Dozens of mothers - many wearing bonnets, shawls and other dress reminiscent of pioneer days in Utah - were honored Saturday for the love and care they give their families and others.
Two mothers, Sybil S. Stewart of North Logan, and Nancy B. Peterson, Kaysville, were singled out for special recognition during a luncheon gathering of the Utah Association of American Mothers Inc. in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.Stewart, 75, mother of 10 children and an active community and church worker, was selected Utah's Mother of the Year for 1996.
Peterson, a registered nurse, stepmother to two children and mother to three adopted children, was honored as Mother of Young Children.
She drew strong audience applause when she termed the gathering, the "Academy Awards of Motherhood - only with class and integrity."
Both women and other mothers who addressed the audience said they love being a mother and have grown from the challenges and joy motherhood brings. Stewart and Peterson will enter national competition in Lincoln, Neb., April 24-28.
Other Mother of the Year finalists honored Saturday were Helen C. Glissmeyer and Eleanor K. Kennard, both of Salt Lake City; Kay R. Hardy, Ogden; and Geraldine (Jerry) S. Kelly, Brigham City.
Wearing an outfit made by her daughters and her great-grandmother's black hat that was decorated with ribbon and flowers, Stewart told the audience of a cross-stitched plaque in her home that reads: "This family's creed is honor, duty and service to God, family and country."
Like a "precious treasure," she said these are values that she and her husband, Boyd, and their family have inherited from their ancestors. One of the family's "inheri-tances," she said, is a "legacy of service to God," and she told how forebearers had given service to LDS Prophet Joseph Smith and others. She recounted some of their teachings, and she pointed out that service to country has been important of her own family life.
She said her family will inherit material possessions from their parents, "but more importantly, just as our progenitors left to us, we hope to also leave them a treasure chest of values . . . that will guide and direct their lives . . . "
Stewart graduated with a teaching certificate in home economics from Utah State Agricultural College. While rearing her family, she gave many years service as a Relief Society president and in other callings in the LDS Church. Also, she was active in the Republican Party and was a library board member.
A native of Ogden, Peterson holds degrees in sociology and registered nursing from Weber State and worked for the Davis County Health Department. When she married her husband, Gary L. Peterson, he had two children, ages 11 and 16, from a previous marriage. The couple has since adopted three biracial children, a son, who is now 10, and two daughters, ages 9 and 5.
"All of us here today have important things in common such as a deep love for our families and a strong desire to prepare our children for the future, for the fate of our nation rests on their shoulders. I love being a mother. It is my career - yours too," Peterson told the audience. All finalists' talks were based on the theme, "The Golden Thread of Values Through the Years."
Lesa Stevenson, Providence, Cache County, a state officer in the American Mothers organization, announced that Utah mothers have made and will donate 100 quilts to Primary Children's Medical Center and to babies across the nation who are at risk for AIDS or drug addiction.
Claudene B. Gordon, chairman of the Mother of the Year Committee who conducted the program, recognized numerous mothers in the audience, many of whom have won state or national honors as mothers.
"We thank you - not only for representing the mothers of Utah through the years but for continuing to represent us . . . Thank you for caring and bringing the all important message of your belief in good motherhood and the value of children in our families," Gordon said.