Helen Priscilla Marler Simper
July 27, 1930, to August 2, 2023
On July 27th, 1930, a white flag flew over the house of Loran and Zella Marler in Lima, Montana, because they had just had a baby girl after having 5 boys. She was extremely spoiled by all those older brothers who absolutely doted on her. She was followed by two younger sisters and a brother.
Helen's childhood was very happy. Her favorite things to do were ice skating in the winter, camping and fishing up Big Sheep Creek and target shooting. During the summer they would go swimming and play games.
When she was about 16, she met a young missionary by the name of Elder (Vay) John Simper, who spent a lot of time at their house, her father being Branch President. Elder Simper became the Branch President after Helen's father, Loran.
Helen graduated from Lima High School in 1947, second in a class of 10 and spoke at Graduation. She then moved to Idaho Falls where she went to LDS Business College. After his mission, Elder Simper went to Utah State University and they continued to correspond, with Johnny going back and forth from Logan, Utah, to Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Helen and "Johnny" Vay Simper were married on Sept 2, 1949, in the Salt Lake Temple. They lived in Logan, Utah, and then on to Taylorsville, Utah, eventually building a basement house in 1953 and then finishing off the house in 1958 with the upstairs floor, where they would live for the rest of their lives.
Mother of 10 children: David "DJ", Lorna, George, Donna, Glenna, Diane, Robert, Kelly, Byron, and Loran "Andy". When Lorna passed away in 1996 of cancer, Helen and Vay took on the task of raising her son, Lelan Andersen.
Helen loved music but could not sing. She tried to instill in her children a love of music by playing and listening to music in the home, encouraging them to take piano lessons, (bartering for lessons sometimes with milk or home produce), encouraging them to play musical instruments, and sing in choirs. She loved to listen to music and had a very eclectic range of musical enjoyment: she liked Cowboy music, Bar J Wranglers, Tabernacle Choir, Barbershop music, Crooners, such as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, but she especially liked Big Band music, with Glenn Miller being her favorite. She had played the drums in the High School band.
She loved to dance; dancing to Big Band music was her favorite but she especially enjoyed square dancing. Helen and Johnny were involved with a square dance group for many years, even dancing out on the driveway that went around their home.
Helen was a Master Seamstress. She could draw patterns from just looking at an article of clothing. She could combine patterns to get the exact look that she wanted, and alterations came very naturally to her. She made everything that her children wore. The oldest daughter, Lorna, was physically handicapped and needed to have her clothes especially made to fit, so she learned the fine art of alteration. She made Levis, suits, dresses, formals, slacks, pant suits, uniforms, T-shirts, wedding dresses, and many bridesmaid dresses, etc., etc., etc. One of her favorite sayings was "She who dies with the most fabric wins." She won. She also taught sewing classes in her home, in fabric shops, and at church houses for Relief Societies. She taught T-shirt making, tailoring, Levi making, fancy stitching, sewing machine embroidery, and much more.
She was a superb teacher, loved the gospel and loved the Lord. She served in many callings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including: Primary President, Relief Society Theology teacher, which became Spiritual Living teacher, and Sunday School Gospel Doctrine teacher. She was also actively involved in PTA for many years. She was a member of the Honey Bee Camp of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, having extensive Pioneer ancestry, and was very proud of her Pioneer heritage.
Helen wrote poetry, skits, and many parodies for the roadshows. Her favorite part of writing for roadshows was the Oleo Act and she was very good at it.
She was excellent at cooking and baking. She kept a sour dough start growing for many, many years. They had three acres of ground, and they kept a cow. She would make butter and ice cream, sour cream cakes, sour cream pancakes, and whipped cream. Her bread, brownies and pickles were highly sought after. She canned everything in sight: peaches, corn, beans, beets, pickles of every kind, jams, and jellies, and she could make strawberry jam out of any fruit just using Strawberry Jell-O.
Helen loved puzzles, card games, and board games. She loved to read, and she would study church books and read lots of novels. In her later years she discovered Books on CD and would listen to books for hours on end. She also loved old movies and musicals.
She always kept her hands busy with handwork of knitting or crocheting, making sweaters, shawls, baby dresses, baby blankets and afghans. When she acquired an embroidery sewing machine she would embroider dish towels, table runners, names on pillowcases, designs on dresses and shirts, etc.
Helen died peacefully at home with family surrounding her on August 2, 2023, living 93 years, which was a good, long life.
She is survived by her sister, Janet Woodbury, 9 children, David "DJ" (Connie) Simper, George (Ragena) Simper, Donna (Lawrence) Bawden, Glenna (Marc) Desobeau, Diane (Rod) Poulsen, Robert (Jill) Simper, Kelly (Jackie) Simper, Byron Simper, Loran "Andy" (Jennifer) Simper, 27 grandchildren, 73 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren.
Preceded in death by her parents (Loran and Zella Marler), 6 brothers (Loran, Fay, George, Frank, Kenneth, and Bob) and one sister (Shirlene), her husband ("Johnny" Vay), a daughter (Lorna Andersen), and 2 grandchildren (Jenny Simper and Brett Poulsen).
Viewing - Thursday August 10, 2023
6:00 - 8:00 P.M.
Taylorsville 16th Ward
3495 W. 4850 S.
Taylorsville, UT 84129
Funeral - Friday August 11, 2023
With a viewing before from 9:30 - 10:30 A.M.
3495 W. 4850 S.
Taylorsville, UT 84129
Interment at Valley View Memorial Cemetery
4335 W. 4100 S.
West Valley City, UT 84120
Special Thanks to IHC hospice for their tender loving care and kindness.