Colleen Durrant Lawson, beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, daughter, sister, and aunt returned to the loving arms of her family on May 31, 2017 in Brookings, Oregon. Colleen had suffered for many years with the debilitating Alzheimer’s disease, but she did so with the soft spoken, happy temperament she displayed throughout her life. Colleen was born in American Fork, Utah on January 8, 1939 to Sterling “Dick” Durrant and Emma Pearl Gray Durrant. The youngest of 5 children, she was adored by her parents and older siblings, Keith (Merry) Durrant, Nelda (Marion) Kelly, and Marilyn (Max) Nelson, but especially her brother, Howard Max (Shirley) Durrant. “He was her favorite.”
Colleen loved animals. As a child she would collect stray kittens and puppies, much to her father’s dismay. When he believed she had collected far too many, he would threaten to take them the creek and deal with the situation. She would get so mad, she would cry and beg him to spare their lives. Of course, he always did. Colleen always approached life with a sunny outlook, happiness and a great laugh. She would laugh at everyone’s jokes, goofy faces, or any antic happening around her. Because of her cheery disposition, everyone loved Colleen, especially her nieces and nephews. She was particularly close to Sharon Kelly Fotheringham, who was just 11 years her junior. Colleen taught Sharon to play the piano and would spend many summer evenings sleeping outside with her. Sharon remembers that Colleen was often too shy to talk to boys and would ask her to talk to them first. Colleen learned to play the piano as a young girl and played beautiful music. She played for church, family and friends, but her nieces and nephews remember her playing “Mr. Sandman” most often.
She graduated from American Fork High School, afterwards seeking training in Salt Lake City to become a secretary. It was there she met the tall and handsome love of her life, Delburt Lawson. He was a war veteran and very dashing in his Marine uniform. Delburt and Colleen were married on February 10, 1961, in her mother and father’s parlor. Delburt whisked Colleen off to exotic places like Elkhart, Kansas and Terra Bella, California. And, later in life to Tonopah, Nevada and Bowie, Texas. Along their path they had two beautiful girls: Lora “Sam” Lawson, and Dawn "Charlie John" Lawson (John) Griffin. They both loved their girls and doted on them throughout their lives. Although Delburt and Colleen lived far from home, American Fork was always in her heart. They and their young girls visited often, driving the snowy mountains of Colorado more than once. On one occasion, Colleen and the two girls were travelling to Utah alone. The snow was falling hard enough to require chains on the tires. When it was time to remove the chains from the tires, there was no one around to help, so Colleen set out to remove them herself. A tow truck, removal of the tires, and many hours later the tangled chains were finally off the axle. The three of them went happily on their way. Soon, there were 8 grandchildren: Amanda Pearl Walker (Bradley) Preston, Whitney Walker (Dominic) Lopez, Michael Maxwell, CJ Maxwell, Colton Maxwell, Hallie Jo Maxwell, Terryn Griffin (Kenneth) Rivera, and Marina Griffin, then eventually 7 great-grandchildren. Colleen loved her girls, but her grandchildren were adored even more. She hugged, kissed and doted on every one. They all remember her fondly as their best friend. She was their life and they were hers.
She was a meticulous homemaker, and in the “true Durrant fashion,” made sure everyone was well fed with good food and lots of laughter. Colleen enjoyed crocheting and spent hours making colorful afghans, intricate doilies and many baby blankets. Through their adventures and even some misadventures, she never faltered in her unwavering love and devotion to Delburt. Delburt was always fascinated with flying. He spent many years crop dusting over the fields of Kansas while Colleen and the girls looked on with amazement. She followed him to Nevada, where the adventurous Delburt would fly a helicopter through narrow canyons and wide expanses, rounding up wild horses, all the while, Colleen bravely driving the large gas truck to the field, to refuel the helicopter. As time marched on, Delburt and Colleen, still hand in hand, approached aging with dignity and laughter, killing rattle snakes and raising watermelons for farmer’s market in Bowie, Texas. Eventually, the stages of dementia took their toll, so Lora moved both of her parents to Gold Beach, Oregon to stay with her. Alzheimer’s continued to rob Colleen of her memories and the people she loved the most. Her nieces and nephews first, her grandchildren, her siblings and even her beloved, Delburt. He passed away on December 6, 2013. Finally, she is free to remember, to walk, to laugh, and play the piano, again!
Colleen was proceeded in death by her mom, daddy, and four older siblings. She is survived, and ever loved, by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nephews and nieces and the many friends she acquired along the way. To the many caregivers of Sea View Memory Care, who watched over and cared for her, thank you! You were her ministering angels on earth.
A memorial service will be held Tuesday June 6, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at Anderson & Sons Mortuary, 49 East 100 North in American Fork, where friends and family will have an opportunity to share memories and stories of Colleen and Del. A short viewing will be held from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m., prior to the services. She will be interred at the American Fork Cemetery. Thank you, also, to Redwood Mortuary in Brookings, OR for respectfully caring for our dear mother and lovingly sending her back home to American Fork. Please share a memory below.
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American Fork Chapel
49 East 100 North
American Fork, UT 84003
Lone Peak Chapel
6141 West 11000 North
Highland, UT 84003