On September 26, 2019 Beverly Jean Waite Leavitt passed away after a short battle with colon cancer that quickly spread throughout her body. Its presence caught her by surprise, then took her from us quickly. Although we are sad at her passing, we are grateful that she didn’t suffer for long.
Mom was born in Salt Lake City on January 13, 1932. Her parents, Glenn and Vera Hunt Waite, later moved down to Bunkerville, Nevada where Mom enjoyed her childhood and teen years. Mom said, “Bunkerville was a great place to grow up! We didn’t have to lock our doors. Everyone was like family and we called everyone Aunt and Uncle. I have great memories of wonderful 4th of July activities and of going around town on Christmas Day to see what everyone got — even those who didn’t have kids.”
Mom loved school and she was always a good student. She was a cheerleader, a class secretary, a trumpet player in the band, and a big help to her mother at home. Mom graduated from Virgin Valley HS and completed 1 year at BYU on scholarship before accepting Dad’s proposal of marriage. David Elvis Leavitt was her hometown sweetheart and they were sealed in the St. George temple June 23, 1951.
Although Mom was a full-time homemaker most of her married life, she had worked as a waitress in Mesquite, as a cashier at JC Penney, for the civil service in Troop Command, and as a lunch lady at Stonewall Jackson HS in Manassas, Virginia. Her little secret is that she’d give all the kids from the ward extra French fries.
When Mom and Dad were in Maryland for Army officer training school, they had their first child, Michael David. Gary Lee was born just 15 months later while Dad was a student at BYU. All 3 girls, Teresa Jean, Beckie Lynn, and Jan Marie were born while the family lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Dad was a school teacher. After Dad received a master’s degree, he got a job working for the federal government’s Dept of Education as a program officer, which he did until his death in 1984.
Mom and Dad had planned to serve at least one full-time mission together upon retirement, but with Dad’s death, Mom ended up serving a full-time proselyting mission herself 10 years later in the Texas Dallas-Fort Worth mission. Mom loved the gospel of Jesus Christ and she was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She served in many church callings, including teacher, primary president, relief society president, seminary teacher, ordinance worker in 3 different temples (Washington, D.C., Timpanogos, and Provo), as well as a relief society counselor in a BYU YSA ward. But she said her favorite church job was as the compassionate service leader in her Orem ward.
One thing Mom was very proud of was her climb to the top of Mt. Timp at the age of 57. She loved sports and was a longtime BYU Cougar fan. She enjoyed playing games, was an avid budgeter, loved to do puzzles and cook for her family, and she was famous for her English toffee. Mom loved music and during the Las Vegas years, she sang in a quartet with her friends Virginia Watts, Liane Foutz, and Carolyn Eyre. She was also part of the Singing Mothers group. Last, but not least, Mom was a proud breast cancer survivor.
One of Mom’s neighbors recently shared the thoughts of so many when she said, “Your mother is an elect lady. She was always the first to just show up with a meal — usually chicken roll ups; she always had studied the relief society or Sunday school lesson beforehand; she attended Institute classes every year; she was at every ward activity, even right after she had knee surgery; she made us all nervous as she rode around the neighborhood on her bike, but EVERYONE loves her.” Neighborhood kids knew Sister Leavitt had a candy jar and they loved to come visit her and get a piece or two of candy.
Mom was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, a grandson, Benjamin Zev Leavitt, and her sister Lois Mae Waite Nelson. She is survived by her 5 children and by Gary’s wife Bonnie and by Jan’s husband Lyle Hadlock. She is also survived by her brother Glen (Bonnie) Waite. She leaves behind her 8 beloved grand children: Jennifer (Jeff) Solomon, Nathan (Candace) Leavitt, Justin David Leavitt, Leah (DJ) Shott; Jessica (Sean) Durrant, Jesse (Isabel) Nepivoda; Kelsie (Ty) Morgan, Jonah (Cassidy) Hadlock; and 8 beautiful great-grandchildren: Zev, Kai, Shem, and Liam Leavitt; Lily and Noah Solomon; Paxton Hadlock; and Lyla Jane Morgan.
In lieu of flowers, Mom would love to see you donate to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Humanitarian or Missionary Funds.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, October 1st, 11am at the Canyon View 5th ward chapel at 1090 N. 400 E. Orem, Utah. Viewings will be held Monday night from 6-8 at Walker Sanderson Mortuary, 646 E. 800 N in Orem and from 9:30-10:30 am before the funeral at the church building.