Elsa Vernice Watkins Terry, passed away on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, from congestive heart failure at her home in Riverton, Utah. She was 77 years old.
Elsa was born on January 20, 1945, in Cardston, Alberta, Canada, along with her younger twin brother Eldon, to Mick and Elsa Stapleton. Her mother Elsa passed away just three days later from a pulmonary embolism. Now a widower with eight older children to care for, Mick made the difficult but loving decision to allow his wife's
sister Hertha and her husband Bernell Watkins to adopt the twins when they were just months old. Consequently, Elsa and Eldon grew up in Alpine, Utah with their younger brother Carlos.
Elsa graduated from LDS Seminary, and American Fork High School before attending Snow College for two years. She then went on to graduate from Utah State with a bachelor's degree in Home Economics and Secondary Education, and later earned a master's degree in Education from Brigham Young University (BYU). Many of Elsa's roommates remained lifelong friends.
Elsa married Dennis Dilworth Terry on July 12, 1968, in Alpine Utah and they had two daughters. Except for the last 4 years, Elsa lived her entire adult life in American Fork, Utah. She taught sewing, foods, careers, and child development at Pleasant Grove Jr. High for 31 years. She taught summer school for many years and was instrumental in developing career curriculum for secondary schools. For years she traveled the state presenting workshops and training for other educators. After retiring from Alpine School District, she went on to work for BYU until 2001 supervising student teachers majoring in home economics education.
Elsa was a great cook and wonderful seamstress, sewing clothes for herself, her daughters, relatives, and friends for decades. In her youth and early college years she won several sewing competitions sponsored by 4H and others. She loved animals and antiques and enjoyed interior design and gardening, taking pride in her well-kept home and yard. However, Elsa's passion in life was family! She LOVED being with her kids and grandkids, going to family reunions with her siblings and cousins, and doing family
history. Elsa research family history relentlessly and found and documented thousands of relatives. She found several long-lost relatives and reunited them with existing family and worked as a family history consultant at the Family History Center for nearly 15 years helping others research their own ancestors.
Despite a lifetime of health problems not limited to multiple battles with cancer requiring chemotherapy and radiation, heart valve replacements, and a complete loss of her hearing in both ears, Elsa remained positive and kept putting one foot in front of the other with grace and determination until the very end.
Elsa is survived by her brothers Ed (Phyllis) Stapleton, Eldon (Dixie) Watkins, Carlos (Alane) Watkins, and Vic (Tamara) Stapleton; sisters Georgene Shank, Betty Noakes, Linda Vasseur, and Pat Silvestri; daughters Shazelle, Shamae (Scott) Sabin and four grandchildren Addy, Parker, Cooper, and Claire Sabin. She was preceded in death by her mother Hertha and father Bernell Watkins, her husband Dennis, and her siblings Jim Stapleton, Bill Stapleton, Mike Stapleton, Glenda Raessler, and JoAnn Taft.
A viewing will be held on Friday, December 16, 2022, from 11:45 am to 12:45 pm just prior to a short service at 1:00 p.m. at the Anderson & Sons Lone Peak Chapel located at 6141 W. 11000 N., Highland, Utah. Following the service, burial will be at the Alpine City Cemetery located at 400 N Grove Drive, Alpine, Utah.
To Watch Elsa's service via live stream please click on the link below: