Marcia Ann West Richins, 79, died peacefully at home of natural causes related to Alzheimer’s disease on Friday, October 15, 2021, in American Fork, UT.
Marcia was born on April 3, 1942 in Idaho Falls, ID, the youngest of four children to Elvin Leroy West and Emma Farber West. She left high school early to marry U.S. Army Sgt. Richard Merrill Hardy in 1959, with whom she bore her three children. They divorced in 1977. Marcia’s grit and tenacity were undeniable as she faced circumstances in a time when divorce and single-motherhood were rare and often harshly judged. She took classes at night while working tough day jobs such as carpet installation.
She married and was sealed to her eternal companion wildlife biologist Gary Haws Richins in the Salt Lake City temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on November 16, 1979. Marcia continued her education, becoming one of very few female transmission drafters. Back then drafting was done by hand, not with computer programs. Her employers included Deseret Generation & Transmission (now Deseret Power) in Utah and Burns & McDonnell in Missouri.
Marcia had many passions, none more important to her than faith in God and the LDS Church. She did proxy temple work and served many callings including in the Relief Society and Young Women’s programs. She was a devoted family genealogist. One of her cherished experiences was personally meeting Pres. Harold B. Lee in 1973 in Munich, Germany.
Marcia loved sports and the outdoors. She was a die-hard BYU team fan. She played semi-pro softball in her teen years. Her father taught her to tie fishing flies. She was proficient in tennis, golf, and snow- and water-skiing. She was a lifeguard, swimming instructor, and taught CPR. She once broke a finger playing football. Her husband, Gary, ignited her zeal for hunting and competitive trap shooting. His wedding gift to her was an over-and-under shotgun.
Marcia loved music and art. In her teens, Marcia jitterbugged, Lindy’d and jived. She played the organ and ukulele. She had a rich tenor voice and often sang in her wards’ choirs. She was occasionally a member of the Sweet Adelines. She created beautiful free-hand charcoal portrait renderings; and was talented in photography, gold leaf and wood burning. She collected wood duck sculptures; souvenirs from her many travels; and recordings of favorite musicians such as Elvis, Barbra Streisand and Vikki Carr.
Marcia sometimes loved trendy fashions but always had her own style: cat-eyed glasses, pink or purple frosts and tints, “Nancy Sinatra” boots, jump suits, fringed suede coats, and an infamous red leather biker outfit.
Marcia loved Italy, where she lived for three years as a military wife. She fluently spoke and often dreamed in Italian. She skied the Alps; climbed the Tower of Pisa; and toured sites such as the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Cathedral and the Vatican.
Marcia loved family. Virtually all her adventures were family affairs. Many evenings were spent playing Monopoly, Boggle, Charades, and Pinochle. She was known as “the fun aunt” to many nieces and nephews. “Family” meant more than just blood relations. Marcia was that neighborhood mom, often taking needful young people under her wing; and she cherished life-long relationships with entire families and special caregivers. She was good at making them each feel they were her favorite. And, you were! Of course, Marcia’s “family” also includes the many pets she loved throughout her life.
Her immediate family wishes to acknowledge and sincerely thank everyone who is or considered Marcia their family. It would be impossible to name them all without unintentionally leaving someone out.
Marcia’s children especially express their love and gratitude to Gary, who loves them as his own, and who sacrificed so much to love, honor and cherish their mother.
Marcia is survived by her faithful husband Gary and children Chad West (Cindy) Richins, Merrill Elvin Richins and Christopher Daniel Hardy. She is preceded by her parents and siblings Sharleen (Mel) Fonnesbeck, Lynn Elvin (Patricia) West, and Gary Leroy (Peggy) West.
A time for reunion and reminiscing with Marcia’s family begins at 2pm followed by a memorial service at 3pm on Friday, Oct 22, 2021 at Anderson & Sons Mortuary, 49 East 100 North, American Fork. The service will be broadcast live at the Zoom link below. A recording of the service will be available a few days after the funeral service below her obituary, where friends and family are encouraged to share tributes in photos, words and video.
Marcia chose to be cremated.