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Utah author Polly Jordan dies in Bountiful

BOUNTIFUL — MarDeane "Polly" Carver Jordan traveled the world with her husband, a U.S. military officer and diplomat, often interacting with heads of state, but she never lost touch with her small-town roots.

"I'm sure that my mother has been on six continents, personally knew four U.S. presidents and visited well over 100 countries, usually with my father on a mission for the State Department," David Jordan said. "She was totally unaffected by any of that. She was just as comfortable in Pocatello, Idaho, as she was in Beijing, China."

The devoted wife and mother served two missions for her church in Hong Kong and Hawaii and was the author of "Brigham Young: Covered Wagon Boy," a children's biography written for the Childhood of Famous Americans series.

Polly Jordan died Tuesday, Feb. 9, in Bountiful, where she and her husband had lived for the past 15 years. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Mueller Park Stake Center, 1800 E. Mueller Park Road, Bountiful. Interment will be in the Preston, Idaho, cemetery.

She was born in Preston on June 27, 1924, one of seven children of Hazel Smith and Parley Leonidas Carver. While attending the University of Idaho Southern Branch (later to become Idaho State University) in Pocatello, she met Amos Jordan, whom she followed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where they were married on June 5, 1946.

The Jordans spent many years at West Point, where "Joe" Jordan was on the faculty for two decades, eventually serving as chair of the department of social science.

"She took a raft of cadets from Idaho and Utah under her wing," David Jordan said. "She also had to do a great deal of professional entertaining."

Over the years, Joe Jordan, who earned the rank of brigadier general in the Army, served as deputy undersecretary in both the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of State with many foreign assignments.

David Jordan said his mother "was just the ultimate supportive wife who made my father successful in all his work. My father always thought of her as the co-author of his life."

During two missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Jordans were responsible for church humanitarian services in east and south Asia.

"My mother was handing out rice in Bangladesh when the floods were there in 1998," David Jordan said. "She always put the needs of others for whom she had responsibility ahead of her own."

MarDeane Jordan is survived by her husband of Bountiful; their six children, Peggy Hughes of Provo; Diana Paxton and David Jordan, both of Bountiful; Keith Jordan of Franklin, Tenn.; Linda Mabey of Farmington; and Kent Jordan of Wilmington, Del.; 24 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

e-mail: mhaddock@desnews.com