Kathryn Belle Keller Stevens, 72, died peacefully at her home in North Logan, Utah early Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016.
Her husband, Lyman, who had been lovingly attending to her care, was faithfully by her side. Since 2012, she had battled lung cancer that subsequently spread to her brain. Kathryn was born May 22, 1944, in Manti, Utah, the fifth child of Calvin “Tom” Keller and Lillie Francis Barton.
She greatly appreciated her progenitors who came to settle in Sanpete County, and was always proud of her heritage. She loved Manti and associating with the wonderful people there.
Education was a priority in her childhood home. In high school Kathryn enjoyed drill team, debate, FHA and Girls’ State. Kathryn’s father was a teacher and rancher raising cattle and sheep. He passed away when Kathryn was 13 years old. She learned from her parents to work hard, serve others, and enjoy life. She grew up in a musical family and had a beautiful soprano voice.
Kathryn attended the University of Utah, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. She worked as an RN at the Veterans Hospital in Salt Lake City, and also as a public health nurse for Salt Lake County and the Granite School District. She also enjoyed working at St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The first Sunday Kathryn returned to Salt Lake City from Michigan in September 1967, she met Lyman Stevens, a third year medical student at the University of Utah Medical School. They were married on Dec. 16, 1967 in the Manti LDS Temple.
The couple lived in Salt Lake City until Lyman finished medical school in 1969. Lyman and Kathryn moved to Portland, Ore., for a year while Lyman completed a medical internship. Their first son was born in Portland in 1969. They returned to Salt Lake City in 1970 where Lyman completed residency training in anesthesia at the University of Utah Medical School and Affiliated Hospitals.
Their first two daughters were born in Salt Lake City. In 1972 they relocated to Logan, UT, where Lyman began work as an anesthesiologist at the hospital. Two more sons were born while the family lived in Logan. In 1975 Kathryn and Lyman moved to North Logan. There they welcomed one more daughter and five more sons into their family.
Kathryn enjoyed sewing, cooking and supporting and loving her 11 children and 49 grandchildren. She canned and processed endless produce from Lyman’s beautiful, large garden. She supported her husband in his many church and professional work responsibilities. Kathryn raised their children with love in the home.
Her favorite activity at the end of every day was to relax in her La-Z-Boy recliner and have her feet rubbed. A family tradition beginning from her own childhood continued as Kathryn loved to sit and rub feet with her children, one on one, having heart to heart conversations.
Always active in the LDS church, Kathryn served in the Primary as a teacher and Cub Scout leader. She loved the children she taught in Primary. She also served as a teacher in the Young Women organization and as a teacher and President in Relief Society. Kathryn was always serving others and expressed her love often to her family and neighbors. Regularly, a homemade baked good was set aside in the kitchen to be taken to a friend in need.
Kathryn was extremely well-organized, with handmade charts and calendars to ensure she fulfilled all her many responsibilities. Helping her children learn valuable life skills, she helped with various 4-H projects (cake decorating, sewing, cooking, raising sheep) and spent many hours encouraging her sons in Boy Scouts.
Each of her eight sons earned the rank of Eagle Scout and served an LDS mission. Each of her eleven children graduated from Utah State University. Kathryn’s completion of her nursing degree inspired her children to complete their own college educations.
Kathryn was a proud supporter of the Sky View Marching Band as each of her children participated in the band. Another great love of Kathryn’s was watching and supporting each of her sons play soccer. Her enthusiasm for supporting her children in their various activities was evident as she attended countless band competitions, recitals, concerts, and other performances. Kathryn was also a supporter of Cache Valley Civic Ballet and Cache Community Food Pantry for many years.
Kathryn loved reading a good novel and enjoyed participation in a Relief Society book group. In recent years Kathryn enjoyed organizing and participating in a humanitarian project making homemade dolls to be sent to children overseas.
She loved her two Samoyed dogs, Sasha and especially Meishka.
Kathryn loved Halloween and the North Logan Pumpkin Walk. She thoroughly enjoyed organizing the volunteer witches at the Pumpkin Walk from 2004-2015. Seeing her dressed up as a witch and hearing her one-of-a-kind witch cackle is a very fond family memory. Kathryn’s laugh was a marvel to hear as it filled a room. Many family members identify her laugh as the trait they remember most.
Kathryn’s family was the focus of her life. She loved her husband and their 11 children, the spouses, and each of her 49 grandchildren. Having family gatherings and reunions were of utmost importance to her. The Stevens Family Band that traditionally marches in the North Logan 24th of July parade brought her great joy. Kathryn, dressed as a faithful pioneer, could be seen pushing a grandchild in a stroller or riding in her favorite car, a red 1967 Pontiac Firebird. Kathryn demonstrated her love of family and having fun by starting a family holiday, Bob Day.
Her sense of humor was nearly always on display, and made it a delight to be around her. Kathryn made everyone feel better about themselves and was an incredible light to others. Her positive attitude was infectious, as she was able to find the good in any situation or individual. Kathryn honored her husband as the Priesthood leader in the home and reverenced her own divine role as wife and mother. She fostered a peaceful home where the Spirit could reside as a safe haven for her precious family.
Kathryn encouraged her children to develop their talents, including piano. Through her example, Kathryn taught her children to work, cook, complete educational goals, fulfill responsibilities, love one another, serve others, enjoy life, and endure faithfully to the end.
She will be greatly missed by her family and friends, but her love and influence will continue with all who knew her. The family would like to express sincere gratitude to the many, many neighbors, friends and health care professionals who gave their love and support to Kathryn, particularly in the last few months of her life.
Kathryn is survived by her beloved husband, Lyman, her children, William (Holly) Stevens, Twin Falls, Idaho; Diane (Nate) Butikofer, Poway, Calif.; Marianne (Christian) Reiner, Cedar City; David (Leslie) Stevens, Bountiful; Richard (Lindsey) Stevens, North Logan; John (Heather) Stevens, Hyde Park; Holly (Bryan) Rasmussen, College Station, Texas; Brian (Nellene) Stevens, Burley, Idaho; Paul (Carlotta) Stevens, Twin Falls, Idaho; Lorin (Tammy) Stevens, Orem; Daniel Stevens, Des Moines, Iowa; and 49 grandchildren. Kathryn was preceded in death by her parents Calvin “Tom” and Lillie Barton Keller; brothers Ray, Karl, and Jake; and sister Helen.
A viewing will be held Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 from 6-8 p.m. at Nelson Funeral Home, 162 E. 400 N., Logan. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016 at the North Logan Utah Stake Center, 2750 N. 800 E., North Logan, beginning at 11 a.m. with Bishop Brian R. Cox conducting. A viewing will precede the funeral from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Stake Center. Interment will be at the Logan City Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are by Nelson Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, the family recommends donations to the Humanitarian Fund of the LDS Church.