The bleachers will be missing a regular fan; the games will be absent a tireless cheerleader, the children will be lacking their cherished teacher and the neighbors will be deficient endless acts of compassion: Lora Hilton Whiting concluded her near century of adventure, learning and service on 17 May 2020 at Spring Gardens, in her long-time home, Mapleton, Utah.
Born into a stalwart Mormon pioneer heritage on 10 August 1922 to Wilford “B” and Vera Snow Hilton in Hinckley, Utah, Lora grew up in Millard County as the oldest of seven children. Her innovative businessman father and diligent working mother instilled in Lora and her siblings a sturdy work ethic and a thirst for knowledge.
Following her graduation from Delta High School, Lora enrolled at Brigham Young University where she majored in home economics, struggled through the wartime comings and goings of many dear friends and was thus elected the first female student body president of BYU. After trying to introduce his Delta acquaintance to his best friend, Ray Sullivan Whiting of Mapleton, Utah, reconsidered, courted Lora himself and married her on 25 July 1944. She taught at Farrer Jr. High in Provo while he completed his degree and the newlyweds moved to Mapleton where Lora has resided since. Ray passed away on 8 February 2001.
Establishing a family-focused life based on the provident living skills she acquired in her youth, Lora gardened, canned, and churned but left the bread baking to her nearby mother-in-law. She was an expert seamstress, often recycling hand-me- downs to outfit her little ones or mending, hemming or otherwise repairing clothing items for her own, her grandchildren and even her great-grandchildren. She constructed legendary “cuddle quilts” for all her family and welcomed the newborns with hand-quilted flannel (always practical) crib quilts. Hundreds more were created for charitable causes.
When her children were in school, she returned to the classroom herself, adjusted her secondary credential to an elementary license and began a legendary career as the third grade teacher at Mapleton Elementary School, a job she maintained for 27 years. Hundreds of school children were lucky enough to study with a beloved Mrs. Whiting.
Many of those students and her own grand and great-grandchildren expected Grandma Lora to be in attendance for their games, recitals, concerts, baptisms, mission farewells, weddings and many other events. She didn’t disappoint. In recent years, her dedicated daughter, Gayle, facilitated the calendar of activities in Lora’s behalf.
In her 90th year, after cheering for the Brigham Young University Cougars for more than 50 years, Lora was honored to “Light the Y” prior to the football game and happened to meet one of her BYU idols, Ty Detmer, during the ceremony.
In the community, Lora enjoyed more than 60 years as a member of the Cultural Arts Club in Springville. She volunteered at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center for nearly 20 years, a task she often punctuated with visits to friends and neighbors who were confined to the hospital.
Despite her full-time employment, Lora always accepted a church calling and has served in every auxiliary multiple times. She worked in a Relief Society presidency in her mid-eighties and has a near twenty-year record of weekly temple attendance.
She frequently delivered dinners to neighbors in need, supervised projects for the elderly in her midst (even when she was in her nineties) and constantly watched for ways to put her love for the Savior, Jesus Christ, into action. In recent years a hip fracture changed her residence to the Abbington (now Spring Gardens) Senior Living in Mapleton where she continued her outreach in a new environment. If there was ever a friend in need, Lora responded.
As an individual, whatever occurred during her days, Lora was always “just fine.” Her optimism was contagious and particularly the grand- and great-grandchildren loved to share her company. She always had the favorite cereal, cookies, ice cream, rolls or counter-top treats available to distribute and seemingly endless time to sit on the floor for play. She faithfully supported her missionaries with both letters and funds. That generous and resilient outlook motivated her days and inspired countless valued relationships. Her gratitude extended to one and all, but recently to the loving, supportive staff at the care center.
Lora is survived by her children: Ann Orton (Spencer Kinard), Gayle Gammell, Mikel (Lisa), and Steven (Jeanne); 20 grandchildren, 58 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandson; sisters, Dawn and Lael (Merton Lovell), sister-in-law Colleen Hilton, and brother, Bruce Hilton. Her beloved husband Ray, sister Carol, brothers Clesse and Gill, sons-in-law Russell Orton and Clyde Gammell and great-grandson Benjamin Allen, preceded her in death.
Due to Covid19 restrictions, a private family graveside service will be held. The family wishes to extend their profound gratitude to the many friends, neighbors and former students who have brightened Lora’s days with their visits, cards and notes.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Ray Sullivan and Lora Hilton Whiting Endowed Scholarship Fund at Brigham Young University: https://donate.churchofjesuschrist.org/donations/byu?funds=30124413.