Harriett Shirlene  Roach Ottesen


Our beloved mother, grandmother, neighbor, and friend passed away Wednesday, January 8, 2020 from causes incident to age. She was 87 years old.

She was born March 17, 1932, the only child of her loving parents, Ernest LeRoy Roach and Mary Lois Banks Roach. She was blessed with a large extended family and always felt part of it.

She said, “I was my mother’s daughter BUT, also my father’s son.” She grew up during the Great depression and alongside her father, learned to work hard every day. She said those lessons learned have stayed with her throughout her life. Living on the farm was a great blessing. They raised their own food: cows, chickens, pigs, big vegetable gardens, and fruit trees.

She was educated in the Spanish Fork Schools, was an A student and very active in social clubs. She graduated from Seminary and High School in 1950. She excelled in the 4-H program and was honored by her many achievements. She won scholarships and trips. Shirlene was a member of the Utah delegation that traveled to Washington D.C. She received a scholarship to Utah State University but decided she was a homebody and came home to a job at The Bank of Spanish Fork, her first paying job.

She married Hyrum Erastus Ottesen on April 14, 1954 in the Manti Temple. She loved him and said they felt like their lives were meant to be lived together here on this earth. For 57 years, his alarm would go off at 4:00 a.m. to go milk the cows every morning which is how he said, I love you and I love our family and I will work hard to provide for you.

Her children were her pride and joy: Janeen, Barbara, Paul, Elaine and Elizabeth. After her father died they continued a successful grade A dairy farm that her Dad started in 1941. Shirlene lived around dairy cattle for 71 years until the herd was just sold in December, 2019.

In later years, she and Dad were able to break away from the farm to enjoy some time together on several wagon train trips, making new friends and seeing new landscapes. They used their mule team, Hank and Eli, on these trips and at the 2002 Olympics.

She was a strong and valiant member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She fulfilled her commitment to many ward and stake callings. The ward Christmas party, with primary program and costumes were enthusiastically supported year after year.

While in Jr. High, she discovered her passion for writing. She wrote for The Daily Herald and published articles for The Spanish Fork Press titled: “Between the Headlines”, “Here and There”, and also the Palmyra News. She kept current records of the Palmyra community history.

She was very connected with her pioneer heritage and compiled many stories and books about them. She was a member of, and lesson leader of the Palmyra Camp of The Daughters of Utah Pioneers. She was instrumental in keeping the Palmyra Camp active.

She authored and compiled many family history books. She just presented her new book to her family last month, Christmas, 2019. She was an excellent cook and there are many favorite recipes published in her cookbook.

Her life was full of service as she touched the lives of countless members of her community and family. Food was delivered at the arrival of a new baby, sickness or just because. She served many years on the Utah County Planning and Zoning Commission. She was instrumental in writing legislation to protect the agricultural interests of the farming community.

Fond memories remain of family gathering for birthday parties, Christmas, and her famous New Years Eve party. Many friends and every family member will miss being remembered by her timely and reliable yearly birthday card.

She is survived by her children: Janeen (Phil) Thomas, Barbara (Darin) Jensen, Paul (Becky) Ottesen, Elaine (Scott) Gunter, Elizabeth (Ed) Nielsen. She has 25 grandchildren and 37 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and a grandson, Bradley Hyrum Thomas, and a great grandson, Cameron Marshall.

Funeral services will be held Monday, January 13, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at the Palmyra Chapel, 1866 West 5000 South, Palmyra, Utah. A viewing will be held Sunday evening, January 12, from 5:00-7:00 p.m at Walker Funeral Home, 187 S. Main Street, Spanish Fork, and on Monday morning at the church from 9:45-10:45 a.m. prior to the service. Interment will be in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery.

Condolences may be sent to the family at: www.walkerobits.com.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!