Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Dear Mom

Zoe Ann Farnsworth
August 24, 1943-June 14, 2009

Zoe Ann Farnsworth, daughter of Harold and Ruth Ann Johnson, was born in Boise, ID on Aug. 24, 1943, and died June 14, 2009 in San Diego, CA due to carcinoid tumors.

Zoe and her older brother Kay grew up in Boise. But their fondest memories of childhood were in the mountains of northern Idaho picking huckleberries on the shores of Payette Lake.

As a freshman at Boise Jr. College, Zoe met Ken Farnsworth Jr. Their courtship continued even after she transferred to Oregon State and he moved to the University of Utah. Five years later, Ken visited Zoe in San Francisco where she was teaching school and proposed to her at Half Moon Bay.

After their marriage and move to Salt Lake City, UT, three children followed in quick succession: Kenny (Becca), Mike and Michelle (Erik Lehnardt). At this time the young couple began searching for a faith. They were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Dec. 18, 1971. This decision shaped and guided the life of their family for good. A year after they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple they welcomed another daughter, Ruth Ann (Bill Mitchell). When a neighbor abandoned a foster child, Zoe took him in. Later, Dan was adopted into the family.

Zoe sacrificed her time, her health and many personal pursuits to nurture these five children


While her husband worked long hours building his business, she sewed magical costumes, supervised chores, fostered a love of reading, limited television and taught her children to cook. Her mothering was infused with humor and she was known to dye the mashed potatoes purple and disguise a turkey neck as the largest sundae to surprise a greedy son.

Zoe passed on her love of gardening to all her children. In every home she lived in, she designed, planted and tended a garden of fruits, vegetables, perennials and roses. Even in her last two years when her health failed her, she planted herbs, strawberries, and calla lilies at her winter home in San Diego.

Cultivating friendships came as naturally to Zoe as growing flowers. She had several “best friends.” Every holiday was marked with thoughtfully chosen gifts for friends and family and she delighted in surprises.

Survived by her 92-year-old ailing mother, Zoe was her caretaker until just weeks before her own death.

From diagnosis to her last breath, Zoe’s husband Ken served her every need.

Though her death came too soon, she was well prepared. She was fully cleansed by the atonement of Jesus Christ. She wrote her testimony in her final days saying, “I know Heavenly Father loves all his children and sees the deep good in all of us.” She also saw the good in everyone and had a great talent for forgiveness. It was a privilege to be with her in her last few weeks.

Her father precedes her in death and she leaves behind nineteen grandchildren who will dearly miss her pig stories. No one can tell a story like Grandma Zoe.

Friends and family are invited to attend a viewing in her honor on Wednesday, June 17th at Larkin Mortuary 1950 E. 10600 S. from 6-8 p.m. Funeral will be held on Thursday, June 18th at 11:00 a.m. at the Pepperwood Chapel 2195 E. Pepperwood Drive.

Posted by Picasa


Ruth said...

We will miss her so much. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Lettie said...

Ruth - What a beautiful write up. I was looking at the old wedding pictures of your parents the other night that you post some time ago. They were so happy in the picture and you are very lucky to have a treasure like that. I am so sad for you. I have cried nearly every post your sister has written about your mom's illness and subsequent passing. I just thought about you and how much you loved your mom and how nice she always was to us. It really hurt my heart to think of anyone losing their mom, let alone my favorite Ruth.
How wonderful to be raised by such kind and caring people. You are blessed to have been her daughter and she was blessed to be your mom, I am sure. I have been praying for your comfort. I am so sorry for your loss. :(

Hammy said...

Beautifully written. So sorry for your loss.

Teachinfourth said...

I am so sorry to hear about your loss.

Kenny said...

Dear Ruth Ann,

This is Kenny aka "greedy son". As you know there were actually two greedy sons that always fought over desserts. It was a great teaching moment that will always remain in family lore.

I love the obituary written by you and Michelle. Mom's personality and sense of humor are captured in your words. Oh how we will miss our dear Mom!


kim & co. said...


My heart is with you and your family (especially your dad) at this time--your parents are truly amazing people and I'm so sorry to hear that she had passed. But that is a really beautiful write up--I don't feel like I read obituaries that let you see the fun, human side of people very often. Thank you for sharing that.

Linn said...


This was beautiful! As always, I am crying for your sweet family, but grateful that you shared something so wonderful with all of us. Please know our thoughts and prayers for your family, and especially your sweet dad, continue. We miss you all and hope you know how often we think of you.


Brandan and Becky said...

I just got your letter (we are at the end of every shipping route--it takes a long time) and sat out on the porch to read it. What a difference a week makes. I hope you are comforted by knowing that you did continue with grace to the end.

Blessings for you and your family,

Denise said...

Beautifully written, Ruth. I love the photos you chose to go with this post. I never think of your Mom but to feel my heart swell with love and appreciation at her many kindnesses toward me. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your Dad and siblings.

Michelle Tall said...

Oh Ruth, I'm so very sorry. How I wish I could be there for you now. You and your family are in my heart.

Crafty Mom said...

That was a beautiful description of your mother. I know that all of her amazing qualities live on in you and your family. I will keep your family, especially your dear father in my prayers.

Kady said...

Ruth, My heart is just breaking for you. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


denebug said...

I am sad with you Ruth. It hurts to miss someone you love so much. I hope you feel peace and love to temper the sorrow.

Emily Murdock said...

Ruth, I had no idea. I'm so sorry. Wish I could be with you to give you a giant hug and help with whatever you need. I love you, dear friend, and I'm so thankful for your mom. After all, without her there would be no YOU, and my life has been better because of you. My thoughts and prayers are with you. May you have peace.

Emily Joy said...

What a beautiful obituary. The picture of your parents is very touching - so beautiful and personal it is almost hard to look at. I will miss your mom so much.