Mary Elizabeth Kasteler Zackrison died on September 10, 2022 at the age of 93. She finally succumbed after battling the complications of debilitating strokes that struck her over the past several years. At the time of her death, Mary was surrounded at her long-time home in Salt Lake City by her devoted family members, who have helped and kept vigil for successive months.
Mary was preceded in death many years ago (in 2000) by her beloved husband Jack Zackrison. She is survived by her six children and their spouses: John A. (Dorothy), Ann (Tom) Marben, David R. (JoAnn), Paul B. (Becky), Mem (Eldon) Greenwood, and Michael A. (Candi). She is also survived by her 28 grandchildren as well as 54 great-grandchildren.
Mary was the daughter of Alma and June Kasteler, born on January 29, 1929. She was the youngest of the Kasteler’s four children, Howard, June, Barbara and Mary. They lived and grew up in South Salt Lake. Her parents and siblings all pre-deceased her, but she is survived by many nieces and nephews.
Mary went to Granite High School and the University of Utah, from which she graduated in 1950. She had already met her future husband when they were both young high schoolers at Granite. She had caught the eye of the student body president and star athlete, Jack. They went off to the U together where he continued his athletic career and where Mary flourished as a musician. She was a trained vocalist. She starred in several stage and opera productions at the U and obtained her bachelor’s degree in education. She associated with the Alpha Chi Omega sorority during her college years and maintained those memorable associations throughout her life.
Jack and Mary were married on March 17, 1950. Jack helped her recover from polio during their first year of marriage. Thereafter, Mary excelled in all facets of life. She was strong, creative and active in raising her six children while the family lived in many parts of the United States (Dayton, Ohio, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Salt Lake City). She always maintained an immaculate and inviting home. She pursued her musical interests, singing many solos in Church settings, participating in the Mendelssohn Choir in Philadelphia, and leading various choirs in Washington, D.C. Her children always complained that her freshly baked bread was never for them, but rather for the neighbors and friends in need.
An active and devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout her life, one of Mary’s greatest joys was singing in the Church’s Mormon Tabernacle Choir between 1976 and 1989. She participated in several Choir tours (through Europe, Australia, Brazil and Japan), sang in at least two inaugurations (Reagan and Bush) and marked the 1976 Bicentennial on the East Coast with the Choir. Mary also treasured that she was able to serve a mission with her husband Jack in Munich Germany in 1994 and 1995. Shortly after Jack’s death in 2000, Mary began serving in the Salt Lake City Temple, which service continued all the way to 2017 when she had her first stroke. Mary would also say that her Church foundation was forged through the many callings she valiantly filled (in Primary, Relief Society, choirs and youth) while she lived in parts of the Church that were young and growing (Ohio, Pennsylvania).
Mom/Grandma/Great-Grandma Z. will always be remembered for the joy, zest and determination with which she approached every day of her life. She worked tirelessly. A prolific knitter, it is estimated that she knit thousands of her special baby booties which she shared with relatives, friends and acquaintances around the world. She had a “can-do” attitude, believing that anything was possible, a virtue she taught to her children and grandchildren. She remembered every birthday of every child, grandchild and great-grandchild of her family all the way to her final year. (Many of those grandchildren experienced her competitive nature when she invited them to play games with her, only to go down to defeat.) All in all, Mary lived life with a warm smile, expansive love and a constant desire to do what is right in the sight of her Savior Jesus Christ. Her’s was a life well-lived!
A viewing will be held for Mary at the Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 East 1300 South on Sunday, September 18, 2022 from 6-8 pm. Funeral services will be held at the Emigration Canyon Ward building located at 2795 East Crestview Drive, Salt Lake City 84108 on September 19, 2022 at 11:00 am. There will be an additional viewing from 9:30 until 10:30 am prior to the funeral at the Emigration Canyon Ward building.
The family especially wishes to thank the kind caregivers who helped Mary during the final years of her life, especially Akosita (“Sita”) Valele, who provided loving, loyal home care for Mary. Similarly, the expert hospice caregivers will be fondly remembered with love and gratitude.