June 23, 1924 - July 3, 2018
Our Dearest Mother, Grandmother, Great-grandmother, Sister, Aunt and Neighbor Betty Loraine Ford Kearl was born June 23, 1924, the daughter of Harlan Columbus Ford and Annie Marie Giles. She was the oldest of 5 children, with two brothers Dusty and David and two sisters Peggy and Marie. Mom was born in her grandmother’s house located between 5th & 6th South in between Main and West Temple where the Little America stands today. When Mom was delivered it was said that her eye was out of the socket, so her grandmother Minnie Giles put her thumb on the eye and pushed it back in. Her Grandfather Giles was working at his mines in Solitude, Utah at the time of her birth. Hearing that Betty had been born, he walked from big Cottonwood Canyon to their home in downtown Salt Lake City to see the baby. In her younger years, Mom’s family lived in her grandparents’ apartment building and she loved to play Ring-Around-the-Rosie around the fire hydrant that is still there on the corner of 500 S. and West Temple. She learned how to be honest from her father and how to pray and have great faith from her mother. During the years of The Great Depression daily life was very difficult for Mom’s family. She remembered some nights they would just have bread and milk for dinner, but they never went hungry for which she was grateful. Grandpa Giles, the son of the famous harpist Thomas Davis Giles, would play the piano, while his father played the harp that originally had been on loan to him from the prophet Brigham Young. Mom and her mother Marie would watch him play all over the valley, earning money to support his family. This is where young Betty gained a great appreciation for the arts and especially music. Our mother was an active member of the LDS Church. One evening in 1941, Mom was at the church when Dad was visiting his sister Gwen, who lived in the same ward. While walking past the church Dad saw Mom through a basement window and said to his sister, “Who is that girl? She’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. I’m going to marry that girl.” Right after that, Aunt Gwen the matchmaker lined them up, the romance began, and eternal love started to bloom in Dad’s heart. At first, Mom said she thought that Dad was an okay fella. But then she started to spend more time with him and knew he was the one because he treated her like a queen. Mom was always first in Dad’s life. After he proposed, Dad learned from his cousin, who was the postmaster in Smithfield, that he was going to be drafted the very next day into the army, and Dad said, “I’m not an army man I better go join the Navy” which he did right away. Betty was devastated, as he hadn’t discussed it with her. This decision changed their lives for years to come. World War II was a very difficult part of their history. They were separated but still committed to one another. They promised that they would write to each other every day. Mom would tell the story of how twice during their separation she wrote to him two letters on the same day and on those two same days Dad, (I think not by coincidence) wrote her two letters also. In 1944, our enlisted naval father, Clayton James Kearl had a leave. He came home to Salt Lake City where, on May 12th, he and Mom were sealed for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple. Because of the difficult nature of being separated during the war, Mother grew her already great faith, knowing that Dad would return. She recounted how she developed a direct connection with Heavenly Father through constant prayer. She repeatedly said that that relationship of prayer would help her all the days of her life. When the war ended Mom and Dad started their little family. First came Susan Loraine, then they moved into their home on 648 Coatsville Avenue, then Clayton Ford was born, followed by Aland James. Mom’s home was filled with love and the Spirit because of her great faith and love for the Savior Jesus Christ. Dad worked for I&M interiors. Dad learned the floor covering business and then eventually ventured out on his own to start Kearls Karpet Company. Susan remembers that Mom was very dedicated to whatever she put her mind to. She tells the story about Mom getting her Golden Gleaner award which had to be accomplished before she turned 30 years old. It became an intense effort and Susan remembers Mom taking her to aunt Gwen’s so aunt Gwen could watch the kids while Mom focused on getting all of the requirements done. When Mom finished all the requirements, Dad delivered the paperwork to church headquarters the night before her 30th birthday. Mom was then honored, wearing a beautiful new pink dress at the all-church Golden Gleaner banquet. Susan remembers to this day how, when Mom set her mind to a task, no matter how difficult it was, she was able to focus and accomplish the job. The family continued to grow when Marianne was born, then Bonnie Jeanne, and Barbara Lyn, and then baby Thomas Jonathan. Mom always put her family first. Whatever she did, it was centered around her family. Family trips became a big part of our family. We all remember mom the night before leaving on a trip sitting downstairs with the Ironrite ironing everyone’s clothes, making sure we all looked sharp. One of the memories I have of mom is from our trip in 1964. We went to the World’s Fair in New York City and then drove to see the Hill Cumorah. Mom was up on the hill and decided she was going to look for the golden plates. As she scoured the hill trying to turn over rocks it became very evident to her that Heavenly Father was in charge when dark clouds gathered overhead and lightning struck the hill. Mom would tell the story and say that that was all she needed to know. Her faith was increased. She knew that those plates were there and that Heavenly Father was protecting them. Because of her family’s history up Big Cottonwood Canyon, Mom wanted a cabin up big Cottonwood Canyon as well. So Dad bought her one. In the early days she took the shutters and hand painted them to dress it up and make it beautiful. Then there were the family hikes up the hill by the side of the creek. This is the place she called Heaven. How she loved that canyon. Aland remembers a story about Mom‘s ability to directly connect with Heavenly Father through prayer. On one of the many trips to the cabin, 16-year-old Aland was driving. When coming home, he took a corner too fast; the car started to spin out of control and quickly approached the edge of a cliff. Just before it seemed they were ready to go over the edge, Mom yelled out, “Father, please help us! We need your help right now!” Aland says it was as if Heavenly Father‘s hands grabbed the top of the car, straightened it out, and brought them to a stop safely. After the cabin days there were the boating years at Lake Powell. What great memories. Then there were the Motorhome years with trips all across the country doing the carpet in chapels and singing Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis and Barbara Streisand as we rolled down the highway. Clayton also talks about Mom’s ability, with her direct connection with Heavenly Father through prayer, to help the members of our family. Clayton’s multimedia company did custom work in CD-ROMs and websites for several major companies. It took an awful lot of programming. Dusty was the head programmer and said to Clayton, “Dad I've spent 2 weeks programming this job for NuSkin and the code disappeared! I can't find it anywhere.” Clayton told him to look everywhere again. He came back an hour later and said he couldn’t find it. Clayton said, “Okay. I will call your grandma and have her pray for it.” Within two hours Dusty was able to find the code. The next time this happened, Dusty asked his grandma to pray for them to be able to find the missing code. Mom prayed and within two hours they found the code. Dusty said, “The next time this happens, let’s just call Grandma Betty.” Mom did a lot of service in the community and in the church. She served in the PTA at Hawthorne Elementary school, South High School and at the State level. She served in the church as a Primary President, Young Women’s President, Stake Young Women’s President, Relief Society President and Director of Brighton Girl’s Camp. She would often say that when you were in the service of your fellow beings you were truly serving your Father in Heaven. I was raised in a house full of teenagers from the day I was born. Some of our favorite memories were of mom saying to the teenagers as they would leave the house, “Remember who you are. You’re a child of God and you represent the Kearl family name.” I know that that reminder always helped me to choose the right. I also remember Robert Tingey laughing as mom would say, “Tom B-E-D N-O-W.” Then she would take off her shoe and shake it at me. “Don’t make me mad!” When I was in high school, Marianne and Wayne moved to North Carolina to continue Wayne’s medical training. Mari remembers that on one of Mom’s first trips out to see them, Mari suggested they make applesauce. So mom and Mari started preparing the apples. Mari’s memory was that mom just did it. She didn’t hesitate to do what needed to be done. When the older children got married, the grandchildren started to come and oh boy did she love her grandchildren, all 35 of them. In the later years, the younger grandsons created the Men’s Club. Mom loved the Men’s Club. Mom also loved to shop, no doubt inheriting that trait from Grandma Re. I remember as a young boy learning every bench in Auerbach’s and the Paris Company. I also remember going with Ford to ZCMI for lunch in the Tiffin Room. Mom liked Nordstrom‘s, but she thought it was way too expensive and didn’t have very good deals. At 17 I decided to go as a Rotary Club Exchange Scholar to the Philippines. The night before I left, we were in the motorhome in San Francisco. Mom sat me down and said, “Tommy, you’re going very far away from your family and you need to make sure that the gospel becomes an important part of your life. I want to challenge you right now to read The Book of Mormon every day. I will read it with you. If you will read one chapter a day, pray about it you will come to know it is true.” That was one of the greatest blessings of my life. Mom also challenged me to write in my journal. She started writing in her journal that day and, as the sisters who cleaned up the house can attest, she had dozens of notebooks full of daily journal entries since that day in 1979. The blessing Mom promised me was fulfilled when I got to Alma 36 and, without any question, I knew by the power of God that the book of Mormon was true and that the Church was true. I’m ever grateful for that day in San Francisco. Dad retired in 1985 and that began the next chapter in their life. Mom and Dad decided that they wanted to serve missions. They went first to New York City to the visitor center. Next, Dad was called as the director of the Mormon Battalion visitor center in San Diego. What a great experience that was for both of them! They then served four additional missions in Salt Lake driving the van from the airport to Temple Square. Once I was coming home from a trip and Dad stopped as I was waiting for the shuttle. I got on the Church van and Dad drove me on his way to Temple Square to my car. We always saw Mom and Dad serving the Lord and serving us. These last few years after Mom had her stroke on their 70th wedding anniversary at the Lion House, the rules changed, and we got to serve them. Bonnie recalls when each of us had a day to bring in food and eat with Mom and Dad. They would take turns saying a blessing on the food and when it was Mom’s turn she always thanked Heavenly Father for Jesus and expressed her love for Jesus and for our Father in Heaven. As they became feebler we would stay and say nighttime prayers with them. Once again, Mom would thank our Father in Heaven for Jesus and express her love for Him and Heavenly Father. She would also thank our Father in Heaven for all her children and their families, naming each person by name and pleading with the Lord to help those in need. Once again her direct connection through prayer to our Father in Heaven is a legacy that we will always remember. Thanks, Mom. Barbara remembers that, with Mother, music was a very big part of being raised in the Kearl Home. It was important to her that our lives were enriched with the gift of music. She remembers singing with her sisters starting at a very young age. Piano lessons, voice lessons and learning to play a musical instrument were all part of our lives. Barb once asked if she could take dance lessons and the response was, “Well, you can’t dance in church, so I think we’ll stick with music.” When Barb was old enough to learn a musical instrument, Mom took her to Brother Chisholm’s house which was filled with musical instruments. Mom told him that her daughters played the piano, violin and viola and she would like a cellist. Brother Chisholm said, “Well sit down, Barbara. Let’s give you a cello and see if you like it.” He showed her how to hold the bow and placed fingers and she loved it! We are so grateful mom that you cultivated a love for music in each of us. A final memory is when I came home from my mission. I sat in the kitchen with my parents and Mom was telling Dad, “Just call her up and tell her you’re sorry.” Dad said, “But I didn’t do anything.” “It doesn’t matter Jim,” my mother said, “family is too important. Call your sister Gwen and tell her you’re sorry and then there will be peace.” I later asked Dad as we worked together what the problem was and he said, “I don’t know what the problem was. She was offended by something I said I guess, so I apologized. She forgave me, we went to dinner and then life was happy.” Mom always knew that in life sometimes it is more important to say you’re sorry even if you’re not wrong. The Atonement offers a solution that can bring true peace in all such situations. The Atonement’s solution is forgiveness – leaving judgment and punishment to the Lord, and in exchange, receiving His peace. The Lord Himself declared through the prophet Joseph Smith, “Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another . . . I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” (D&C 64:9-10.) When we follow this counsel, we can have a great burden lifted from us, and in its place, we can have the “peace” promised by the Savior. Life is too short to not avail ourselves of this blessing on a daily basis. Each of us will inevitably find ourselves offended or injured, often repeatedly, because of the shortcomings or sins of others. The Atonement’s answer is, freely forgiving, and in turn, receiving the promised blessings of peace, and the quiet assurance that we have done, as the Lord would have us do. That is the legacy of our Betty Kearl, in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ Amen. Betty is survived and her memory cherished by her seven children Susan (Robert) Sorensen, Clayton (Marcia) Kearl, Aland (Janis) Kearl, Marianne (Wayne) Samuelson, Bonnie (Robert) Tingey, Barbara (Douglas) Brown, Thomas (Nanette) Kearl; 32 grandchildren; 70 great-grandchildren; and brother David (Kenna Rae) Ford. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jim, parents, two sisters, one brother, three grandchildren, and daughter-in-law Nita Kearl. Betty was loved and adored by all who knew her. Memorial services will be held Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at noon in the Belvedere Ward Building, 607 E Downington Ave. following a viewing at 10:30 AM. An evening viewing will be held on Tuesday, July 10, from 6 - 8 PM in the same building. Interment will be at Mountain View Memorial Cemetery, 3115 E Bengal Blvd, Cottonwood Heights, Utah.
Our Dearest Mother, Grandmother, Great-grandmother, Sister, Aunt and Neighbor Betty Loraine Ford Kearl was born June 23, 1924, the daughter of Harlan Columbus Ford and Annie Marie Giles. She was the oldest of 5 children, with two brothers Dusty... View Obituary & Service Information
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