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Biography of Sarah Lena Neilson Worthen

Written: by Charlotte Jones Woten

Biography:  Sarah Lena Neilson Worthen

        Only 5 people were present at their wedding.  Grandpa's brother Joe, tended the sheep up on the mountain while grandpa and grandma were married, then they went back to the hills and spent their honeymoon in a tent, herding sheep.  They had 5 children all born in Panguitch.  Charles Ray, Encora (my mother), Neils Earlin, Ned Grow (Neddie on some of his church records, and Sarah Lena.  They lived in the house on Panguitch Main Street built by her parents.  Her sister Aza married Grandpa's brother, Joe.  They would take turns living either upstairs or downstairs so that each had their own home, and depending on who was pregnant at the time.  Some of the 1st trips they made to Salt Lake were by horse and buggy.  After a few years they moved to Magna, Utah where Grandpa got a job with Kennecott Copper; later moving to Garfield, where my brother Tim was born.  Mom says Grandma would stay up nights to help take care of him.  Later they moved to Murray, Utah.  Grandpa retired while living there and they spent a lot of time traveling Utah to camp and fish.  Their marriage was later solemnized in the S.L. LDS Temple on March 30, 1953.  Grandma was a deeply religious person, never trying to push her beliefs on you but you always knew where she stood.  Some of her greatest joy in her later years was when her children started attending church and going through the temple.  All but one of their children had been endowed before grandma's death.
I don't remember grandma working very much.  For awhile she worked at Todd Army Depot installing brake shoes and after that at Murray Laundry.  Mostly I remember her at home.  I remember her always taking the time to talk or tell stories about her childhood, if only I could remember more of them, you only had to ask her.  Mostly I remember her just taking care of Grandpa and Tim.  She said the only time her and Grandpa fought was over whether Tim should pay rent when he got old enough to work and Grandma won.  She just wanted my brother to learn the value of a buck.  We always had family picnics at the rock in Tooele on Easter.  Thanksgiving was at their house which sometimes was overflowing at the seams.  And of course X-mas was not complete until we had taken a trip to Grandpa and Grandma's house, sometimes spending x-mas eve there.  They always remembered everyone on birthdays, x-mas and on Memorial Day their car was loaded down with floral offerings for their departed loved ones.  I often wondered if they had a money tree, like Grandpa was always showing us when we were in the mountains, but they were always out back working on the armatures to take out the copper for a little extra cash.  Even after Grandpa's heart got so bad that he retired you could always find him out back puttering away or sitting in the living room in "Grandpa's chair", playing solitaire.  Sometimes just peeling an apple as you walked in.  And of course Grandma was usually working along side him.  The summers were always filled with fishing trips down south, Panguitch Lake, Mill Meadows, Otter Creek or some other newly discovered fishing hole.  Grandpa would always be on the boat fishing and Grandma in their trailer bottling the fish from the day before, or relaxing with her tri-chem paints.  Maybe crocheting, embroidering or sometimes with a book.  Schooling was important to her as her school principal had talked her into quitting school in the 9th grade to take care of his sick wife and their children.  Grandpa would come in from the lake and then it was time for sightseeing in the car.  One time we all piled in, the back seat was full and so us kids piled into the trunk and away we went down the dusty dirt road, but we never seemed to mind for we were always game for the next time.  I remember Grandma taking me in the back room of their house to look in her treasure chest, where she would pull out the wonders from the past, she always told about her baby sister Mary when she lifted out the small shoes she had worn before her death.  She gave me a crocheted bedspread when I was about 13 or 14 but told me that she would take care of it for me until she was ready to give it away.  A few months before her death she told me to go into the spare bedroom and find it, but I never could locate it until after her death.  Grandpa and Grandma were always there for everyone.  Grandma always had a helping hand or an ear to listen.  With a special quality to understand what you were going thru, not necessarily giving advice but JUST being there.
Grandma slipped at the post office in S.L. in 1971 and broke her pelvic bone she was laid up for awhile but she recovered enough to climb onto a 4 wheeler in later years with a great-grandson, thoroughly enjoying each and every ride.  There was always deer hunting cookies and home made divinity that you took out onto the back porch to hand whip to cool.  To this day no ones Divinity tastes like Grandmas'.
After Grandpa died in 1974, she moved to Centerfield, Utah with her son Earlin and his family.  Leaving her home in S.L. was really hard on her but she soon adjusted, making friends and wished that Grandpa had met the wonderful people there with her.  She made baby quilts for all the great-grand kids and even the great-great grandkids on their 1st birthdays.  Remembering them all.  She had a lot of illness' before she died and the Dr. prepared the family for her going more than once but grandma always seemed to bounce back.  It just wasn't her time to leave us.  Finally her Dr. told her that there wasn't anything else he could do.  He could hospitalize her or she could spend her time at home with her family.  She chose her family.  All of the kids made sure to visit grandma if they visited the farm, we enjoyed it as much as she did.  Her daughter Encora spent all of her spare time and sometimes not spare time with her, when she couldn't be there Uncle Earlin lived next door.  Shortly before her death she was heard talking to my brother Tim, telling him it was good to see him, it had been so long.  My mom woke up one morning and saw Tim and Grandpa at the foot of her bed.  "Just watching over her", she says.  At 4:00 p.m. the day she died she received a blessing by the Elders of the church to release her spirit if it was her time.  It was as if this is what she had been waiting for.  She died of congenital heart failure at 7:20 p.m. on February 18, 1995 at home with her daughter Encora, her son Earlin and his wife, Melvelene, and granddaughters Charlotte and Patricia present.  Her final words were "I'm going home."
She left 32 grandchildren; 98 great-grandchildren and 14 great-great grandchildren.  She told me once that you didn't feel old until you were a great-grandma; she will be greatly missed by us all.

Linked toSarah Lena Nielson

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