Merlene M. Featherstone, 90, passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by her family on Thursday, July 21, 2022.
‘Mother Mer’ was born December 29, 1931 in Ogden, Utah and adopted by Hazel Naomi Duke Miner and James A. Miner. She was the youngest of three children with two older brothers. She was married and sealed to her high school sweetheart and the love of her life, Vaughn J. Featherstone, on September 15, 1950 in the Salt Lake Temple. They have six sons, one daughter, their seven spouses, and 158 grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren at last count.
Mother Mer loved people—her family first and foremost. She prayed for them nightly and cherished them daily. She met no strangers, only future friends. She was wholly authentic without a blush of pretense. She loved as the Savior loved—purely and unconditionally. She is our compass pointing true north. Her entire life was devoted to those she loved. The line of people who think they’re her favorite runs out the door and far down the sidewalk.
She lived life with optimism and energy. Her life was full of smiles, fun, and joy and brimming with spontaneity and happy mischief. If she was outside the open kitchen window and you used the sink sprayer to get her attention, she came through the back door with the garden hose to retaliate. She never let a little mess get in the way of a good time. She was always the one to start the water-fight, eat the heart out of the watermelon, roll her corn on the butter, sing along with the radio—especially Karen Carpenter, ante up for a good cheeseburger or crispy burrito, crush pretzels into her salad, play ‘kick-the-can’, pour over a thousand-piece puzzle, and she was always good for a popsicle. It was not unusual to find marshmallow peanuts and peeps in the cupboard weeks after Easter because she liked them hard and chewy. Her entire life was punctuated by laughter. Not a single day got by her without some good, clean, unscheduled fun. Nothing pleased her more than seeing her children at play.
Mom perfected the art of giving hugs. To meet her meant getting hugged; to know her meant getting hugged; saying ‘goodbye’ meant getting hugged, and she truly meant every one of them. A sincere, warm embrace was her calling card and we all looked forward to her next hug while still in her arms.
She loved sunlight, the outdoors, the ocean, a mountain scene, and all rivers and lakes. She enjoyed planting flowers and spent years of her life on her knees caring for a pansy or geranium, an animal, a grandchild, or thanking God for all of them. Her prayers were sacred because they were for everyone else. She thanked, and thanked, and thanked, and thanked.
She had a ‘worry list’ that everyone wanted to be on some of the time but not all of the time. Being listed meant you ‘lingered on her heart’ and needed extra attention, which we all received from time to time, but no one wanted to be on the list long enough to cause her any actual worry. She called when you needed a call. She bought you a treat when you needed a treat. She remembered birthdays with cards and ‘fun money’. She prayed for you when you needed a prayer, and she loved you all the day, every day.
Mother Mer suffered from physical and medical issues throughout her life, but you would never know it. She loved and served in spite of her own pain and discomfort. Though suffering herself, she reached out daily to a friend or family member to lend comfort, support, and strength. She was a healer of hearts, a lifter of spirits, and a listener to the lonely.
She loved animals—especially her dogs. She was preceded in death by Bear, Rock, Stroker, Gilly, Eli, Molly, Emily, Juwa, Tawny, Gretchen, Wolf, Heidi and several other adopted strays. She ‘whinnied’ to her dear friend, Sham, her part-Arabian horse, every morning and evening of his life. Our father told of pasturing Sham for a summer in Heber, visiting one evening, and not seeing any sign of horses. Mom walked to the fence and ‘whinnied’ and suddenly, out of a low dell sprang Sham—ears up, tail-up, and running full-speed in her direction. It was a reunion of dear friends earned by a thousand such encounters before.
Most of all, mom loved her Heavenly Father and her Savior, Jesus Christ. She knew them personally, spoke of them daily, and followed them completely. Every decision of her life was directed by the covenants she made with them. Her answer was ‘yes’ to anything she was asked to do for the cause of Christ. Her commitment resulted in mom being alone most weekends, spending three years away from home in Texas, three more in the Philippines, and three more in Australia. One of her greatest joys was serving as Matron of the Logan Temple. It was a season of service that was cherished because of the people with whom she served on both sides of the veil. Mom revered the Lord’s chosen servants. She owned a large bust of Joseph Smith and she greeted him each day with, “good morning, Prophet. I promise I will not do anything to disappoint you today.” Her devotion has been the same to every prophet. On the first night of our parent’s marriage, the young lovers knelt together and promised the Lord that they would give Him all…they kept that promise. The young couple that started with nothing gave everything.
Mother Mer was preceded in death by her husband, Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, Emeritus General Authority, her brothers Carl and Bob; her oldest son, Ronald Vaughn Featherstone, her mother and father, and many cherished friends from every neighborhood and ward where she lived.
She is survived by David James Featherstone (Laura), Joseph M. Featherstone (Marianne), Jeffery Scott Featherstone (Lori), Lawrence Featherstone (Laurel), Jill Featherstone Taylor (Brian), Paul Thomas Featherstone (Meredith), Debra Luke, and her beloved grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The family wishes to thank the good doctors and nurses of Aspen Healthcare, Rocky Mountain Skilled Care, and DMBA. We also wish to thank Larkin Mortuary since her passing. We are indebted to them for their kindness, respect, and goodness.
In lieu of flowers and gifts, mom would want you to spend time with your families. She would tell us to love the people we love as much as we can while we can. Lastly, she was the person of whom our father oft declared: "If I could choose from every woman who breathes on this earth, the face I would most love, the smile, the touch, the voice, the heart, the laugh, the soul itself, every detail and feature to the smallest strand of hair-they would all be Merlene's."
There will be a public viewing at the Mueller Park Stake Center, 1800 Mueller Park Road, Bountiful UT 84010 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 31, 2022. There will be a private family viewing from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. prior to the funeral held at the same location at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 1, 2022. Following the funeral, interment will take place at the Larkin Sunset Gardens Cemetery, 1950 East Dimple Dell Road, Sandy, UT.
For those who wish to attend the funeral virtually, you may do so by utilizing the following Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87353714484
Please note a Zoom account will need to be established before the meeting to attend. You may create a free account at Zoom.us
I am one of the Texas San Antonio Missionaries. I loved your parents dearly. I learned so much from them. I have been blessed to keep in touch with them over the years though visits, phone calls and letters. I will miss getting to chat with your sweet mother now and then as I know you will too. I am so grateful that you had her serviced zoomed today as I found out last night at 10:30 pm so there was no way I could make it to the service. May the Lord continue to bless and be with your family. Love, Sister Anita Norris Bake
We are so grateful for the opportunity to watch the funeral service remotely. It was so beautiful and fitting for our beloved Merlene. What a wonderful family. Vaughn and Merlene were always overflowing with happiness when they shared the wonderful things that their children and grandchildren were doing.
They were a great team and they served others their entire lives.
We appreciated Vaugh and Merlene always supporting and participating at birthday parties and reunions with the Johnsons in Stockton. They both gave big hugs and were interested in knowing about each person that was attending. My Dad (Uncle Ernest) was always so happy to see them. He loved Aunt Emma and the Featherstones so much. David and I were so grateful to have Vaughn and Merlene attend our missionary farewell in Vernal in 2000, and Vaughn was our Master of Cermonies for the program at our Wedding Reception in 1964. Merlene is one of the sweetest, most choice people we have ever known. Just keep honoring your parents by the good lives that you live and loving others as they did.
Love and blesssings to all of the Featherstone Family. David and Eleanor Johnson Rust
We have such fond memories of your mother and grandmother. As her first cousin I was able to spend time with her on numerous occasions and always felt of her goodness and love. Like was stated in the funeral, everyone she met felt like they were her favorite. There aren't many of the Duke Family left but we are so grateful to have had her. We will always remember her smile and caring nature. May the Lord bless each of you in the days to come. What a blessing to know that she is with your father and doing God's work.
We all loved Sister Featherstone. I wonder how many missionaries thought they were her favorite. I have thought about her on a regular basis through the years. She was a wonderful influence in my life. My heart goes out to every member of your family. With love, Alan Bridge, TSAM.
Dear Sister Taylor:
We are deeply sorry for the passing of your mother. It is very sad to see our parents go. We hope that it is full of peace and comfort in these moments of affliction.
we love you
This is mostly for her son, Scott, one of my favorite old students from when I was a Jordan High English teacher and tennis coach a long time ago. The obituary is very well written, and from what is said, it is clear why Scott has done so well with his life. She was a wonderful person, and apparently had a long good life I know the family will remember her in good ways for a long time.
Elder y hermana Taylor deseamos transmitir nuestro amor y sentimientos a su esposa y a toda la familia y la bendición de haber tenido una Madre, suegra, hermana y Abuela etc. ejemplar no dudamos que ella al igual que todos los fieles Santos esten en el reposo del Señor esperando su gloriosa venida en un estado de felicidad, les amamos y están en nuestras oraciones alma 40.12
Queremos brindarle nuestras más sinceras condolencias por la partida de Merlene M. Featherstone.
No dudamos que ha tenido frutos increíbles en la familia que ha llevado a que puedan apoyar al Salvador en su obra.
Sabemos que los convenios son sagrados y verdaderos y según el tiempo de nuestro Dios, los podremos ver muy pronto.
Desde Nicaragua, los acompañamos en sus dolores.
Kenet J. Gallegos
Secretario de Setenta de Área