15, 2022
1:00 PM - 1:45 PM
Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108
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  • Service:

    Jan. 15, 2022
    2:00 PM
    Larkin Sunset Lawn Chapel, 2350 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108
  • Directions to Service
  • Through 91 years, Mary Lou lived a life that could best be described as full of grace and Christ-like charity. She passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones on January 11, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    Born on August 20, 1930 in Salt Lake City to Elmer and Mildred Jenkins, she lived for many years in Salt Lake and moved during World War 2 to the Kahala area of Honolulu, territory of Hawaii.

    She graduated from Punahou, attended the University of Utah for two years, and graduated from Stanford University with a degree in English.

    She married Dick Wright Thurston on September 1, 1951 in the Salt Lake Temple. They lived in FL, TX, HI, CA, VA, ME, MD, London, England, Provo,UT and La Jolla, CA. She loved to teach, raise her children, play tennis and serve others. She was President of the US Naval Academy’s Officers Wives Club. She also served as President of BYU Women. She was Captain of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.

    As a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints she served in many callings including President of the Relief Society, Primary and Young Women’s. She served with Dick when he was Bishop of a BYU Married Ward. They served as temple workers in San Diego. They also served a Church Mission to the Hmong/Laotian refugees in San Diego. “Service truly was her middle name.”

    Following Dick’s passing she had a wonderful 6 year marriage to Steve Smoot; which brought her four bonus children, Shauna/Jim, Steve/Jill, Sherm/Sherri, and Allison/Colby and numerous bonus grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What a blessing they were in her life. Mary Lou and Steve served 6 years as missionaries in the Salt Lake Inner-City Mission.

    Survived by her son, Wright Jenkins Thurston (Janett), of Sandy; daughter, Elizabeth Malia Merrell (Wayne), of Story City, IA; son, Rob J. Thurston (Loni), of Provo; 15 grandchildren, and 41 great-grandchildren.

    She requested in lieu of flowers, donations be made to her favorite charity:
    TS Alliance, 8737 Colesville Road, Suite 400 Silver Spring, Maryland 20910-4487 USA 800.225.6872 (Toll-Free) 301.562.9890

    A viewing at 1:00 pm and funeral at 2:00 pm will be held in Salt Lake City on Saturday, January 15, 2022 at the Larkin Sunset Lawn Cemetery (2350 E. 1300 S.) with interment immediately after. Recording of the funeral service can be found by clicking the "Watch Services" button above.

    Special thanks to her beloved Tamie Rice, "Angels Crossing" Hospice and the lovely Pacific Island ladies of “Love at Home” who cared for Mary Lou.


    On behalf of the John Brent and Carolyn Miller Probst family, we are wishing you all our love. Sincerest condolences on the passing of your beloved Mary Lou. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family is our prayer.

    - Bradley Probst

    My deepest sympathy to your entire family. It is always hard losing a parent, and friend. I can tell from reading the obituary, she lived a full and wonderful life, and was deeply loved. I am so glad I got to know her and visit with her a bit over the years. My love to your entire family..


    - Ken Foster

    I am a first cousin of Dick Thurston, named after his wonderful mother, Orlean Wright Thurston, so I am a cousin to Mary Lou through marriage. We always loved her and were so glad that she became part of the Thurston family and, thus, part of the broader Wright family. She was such a gracious hostess and made you feel so welcome the moment you entered her lovely home. I was able to watch the funeral by zoom. It was a beautiful service. I loved all of the talks and musical numbers. I learned much about Mary Lou that I did not know. It was also great to see her children, grand children and great grandchilden. Our deepest sympathies for your loss. Mary Lou was truly a great lady and blessed and influenced the lives of many.
    Our condolences and prayers are with all of her family. Love, Orlean and Kurt Koehle and Family

    - Orlean Koehle

    Mary Lou was one of The Sweetest People we’ve ever known. She became Cheryl’s Instagram Friend and left many, many kind comments on Cheryl’s Instagram Posts.

    Mary Lou was a True and Loyal Friend to Cheryl’s Mother, Marilyn Chapman. These Two Friends had many fun and memorable adventures together. Mary Lou would often write on Cheryl’s Instagram how very much she loved and missed Cheryl’s Mother.

    Mary Lou’s Great Love Of Her Family comes through Loud and Clear in the photos of her last few years on Her Instagram Account. Nearly Every Photo on her Instagram account was of good times she had shared with Her Family.

    The world lost a Sweet, Loving, Honorable, Righteous Soul, with Mary Lou’s passing.

    We Love You Mary Lou. From Cheryl & Evrett Benton

    - Cheryl $ Evrett Benton

    I was saddened to here of your mother's passing. Very nice services. Love to all, Russell

    - Russell Hogge

    Although we only knew her later in her life, Mary Lou was a true gift to the "Smoot clan"!
    She was a caring, wonderful and loving wife to Steve in his last years and a gracious and kind stepmom and grandma to the next Smoot generations.
    Wright, Rob, Elizabeth, spouses and the entire "Thurston clan" - you won the Hawaiian Mega-Lotto to have been raised, taught and loved by Mary Lou.
    She was a remarkable woman of grace!
    She was so dedicated to her family and friends and especially to the Lord.
    Much love from our entire Smoot family.

    - Steve & Jill Smoot

    I have not seen Mary Lou for years. We lived in the same "ward" and her children were friends of my children. Her husband, Dick and their family moved to California. I missed all of them.

    I am sure that I will see them again.

    - LaRita Evans

    Mary Lou was a bright spot in my life. We all loved her as we participated in activities in our ward. She was such a good sport and always had a smile. I send my sympathy to her family....a very lovely lady!
    Gayle Dudley

    - Gayle Dudley