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Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;

The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting And cometh from afar;

Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness,

But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home:

Ode on Intimations of Immortality  William Wordsworth 1770-1850

John Barry: Somewhere in Time Soundtrack

Martha Afton Harris Felt

Family Prayer and Funeral Services

Heatheridge 4th Ward, Heatheridge North Stake, Orem, UT

Graveside Services

Provo Cemetery, 900 East State Street, Provo, UT

April 1, 2008

Bishop Smith:

Okay, brothers and sisters, if we could maybe close the back door there as we begin to prepare for the family prayer. And at this point in time I’d like to just turn a few minutes over to Tom Felt, who will welcome the family and introduce the brother that will say the family prayer. Thank you.

Paul Felt:

Actually, it’s Paul Felt, but if I can be compared to Tom, then I’m alright. It is a wonderful privilege on behalf of Mother and Dad to welcome you to what indeed is a celebration of a life. I would like to specifically pay mention to a family member that is not here who would love to be and that’s Mom’s brother, John Robert Harris. He would be here if he could but he suffers with Parkinson’s and he’s not able to be here. And my dear wife, Lynn, likewise would be here if she could.

We have asked our dear brother, Ronald to offer the prayer on behalf of the family. So we now invite Ronald if he would come forward.

Ron Felt:

Our Father in Heaven, we gather here together as people who feel that we have been very well loved. We also feel in our hearts that our mother and grandmother and great-grandmother, Afton Felt, has also been loved as few other women. We see in our lives and in the lives of our children and their children, we see so much in a gesture, in the look in their eyes, in the things that they say, songs that they sing, things they do, we see our mother reflected in them and all of these reflections bring us peace and joy and happiness. And we join together to lift our voices to thank thee that we have this mother. We remember June 1, 1943, the day that she married our father and we think of the miracle of families and posterity and that all of this came from that union – this room full of people and people that aren’t here that love her dearly and praise her and lift their voices in gratitude for being her children and being her offspring. We know that she is happy to be back together with our father. And we know that he is even happier. We’re made very glad by that. We thank thee for the blessing of being her offspring. And this gratitude we express in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Bishop Smith:

Thank you for that wonderful family prayer, Ron. And I apologize to Paul, Jr. I’m still getting the brothers names a little mixed. Thank you for that. Now we’ll have just a few final minutes to prepare to close the casket.

Bishop Smith:

Thank you brothers and sisters. We’d invite two members of the family that will be assisting with the music, Jason Olson and Wyatt Felt, to begin the prelude. We’ll have just a few minutes to enjoy that prelude at this time.

Jason Olson (Special arrangements on the piano):

“How Great Thou Art” Hymn #86

“I Need Thee Every Hour” Hymn #98

Bishop Smith:

Thank you, Brother Olson for that beautiful music. We warmly and gratefully welcome you all to Sister Martha Afton Felt’s funeral this afternoon. We’re so glad you’re here. We welcome all the family and friends and members of the ward that can join us for this special service. We would like to acknowledge that presiding at this meeting is President Bradley Jackman, First counselor in the stake presidency. We’re appreciative that he is able to join us this afternoon. And on the stand, along with myself, are other members of the bishopric, Brother John Robertson and Brother Gene White and we’re thankful that they can be with us today.

We’d like to open this service by singing hymn #134 “I Believe in Christ” after which the invocation will be offered by Sister Katie Covey.

“I Believe in Christ” Hymn #134

I believe in Christ; he is my King!
With all my heart to him I’ll sing;
I’ll raise my voice in praise and joy,
In grand amens my tongue employ.
I believe in Christ; he is God’s Son.
On earth to dwell his soul did come.
He healed the sick; the dead he raised.
Good works were his; his name be praised.

I believe in Christ; oh blessed name!
As Mary’s Son he came to reign
’Mid mortal men, his earthly kin,
To save them from the woes of sin.
I believe in Christ, who marked the path,
Who did gain all his Father hath,
Who said to men: “Come, follow me,
That ye, my friends, with God may be.”

I believe in Christ—my Lord, my God!
My feet he plants on gospel sod.
I’ll worship him with all my might;
He is the source of truth and light.
I believe in Christ; he ransoms me.
From Satan’s grasp he sets me free,
And I shall live with joy and love
In his eternal courts above.

I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
From him I’ll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voice is heard: “Ye shall obtain.”
I believe in Christ; so come what may,
With him I’ll stand in that great day
When on this earth he comes again
To rule among the sons of men.

Katie Covey:

Our dear Father in Heaven, we are so grateful to gather together this day and praise Thy name. Father, we’re so grateful for Thee and Thy Son, Jesus Christ and the blessing that we have of knowing that our families are forever and that we have a chance to return home to Thee. Father, we know that our dear Grandma and Mom has returned home to Thee and also to our beloved Grandfather and other family members: Randy, and Ron-Paul and Tess and other ones that we love. We’re grateful that they have each other now and we pray that during this meeting that we can unite together and feel of Thy Spirit and that we can celebrate the life of Afton Felt. We pray that all may go well and we’re grateful that all of our family was able to come and we pray for Thy Spirit through this meeting and a Spirit of peace upon us individually. We thank thee for Thy love, Father. We feel it. We say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Bishop Smith:

Thank you, Katie. And thanks to Wyatt Felt for assisting as the chorister for our service today. We’ll now be favored to hear from Sister Kathleen Felt Covey and she will be presenting a life sketch.

Kathleen Felt Covey:

Martha Afton Felt: a woman who devoted her life to others and the gospel of Jesus Christ, always ready with a project that engaged and stretched the talents of her children and grandchildren, offering instruction, then stepping back so that the learning could take place. Never cross, easily entreated, selfless, extending her reach to countless friends, neighbors, even strangers. Her husband, children, grandchildren and friends all call her blessed.

Born February 1, 1923 to John E. and Ellen Pittman Harris, M. Afton Felt passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her children and grandchildren on March 25, 2008. Afton spent her early years in Provo in what she recalled as an idyllic childhood, where despite the hardships of the Great Depression, she never once had the impression of being poor or in any way deprived of any needful thing. Mom spoke of fond memories of waking up early in the winter morning, shivering from the overnight chill, determined to be the first down to the basement to build a fire there in the coal stove and put water on for the cracked wheat cereal.

As the second youngest in the family, her siblings were more than happy to be spared from this task. Snuggling under covers, waiting for the heat from Afton’s fire to warm up the house, and from there began Mom’s lifelong passion of serving others.

When she was in her early teens, her family moved to Salt Lake City where she graduated from East High in 1941. That fall, as a freshman at BYU, she caught the eye of the student body president, Paul E. Felt, who was convinced that he had been played, when, following the directions given him to her home, he ended up lost and confused at the main gate of the state prison in Sugarhouse. With the caller calling out to him, “We’ve been expecting you.”

Afton had conveniently neglected to tell him that her father was the warden.

In 1943, now an officer in the US Navy, Paul pleaded with his commanding officer for emergency leave saying “I’ll be a better officer if I can get home to marry my sweet heart.” “Paul,” was the reply, “Don’t you realize there’s a war going on?”

The leave was granted. Paul hurried to Salt Lake City, found Afton, who was in a nurse training program at Holy Cross hospital and proposed to her. They were married on June 1, 1943 in the Salt Lake temple by Harold B. Lee. 5 days later, Paul was off to sea.

Early in their marriage, Afton and Paul decided to have a large family, welcoming 11 children and adopting another to make it an even dozen. First and foremost, she devoted her life to her children and then to their children. 11 of Afton’s surviving children are here today with their spouses and children and grandchildren, numbering in all over 100.

With the war over, Afton and Paul began their adventures of setting up homes in Logan, Salt Lake City, Calgary, Canada, Cedar City and finally settling in Provo in 1957 when Paul took a position at BYU. With a house full of children ranging in age from new born twins to a rambunctious high school boy,

Afton oversaw the family dry-cleaning business on 500 North and University, like she didn’t have enough to do.

From 1971 to 1974 Afton actively served alongside Paul in his call to preside over the Southwest Indian Mission in Holbrook, Arizona. Among you today are many of the missionaries who served under Mom and Dad.

After returning from 6 months in Jerusalem in 1980, Afton spent several years serving at the Missionary Training Center, focusing primarily on sister missionaries, who came to her for help, for choosing and building, on a budget, a wardrobe suitable for the climb and culture of their calling.

Her office at the MTC was outfitted with a sewing machine that she put to expert use, just as she had done with each of her daughters and grandchildren.

In 1989, Paul and Afton took on the challenge of presiding over the Hawaii Temple Visitors Center, the second busiest of all LDS Visitors Centers.

Afton’s companion of 56 years, Paul E. Felt, passed away in 1999 and in the years that followed, Afton enjoyed years of health and vigor and enjoyed rich associations with neighbors and with members in the Pleasant View area of Provo and then in Orem, when she took up residence with our family.

In the past several years, she took her daughters and friends and their spouses on 2 cruises and after that promoted annual family reunions.

Daughter, Betty Naomi, died shortly after birth. Afton is survived by 11 of her children: Paul E. Felt of Perth, Australia; John M. Felt of Philadelphia; Yvonne Jordan of Cedar City; Marilynn Forsyth of Fairfax, Virginia; Larry H. Felt of Alpine, Utah; Ronald G. Felt of Salt Lake City, Jakarta, Indonesia, also; Jesse Allman of Atlanta, Georgia; Kathleen Covey of Orem, Utah; Tom E. Felt of Mapleton, Utah; Tammy Williams of Atlanta, Georgia; Wendy Stewart of Rapid City, South Dakota, 54 grandchildren, 51 great-grandchildren and a younger brother, Robert Harris.

We join our voices as sons and daughters of Afton Felt to say our lives are made rich and full by the pattern you have offered us from the days of our infancy, childhood and youth. Patterns that now provide goals and lighting points that we seek to follow.

We remember parenthood conducted patiently. How Mom faced challenges, vision that saw behind immediate strain, how inherently, she trusted the choices that we made and the gentleness of discipline that followed our errors. As beneficiaries of this tradition of well being, your sons and daughters stand to honor you and to honor our heritage. She brought us together every morning before school and at dusk for dinner. She sat with her arms around us at church and taught us by example the happiness of exercising good will towards neighbors, in placing trust and honesty at the center of our relations with others and the joy of frequent expressions of love to one another. We lift our voices of gratitude and praise the wealth of traditions you have passed to us and that are now being passed to new generations.

We honor you today.

And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Bishop Smith:

Thank you, Sister Covey. At this time, we’ll be able to hear a special musical selection by Jody Felt Robinson and Mark Felt. They will be accompanied by Sister Becky Felt. And following that special number “O My Father” which I understand is a favorite hymn of Sister Felts. I know as the family was planning the funeral that was mentioned. Following that special musical number, we’ll hear from Sister Yvonne Jordan.

“O My Father” Hymn #292

O my Father, thou that dwellest
In the high and glorious place,
When shall I regain thy presence
And again behold thy face?
In thy holy habitation,
Did my spirit once reside?
In my first primeval childhood
Was I nurtured near thy side?

For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth;
Yet oft times a secret something
Whispered, “You’re a stranger here,”
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.

I had learned to call thee Father,
Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But, until the key of knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heav’ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I’ve a mother there.

When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I’ve completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you.

Yvonne Jordan:

It’s going to be hard to follow that beautiful song. Speaking on behalf of myself and all my siblings, we want to give a heart felt thanks to the Covey family for taking such good care of our mother ever since our father died and especially the last two years when she’s been living in an apartment connected right next to their home kitchen.

We also want to give our thanks and our gratitude to Lina. How our mother loved Lina and how grateful we are for the kind and beautiful care that Lina gave to her. Mom was visiting me over Christmas when Lina came with her during the week, but then Lina had to come back here for the weekend because she takes care of another woman named Afton.

And oh how Mom missed Lina. Mom had been a little bit confused that week at our home and it was wonderful to see the relief when Lina arrived again at the door and called her name and said, “Mom, I’m here!” And Mom just brightened up and was excited and laughing and was so thankful to see her dear friend, Lina.

Our family wants to give a special thanks to Katie. Katie was one of our mother’s dearest and closest friends and Katie’s been taking care of her on weekends while Lina was with the other Afton. We also want to thank everyone in this amazing ward. Mom felt so welcome and so loved being in this ward and we’re so grateful to you. I had asked all my siblings and any of the grandchildren, great-grandchildren, spouses for memories of mom thinking maybe I could talk for a few minutes and of course I got a tremendous response, so I’m just going to be reviewing over some memories of our dear mother.

One of mom’s granddaughters remembers being with her in a store when our mother observed a mother punishing her child. Mom went up to the mother and put her arm on her arm and said, “Don’t punish. Teach.”

That describes our mother in a nutshell.

Marilynn remembers when she was a teenager, mom was driving her to a very important social event and mom saw somebody in need along the way. Mom pulled over the car and stopped to help a man who needed some help. And Marilynn remembers feeling, “Doesn’t Mom know how important it is for me to get to be with my friends on time?”

And now 40 years later, Marilynn remembers the lesson she learned from her mother that day.

When Tammy was 10 years old, Tammy announced to mom that her friend Julie did not have to go to stake conference. Julie’s family took that Sunday off and they got to stay home and play. Mom very wisely told Tammy that she was not going to be forced to go with the family to church if she didn’t want to, so Tammy, a very stunned and shocked Tammy was sitting home alone as the family drove off to church.

Tammy said that first, she sobbed a little, she was in such shock, and then she ran over to her friend, Julie’s house, expecting to have a grand time and she realized it wasn’t as much fun as she thought and then she never did ask to miss church again.

I have an older brother, Paul, who got a great deal of pleasure out of teasing me. This was quite a concern for our dear mother because she did not want contention in her home. So she went to her knees to pray to her Heavenly Father to find a solution for this problem. And the solution that she felt inspired to do was to take Paul by the hand and invite him into her bedroom and invite him to kneel down in prayer and ask for Heavenly Father to not allow for this contention to go on. This was right in the midst of him teasing me and he always knew that mom would take him by the hand, take him into the bedroom to kneel in prayer and then she would in turn take me and the problem soon became alleviated.

Mom’s life is full of examples of these three words that her granddaughter so vividly remembers: Teach, don’t punish. Larry’s memory of mom is that she was always, always, always, always busy serving other people. He has a memory of her as he was growing up walking up the stairs to her bedroom and noticing that she seemed quite tired because she had never taken any time for herself all day long.

He has a memory of she and my father kneeling at the foot of their bed in prayer together.

This is a good time for me to tell you about the popsicle story because this describes mom so beautifully. Dr. Chamberlain had been by and the hospice nurse had been by to instruct my sister, Marilynn and I to be caring for me since we understood that she did not have too much longer to live and the nurse explained to us that popsicles were probably the best thing that we could feed her at this time and she was enjoying popsicles and one day, she had much company over the last few days of her life, my brother, Ron came in to see her and I was just starting to feed her a popsicle as Ron walked in.

Mom saw Ron and refused to even let me put that popsicle near her mouth until Ron had a popsicle in his hand.

That describes our mother.

Jesse talks about the wonderful memories that she had when she first met Sam and how excited Mom was to get to meet Sam’s 5 children. Jesse said that the warmth that just emanated from Mom as she told Jesse that she just knew that she was going to love them that they would just be included with all of the other grandchildren. And Sam and Jesse’s sons and daughters have said the same thing, they’ve talked about how the warmth and acceptance they felt – just to be accepted as who they were – and the joy of being able to sew with mom.

One way mom managed to spend quality time with her children as well as her grandchildren is by sewing with them and visiting with them.

I have a memory when I was 15, mom and dad announced to us that they were going to be having twins. I had 5 younger siblings at the time that I had helped a lot with, being the oldest daughter. And my response to mom was, “Mom, I’m so tired of taking care of babies!” Then mother wisely said, “That’s okay, Yvonne. You don’t need to.”

Marilynn was at the perfect age and Marilynn took over that role for me.

When Tom was 10 years old, he raided the food storage pantry and I believe it was Ivory soap. I just remember mom always bought Ivory soap. Tom was out there walking door to door and selling soap. Tom was saying they were 10 cents a bar or if you want a special deal, you can get two for a quarter!

Tom took me for a ride on a wave runner a few years ago and scared the living daylights out of me. I was so frightened. By the time we finished the ride Tom said, “You know, I took mom on this wave runner a few years ago and you know what she said? She said, Tom, can’t you go faster?”

Mom was very adventuresome.

Paul says when he was 10 years old he came to mom because he had a very serious problem. He felt like he needed some more railway tracks for his train and he asked mom if he could have some more. And mom said yes and so Paul said, “Good, let’s go to the store and buy them!” And mom said, “Oh, well, wait. Um, where’s the money going to come from?”

And she sat down and talked to Paul about different ways where he could earn some money so he could get those railway tracks he wanted so badly.

So Paul found a job selling donuts and did get the money to buy those railway tracks.

Ron told me about a special memory he had. Probably about 15 years ago, he was in Japan at the time and he had flown over to visit mom and dad and he went on a road trip with them. They stopped in Cedar City and Mesa and came down to El Paso where we were living at the time. Ron had that special time with them for several days driving in the car with them and asking all kinds of questions because Ron played a major part in writing our parents history. Those are times that he cherishes with mom and dad.

John remembers living in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and our mother was so resourceful. They were living on a seminary teacher’s income, which was very low. And mom found, I’m assuming because this is how mom made Marilynn’s coat, Mom found an old wool coat and she made patterns and coats for John and Paul and she made matching hats. Itchy, itchy wool.

John said that no matter how cold it was, he did not want to wear that coat because he had to carry it and wear. I saw a picture of Paul and John in those coats and they were amazing.

Wendy tells about how welcome she felt in the family and especially Mom’s ability to listen. Wendy came and joined our family when mom and dad already had 10 children in the home and she said with Mom’s ability to be able to listen to her meant so much.

Kathleen has memories of going downtown and finding a dress that she would want and mom would go with her and look at the dress, not to buy it, but to notice how to make it and to go right to the fabric store and find the material and sew Kathleen a dress.

When I asked the grandchildren and the spouses, the in-laws, their memories, there was one reoccurring theme among all of them and that is that they all seem to think that they were Mom’s favorites. A son-in-law said that he searched the world over for the perfect wife and when he finally found her, she was already married, so he married her daughter instead.

A granddaughter wrote a letter to her grandmother and she had just attended a special meeting where an artist was speaking about a picture of the 10 virgins. The artist was describing each virgin and when she got to the fifth one, she said that this virgin’s quality was service.

And this granddaughter was writing a letter to her granddaughter saying how she instantly thought about her grandmother as this artist was describing the virgin that represented service was kind of standing back from the others. She needed no recognition for her service and the granddaughter says that grandma’s simple acts of kindness immediately came to mind as she was listening to this artist speak.

A great-granddaughter, when she speaks of Grandma Felt, says, “Oh, are we going to visit the soft, cozy-lap grandma?”

A grandson says how he remembers BYU ice cream, cinnamon rolls, and Hawaiian chicken and it was never an option to refuse to eat. If mom offered you food, she wanted to see you actually eating it. He also named Grandma and Grandpa’s house “The Den of Love”.

One granddaughter said that Grandma Felt taught her that you can do anything if you have faith.

Some of the granddaughter’s comments include comments such as “The most Christ-like person I know” “Her smile and laugh would light up a room” “Her spunky funny personality” “Her strong spirit and testimony of the gospel”. Quality time was a reoccurring theme. Chuck-A-Rama was also a reoccurring theme.

A grandson said how grateful he was to have time just talking one-on-one with his grandmother last summer and how it touched his heart that his grandmother told him what a wonderful single parent he was to his daughter.

One of mom’s daughters-in-law was raised in a rather dysfunctional family and when she came to meet mom and dad for the first time, her new husband found her in a room sobbing. And she described to her husband how to overcome she was to feel the kind of love that mom and dad had for her and the acceptance and she was so overwhelmed to be treated like that.

Another daughter-in-law tells about a Christmas spent with grandma and how their children were older and it was a kind of exciting Christmas and they all got ski equipment – Skis, coats, all kinds of things so they could spend their holiday together skiing. After all the gifts were unwrapped, their youngest daughter started sobbing.

She said, “Santa Claus forgot to bring me a doll!” Well, surprisingly, within the next few minutes, Grandma found a doll that Santa left underneath the tree.

Our mom loved dolls and stuffed animals. All the grandkids can relate to her love of stuffed animals and dolls. Speaking of dolls, when the American girl dolls started becoming popular, mom would not only sew dresses for the American girl dolls, she would make matching dresses for her granddaughters. Sewing is constantly a reoccurring theme in the memories for I think, all mom’s children and her grandchildren. She spent time sewing with them and listening, listening and talking with them.

A grandson said that as a nine year old, he learned a very powerful lesson from his grandma Felt. He was with his mom and he wasn’t being very respectful of his mom and grandma took him aside and said, “Do you realize all your mother does for you? You need to treat her with respect.” He said what a powerful lesson that even though that was many, many years ago, he remembers the respect he had for his grandmother and it was a big influence on him.

A granddaughter talks about how when she and her husband were students at BYU, how mom continuously wanted to feed them, again, whether they were hungry or not, it was important that she feed them. They have wonderful memories of mom with Hobble Creek.

I think all of mom’s children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren have great memories of being at Hobble Creek with their grandma.

A great-granddaughter said she’s had a grand time talking politics during the recent election with her grandmother. They’ve had some good discussions.

Trips to McDonalds are something that the married grandchildren remember well because mom would always take them and their children there.

The granddaughter that’s been doing a lot of mom’s history in her journals talks about how she’s been so impressed with our mother would write thoughts that she heard in a church meeting or special things, she would always write it down. She wanted to keep the memory close and wanted her children to know that she had a testimony of Christ.

I’d like to conclude my remarks with another memory of a granddaughter. She had just been to a temple wedding of one of grandma’s grandchildren and she was leaving the temple grounds with Grandma and she saw a man standing by the gate asking for money. And our mom, with her slower way of walking at that time her life, made a beeline for him and walked right over to him and took both her hands and held his hands and talked with him and asked him how his day was going and then also gave him some money. Her remark is “Grandma taught me what the Savior’s hands would have done.” I feel like that sums up our mother and our grandmother that she taught us what the Savior’s hands would have done and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Tom Felt:

What a neat opportunity this is to stand and take a few minutes and speak at my mother’s funeral as we’ve had an opportunity as a family to see so many people that we’ve grown up with, that we’ve known through the years that have been a part of our lives. Mark Comstock is the one that came up in our family with the term when he was a first part of our family, he said, “Man, this place is like a den of love, or something.” Like Yvonne just said, and I thought, “You know, as I just saw the Clarks and Marion and both Cindy’s, and Liz and Don, you know, we grew up in the den of love. We really did. We had an incredible existence and if heaven is like that, I’m ready to go back again. It was truly a remarkable experience.”

My mother was, so many things have already been said about her, and one of the things I want to be sure to do is not to take too much time because Mom was someone who liked things to be precise.

I can remember being in junior high and going to the apartments. Mom and Dad had apartments and we’d go to the hardware store and we’d buy a new shower system that was in a cardboard box and I’d say, “What are we going to do with this?” And she’d say, “Well, we’re going to install it. We’re going to install a shower today.” And I’d say, “Have you ever installed a shower?” And she’d say, “No, I never have.” And I’d say, “Well, how are we going to install a shower?” And before we knew it, two or three hours would go by and we had installed a shower. And we got pretty proficient at that. We would spend Saturdays and we would go and install these showers. And one of the things my mom taught me was that there’s nothing that can’t be accomplished just by putting your mind to it and getting it done. She was an incredible lady that way.

She had a unique ability to make my friends feel so good about themselves. I didn’t realize it until I got older that different friends would come up to me and say, “You know, your mom was really something special.” We would go into our house and we had a big milk cooler in there. Mom and dad would go to the dairy and buy these big 5 gallon jugs of milk like they would use at the Wilkinson Center and they would put it up in this cooler that dad had picked up and my friends would come in and they would fill up a big glass of milk and my mom would just joke with us. And when she laughed, her whole body moved. She didn’t just laugh, her whole body just jiggled and it was a lot of fun. She had a really great sense of humor.

Mom was a very caring, sensitive and unique person. Any of her children or any of you that have spent time with her know that she looks out after the disadvantaged. She looks first to others and the rarely, rarely would she look to herself. And she taught us that her entire life. You know, what we would learn was not so much by watching her but by what we felt inside when she did it. And we looked for those experiences in her life. She was an incredible example of looking out for disadvantaged and those that are alone or set apart in the room – a remarkable, remarkable lady with her ability to do that.

I’ve always enjoyed and loved cars. Ever since I was a little kid, I remember sitting in the garage in my dad’s Mercedes. We could never really afford a Mercedes, but my dad always had one. And my mom was very accommodating to let him have a Mercedes. I would go sit in that car and I remember I would sit there and shift the gears even when I was three and four years old. One of the things my mother did for me that was so wonderful is if you know the Mercedes Benz in 1974 240D, it has no power. It’s a little four cylinder diesel and you have to shift it a lot. And my mom would let me hold her hand and I would be five years old and I’d be doing the shifting and eventually I got to where I could do the shifting and we worked as a team. She would put the clutch in and I’d go to second and then she’d put in the clutch and I’d go to third and I knew when it was time to cut back down to second again and back into first. We had a totally synchronized system going down. She was incredible.

My mother was a very, very busy person. She was gone a lot. She had a lot of church responsibilities. She was always helping other people in the ward but yet none of her children felt like that we missed out because of her ability to come and look at us in our eyes, which she did, and tell us how much she loved us. When we were sick, she would do the most incredible things. When you’re sick and you know when you’re throwing up? It’s almost like when you go to change a baby’s diaper, if they’re your own baby, it’s pretty easy to do. If it’s not your own baby, you might play tough, but it’s not very easy to do. Okay? But with my mom, if you were throwing up and you were one of her kids, you know what she’d be doing? She’d be right there next to you and she’d be patting your back and she’d be telling you how much she loved you. And then she’d come and she’d rub alcohol on your chest and she’d be right with you. Now I didn’t realize how tough that was to do until I had my own kids and I tried to do that with them, but I have to leave the room many times and come back in and hold my breath for 60 seconds and they’ll be looking at me and I’m saying, “It’s okay.”

When dad went to Memory Grove in 1942 and he had 5 days leave as an officer in the Navy, he came to find mom and took her to Memory Grove. And we’ve been there many times as a family up to City Creek. And the creek was running by and my dad asked her to marry him and that’s not the biggest surprise because I think he had a pretty good idea that she would say yes and she was in love with him and he was so deeply in love with her his entire life. But then he asked my mom something unique. He said, “Now, you’ve told me that you’ll marry me. I need to ask you. I want to have 12 kids.” Now if you ask mom, she’ll say, “I told him I’d have 12 kids.” But one thing mom will tell you in a private moment is that she says, “I really didn’t believe him. I didn’t believe him that he wanted 12 kids.” I’m very grateful that my mother decided to have 12 kids because Tammy and I are here because of that.

I’m grateful for the wonderful life that she has given us. When I was 8 years old, as busy as she was, and this will be my closing remarks to keep on track with my dad, who I know is here and he wants things done on time. As busy as she was, she read the Book of Mormon with Tammy and I – the entire book so that we could, on our 8th birthday, when we bore our testimonies, say that we had read the Book of Mormon. What an incredible individual.

You’ve caught a sense of how much our family loves not only my mother, but my father and the deep, deep influence that they had in our lives. And it’s a true story when you hear from us that we never heard them argue. We never ever heard them argue. I heard my mother cross at my father once because he painted, he got a can of paint on sale and it was green and he painted the laundry room pea green, and she was frustrated with him, but I never ever heard them in an argument.

Thank you for all of you being here today. I love all of my brothers and sisters and thanks to all my brothers and sisters. I love you dearly. And I’m so grateful to my wife, Stephanie and to my 5 children. I’m grateful for a mother who taught us that we could accomplish anything. And I believed her. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Bishop Smith:

Thank you, Yvonne and Tom for sharing those sweet memories of your mother. Some of Sister Felt’s grandchildren have prepared a special musical selection. “We will hold on together” They will now sing that song and they will be accompanied by Jason Olson. Following that musical selection, we will hear from Brother Paul Felt followed by Brother John Felt.

“We will Hold on Together” Written by Deanne Felt to the tune of Land Before Time

Accompanied by Jason Olson

You should us the way with each passing day

You taught us of love how to give it away

You lived believing life is for giving

Teaching us all that was true

You lived your story faith, hope and glory

Wonders are waiting for you

We will hold on together

Our hearts are filled with memories

In gratitude we remember each day with you

We love you true

Children are we just learning to be

We’ll follow you then holding on to our friends

Grandma, Grandpa you give us laughter Wiping all our tears all away

Thank you for we know you are praying for each of us every day

We will hold on together

Our hearts are filled with memories

In gratitude we remember each day with you

We love you true

So many gifts to us you’ve given

But one we treasure dear is the love between the two of you

It’s worth our lives beyond compare

We will hold on together

We’ll share our love through eternity

The seasons through forever

We love you true

We love you true

Paul Felt:

On behalf, again, of the family, this is such a joy to see the respect that is shown to our dear mother. Having attended church here in this ward, I’ve commented to Bishop and Sister Smith how wonderful it was to have the tributes paid by the ward members. I’m the eldest son of Paul and Afton Felt. I have my own version of history. When I was born, they were so thrilled that they just kept on trying, having more and more. If you listen to Yvonne, you would know that indeed, they would probably question whether or not they did the right thing in having me. I hid from something introspective. Tom made it sound so glorious that he read the Book of Mormon with Tammy. I remember visiting the family from Australia and sitting in breakfast with the family and for a while I was coming over every year and I could see the transition. And I remember Tammy hitting Tom and saying, “Tom, wake up. It’s your turn to read.” So I wonder.

Nevertheless, the family was reading. What I want to do is explain to you a couple of things. My mother had a particular wish to have a letter read “To My Grandchildren” as it is called. I just need to give you some information about this that may put some perspective on it. Let me first of all just mention something about the relationship my father had with mother. Just after they were married and given that they had been separated for part of that time, he tells of being so distressed that when he went to priesthood meeting and had to leave her, he decided to take her with him. Now, how delightful would that be? I just wonder if perhaps they had a bishop like Bishop Smith who was flexible and didn’t mind having a sister being there in that priesthood meeting.

I want to do something because my dear wife would like to have been here, but logistically, it became impossible. So therefore, she has sent this and she would like the family, so those of you who are visiting, if you could bear with me for a moment I’d like to share with you what she would have like to have said in a private moment with the family. She writes:

Naomi was a famous mother-in-law in the Old Testament. What do we remember about Naomi? She endeared herself so much to one of her daughters-in-law, Ruth, that she would not leave her or go back to her family, even when Naomi begged her to go. Ruth loved her so much that she said, “Whither thou goest, I will go and whither thou lodgest, I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people and thy God my God.” We learn from the book of Ruth that they had a wonderful relationship. Naomi counseled Ruth in the way that she should go.

Another famous mother-in-law was Lucy Mack Smith. The author Susan Easton Black wrote, “I sorrowed with Emma as I read she left her family under difficult circumstances to marry the man that she loved. Emma was loved by Joseph and also by his family, especially by Mother Smith. She embraced and welcomed Emma as a daughter and willingly cared for her during times of illness. Emma returned her love by comforting Mother Smith in her later years. I think these women rejoiced that they were more than friends, bound together eternally as mother and daughter.

It is no wonder coming from that stock of Lucy Mack Smith and almost two centuries later that we find another famous mother-in-la, Martha Afton Felt. She opened her arms and heart to me, her eldest son’s bride from another side of the world. Me, with my funny accent and one to take hours just to tell the shortest story, she loved even this. I, like Ruth, needed counseling and mom was my Naomi. Especially after the death of my own mother some sixteen years ago. Ever patient, ever kind, ever loving, ever constant. I, like Emma and Lucy, know that we were more than friends, bound together eternally as mother and daughter. I will miss our long distance talks with Mum. You see, in Australia, we say Mum rather than Mom.

 Your Aussie daughter-in-law

 Now, as to my assignment, let me give you some history because to our family, this is significant. When dad died, his wish was to reach his grandchildren. Now, those of us who are grandparents know how different our lives are when grandchildren enter our lives. When I saw this mountain here, I couldn’t help but to think that there are five in Australia not here and fourteen grandchildren, so if we kind of put that together, you’d appreciate just how many more and my parents life changed as well.

Dad wanted a letter read to his grandchildren. Mother was concerned. Mother always fancied herself as being a non-writer. And she had difficulty in transferring what she felt to the written language. As she sat down in private moments, she composed these words and she felt they were inspired by dad. We, her children, as we heard them at his funeral, and as we’ve read them since, we recognize the structure and language of Paul Ernest Felt. Now, I am so honored to read to you A Letter To My Grandchildren.

Now, grandchildren, imagine that this is Grandma for these are her words:

Today, I want to visit with each of you and encourage you to live the gospel in anticipation that we can all be together as a family in the presence of our Heavenly Father. The Lord has given us the blessing of coming to the earth and to be tested and to learn and to make choices. How blessed we are to have the gospel and the teachings of Christ to help us make the right choices. Your grandpa and I went to Salt Lake Temple to be sealed for time and all eternity 64 years ago. We were so happy when your parents chose to be married and sealed in the temple as well. As the  years have passed, each of you has brought such joy and happiness into our lives. Knowing your parents would understand, we have displayed a message on our car that expressed how much we enjoyed your company. It says, “If we knew how fun grandchildren were, we would have had them first”. How we love having you visit us in our home. We have taken walks to the park, gone on outings to the museum and read stories while sitting in the rocking chair. Of course, all of you visits have included a dish of ice cream with toppings of all kinds.

I need to put a caveat on this. This extends to all households in our family. We’re ice cream freaks. We love our ice cream.

Now, I’ve been called to another place. A place that I have prepared for and looked forward to knowing that I would be in the presence of our Heavenly Father. It may be a long time before I get to hold you and hug you, but I will be close to you. I want you to come and be with me when it is your time to return to our Heavenly Father.

As has been expressed, our sister Betty, has welcomed mother. Her grandchildren have welcomed her, Ron-Paul, Tess and Randy. So there are many welcoming her.

Knowing what we do know about life in mortality, life through mortal and life after mortality and because of our faith and testimony in the Lord Jesus Christ, I do not fear death. For me, it will be just like going from one room to another for that reason. We want our passing to be a time of rejoicing and recalling the wonderful joy and happiness that we have experienced as a family. As you grow up, there will be many temptations and choices you will have to make. Heavenly Father planned it this way to give each of us the opportunity to choose. Ponder these choices and choose carefully. Hold to the rod of the gospel and it will give you the strength to choose the right. Sometimes the right choice will not be the popular choice, but if you follow and hold tight to this rod, you will have the conviction and the strength to choose the way that will bring us together again. Heavenly Father is very close and He knows each of us. We can be in close contact with Him if we will pray to Him. Share your hopes and your dreams with Him. Talk to Him each morning and night. There will be times throughout the day you will need help and you can pray by saying a silent prayer. He will hear you and you will be strengthened. Show gratitude to Him. Express thanks to Him for all He has given you. Let Him know of your appreciation for the blessing and guidance He has given you. Let Him know that you recognize these impressions and feelings are from Him. Gratitude is a virtue. Express is often as you pray.

My dearest grandchildren, continues Grandma, Remember that we love and we want you to know that we have a firm testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is true. God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and the Lord restored the gospel to the earth making it possible for each of us to have His word and the blessings of the gospel in our lives. Follow the living prophet and live worthy of the companionship of the Holy Spirit. If you do this and if you do these things, you will be blessed and you will be able to know and understand Heavenly Father’s great love.

She then quotes from Grandpa Felt’s journal. As I conclude, I quote:

“Heaven is an extension of the ideal home. Because we understand this, I expect that in place of sorrow and weeping at my funeral, there will be joy and peace. I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t anticipate joyfully the idea of returning to live with my Heavenly Father. As a child and as a youth, And remember, grandchildren, this is Grandma talking about Grandpa. As a child and youth, it was always so good to arrive home and find mom’s fresh baked bread and share in the peace and love that abided in our home. Since my marriage to Afton, the pattern has been the same. I have always looked forward to arriving back home like our children, who would call out, “Mom, where are you?” As I read this, I cried because that’s exactly what happened.

I have done the same throughout these many years. Each time I walked to the door, I called out, “Afton. Where are you?” whereupon we enjoy a sweet embrace and a kiss. This is the joy – the same joy and anticipation I feel as I look forward to returning to my heavenly home.”

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


John Felt:

It is not often, being the second born, in a family of twelve, that I have had the opportunity to have the last word. This is one of those occasions. I always like to remind my older brother, Paul that he is the oldest, but I’m better looking.

Happiness, like most things, comes from mothers. Our mother lived a full successful life. Gathered here today are all those that have loved and honored her. Her life was not as glorious as some because she devoted her life to her children and their children. We love her deeply and are comforted to know that even though her physical body is laid to rest, her spirit and her memories live forever. Because of her, our lives are enriched. Throughout our lives, each of us has known we were loved and as we have lived in the circle and the influence of her arms, our sweet mother, lived a full life. She not only was beautiful, she was passionate, young at heart, playful, kind, wise, and one who lived with passion to experience everything that life offered, while amplifying a goal to make others feel appreciated, loved and welcomed. For us, our lives have been enriched by her beauty and her grace.

The patience and the love that she possessed as she helped each of us, in our own way, to comfort and calm our fears as we were confronted with life’s choices and challenges. As adults, our mother encouraged us and respected our life’s choices and supported us as we became parents of our own. Throughout her life, she repeatedly testified of her simple faith and taught us that each of us are special spirits of God. Given an opportunity to experience this mortal journey on earth and encouraged us to rely on the Spirit to guide us. Even as the distance of our separations as we married and moved, we had families of our own, our mother was a part of the whole of which each of us was a part. And today, we are learning another lesson about this earthly journey. We are experiencing, as we celebrate her life, and recognize that her absence is only temporary. For we know that we will be reunited with her and our father again, bringing full circle the reality of the principle of eternal families.

Happiness in the Felt family household started early in life as our mother began to care for us as helpless infants, protecting and nurturing and teaching life’s important lessons. For us, the children, the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren, that love and nurturing has lasted a lifetime and we know that this relationship will expand to eternity.
During our lives, she was a constant daily giver and we felt enriched receiving her gifts of love. We grew up thinking that our mother had a personal control over items of comfort as she passed them on to us in her own special way.

For example, and many have referred to this, meals in the Felt household were like growing up in the army barracks. She made whole wheat bread and wheat cracked cereal and each of the older children remember going out to the garage and grinding the wheat and bringing it in. Then, on Monday morning as our bags of lunch were prepared so that we could go to school, we had this thick wheat bread that we had to go endure lunch with while all our friends had white bread.

It was such an envious thing of mine to think that I just wanted a piece of white bread.

Throughout our life, our mother somehow always found a way to praise each of us in a special sort of way. “Jon,” she would say, “We are so proud of you. Your teacher spoke to me after a meeting with her last night and told us how well you’re doing in school.”

Even though we were dirt poor growing up, we didn’t know it. Our mother had a formula for sparing us from the thought that we didn’t have money. By sewing and making clothes that were fashionable, she taught us the value of work. And we’ve referred much to our mother that was the constant fix-it person. Dad didn’t know how to fix anything, but Mom did. I remember as we had our little dry cleaning business, we had all this equipment and it wasn’t anything for her to get a wrench and pliers and whatever was necessary and go back and fix the equipment and teach us how to do this. And so we learned from our mother how to fix things.

We also learned from our mother the importance and value of work. Paul refers to the fact that he wanted to have some tracks for his car, but mom was so resourceful, she taught us how to make money. The first thing that Paul and I did was that they bought a roto-tiller. And we would roto-till the back garden and we prepared this little flier and we ran it around the neighborhood and we told everybody that we’d roto-till their garden.

And I remember I would ask my mom, “Well, how much should we charge?” And she’d say, “Just tell them, you pay us whatever you think it’s worth. We got paid twice as much. Because when we’d stand there when the job was done and tell them to pay us whatever they think it’s worth, they couldn’t help but give us more than we had ever expected.

And today, as mature adults, we do the same thing for our children as her legacy lives on. She lives on in the sparkle of our memory, in our expression of love to others, in our laughing and our quiet, gentle loving, wise counsel that we give our children. Today, our mother lives, as we rest our heads and close our eyes and realize that no one else can grant the same peace, happiness, and contentment and the sweet release that life is only important when we give what we have in support of those that we love.

Paul, in speaking to the Ephesians, spoke of the principle to gird up yourselves with the whole armor of God. As children, our mother dressed us each day with warm clothing and protected us against the elements. She worried about us when we went to school. She made sure that we were where we were going. She made us happy with hugs and kisses and would hold our hand whenever we were sad. She encouraged us to be on time, to share and be kind. She made sure that we were clean, bathed, prepared and beautiful and more important, she dressed us each day in warm and clean clothes.

And with that, she also dressed us in the whole armor of God. We didn’t realize it at the time, but our mother was very dutiful to make sure that we knew that we were the children of God and that we had a responsibility. I remember often times as a young man being tempted to go do something that I knew wasn’t right and my thoughts would be, “If I do, I’m going to disappoint my mom and dad.” And therefore, I didn’t do those things. The whole armor of God: the dressing and the breast plate that she prepared for us every day as we left home protected us. And today, as parents of the grandchildren that you saw stand here today, we are passing that same tradition to them and we challenge them to do the same as they grow older and have children and grandchildren of their own – to pass that tradition on to theirs. And what we will create is a whole army of posterity that will have that protection throughout their life.

And lastly, and the most important gift that our mother gave us was time.

Our mother’s life was one that she gave herself unselfishly to everyone. It was our lives that were important and she loved to learn about the things that we were doing. She was very sweet and always caring. She worked hard to undo the damage of time – the wind and the elements that aged her while every day giving of herself to her family so that we could enjoy the best of life, which was her. She lived her life for love of family and friends, never asking, never wanting for anything in return. When we were ill, she became sick. When our lamp was low, she filled it with her own. When we were bruised and rejected, she nursed us and assured us that her love was always unconditional and that she was proud of us. She found happiness in seeing others happy. We knew underneath the storms of life that we were always loved because she set our sails in motion and we learned to steer the ship.

So, today, we say, “Thank you, mother for loving us, for encouraging us, for nurturing us, for teaching us life’s lessons. Thank you for the gift of understanding, for teaching us how to be independent and self-reliant. Thank you for making our life happy, but most important thank you. Today we rejoice in your gift of life. And I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Bishop Smith:

Thank you for those remarks. There’s been a wonderful spirit of love and of faith and testimony of the Savior and of the plan of salvation that’s been present with us today. As the grandchildren sang their song, I noticed on the program “Felt Grandchildren” so I assumed a number of the Felt grandchildren but it was wonderful to see so many of the grandchildren be able to sing that song. As I looked over the shoulder of those singing, I noticed that the song was written by Deanne Felt who I’m sure is a member of the family. And the song was titled “A Song of Tribute to Paul and Afton Felt”. And I can think of no greater tribute, the words that were sung were wonderful, but I can think of no greater tribute to Sister Felt than to observe the legacy of her family. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a number of her family over the past week and she has a wonderful family, wonderful people who have learned well from their mother and their grandmother. And that is a living testimony of the type of person that Sister Felt was.

Life on earth is an opportunity and a blessing. Our purpose here is to have joy and to prepare to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. I’d like to share just a couple of scriptures from the Book of Mormon, in closing that testify of course, of this important truth found in Alma. Amulek gives his testimony in Alma 34:8.

And now behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold I say unto you that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men to take upon him the transgressions of his people and that he shall atone for the sins of the world for the Lord God hath spoken it.

Another testimony of Alma found in the book of Alma 7:12.

And he will take upon him death that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people. And he will take upon him their infirmities that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how he may succor his people according to their infirmities.

As we rely on the atonement of Jesus Christ, he can help us endure our trials, our sicknesses, our pain and we can be filled with joy, peace and consolation. I’d like to just leave you my testimony that I know that our Heavenly Father lives and we are His children and He loves us. And He has provided a plan of salvation that makes it possible that through His Son, Jesus Christ, we will have the opportunity to return again to His presence and continue as families eternally. I leave you this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

We’d like to thank all those that have helped with the preparation of the funeral in any way. We appreciate the Melchizedek priesthood quorum, the High Priest Group quorum and the Elders quorum for setting up and taking down the building and for setting up for the lunch. We appreciate the Relief Society for preparing the luncheon that will take place later this afternoon and for all the sisters that helped in the meal preparation for that luncheon. We’d like to conclude these funeral services now by singing Hymn #152, God be with you ‘til we Meet Again and the benediction to be offered by David Jordan.

God be With You Till We Meet Again Hymn #152

God be with you till we meet again;
By his counsels guide, uphold you;
With his sheep securely fold you.
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet,
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.


God be with you till we meet again;
When life’s perils thick confound you,
Put his arms unfailing round you.
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet,
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.


God be with you till we meet again;
Keep love’s banner floating o’er you;
Smite death’s threat’ning wave before you.
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet,
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

David Jordan:

Our Father in Heaven, we are very grateful that we could gather together and we are so grateful for the life of our dear Afton Felt, our grandmother and mother. We are grateful for the associations and relationship we were able to have with her, for the love that she shared with each of us. We are so grateful for the example that she set, for the things that she taught us and for the love that she gave. We are grateful for this funeral service we were able to have, for this ward that hosted it, for this good bishop that conducted. We are grateful for the words that were spoken to help us remember and cherish the memories that help us and give us comfort at this time. We are grateful for the music that was sung at this meeting to give us comfort at this time as well. We are indeed grateful for the atonement of the Savior, for the resurrection, for the wonderful plan of salvation. We ask for thy help and guidance at this time as we carry on with our lives that we will always remember our grandmother, that we will remember the things that we learned from her and be able to apply those things in our own lives, to help us in our own families and our own trials and all that we go through in this life. We are so grateful for what she has left us, the legacy that she has left with us. And we ask for these blessings and we do it in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Bishop Smith:

Brothers and Sisters, if you’d please stand.


Graveside Services

Provo Cemetery, 900 East State Street, Provo, UT

April 1, 2008


Bishop Smith:

Thank you brothers and sisters. Again, we’re so glad that the family can gather together here at Sister Afton Felt’s graveside. We appreciate all those that have been a part of today and again, we invite you all to gather again at the church following the interment, there will be a luncheon prepared at the Heatheridge Chapel where the services were held today. Just by way of announcement, there will be a special American Indian tribute given there at the luncheon, so you’ll be able to enjoy that there. We’d now like to ask Brother Larry Felt to give the dedication of the grave.

Larry Felt:

Our Father in Heaven, in the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, which I hold, on behalf of family members here today, I dedicate this resting place for our dear mother and grandmother as the final resting place for her mortal remains. We dedicate this spot that it may be hallowed and consecrated and protected until that time in which she shall come forth in the resurrection. And this I do in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Bishop Smith:

This concludes the interment services and again, we appreciate all of you in your attendance here today. Thank you.

FuneralsFuneral Service M Afton Harris Felt