Beloved angel, daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandmother, Carolyn LaDean Stevens Hanks, passed away peacefully in the early hours of May 3, 2021, surrounded by her six children. She was faithful, valiant, talented, and devoted to her family. She was a beautiful matriarch to a posterity of 52 and led her family with wisdom, grace, and an abundance of love.
Carolyn was born in Fillmore, Utah on a hot summer day, July 13, 1931 to Hazen and Harriet Stevens. She was the youngest of six children and her birth was a source of happiness for her family as her beautiful soul was brought into the world. Being the baby of the family, she said she was spoiled and felt she had a very special place in the world. She loved dressing up her cats in doll clothes and pushing them around in a buggy. At the age of three and again at the age of seven, Carolyn suffered through bouts of Rheumatic Fever. When she was seven, she had to stay in bed all summer. Those were challenging times for Carolyn and her parents who were devoted to her care. After she recovered, she was given a blue bicycle and she loved to cruise all over town. She had many friends and knew everyone. She had a simple, uncomplicated, and wonderful childhood.
At the age of six, Carolyn began picking out tunes on the piano, so her parents gave her piano lessons. Then someone came to town selling accordions and she had great fun playing chords with one hand and the melody with the other. Later, she wanted to try the violin and started taking lessons. She enjoyed playing in the school orchestra as well as for weddings, funerals, and school functions but she always loved the piano and would play Boogie Woogies or other popular sheet music when she got home from school. Her dear parents attended all of her performances and were so proud of her. Carolyn’s love for the piano stayed with her throughout her life. Her home was always filled with beautiful music. She taught her children, grandchildren, and many neighborhood children the techniques of playing the piano and, also, exemplified how music lifts hearts, blesses lives, and conveys the spirit of Christ. She lived a life of service through music…teaching, accompanying, and performing on both piano and organ.
After Carolyn graduated from Millard High School with honors, she attended BYU for one year. Following her freshman year, she moved to Salt Lake City to spend the summer working and enjoying city life. And, instead of staying in Salt Lake for three months, she ended up staying for the rest of her life! During that summer, beautiful red headed Carolyn met the love of her life, Lincoln M. Hanks. They had a sweet courtship and were married in the Salt Lake Temple on April 13, 1951.
Carolyn’s life was by defined by her dedication to her family and to the gospel of Jesus Christ. She and Lincoln created a happy home filled with beauty, love, and laughter. She was the mother of six children, grandmother of 22, and great-grandmother of 18. Carolyn was active in the lives of her children and grandchildren. She supported their goals, was always in attendance at important events, and celebrated every birthday with beautiful hand-made cards and letters. Holiday celebrations in her home were filled with warmth and delicious cooking. She was a great force for good in each family member’s life.
Carolyn was a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had a deep testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel. She served in many capacities throughout the years including Relief Society President of the Ensign 5th Ward. She has left a legacy through her musical service in her ward and, also, as a pianist at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. She unselfishly supported Lincoln in his church callings and together, in 1993, they served for 19 months in the Durban South Africa Mission.
Carolyn enjoyed socializing with friends and ward members. Her friendships were deep and special to her. She loved serving and participating in her Daughters of the Utah Pioneers group. She and Lincoln, also, belonged to a Dinner Group that lasted for over 60 years.
As her children grew older, she set a great example by continuing to learn and developing her talents. She attended BYU earning an Associate’s Degree in Art, studied for and passed the Real Estate Board Exam, continued her studies of piano and organ, and took watercolor lessons. She excelled in her skills as an artist and her paintings are treasures to her family.
Carolyn’s life will continue to serve as an inspiration to all who knew her.
Carolyn is survived by her brother Paul Stevens (Greta); her children, Diana Brown (John), James Hanks (Leisa), Rose Angerbauer (David), Joseph Hanks (Jacque), Shannon Packer (Michael), Nancy Dorny (Matthew); 22 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren (with two more arriving soon.)
She was preceded in death by her husband Lincoln, her parents, two sisters, and two brothers.
Funeral Services will be held Saturday, May 8, 2021 at Noon at the LDS Hilltop Ward located at 589 East 18th Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah. Friends may call prior to services from 10:00 - 11:45 am. A link to attend the service virtually can be found at LarkinMortuary.com.
Interment will be at the Salt Lake Cemetery.
Masks are required for those attending the viewing and funeral.