Vira Beth Robson Bartholomew
10/01/1931 - 10/26/2019
October was a special month for Vira Beth Robson Bartholomew, or Vi – as she was known to many. She was born on October 1, 1931, to Ralph and Amy Robson, of Plain City, Utah. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on October 26, 2019, in Salt Lake City, Utah. October ‘s beauty will forever be a reminder of Vi to her loved ones and family.
Vira Beth was born into a dairy farm family, the third child of six. The second of three daughters, she recounted being sent to help in the barn, as her mother had her older sister “for household help.” She grew up doing chores on the farm, working hard in school, and attending regular church meetings and activities. Education and developing talents were both important in Vi’s family. She was active in music, speaking, and theater activities, eventually joining debate club in college, and becoming an accomplished piano and organ player.
While in school, Vi met the young man she would eventually marry. Her older sister, Hyla, introduced her to her new husband’s younger brother, Mac Rae Bartholomew. Vi and Mac began to correspond regularly while Vi attended and graduated from Weber State College in Ogden, and then Utah State in Logan, where she graduated with a degree in home economics. Mac left to serve a Spanish-speaking mission in Texas for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, while Vi finished her education, continuing their correspondence for two years.
They were engaged, and later married on June 10, 1953. Mac graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, and the couple relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Mac to complete an advanced degree. While there, they were blessed with the first of six children, a daughter, Janeen.
Vi and Mac moved to Whittier, California, where Mac taught high school foreign language classes, and Vi alternately worked as a kindergarten teacher. There she brought five additional children into the family: three daughters, Audrey, Brenda, and Marlene, and two sons, Bruce and Scott.
Vi was busy with many church callings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the Young Woman’s program, Relief Society, ward theater productions, musical programs, piano and organ accompanist activities, public school teaching positions, and the general herding of children through all the activities that six children add to a family’s calendar. Music kept them especially busy with musical groups and rehearsals in their home. Summers brought memorable visits to the beach with local friends, trips to Utah to visit relatives, camping and fishing trips to favorite state and national parks. In later years, Mac and Vi were especially captivated by Yellowstone National Park and its surrounding excellent fishing locations. Fishing trips with close friends in later years forged lasting golden friendships.
In Whittier, Vi and Mac experienced the most difficult experience of their lives when daughter Brenda was diagnosed with leukemia. After months of hospitalizations and treatments the family lost their beloved daughter and sister in 1967. Surrounded with love, and grateful for the kindnesses of family, church members, and friends, they determined to relocate the family to the town of Bishop, California, in 1968, a favorite outdoor area they had discovered.
Vi continued to teach first grade and kindergarten there, co-teaching with her dear friend, Teddy Calaway. Vi was the anchor for all fishing, camping, hunting, child-rearing and church activities. Vi passed her sewing, cooking, gardening, food preserving, theater, dance, and musical skills onto all her children, who eventually passed a similar assortment of skills to their grandchildren.
In Bishop, Vi became active in teaching and political organizations, using her debate experience to advocate for children and teachers. Vi and Mac shared this priority and volunteered in this cause until their retirements from teaching.
Vi and Mac regularly attended professional musical performances ranging from classical to jazz throughout their years together, and sang in a local choir in addition to their ward choir. They traveled annually to attend Shakespeare festival performances. As their children left for college or married, Mac and Vi began traveling to attend the theater, dance, and musical performances of their grandchildren. Vi especially enjoyed travel to Hawaii, Mexico, Russia, and a European tour.
In 2016, Vi and Mac Rae relocated to Utah, first to Heber City, and later to Holladay, as they experienced health challenges. They reluctantly left their beloved home of 50 years in Bishop, but did so with grace and gratitude. Vi continued to make new friends and cheer people with her positive attitude, her ever-present smile, and her interest in just about everything. She served most recently as a pianist in the Abbington Branch and as a teacher in the Relief Society women’s organization.
Vi rejoins many loved ones, including her parents, Ralph Everett and Amy Trean Robson\; daughter, Brenda Rae; brother, Ralph Thayne Robson; sister Hyla Mae Bartholomew; sisters-in-law, Lou Jean Robson, Celia Bartholomew, Lucille Bartholomew, and Jewel Bartholomew; brothers-in-law Larry Bert Martin, Byrd Bartholomew, Varian Bartholomew, Heber Bartholomew, Mark Lewis, and Wesley Bartholomew; nephews John Edwin Robson and Wynn Bartholomew, and a grandniece, Christina Mae Robson.
Vi is survived by her husband, Mac Rae Bartholomew, daughters Janeen Bartholomew, Audrey (Gregory E.) Hight, and Marlene (Craig) Hughes, sons, Scott Robson (Kristin Hill) Bartholomew and Bruce Rae (Margaret) Bartholomew, sister Cherrill Martin, sister-in law Fae Lewis, brothers Kent Robson and Ross Robson, , 18 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and an abundance of nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.
The energy and joy Vi shared in this life is like a pebble that, tossed into a pond, creates endless circles of influence moving ever outward. Her influence and love continues to bless all who were a part of her life.
A viewing will be held Friday, November 8, 6:00-8:00 pm, at Larkin Mortuary, Downtown SLC, 260 E. South Temple.
A public memorial service will be held Saturday, November 9, at the Winder 11th Ward, 951 E. 3825 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111. Viewing, 9:00 to 9:45 am and 10:00am service.
Graveside prayer and interment will be 2:00 pm at Plain City Cemetery, 2050 North. 4425 W. in Plain City, Utah.