April 6, 1936-May 26, 2024

On April 6, 1936, in Salt Lake City, Utah, a miracle occurred. Mary Elizabeth Calderwood entered the world 2 ½ months early weighing only 3 pounds, and yet she survived and eventually thrived. On May 26, 2024, in Providence Utah, her life ended. In the years between, Mary Beth lived with dedication to God, working hard to fulfill her church, home and career responsibilities. Mary Beth’s beloved husband Jim preceded her in death.  She is survived by her daughters Cheryl (Paul) Teichert, Christine Anderson, Karen (Mike) Hart and Joyce (Scott) Lindsey, in addition to 14 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.

Always proud of her heritage, Mary Beth loved to tell stories about her grandparents, the raucous dancing and music of her paternal Scottish relatives and the warmth and hospitality of her maternal Southern-bred ones.  This appreciation of those who came before led Mary Beth to spend countless hours with her husband Jim happily researching their genealogy and serving in the temple on their behalf, eventually even serving a family history mission together.

Early on, Mary Beth discovered a great zest for life and an interest in many varied hobbies. She enjoyed sports, particularly swimming, loved school, dancing, reading and especially fishing with her parents and two little sisters. Before long she began developing a lifelong passion for painting watercolors. She made friends easily and spent her summers enjoying outdoor activities with them such as jacks, hopscotch, jump rope and even horseback riding. But perhaps her favorite times of all were those spent on the Oregon coast, a place she continued to visit throughout her life.

Mary Beth’s love of reading continued to grow through the years.  She especially enjoyed the poet James Whitcomb Riley and would recite “Little Orphant Annie” to her daughters far too often. During the years her girls were starting school, the district was not using phonetics to teach children to read. Mary Beth was outraged by this development but solved the dilemma by teaching each girl to read (using phonetics, of course) at the age of 3. This way they were quite proficient readers by the time they entered kindergarten.

Throughout high school, Mary Beth continued to participate in several sports and really began developing her musical talents. This enabled her to secure a music scholarship to the University of Utah where she played the drums in the marching band. This proved to be a fortunate choice because that is where she met the love of her life, James Anderson, who played the flute. They quickly fell in love, became engaged several months later and married in March 1957.  Their shared love of classical music continued to bring them joy and pleasure throughout their marriage.

Mary Beth’s life became very busy as she began to have children, but she thrived on it. Always wanting to stay involved and active in the community, she sang in Sweet Adelines, practiced Thai Chi,and volunteered for the PTA in addition to her home, church and career responsibilities. Just as she had as a child, she loved to go fishing and camping with her family, often taking summer trips to the Fremont River.

In 1982 Mary Beth decided to work full time at the church office building as secretary to Michael Moody and the music division. This job brought her such joy. It also led to the wonderful experience of working on the hymnbook committee, resulting in a lifetime of cherished friendships and memories.

Jim and Mary Beth served two missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one to Tennessee and another from home serving as Family History leaders. Mary Beth fell in love with Tennessee, especially enjoying the “Southern” words she had never before heard. After these missions, they moved to St. George, Utah, and never looked back. They had always enjoyed the outdoors, walking and hiking every chance they got. And now they could spend hours soaking up the glories of nature nearly every day.

Mary Beth’s greatest love was her husband, and in his last years she spent her time and energy caring for him as he battled many illnesses. Losing him was a tremendous challenge in her life, but she remained active as long as she was able. Her last years saw a decline for her, but she was blessed to have that loving care returned now to her by her oldest daughter Cheryl and her husband Paul. Mary Beth spoke often of wanting to return to her husband, and her family is comforted that she has now received this desired blessing.

There will be a graveside service at the Tonaquint Cemetery, 1777 S. Dixie Dr. St. George, on Monday, June 3, at 11 a.m.

Condolences may be shared on the McMillan Mortuary website. Click here to access the website.