December 20, 1932—August 27, 2017
HEYBURN—Frances Meldean Taylor Son, 84, of Heyburn, passed away Sunday morning, August 27, 2017 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Twin Falls, Idaho, after a sudden stroke and heart failure. She was a vibrant and active lady all her life.
Meldean was born December 20, 1932, to Melbert and Thelma Barker Taylor in a two-room log cabin in Elba, Idaho during the heaviest storm of the winter. When she was about two months old, she became very sick after a sleigh ride in the snow to her grandma’s house ten miles to the south, in Almo. Her grandmother kept her throat clear by putting her finger down her throat. Dr. Slater diagnosed her with a form of meningococcal croup, with the first stages of diphtheria, and gave her a medicine that he normally would not give a 12 year old. Neighbors and Relief Society sisters gave her around-the-clock care, some using their old home remedies, mustard poultice, potato peelings, cool water cloths and much prayer. After more than a month, her parents took her to the doctor and she was doing much better. The doctor shook his head and said he hadn’t expected her to live and that it wasn’t just the medicine that saved her—it was a miracle she survived.
When Meldean was two years old, the family moved to the Muddy Ranch, which was 30 miles south of Park Valley, Utah. In the Fall of 1936 they moved back to Almo, where she attended first grade at the Almo School. Then the family moved to Albion, so she attended grade school at the Albion State Normal College. Her teachers were students studying to be teachers as a profession. It was at the Albion College where she gained a lifelong love for music, the piano, art and an unquenchable thirst for reading, inspirational quotes, and learning. She transferred that love of learning to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When high school age, the family eventually moved to Heyburn. She graduated from Heyburn High School in 1951 as Salutatorian and Editor of the Panther Yearbook. She later became the historian for the Heyburn Alumni reunions for many years. Growing up during the Depression made her strong, resourceful and resilient. She believed in hard work, recycling everything, not wasting anything, and appreciating everything that anyone did for her.
On February 14, 1951, she married her high school sweetheart, Forrest O. Son, in the Salt Lake City LDS Temple. They were married just before midnight because of the number of weddings that day. Meldean always dreamt about being married on Sweetheart’s Day. The newlyweds first farmed a little 40-acre farm, as well as some rented land in Heyburn. Then, another miracle happened; Forrest was the third person drawn, but the 1st World War II Veteran from Idaho in attendance, for an 80-acre homestead. Because he was there at the Rupert Square, he also got extra awards. He had first choice and picked land with the tallest sage brush, since that indicated the best soil. The young family with two children built a basement house, farmed, and built the house on top as they could. They felt lucky to have won land of their own, but also felt like they more than earned it clearing off sage brush, taming the powdery dust with the new well water, and working the land to raise the first crops the land ever produced. Meldean worked as hard as Forrest, mostly in the home and yard, but drove trucks and farm machinery when she needed to and raised her seven children. She had a “super green thumb” and always had a beautiful garden, lawn and flowers. She also became a highly skilled seamstress and taught her daughters these skills too. She could sew or crochet, and alter and repair anything, including suits, coats, and wedding dresses. She was truly a pioneer of her time, in every sense of the word.
Meldean was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was the first in her family to join the church as a convert at eight years old. She could never imagine a life without going to church and taking her family with her. She faithfully served in many positions, to include teaching adults in teacher training classes, and Cub Scout Den Leader for many years. But, her passion was genealogy, serving as a Family History Consultant at the Family History Center all day every Monday for most of her adult life, where she was still serving at time of her death. Her children spent many picnics at many cemeteries around the world, and joked that they knew why “sand”wiches was spelled like it was since many of the cemeteries visited didn’t have much grass, but plenty of sand and dirt. Her children knew the inside of many family history libraries and archives, often searching names on microfilm and records simultaneously. She especially loved it when the missionaries came into the Family History Center to send emails home. She loved to connect them with their families and help them find their ancestors or relatives in the area.
Meldean always considered her profession, and joy, to be raising her seven children on the two dairy farms north of Rupert and Paul, Idaho. She was always engaged in whatever activities her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were involved in. She loved being a 4-H leader, PTA president, Den Mother and all-around cheerleader to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved animals and had horses, cats, dogs and two pet geese that would come when she called them. She had fond memories of traveling with family and friends to Germany, France, Holland, Hawaii and many states to visit family and friends. She would do almost anything to help her grandchildren, and most anyone else she came in contact with. However, she was most interested in teaching others how to do something, not just doing things for them.
She became the matriarch of this great family after the passing of her sweetheart and eternal companion almost 28 years ago. Since then Meldean has led her family, being an inspiration to everyone for her courage, hard work, desire to serve, talents and abilities, unending energy as a genealogist, and deep love for her family and the Lord. She never lost sight of what was important in life and focused on those things. She was constantly amazed with the Lord’s hand in our lives and how most everything worked out. She was, and still is in many ways, a steady force for good.
Meldean is survived by six of her seven children, Cary (Sheila) Son of American Fork, Utah; Angela (Jerry) Albertson of Burley; Margaret (Rowland) Bingham of Heyburn; Meredith Hunt of Burley; Steve (Rosemary) Son of West Lafayette, Indiana; Stacey (Valerie) Son of Dallas, Texas; and son-in-law, Ricke Weickum of Puyallup, Washington. She is survived by 27 grandchildren: Vanessa, Richard, Tiffany, Teisha, Tara, Jennifer, Trevor, Mandy, Brett, Cassie, Bryce, Andrea, Cambria, Nicole, Britney, Bryan, Cameo, Jacob, Forrest, Garrett, Melissa, Mikayla, Cheyenne, Eli, MiKaye, Parker, Jackson. She is also survived by 51 great-grandchildren, Sean, Seth, Saxon, Samantha, Ryker, Decker, Jaden, Landon, Brooklyn, Mason, Ethan, Bronco, Shelby, Ryan, Emmalee, Jared, Layklynn, Anna, Landon, Baylee, Brock, Quinn, Lila, Victoria, Shayla, Lexi, Charlcey, JR, Taylor, Kenzie, Jace, Riley, Rori, Austyn, Kegan, Caitlyn, Liam, Declan, Makayla, Colton, Richelle, Gavin, Morgan, Aubrey, Preston, Beckham, Abigail, Mckenzie, Atreyu, Nova, David and there are two more on the way. Meldean is also survived by her brothers, Vearl (Saundra) Taylor of Heyburn, Ferris (Karen) Taylor of Draper, Utah; sister, Juanita Taylor (Robert) Brady of McGaheysville, Virginia; and sister-in-law, Marion Son (Robert) Baird of Idaho City.
Meldean was preceded in death by her husband, Forrest O. Son; parents, Melbert and Thelma Barker Taylor; parents-in-law, Othniel W. and Margaret Simms Son; and recently, her daughter, Marsha Son Weickum; and son-in-law, Russell Hunt.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, September 16, at the Paul LDS Stake Center, 424 West Ellis St. in Paul. Interment will follow at Riverside Cemetery, Heyburn.
Friends may call from 6 until 8 p.m. Friday, September 15, at the Rasmussen Funeral Home, 1350 E. 16th St. in Burley, and from 10 until 10:45 a.m. Saturday at the church prior to the service.
Meldean left a beautiful legacy to her large family. In honoring her example, we will love, pray, serve, honor, reflect, be courageous, stand for truth, and keep moving forward with faith as she did. As her grandson, Jacob reflected, “After visiting, Grandma Son would say, ‘So long’ instead of ‘Goodbye’, because goodbye is too permanent.’ Today we all have to say ‘so long’ for a much longer time than we ever wanted to. Helen Keller said, “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love becomes a part of us.” Meldean is a very big part of those who knew her; all of her posterity and the good they do is in large part, a tribute to her. All who really knew her, loved her and will miss her.