Barbara Jean Russon Roberts passed away on May 29, 2019 at her home at the Legacy House in Spanish Fork. She was 87 years old.
Born April 23, 1932 in Hunter, Utah to Phillip Ervin Russon and Hannah Viola Hanson, Barbara had six siblings, four brothers and two sisters. She loved her family dearly and was especially close to her brother Wendell, who became a lifeline during a hard time after her youngest brother Phillip and his wife Margie were killed in an airplane accident.
During summer months, when only 10 years old, Barbara would take the train from Salt Lake to Logan so she could tend her aunt’s young children. Although she was terribly home sick, Barbara continued to help her aunt through several summers, always returning home with some new school clothes, a “perm” and some pocket money, which she always shared equally with her younger sister Phyllis. Barbara was always thinking of others, and that was an unbreakable thread that coursed through the tapestry of her life. Her children were taught and shown how to give, making sure that others always received the best of everything they had to offer.
Barbara was taught to work hard and in turn, taught her children by example, never expecting them to work harder or do anything she wouldn’t do herself. There was never a job she shied away from and always gave her entire effort, known as a person to ask if you wanted something done right and done well.
In 1945, her family moved to Bennett Utah, and there she attended Alterra High. She enjoyed and became involved in many school activities including journalism, drama and music. She was a student body officer, a cheerleader, and even played the drums in the school dance band. Following her graduation, she met the love of her life, Clark Roberts and they married in the Salt Lake LDS Temple on September 5, 1950.
They were married 67½ years, until his death in March of 2018, after which, not a day passed without her wishing she could be with him again.
After moving to “the farm” in Pleasant Valley to raise a family, Barbara always kept a lovely home with clean floors, homemade curtains and carefully tended flowerbeds. Even though she had a difficult time having children (burying three babies soon after their births) she explained that she wanted a family so badly that she was willing to do whatever it took. Because of her strong desires, she was blessed with seven living children and worked as hard at raising them as she did at bringing them into the world.
Barbara could do anything she put her mind to. She enjoyed playing the piano and was a ward organist for most of her life. She loved to draw and paint and through the years, shared her talents with her friends and family. One thing that was a constant were her handmade cards that included her beautiful calligraphy with drawings of flowers and embellishments making each one unique and precious. She was an exceptional cook and loved to be in the kitchen cooking, never using a measuring cup, cookbook or recipe. Whenever asked for a “recipe” the instructions contained odd directions like “stir until it sounds like the wind.” She was famous for her potato salad, blueberry pie, and at Christmas time, making countless plates of fudge, toffee and fruitcake (yes, it was really good.)
Summers on the farm were filled with picking, planting, hoeing, canning, cooking bread, (loaves and loaves), sewing for a new school year, running the farm while Clark was at work as well as keeping up with all her church responsibilities. Barbara served in many church positions but her young women callings held a special place in her heart. She stayed close to many of those she taught, and it wasn’t unusual to find letters from them to her, years later after they had started their own families.
The farm life brought other challenges. Clark used to joke that he and Barbara had to have full-time jobs to support the farm. Mom worked for almost 30 years as a teacher’s aide, and although she was financially poorly compensated, it really became more about how she could help her young students. At one time, writing to the school board, she asked for a $.50 per hour wage increase. She made it clear that she wasn’t going to quit, but it would be helpful. She didn’t get the raise but continued working, donating hours of her own time to create beautiful bulletin boards, playing the piano for assemblies and musical programs and even supplying extra things for her students when classroom budgets were cut.
Barbara had an amazing sense of humor and could make her family laugh with her sweet and silly quips, more often than not, at her own expense. When playing games with her family, she could always be talked into taking the riskiest moves, just to make us laugh and keep the game entertaining. She simply knew how to make everyone around her happy.
Barbara lived a full life. She laughed often, worked hard, taught by example and faced her hardships with faith in the Lord, making her family the center of every waking hour. She was generous with her hugs and something that her family will never forget is how beautiful she always smelled. Barbara’s kindness and love have been evident to all who have had the sweet experience of knowing her.
Barbara is survived by seven children, Evelyn (George) Johnson, John Clark (Karen) Roberts, Jean Israel, Wendell Louis (Shanna) Roberts, Frank Howard (Carolyn) Roberts, Wendy Sue (Leigh) Willis, and Neil Joseph (Alison) Roberts; 34 grandchildren and 41 great-grandchildren.
Preceded in death by her husband, Louis Clark Roberts; three children that died at birth, Paul David, Dermont Coray and Elizabeth Roberts; her parents, Phillip Ervin and Hannah Russon; her brothers, Keith, Wayne, Wendell and Phillip; her sisters, LaPriel and Phyllis.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, June 10, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at the Roosevelt Stake Center. Viewings will be held on Sunday evening at the Hullinger Mortuary from 6 - 8 p.m. and Monday at the church from 10:00 - 10:45 a.m.
Burial in the Vernal Memorial Park.
Condolences may be shared at www.hullingermortuary.com