Mary Keith Boyack
1931 — 2021
Mary Boyack was born March 22, 1931, in Payson, UT, to Ida Lavon Penrod and William Jairus Keith. She was the fourth of their eight children (and their first to be born in a hospital!).
Mary spent her formative years in Provo, where she developed a natural talent for music, especially in identifying melodies and harmonies, and she and her siblings have enjoyed decades of singing together.
In 1949 Mary graduated from Provo High School, where she’d participated in numerous productions and as part of a popular singing trio. During summers, she worked at Bryce Canyon and Sun Valley, participating in talent shows and leading camp singers of all ages.
After graduation Mary went to BYU and was part of a singing group. At one particular gig in Provo, Mary’s perfect pitch and engaging vocal arrangements intrigued a bass player named Bob Boyack, and the rest is history: They were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on March 5, 1953, and the octet — eight kids! — that followed brought the purest joys of her life. (As a testament to her enormous spirit and her innate sense of the power of motherhood, each of the eight children knows she/he was “Mom’s favorite.”)
The family spent 22 years in Los Angeles, where Mary taught seminary and spiritual-living classes and served in many different church callings. Many of her dearest, lifelong friendships were formed in California, and the family remember fondly all who were so kind to them and their mother from that time.
The Boyacks moved back to Provo in the mid-’70s, where new angels took over and where Mary (and the kids still home) started working on that garden. Her sheer force of will and positivity brought plants to life, and the vibrant, overflowing yard is a living, glorious symbol of Mary’s soul.
Mary truly loved everyone, and everyone loved her. Her home was open to all, whether to join the family for dinner, an impromptu break from traveling, or months of spiritual and emotional healing. She loved her nieces and nephews absolutely, celebrating their triumphs and comforting them through struggles. Every visiting baby was perfect, every child was delightful. … Everyone who knows Mary certainly heard some variation on the theme, “Come here and give me a hug, you precious, beautiful thing!” (We hope all will understand that we’re unable to accommodate all of Mary’s invitations for you to speak/sing/recite/perform at her funeral.)
Back home in Provo her talent for and love of music flourished: She sang with the Utah Symphony Chorus for 20+ years, making hundreds of friends and fans along the way. Mary regularly hosted sing-alongs at her home, packing dozens of friends and family (and strangers) into her basement to reminisce and to share in each others’ talents long into the evening.
Any of Mary’s accomplishments would have represented a life well-lived for most: poet, gardener, singer, florist, entrepreneur, genealogist (including extensive records for each of her children) decorator, artist, traveler. But after her children and grandchildren it was the publishing of her biblical-fiction novel, “The Coat and the Crown: Joseph of Egypt,” that proved most fulfilling and rewarding.
Mary’s was a life of perpetual gratitude and unwavering faith. A single mother for much of her life, Mary often struggled but never complained. She recognized and celebrated the countless “angels” who provided meals, school supplies, and Christmases for her family until her kids were able to provide for her. She just knew things would work out and they always did. Mary’s optimism and charitable nature live on with everyone who knew and loved her.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents and by her son William Boyack, and by siblings Alan Keith, William Keith, Beverly Golightly, and Helen Beaman. She is survived by sister Karen (Jed) Gibson and brothers Wayne Keith and Lon (Pat) Keith, and her children Belinda (Frank) VanderSloot; Barbara (Hyrum) Mackay; Robert Noble, Jr. (Cathy); Lori (Randy Cousins) Boyack Cousins; Elizabeth (Corey) Ericksen; Amy (Kelvin Poindexter) Carter; Rebecca (Rock Olsen) Duffin; and Roberta (Dave) Webb; and by 32 adoring grandchildren and 43.75 adorable great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Summit Ward, 4220 N. Foothill Drive, Provo, UT. There will be a visitation from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. prior to the services. Interment will be in the Goshen Cemetery. To express condolences visit www.NelsonMortuary.com