August 16, 1937 to January 13, 2023
Our sweet freckle-faced Vernal farm girl, Etta Pace Scotter, left her earthly body and home on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, in Provo, Utah. Etta was born and raised on the outskirts of Vernal, the youngest of a mixed family of seven children. Like so many of her generation, mom was hard-working and forward-thinking. She and her best friend, Carma Weeks, shared small-town adventures and 4-H activities and later attended Utah State University together as Home Economics students. In Logan, Etta met her future husband, George Scotter, a biology student from Canada. Their courtship involved many love letters being flown around the world as my mom traveled to Europe on a 4-H Exchange program and our father had summer-time field studies in Northern Canada.
Etta and George were married in Logan, Utah, on Dec. 20, 1960. They spent a cold winter honeymoon at Bryce Canyon, where apparently, they lived on love, as no food services were available. As our parents completed their education in Logan, each degree came with a baby: Troy in 1962 and Alicia in 1963. After many border crossings, we settled as a family in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1968, just in time for a famously cold stretch of Canadian winters.
After working as a Home Economist teacher in Edmonton, Mom balanced work and home with a variety of jobs as a substitute teacher and talented florist. Her happiest hours, however, seemed to be on the home front, driving us kids to swim practice, working in the garden, taking the dog for walks in the ravine across the street and endlessly packing and unpacking for our next hiking adventure with our dad in the Canadian Rockies or prairies.
Although quiet in nature, our mom was a powerhouse. She was dauntless at home projects, was known throughout the neighborhood for her homemade Christmas chocolates and created flower arrangements for countless weddings. Etta especially loved her friends from church and was involved with many Mormon activities, from youth camp, to Christmas Creche displays and various responsibilities in Relief Society. In later years her happiest church assignment was working in the nursery on Sundays, loving the young children.
We spent many happy days as a family on our uncle’s cattle ranch on the US/Canadian border, with ruthless Canasta games and delicious meals. Mom’s foreign cooking repertoire was always met with some skepticism by our meat-and-potato-loving relatives. Her borscht soup is still blamed for a holiday bout of flu.
With our father’s retirement in 1990, mother went ahead to Kelowna, BC, to supervise the building of their future home. She claimed it was the easiest diet program ever. Mom and Dad lived in Kelowna until our father’s death in 2021. They loved their beautiful home that overlooked the lake. Visiting the Okanagan Valley became a summertime tradition as their two grandsons, Joshua and Matthew arrived on the scene. Picking cherries, going to the “skipping stone” beach and having baths in Grandma’s exciting pink bubble bathtub are favorite Kelowna memories. Growing up with Canadian blood meant that of course Josh and Matt would become hockey players. Later trips to Canada would find them at the ice rink, slap-shooting it out with the local players.
Our small-town mother became quite the seasoned traveler. From tramping the Canadian Rockies to hiking into the Haleakala Crater on Maui in a snowstorm, she and our father had many worldwide adventures. She and Dad visited every continent, except Antarctica, on more than one occasion.
From Greek cooking classes to idolizing Martha Stewart, Mom always valued learning new things. Even as Alzheimer’s set in, we were impressed by Mom’s continuing desire to listen to the news and ask questions about current events.
A gift to Troy and Alicia from our parents was the knowledge that we would always be cared for. Having a happy childhood and a resilient family helped us to be confident as we created our own lives, with shared core values.
We brought Mom back to Utah after our father’s passing. The one thing she absolutely wanted in her new home was a dog! With some discussion, we agreed a cat might be a better option and we found Clyde, a handsome orange Tabby at Best Friends. Clyde was our mom’s beloved companion in her final months, always ready for a snuggle in full purr mode.
We are grateful to have had these final, humbling months with our mother and enjoyed her sweet spirit to the end.
Our family wishes to acknowledge the people who have been such an important part of my parents’ final days. Our Canadian cousins Kim and Craig Pratt were an invaluable support – taking on estate work and providing guidance and humor through my father’s funeral and the sale of my parent’s final home. My parent’s condo neighbors in Kelowna continued the Canadian tradition of warmly welcoming us as we made multiple trips across the border. We also thank our relatives in Vernal for helping us to return our mom to her hometown. We appreciate the many people who have provided medical and personal care during these complicated final months. Finally, a special thank you to Alicia’s husband, Ryan Hinkins, for managing so much on the home front during this time.
We love you, Mom, and hope you have found a warm embrace from Dad.
Funeral services were on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023, at 11:30 a.m. at the Phillips Ashley Valley Funeral Home. A visitation for family and friends was on Friday from 11 to 12:30 p.m. at the funeral home. Online condolences may be shared at www.AshleyValleyFuneralHome.com.