Retta Ludlow Brown, known as "Grandma Brown" to all who knew her, returned to Heavenly Father and the arms of her loving husband on Sunday, September 16, 2001 at Provo, Utah. She was surrounded by her family and had just celebrated her 94th birthday. Retta was born August 25, 1907, at Benjamin, Utah; she was the 12th child of Walter and Ann Hawkins Ludlow.
She had a keen mind and taught herself to read by age three. She attended schools in Benjamin and Spanish Fork, graduating from high school in 1924 at age 16. Retta is an emeritus member of Brigham Young University, graduating with a teaching certificate in 1926. She taught 1st and 2nd grades in elementary schools for five years in both Joseph and Redmond, Utah.
Retta met John Earl Brown in 1931 and was married and sealed to him in the Salt Lake Temple on June 27, 1932. They lived in Reno, Nevada for three years, moved back to Benjamin and managed a family-owned resort called Arrowhead. The resort had an outdoor dance hall, swimming pool and many family reunions were held at Arrowhead. After World War II began, Earl and Retta moved to the center of Benjamin, ran a service and gas station for Utah Oil. The family moved to Provo in June, 1951 so Earl could work at Geneva Steel Company. Retta had served as a substitute teacher, pumped gas, filled tires and loved working with her husband in their business.
Retta was gifted with a perfect pitch voice. She was able to play the piano and organ at age five and music became a very important part of her life. As a life-long member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Retta served in every auxiliary in the Church, including Primary President, Ward Activities Chairman, Relief Society officer, and wrote, produced and directed many roadshow productions and yearly dance festivals for Young Men's and Young Women's organizations. At age 12, she served as the ward organist in the Benjamin Ward. In Provo, she served as the Relief Society Chorister for 12 years. She was a core member of Florence Jepperson Madsen's Singing Mother's Chorus, Franklin Madsen's and Margarite Jepperson's choruses. She sang in the Salt Lake Tabernacle at the October Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 19 consecutive years. Retta sang with the Provo Women's Council Chorus for several years.
After Earl died in 1984, Retta worked as a Foster Grandparent, listening to children read at the Maeser Elementary School in Provo. She loved to work with the children, faculty and staff. She remained working five days a week for 10 years until her blindness became a problem. However, she was able to enjoy a clear mind and the presence of her family right up to the day of her death. Her hobbies included cooking, quilting, temple work, genealogy, fishing, gardening and traveling. She had a wonderful sense of humor and said she had a suitcase packed under her bed just in case she got a chance to go on a trip.
Retta is survived by three daughters; Jeanene (Alan) Morgan and Lana Brown, Provo, and Urla B. Smith, Roy, Utah. She has eight grandchildren and their spouses, 24 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. She is also survived by younger sister, Alta L. Larsen, Spanish Fork.
She was preceded in death by her parents, 11 brothers and sisters, husband, and an infant daughter.
Funeral services will be held Friday, September 21, 2001, at 11 AM, at the Provo Fifth Ward Chapel, 500 East 200 North. Friends may call Thursday evening, at the Berg Mortuary of Provo, 185 East Center Street, from 6-8 P.M., or Friday morning, at the Ward Chapel, from 9:30 to 10:30 prior to services. Interment, Provo City Cemetery.