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Mary Lou Jenkins Thurston Smoot

Jan 13, 2022

1930 – 2022

Through 91 years, Mary Lou lived a life that could best be described as full of grace and Christ-like charity. She passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones on January 11, 2022, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Born on August 20, 1930, in Salt Lake City to Elmer and Mildred Jenkins, she lived for many years in Salt Lake and moved during World War 2 to the Kahala area of Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii.

She graduated from Punahou, attended the University of Utah for two years, and graduated from Stanford University with a degree in English.

She married Dick Wright Thurston on September 1, 1951, in the Salt Lake Temple. They lived in FL, TX, HI, CA, VA, ME, MD, London, England, Provo, UT and La Jolla, CA. She loved to teach, raise her children, play tennis and serve others. She was President of the US Naval Academy’s Officers Wives Club. She also served as President of BYU Women. She was Captain of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.

As a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she served in many callings including President of the Relief Society, Primary and Young Women’s. She served with Dick when he was Bishop of a BYU Married Ward. They served as temple workers in San Diego. They also served a Church Mission to the Hmong/Laotian refugees in San Diego. “Service truly was her middle name.”

Following Dick’s passing, she had a wonderful 6-year marriage to Steve Smoot; which brought her four bonus children, Shauna/Jim, Steve/Jill, Sherm/Sherri, and Allison/Colby, and numerous bonus grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What a blessing they were in her life. Mary Lou and Steve served 6 years as missionaries in the Salt Lake Inner-City Mission.

Survived by her son, Wright Jenkins Thurston (Janett), of Sandy; daughter, Elizabeth Malia Merrell (Wayne), of Story City, IA; son, Rob J. Thurston (Loni), of Provo; 15 grandchildren, and 41 great-grandchildren.

She requested in lieu of flowers, donations be made to her favorite charity:

TS Alliance, 8737 Colesville Road, Suite 400 Silver Spring, Maryland 20910-4487 USA 800.225.6872 (Toll-Free) 301.562.9890


A viewing at 1:00 pm and funeral at 2:00 pm will be held in Salt Lake City on Saturday, January 15, 2022, at the Larkin Sunset Lawn Cemetery (2350 E. 1300 S.) with interment immediately after. The funeral can be viewed via the Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83132880972

Special thanks to her beloved Tamie Rice, “Angels Crossing” Hospice, and the lovely Pacific Island ladies of “Love at Home” who cared for Mary Lou.