Cover photo for Mary Pixton's Obituary
1943 Mary 2024

Mary Pixton

May 20, 1943 — May 7, 2024

Mary Elizabeth Curtis Pixton, 80, of Highland, Utah, passed away May 7, 2024, in Provo, Utah, from complications of a stroke, parting this life supported by family at her bedside. Her last mortal hours were healing for her family as they came together to share family stories, laugh, cry, and forgive.

Mary was born May 20, 1943, in Portland, Oregon, the only daughter of William Henry Curtis and Elizabeth Anna Martha Leitherer Curtis. Mary's childhood in Oregon was filled with visits with grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Portland was also where Mary's mother, Betty, met with the missionaries and joined the LDS Church. This conversion by Mary's mother changed the spiritual trajectory of Mary's immediate and extended family and of her descendants. In 1952, Mary and her family traveled to the Mesa Temple where she and her brothers were sealed to their parents as an eternal family.

In 1956, Mary's father accepted a job in Utah, moving his family and settling in East Millcreek. Mary attended Granite High School where she was a good student and participated on the Drill Team. After graduation, Mary attended Brigham Young University as well as the University of Utah. From 1963 until 1967, she served as the executive assistant to Robert L. Rice, a well-known Salt Lake businessman. With a good job, Mary bought a VW bug, and enjoyed shopping and going dancing with friends.

Mary had several suitors, but the most persistent was a returned missionary and history student at the University of Utah. Paul Brewer Pixton noted that he first laid eyes on Mary at a dance in Salt Lake City but couldn't get her attention. He was doing his best James Dean imitation looking cool leaning on the auditorium wall, but she was busy chatting with friends. Paul managed to get up his courage and asked Mary to dance. Paul's strategy worked. Mary and Paul were married in Salt Lake City on March 20, 1965, in the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with Elder Harold B. Lee officiating.

In 1967 and 1968, Mary and Paul welcomed two baby boys, Paul Stuart and James Andrew, respectively. These little boys were busy and kept Mary running for many years of early motherhood. In 1971, Mary, Paul, and their children moved to Wisconsin where they were featured in a local newspaper article entitled "LDS family holding Family Home Evening". Family members still remember the brown polyester "Mary-Tyler-Moore-style" pantsuit Mary was seen wearing in the newspaper picture! In 1972, their family expanded with the addition of Katherine Marie.

In 1974, Mary and Paul and their children returned to Utah, settling in Orem. In 1975, their family became complete with the addition of Margaret Elizabeth. As part of her desire to be involved in her children's education, Mary served as president of the Orem Jr High School PTA and on the district PTA board for several years.

Mary loved being a mother. Like most moms, she also had high expectations of her children. She expected all four of her children to practice the piano, and lots of family discussions revolved around "who still has to practice the piano today". Many tears were shed on the family piano keyboard. These tears were not from playing beautiful music, but the tears of Mary's children wanting to stop practicing!

Mary excelled at homemaking skills, particularly sewing, and baking. She made her own clothes, baby blessing dresses, doll dresses, and other clothing and loved the process. Many a day would find a pattern and fabric taking up the entire family room floor. She also loved to gourmet cook but had to do so on a shoe-string budget.

Mary loved traveling. She visited most West European countries and had a particular fondness for England. In later years, she liked talking about walking in the English countryside and visiting bookstores. Mary was most proud of a trip she designed and executed later in life as a 75-year-old single person: She traveled on her own to Oregon and while staying at AirbnBs, visited beach towns and lighthouses, all while driving solo down the Oregon Coast. She met with cousins along the way, having a fun mini family reunion. The week-long trip left family members speechless. "You went where? For how long? You didn't tell us you were going!?"

Mary was a voracious reader, particularly British Cozy Mysteries. She delighted in reading the monthly LDS Church publications and the Book of Mormon. Family members would often base their own reading list on what Mary was reading. Her children remember always seeing a stack of books by her bedside table.

Mary loved the mountains. In earlier years she skied: in later years she loved drives up in the mountains. In fact, the day before her stroke, Mary rode shotgun with a family member up American Fork Canyon (even doing a little 4 wheeling). She always liked to stop and admire the reservoir, the stream, and beautiful seasonal colors.

Mary was a lifetime member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and served in various capacities in the Primary, Sunday School, and Relief Society organizations. She enjoyed Ministering and welcoming her Ministering Sisters into her home. From 2012-2019, Mary served as a Church Service Missionary at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City. This was during her single years, and her family was impressed by her bravery in initiating this missionary experience and by reinventing herself in her 70's. She provided tours of the Church to friends while bearing testimony of her love of the Savior daily.

Mary battled multiple major health challenges over the last 35 years of her life. One doctor commented that she had lived longer with her condition than anyone he had managed previously and volunteered to write a case study on her. Mary responded that she wasn't sure she wanted her medical condition immortalized, even if immortalized anonymously. Despite these challenges, Mary continued to have a positive outlook which she attributed to her belief in God and His love for her.

Mary loved her neighbors and members of her ward congregation. The members of the Highland 8th Ward were ministering angels to her during the twenty years she was with them. She made eternal friends who loved her and included her in their family home evenings, invited her to sit with their family at church, and treated her like an honorary grandma at children's soccer games.

Survivors include her children, Paul S. (Rebecca) Pixton, James Pixton, Katherine Maudsley, Margaret (Mike) Holmes; 15 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren; two brothers, William Curtis and Michael Curtis; and a special daughter-in-law, Jennifer Pixton. She is preceded in death by her parents.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at 11:00 AM in the Highland 8th Ward Chapel, 10390 N. Alpine Highway, Highland, UT. A viewing will be held from 9:30 to 10:45 AM prior to the funeral service at the same location. Burial at the Highland Cemetery will follow. 

Zoom link to service:
https://zoom.us/j/93251734797

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