Shortly after we moved back to Utah in 1984, we were introduced to a couple who have a great influence on our lives.
In early 1985 I was called to be a counselor to the bishop of our ward. He was a fine man and had recently been called to the position. His other counselor was a burly, gruff sounding gentleman named Don Bawden. He and his wife, Marsha, were faithful parents and exemplary saints and had two characteristics that I appreciated:
They loved to play and they really loved to WORK.
Don and Marsha had 7 children and it was not uncommon to see the whole family out in their yard, sometimes playing but more often working. The Bawden’s were always working. Sometimes under duress, but everyone participated.
Don is 10 years older than I am so I would often watch to see what I could expect as our children aged. And I know Teresa was mindful to emulate many of the things that Marsha exemplified – which was pretty easy for her cause she is a lot the same.
As the years have progressed, what started out as an acquaintance because of Church service soon grew to a friendship that has become very important to both Teresa and me. In fact, when I was called to be bishop, my first choice for a counselor was my good friend Don Bawden. He was always straight with me and let me know when I needed to make course corrections.
The Bawden’s are good people because they are true to themselves and the faith they profess. Don never put on airs – he just did what was right. Marsha’s selflessness was known to anyone who was even a faint acquaintance. Her perpetual smile and positive attitude helped many overcome great challenges in their lives. Despite many of her own struggles, I can say that I have NEVER heard Marsha complain about anything.
NEVER, as in not once in 30+ years.
I mention these good people because this past week we attended the funeral for Marsha Bawden. She developed cancer about a year ago and finally succumbed, despite vigorous efforts by the medical profession.
She was only 66 years old and had many joys left to experience in this life. But her time in mortality is complete and she has proven herself worthy of the expectations of her God so she is welcomed back into His presence. Her family will miss her but the legacy she has built will be felt through generations untold.
And her pain in this life is finished (though she never mentioned it).
Her funeral was yesterday (Monday, Aug. 11) and the chapel and overflow were packed with many chairs in the cultural hall. Marsha will be missed but her goodness will never be forgotten. And the faith of her good husband, my friend Don, will endure and allow them to be reunited again when his test in mortal form is complete.
Yep, I think the Bawden’s qualify.