While no one was looking, Helene Yvonne Saunders Earl hopped aboard the Heavenly Express (a 4-8-8-4, of course), June 23, over a majestic rainbow that appeared outside her window.
Mom, known as Yvonne or "Vonnie," was born March 26, 1940, the first of seven children to LeRoy and Helene Saunders. She spent her early life in Benson and Young Ward, then moved to Nibley where she helped on the family farm. Picking beans, thinning beets and hauling hay were not her favorite tasks. She was raised in a home where the Gospel of Jesus Christ was important and love abounded. However, mom could be a bit of a jokester and would occasionally prank her siblings (just ask Kathryn).
Mom graduated from South Cache High School in 1958 and married her high school sweetheart, Lem Earl, Jr. of Mendon, on her birthday in 1959 in the Logan LDS Temple. She had four children within six years: Catherine, Kim, Bryan, and Shawn. A surprise, Dustin, arrived when she was 42. She lived with her family in Providence, Texas, Washington, Mendon, and finally, River Heights, where she spent the last 37 years. For seven years she and the family followed L.R. around the country while he served in the military.
While in Mendon, mom helped in the family general store. She was a devoted mother and a disciple of the Savior. Eschewing an art scholarship at USU, she used her numerous artistic talents to make and refurbish many articles. She was active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and especially enjoyed her time in the Young Women's program as Camp Director. From 2011 to 2013, she and dad served as missionaries for the LDS Church Employment Services.
Vacations in the camper are fond memories with the occasional ruckus thrown in, especially when you have Otto, the family Bassett Hound. Mom had a knack for spoiling her family with cooking, and with her Olsen green thumb she could grow just about anything. Iris were her favorite flowers. She encouraged her children in pursuit of their interests and engagingly attended many events in their behalf. She loved the outdoors, boating, camping, hiking, and downhill and water skiing. She pitched in a woman's fast-pitch league for several years and was known as "The Flying Axe Handle" in bowling circles. She and Dad spent the past several years trailering throughout the Western U.S.
Mom battled sugar diabetes, cancer, and was on dialysis for her last four years. She was stoic on the outside but harbored a humor streak that appeared, unbidden, around family and friends. The "I will blow steam on you" incident is legendary. She is also remembered for her tender heart. At one point the family had six cats and two dogs as mom couldn't turn away a stray in need.
Mom is preceded in death by her parents, her infant daughter, Catherine, her brother, Randy, her great friend, Rolene Larsen, and stray animals too numerous to mention. She is survived by her husband L.R. (Lem) of River Heights, her children and their spouses, Kim Berrett (Ray), Riverton, UT; Bryan (Robyn), Hyde Park, UT; Shawn (Valerie), Herriman, UT, and Dustin (Mori), River Heights, UT. She is further survived by her sisters Kathryn Larsen (Don), Karren Farnsworth (Rich), and Janet Pinson (Quin), and brothers Vic (Kelley), Vince (Ann), and foster brother Rod (Jo) Velarde.
Funeral services are this Friday, July 1 at Noon at White Pine Funeral Services, 753 S 100 E in Logan. A viewing is Thursday evening at White Pine, 6-8 pm, and prior to the funeral, 10:30-11:30 on Friday. Burial is in the Mendon Cemetery. Those who would like to attend virtually may use the following link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89966328194
Online condolences may be shared at www.whitepinefunerals.com.