Annie McArthur Jennings, beloved matriarch of a large, extended family passed away quietly on Saturday, August 22, 2015, of causes incident to age. She lived 98 years full of joy and vitality.
Born in St. George, December 1, 1916, Annie was the sixth of ten children born to Moroni McArthur and Emma Jarvis Cottam. Born in the family home on the corner of 100 South and 500 East, she lived her entire life within a block of that residence. A genuine daughter of Utah’s Dixie, she valued and represented the finest attributes of her pioneer heritage and zealously endeavored to pass along those ideals to her posterity.
In her childhood, Annie was an eager participant in the daily antics of her brothers and assisted her older sisters in household tasks. She was close to both parents, and thrived in the organized chaos that was part of a large family with a meager income in a small town. As a teenager, Annie worked in the Quality Bakery owned by her Uncle James McArthur.
Annie was educated in the local schools and graduated from Dixie High in 1935. At their graduation dance, she noticed and was charmed by another graduate, Leon Jennings. He owned his own truck. An extended stay in Washington D.C. helping her Aunt and Uncle did not diminish the feelings Leon and Annie had for each other. They married for time and eternity in the St.George LDS Temple on June 24, 1937.
Leon built them a small house one block south of the McArthurs and Annie made it a life-long sanctuary. As their family arrived and needs increased, Leon continued to add onto the original structure, which is still standing. Their home was always Annie’s pride and joy.
She spent every available hour outside doing yardwork, growing, weeding, and harvesting her garden, raising a cow, chickens and pigs, and tending her vineyards. Her special love was flowers of all varieties, especially roses. Her calendar was meticulously marked every five days and six hours: the watering turn. Irrigation was a solemn, undeviating opportunity and obligation.
Their marriage was blessed with five children: Margery Ann, Mansfield Leon, John M, Marie, and Gilbert M. Annie raised her family incorporating the basic tenets of her own childhood which included hard work, thrift, respect for nature, dignity, educational excellence, esteem for beauty, developing personal talents, maintaining family relationships, and most of all, a continuing, growing love of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Annie was a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and worked tirelessly to promote the programs of the church. She worked in all auxiliaries with a particular love for Primary and Junior Sunday School. She supported her husband in his church callings. She particularly enjoyed the time she and Leon served as Ordinance Workers in the St. George Temple. Her life and character reflected her testimony.
In addition to church activity, Annie was also involved in community organizations. She was a committed member of the Dixie/Manomus Andrus Camp of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers and served dependably many years as a guide in the DUP Museum.
She loved reading and participated in the Dixie Reviewers. The Literary Arts group honored her as one of their annual Orchid Ladies. Annie was a gifted artist, studying with Ralph Huntsman and refining her craft regularly with fellow artist friends. She was a member of the Dixie Garden Club as well as a capable and avid quilter. Afternoons or evenings around a quilt were punctuated with the enthusiastic cry, “We’re ready to roll!”
The Jennings participated in Rotary activities and Annie was a charter member of the Rotary Anns. A highlight of every fall was the Dixie Roundup, with Annie organizing and entering parade floats. During their retirement years, Leon and Annie spent memorable time traveling, via camper or trailer, with the local Over-the-Hill Gang. They forged life-long, enriching, friendships. These community leaders supported and recognized the importance of Dixie College (University). In 1994, Annie was awarded an Honorary Degree. The Jennings Technical Building on campus is a memorial to their dedication.
Aunt Annie was the perpetual “go to” hostess for extended family birthday and holiday celebrations. She was known for her generosity and resourcefulness and could make a pot of Sloppy Joes go a long way. Visiting relatives or friends could always find a comfortable place to sleep and a home-cooked meal at her home. In fact, anyone could find most anything they needed at Aunt Annie—Grandma J’s, including buttons, genealogy, tools, pictures and relics of all kinds. If they were really lucky, they’d go home with a jar of her personally-shelled pecans.
In her slowing-down years, she supplied endless dried fruit, cookies, homemade bread and suckers to visiting grandchildren, their children, and their grandchildren. At her home, the little ones played with games their parents and grandparents had enjoyed along with a bushel basket of wooden spools. Grandma was an eager, appreciative audience for any talent, anecdote, or item of interest. Her “Annie-isms” are almost as binding as her gospel truths. They include: “Waste not, want not,” “Hoe to the end of the row,” “The less said, the quicker mended,” and “Smile and the world smiles with you. Frown and you frown alone.” Her cheerful smile will be long-remembered, and her influence cherished.
Annie McArthur Jennings was preceded in death by her loyal husband of 58 years, Lloyd Leon Jennings, one son-in-law, Walter Rice, three grand daughters, Linda Peterson Dexter, Mary Ann Jennings and Laralyn Jennings Schramm. Annie now joins her parents Moroni and Emma McArthur, and siblings Willard, Nellie M. Gubler, Florence M. Leavitt, Fern M. Hafen , Rex, Irvin, Ross, Eldon, and Thomas.
Survivors include children Margery Ann (Paul) Peterson of American Fork, Mansfield Leon (Diane) Jennings, St. George, Dr. John M. (Suzanne) Jennings, St. George, Marie (Walter) Rice, St. George, and Gilbert M. (Leslie) Jennings of Pine Valley. She is also survived by 27 grandchildren, 93 great grandchildren, five great, great, grandchildren as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
The family offers their most sincere appreciation to the staff and those associated with the Beehive House on River Road. Though it never was Annie’s residence-of-choice, they worked attentively to provide for her personal needs during her declining health. The family also acknowledges with deepest gratitude the years of service rendered daily by Marie, a daughter and next-door neighbor who made it possible for Mother to remain in the home she loved for as long as she could.
- Funeral services will be held Saturday, August 29, at 11 a.m. at the St. George 5th and 6th Ward Chapel, 85 S. 400 East, St. George.
- There will be a viewing Friday, from 6-8 p.m. at the Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff, St. George, and Saturday, 9:30-10:30 a.m. prior to services at the church.
- Interment will take place in the St. George City Cemetery.
Arrangements have been made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 435-673-2454