It is truly bittersweet for us to have to say goodbye to our angel mother, who passed away on December 28, 2023, at the age of 88, in Taylorsville, Utah. Her sheer will kept her on this earth for as long as it did, allowing her to be here for others, especially her family. She had such love and gratitude in her heart for the life she was given and the unique family she created. Our hearts are heavy as we face the void her absence creates, yet assured as we contemplate her legacy to all those who knew and loved her.
Charmayne was born July 5, 1935, in Emmett, Idaho, to Orville and Ella Bigler, the oldest of ten children. She was raised on a humble farm in Manderson, Wyoming, where she learned the value of hard work and service to others. What her family lacked temporally, they made up for it in heart as their charity knew no bounds. Every day of her life, Charmayne served those around her without complaint, always dutiful and loving.
When Charmayne wasn't caring for farm chores, siblings, or neighbors' children, you would find her stealing away to read by the light of a small window on a ledge above the kitchen. She would read there until she could no longer make out the words on the page and would only have electricity once she was a junior in high school. Charmayne graduated from Manderson High School, second in a class of six, forever shaped by her farmhouse upbringing.
Charmayne spent a few summers living with her aunt's family working in southern California. After high school, she attended BYU with her favorite cousin, Glenda, taking secretarial courses and babysitting to pay expenses. The summer after, she returned to California. She was a secretary at Douglas Aircraft when, one fateful Friday night, she went to the Lawrence Welk Aragon Ballroom in Santa Monica. There, she met Thomas Kasparian, a dashing Armenian from New York City, who became enchanted by this farm girl from Wyoming enough to consider a new faith and lifestyle. They married on November 5, 1955, and were faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to the end.
They welcomed their first child, Dalene, in El Segundo, where Tom worked for North American Aviation as a computer programmer. Later, they moved to Northridge to work for Rocketdyne when their second daughter, Charisse, was born. Tom then got a job with IBM and was assigned to their offices in Poughkeepsie, New York, where their two sons, Joel and Kirk, joined the growing family. After four and a half years, IBM asked them to move to Houston, Texas, to work on the space program, where Darren was born. After a short stay, Tom was asked to come to Salt Lake City to implement a computer system for The Church. There, they stayed and had their "caboose" children, Audra, Rhett, and Jessica, making Blake Heights and Lou Jean Street their home and corner of the world for the next 60 years.
Charmayne was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints all her life. She had a strong testimony and served in many callings. She was Relief Society president in New York, Houston, and Taylorsville. She served at the ward and stake level as Primary president and in the scouting program, guiding all four sons to Eagle Scout. She taught Sunday School, worked in the nursery, served as ward historian, and edited the Sunday program. She was the first to welcome new neighbors with fresh bread and homemade jam and invite them to Sunday dinner.
Tom and Charmayne's generosity was legendary. They had an unofficial "open door" policy that gave refuge to anyone in need. They recorded that over the years they housed about 48 people, from a few nights to several years. They would give, in any way possible, and made life-long friends through their caring and loving efforts.
Charmayne was eager to learn new things. She studied with a renowned health guru and, at one-point, studied human anatomy to become a licensed massage therapist. When her children were all in school, she returned to work doing what she loved, being a secretary. She could type over 90 words a minute and was highly organized. She worked for various businesses and then long-term for the Utah Youth Village, a family support organization. In her later years, she volunteered to help refugees learn English and enjoyed those associations.
Even though Charmayne preferred being at home, there were a few rare moments when she would take some time away to see the world she read about. She and Tom went on an epic round-the-world trip to Turkey, India, and Hong Kong. She was fascinated by the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru and explored them with her daughter. When Tom retired, they enjoyed a week in Cancun.
Charmayne was an avid reader, reading hundreds of books a year, especially enjoying the biographies of Church leaders and stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. She was a faithful journal writer, scrapbooker, and records keeper. She went to a 5:30 AM boot camp class at Taylorsville Rec Center for many years and became an inspiration to everyone who was impacted by her example of continuing learning and staying fit.
Charmayne loved the summer when she could get up early and work in the yard. She said, "To be there when it is just getting daylight, to smell the freshness of the air, hear the birds talking to each other, and enjoy the quietness of my surroundings is therapy to my soul. It is a time to think on the wonders of nature, the beauties of the earth, a time to say prayers of thanksgiving." Her garden was her sanctuary.
If you were lucky enough to have met Charmayne, you were loved by her. She, indeed, was an angel on earth with an unmet capacity for unconditional love. She was the sweetest, kindest, most loving, and accepting person you could know. You would never see her lose her temper or talk negatively about anyone. In the end, her heart was full of gratitude for the amazing life she was given and the blessings of a loving family. She treasured the words of John when he wrote, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
Charmayne is survived by her brothers, Dale and Perie Bigler; sisters, Donna Cecil and Roseann Stackhouse; her eight children: Dalene (Dave) Harris, Charisse Evans, Joel (Elizabeth), Kirk (Janice), Darren (Melissa), Audra, Rhett (Becky), and Jessica Gomez; twenty-six grandchildren and eighteen great-grandchildren.
A viewing will be held on Friday, January 5, 2024, from 5:30 to 8:00 PM at McDougal Funeral Home, 4330 South Redwood Road, Taylorsville, Utah. There will also be a viewing on Saturday morning, January 6, from 9:30 to 10:45 AM, followed by the funeral service at 11:00; at the Bennion 6th Ward, 5775 South 2700 West, Taylorsville, Utah. Interment: Valley View Memorial Park, 4335 West 4100 South, West Valley City, Utah.
Those wishing to livestream the service may do so at the following link: