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
Life Story Info
Dear Featherstone Family, I am sorry to hear of your mother's passing, but I know that you know that she is very happy and excited to be with God, and His Son, and her husband Vaughn. You were always special favorite people of mine. I remember a story about your mother loading up the water balloon thrower and launching them at cars with some of the boys, probably Lawrence's idea, if not your mothers. I read this a day too late or I would have been at the viewing and funeral. May God bless and keep all of you.
The Featherstone's are among the nicest and kindest people we have ever known. We would frequently stop by their house and they would always invite us in for ice cream. Following our daughter's missionary farewell, Merlene showed up unexpectedly to help serve refreshments. Undoubtedly she and Vaughn are carrying on their deeds of kindness in the Spirit World. I look forward to the day when I can once again thank them for the positive influence they have had on so many lives.
Dear family, I'm sorry for your loss, but what a long and beautiful life she lived! My dad was a cousin to your mom and I heard many stories. (Wallace D. Miner). Your parents visited my dad when he was in a rest home at the end of his life. He really appreciated your parents and kindness toward him. What a legacy you have! Best wishes all!
Dear Merlene! We served in Australia in the Area Office while she and her husband served there. We lived not far away from them, and were in their home more than once. I have several pictures of the Featherstones in Australia. Oh! What a joy it was to serve there, and learn to know them and love them! Her love encompassed everyone!