Our exceptionally talented, vivacious and fun spirited Mom, Sister, Aunt, Grandmother and Great Grandmother passed away on August 28, 2022 of natural causes with age. Patti, as she was known all her life, was born in Salt Lake City, UT on May 1, 1933 to Horace W. and Gwendolyn Edwards Shurtleff. She spent her young years growing up on “D” Street on the Avenues and later lived most of her adulthood on 17th Avenue. Our Mom loved living on the Avenues and made many cherished memories as a child living on the Avenues into adulthood.
Patti attended Ensign Elementary, West High School and University of Utah where she graduated in Elementary Education. She was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority at the University of Utah, where she created many lifelong friendships. Patti married Melvin G. Ashton in 1955 in the Salt Lake Temple which later ended in divorce. Through this union, she was blessed with the birth of her daughter, Laurie.
Our Mom started her teaching career at Bountiful Elementary in 1959 where she taught 2nd Grade. She then transferred to Ensign Elementary, her alma mater in 1962, teaching 2nd and 3rd grades. She was a remarkable teacher, merging her love of art and music, into the ABCs. She wrote and produced many musical programs for the school, featuring the student body. She had a passion and talent for sculpting characters with clay, dip & drape, and papier mache’ that she taught her students and created for her family. Patti loved teaching with all her heart and making a difference in a child’s life. Throughout Patti’s life, she was recognized many times by former students who would thank her for the wonderful influence she made in their lives. Patti’s love for music and children carried over into her callings in the LDS Church. Her favorite calling was Primary Chorister. For many years, she used her art to create music charts to help the children learn the words, find their voice, and love signing.
Patti became a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from 1963-1980. It was here that she met her second husband, Richard G. Grant, who had three children: Deborah, Elizabeth and Rich. They were married and sealed in the Salt Lake Temple, August 8, 1967, later ending in divorce. Through this union, she was blessed with the birth of her second daughter, Jennifer.
In 1966, Patti was called to the MIA General Board and joined The Junior League of Salt Lake City. In 1993, she went for three months to Cambridge University in England, to further study English History with a group of her life-long friends. Patti retired from teaching in 1996, receiving many accolades. In her retirement years, she served on the Utah Symphony Guild Board, U of U Museum of Fine Arts Advisory Board and Town Club Board. She was always in demand, giving of her time and talents on various committees as chairman, writing in rhyme, directing musical programs and Roadshows, decorating for events and for The Festival of Trees...and of course, sculpting her latest creation!
Mom had a sharp sense of humor, loved people, loved to laugh, and loved to make faces…which she became well known for her cat face! She taught her daughters the importance of sharing one’s talents to help another develop his or her own talents. She was a talented artist and created beautiful paintings that she has shared with her family and are treasured by all. Our Mom loved the game of tennis and would be found on the Salt Lake Tennis Club courts, four days a week, in her retirement years. She had a love for all kinds of animals and always had a dog or two and a cat in her home, and even a pet tarantula in her classroom (named Sophia Tutu by her oldest grandchild). Our Mom had a special and strong bond with her dear sisters that she will carry into eternity. That same love spread to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her family brought her great joy in her life and those memories will be treasured forever.
We will all dearly miss this fun, strong, spirited women and look forward to the day when we will be in her presence again. Patti is survived by her daughters; Laurie G. Johnson (Jim), Jennifer Grant; step children, Liz G. Cummings, Rich Grant (Cynthia) and Deborah Grant; four grandchildren, Brady Johnson (Brooke), Katie J. Wood (Jeff), Colby Johnson (Hillary), Treyden Johnson; nine great grandchildren, Gwen, Rose, James Henry, Izzy, Treyden, Tenley, Tucker, Iva and Cora; and her sister, Joleen S. Willey. She is preceded in death by her parents, sister, Judy S. Reese, son-in-law, Tim Cummings and niece, Shawn Willey Romera.
We express deep gratitude to her daughters, Laurie and Jennifer, for their devotion and care of their Mom, to all the amazing staff at Spring Gardens and her Hospice Nurse, Alissa.
A Viewing will be held on Tuesday, September 6, 2022 at Larkin Sunset Lawn, 2350 E. 1300 S. from 9:30-11:00 a.m. followed by an Memorial and Interment at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, 3401 S. Highland Drive at 12:00 p.m.