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Alta LaRee Hill Obituary

Alta LaRee Hill Pehrson Lover of Beauty


They say that life unfolds on a great sheet called time. And time (in this incarnation) came to an end for Alta LaRee Hill Pehrson on July 12, 2006. She took with her only that which she had in her head, and left behind a whole lot of memories and people that she loved. This time around she was born Number five in a family of seven girls and one boy - to Samuel Forest and Almena May Morris Hill in Hunter, Utah. She received her education in schools in Hunter, Granger and Magna - graduating Summa Cum Laude from the "School of Hard Knocks." On June 7th 1941 she married Nels Garfield (Neal) Pehrson and together they had three children. Judith LaRee Pehrson, Neal Eugene Pehrson and Mark Joseph Pehrson - who made that transition from life - to life after life on June 4th 1994. Nels G. also preceded her in death on August 12th 1983. Sisters Irene Ridd - Ardella Gerome - Myrl Knoll and brother, Samuel F. Hill Jr. also deceased. Survivors included her sisters Maxine (George) Newton, West Valley City; VaLoy Bagley, Salt Lake City and Gwen (John E.) Pouillon, Tualatin, Oregon. Her children daughter Judy and her husband Mike Day as well as Neal E. Pehrson and his wife Rosa. In addition to her two children, she is also survived by three grandchildren - Andrea Layne Pehrson, Ian Grant Hansen and Neal E. Pehrson II. She also leaves behind four great grandchildren, C. Shane Parman, Jaycee Layne Parman, Marissa Nichole Pehrson, and Tristan Gene Webster. 

Before her marriage (during the Great Depression) LaRee worked as a maid in a posh home on Salt Lake's east side, sold cosmetics in Kresses and W. T. Grants, was a floral designer at ZCMI's Florist Shop and at Hotel Utah's Floral Shop at the time the parking terrace was opened. She was also one of the first usherettes at the beautiful Art Deco Center Theatre that once stood on the northeast corner of 3rd South and State Street - for the Premiere of Brigham Young. After she was married she worked at the U.S. Post Office in Magna and the new Magna J.C. Penny Store (built in 1939). During World War II she worked at the Remington Arms Plant loading live ammunition into machine gun web belts. When Remington closed she worked as an assayer on the Lime Table at Kennecott's Arthur Mill. For the next 15 years she was a "stay at home mom" and a community activist.

 In 1960 she became a working journalist for the Green Sheet Newspaper (Utah's biggest weekly) where she remained for 35 years as a reporter and feature writer. She retired at age 75. Her life could best be summed up by the tribute written for her 80th birthday by her good friend, Jerry Shepherd: Happy 80th birthday Alta LaRee Hill Pehrson. Congratulations on this major milestone in your life. You knew the pioneers of the communities in which you lived as well as those who will lead those same communities in the new millennium. You saw transportation go from the very last of the horse and wagon days to the most modern automobiles. You saw muddy horse lanes turn into three-lined pave highways. You lived through the roaring twenties, the great depression of the thirties, World War II of the forties, the Donna Reed mythology of the fifties, civil rights movements and self-gratification of the sixties, the drug infestation and oil crisis of the seventies, the greed of the eighties, and the prosperity of the nineties. You have gone from slave-like working conditions in a house on Michigan Ave. to a mover and shaker in the worlds of journalism and politics.

Mark Pehrson once stated, "My mother is a great person, she has done many wonderful things for her community." Along the way you effected great change, had positive impacts on people and communities, and inspired both respect and disdain. You made friends as well as enemies for no one can truly make a difference without earning enemies. You have rubbed shoulders with senators and PTA presidents, Mormon prophets and new age gurus, movie stars and miners, first ladies and prostitutes, the educated and the intellectually challenged, wealthy and poor, white collar workers and blue collar workers. You truly ate from life's rich banquet, and like God you are no respecter of persons. You enjoy your association with the bag boys at the grocery store equally if not more than your associations with people who get their names in the papers on a regular basis. As a pioneer in women's rights, you fought long and hard to make the work of women be recognized as equal to that of the work of men. You fought for the right of women to have her own identity. You have stood up for the rights of minorities and championed the underprivileged and disenfranchised wherever you saw wrong. You have gone from sharing a house with parents and several siblings to being a parent with three children and finally to having your own space. You no longer have to answer to anybody, you can run around the house naked, and blot your lips on the toilet paper. You have spent eighty years collecting and disseminating beauty. Perhaps no one alive appreciates the beauty surrounding them quite as much as you. Not content to enjoy it by yourself, you have spent considerable time and resources on you mission to expose others to beauty. If a book on Magna people was ever written, the appellation of "Beauty Queen" for you would be totally appropriate.

 LaRee was also a free spirit who lived life to the fullest-and she was never at a loss for words. She also loved personal challenges and was always pushing the envelope. She lived long enough to know that parents enjoy their children more than children enjoy the parents- and that people are what they are - not what you want them to be. Spiritually she ate from many tables and drank from many cups. A fighter all her life she was one happy warrior when she made that quantum leap out into the universe. For she had known beauty, worked a meaningful job, had loved and been loved - what more could a person ask for? Then as it was in the beginning - so it was in the end - first there was the light and then there was the music. At LaRee's request her body will be cremated and will be interred along with the ashes of her son Mark - in the Pioneer Pleasant Green Cemetery on the eastern slope of the Oquirrh Mountains. Although LaRee dearly loved flowers - she firmly believed that flowers are for the living - not the dead. But she also recognized that florists have to live too, and she hopes that you will buy some beautiful blossoms for someone you love - while you can still tell them that you love them. And please folks do yourselves a favor and elect a few Democrats. A one party system is not a democracy. Every time an old person dies, a library burns - Alex Haley Authored in full by LaRee Pehrson. A Memorial Service will be held 11 a.m. Monday, July 17, 2006 at the Magna Stake Center, 3084 South 8400 West, where the Family will receive Friends and Relatives from 10:30 - 11 a.m.Published in the Deseret News on 7/15/2006.
- Ryan Curtis 

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