Geraldine Dahle Dean Callister, age 83, died Oct. 11, 2018, in St. George, Utah, as a result of Parkinson’s and dementia.
She was born April 18, 1935, in Ontario, Oregon, to Thelma Elnora Black and Gilbert Leroy Dahle. She was the second of six children.
Her father, Gib Dahle, homesteaded virgin land in southeastern Oregon when the Owahee Dam was constructed to provide water for ranches and farms.
Geraldine grew up on ranches (Homedale, Harper, Biggs and Westfall) in Oregon, attended Harper Elementary School and rode a retired race horse to school every day.
By the time she was 9 years old, she could feed hired men and ranch hands who came to help with the harvest, or work the cattle. By noon, she could catch, kill, skin, clean and cook chickens, make bread and pies, peel and make potatoes with gravy and cook up whatever vegetables her mom grew in their large garden.
She tended, fed and supervised her younger siblings while her mother helped her dad in the fields, milked cows or went on genealogy research trips and temple trips.
Mom’s young life was filled with healings from priesthood blessings and other miracles as her parents cleared land, built irrigation canals and carved productive farms out of the wild and remote Oregon countryside. She felt the protecting power of angels in her many responsibilities caring for her younger brothers and sisters, where the closest neighbors were miles away.
Geraldine graduated from Vale High School in Vale, Oregon, near the top of her class, and was awarded a scholarship into the nursing program at Brigham Young University.
At BYU, Geraldine met Clifford Arnold Dean Jr. from Pima, Arizona, and they were married in the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Aug. 25, 1954. Clifford was soon drafted, and Geraldine followed him to Fort Ord, California, and then to Puerto Rico where Clifford served in the U.S. Army at Rodriguez Army Hospital.
In 1958 Clifford was hired to teach chemistry at Dixie Academy when it was part of the Dixie High School on Main Street between Tabernacle and 100 South. Geraldine and Clifford loved the fledgling Dixie College and felt blessed to work alongside the other fine faculty members. She and Clifford enjoyed Dixie Junior College athletics and dancing the night away at the formal dances. Together they weathered the lean years and felt the college’s growing pains as it moved to the far eastern side of the St. George valley.
Geraldine served as president of Dixie College Faculty Women organization and spearheaded the Washington County Birthday Calendar to raise funds for the new Dixianna Dorms for female college students.
Her brother Morris and her sister Lois each lived with Geraldine and Clifford while they attended college.
Geraldine and Clifford welcomed Paul Thompson and Rosie Pinto into their home from the Indian Placement Program, and raised them as their own. Mom delighted in their families’ successes, and her 15 Navajo grandchildren who live in New Mexico.
Geraldine was active in the LDS church all her life. She presided over Primary, Young Women’s and Relief Society multiple times, on both ward and stake levels. Her favorite calling was teaching 11-year old Blazers in Primary for many years. She regularly attended evening temple sessions. On Saturday mornings, Clifford baptized college students for the dead in the St. George Temple baptistery.
Once a month, on Fast Sunday, Geraldine would type a family newsletter to send to all her siblings, in-laws and other loved ones, providing 40+ years of accurate family history details.
From time to time, as her health permitted, Geraldine supplemented Clifford’s teacher’s salary by selling Tupperware and Minnesota Woolens Clothing. As missions and weddings came along, she worked as head checker for Brent Snow, and as a technician for Dr. Sheldon Johnson to make ends meet. Later she owned and operated Mary’s Bridal Shop with Mary Curtis. Mom fitted and did all the alterations on the bridal gowns and prom dresses, making them modest and temple-appropriate, and made veils to match. She also learned about and taught others to use essential oils.
Geraldine continually maintained her home, repairing and painting it, inside and out. She loved flowers and took pride in keeping her yard presentable. Hard work never bothered her, and she diligently taught her children to work and accompany her as she served others.
She moved both her parents and her mother-in-law to sunny St. George, to homes each a block away from her home to help and care for them in their later years.
Like a faithful, vigilant mother hen, she often gathered all her family and friends into her loving care. She enjoyed entertaining extended family and friends by cooking Dutch oven chicken and potatoes up at Pine Valley campgrounds in the summers. She was an excellent cook, and we all loved her food.
Her children were her greatest joy, and she took great pride in their various accomplishments. She was often amazed at the wide variety of their talents and activities. She took her role as mother very seriously and taught her children to keep God’s commandments. She taught them how to work and take pride in a job well done so they could be independent and help take care of others. When asked about her formula for raising her children, she often said, “Stand back, and feed what hatches.”
After Clifford passed away on Jan. 1, 2000, Geraldine married Dr. Mazel Keith Callister, chiropractor, of St. George, in 2001. Her family quickly grew to love and appreciate his tender heart and his special healing gifts.
Mom didn’t age for about 40 years. Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles recognized the paradox of remaining “young” through labor and gospel service. He said, “You don’t have time to get old.”
Youth is a state of mind. Mom lived with an enthusiastic attitude and deep gratitude for the blessings she received. She lived with courage and determination as she faced and overcame many physical challenges. She relied on the power of the priesthood, and we, her children, grew up knowing God was real and answered her many prayers. She faced struggles with optimism and faith in the future, and focused on making happy times along the way.
Mom loved people, and they loved her back. Mom wore herself out serving her large family and her fellow men. She had a joyful life by losing herself in service and caring for others, and packed her life with enough work and service to wear out two people. “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
In her last few years, when Parkinson’s made her hands and memory useless, her greatest frustration was not being able to do things for others. She also mourned not being able to write anymore. She always had beautiful penmanship.
Geraldine was preceded in death by her parents Thelma Elnora Black Dahle and Gilbert Leroy Dahle; brother Leonard Dahle; sister-in-law Gay Rindlisbacher Dahle; husband Clifford Arnold Dean Jr.; husband Mazel Keith Callister; Clifford’s parents Debra Matthews Dean and Clifford Arnold Dean Sr.; brother-in-law Jerry Stone; and sister-in-law Wilma Dean Stone.
She is survived by her sister-in-law Lucille Dean Smith, of St. George, Utah.; sister-in-law Joan Dahle, of Sherwood, Oregon; brother Morris Dahle (Sally), of Billings, Montana; brother Boyd Dahle (Delphine), of Idaho; sister Lois Bingham of Calgary, Canada; and sister Laurel Lee Pedersen (Kent), of Dallas, Oregon.
She is survived by her six children: Patsy Last (Greg), of Hurricane, Utah; Clifford Martin Dean, of Las Vegas, Nevada; Douglas Leroy Dean (April), of Springville, Utah; Miriam Houston (Thayne), of St. George, Utah; Joseph Matthew Dean (J’Mi), of Gilbert, Arizona; and Katherine Turek (Rick), of Layton, Utah; 25 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.
The family would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Metcalf Mortuary, the caring staff of Dixie Hospice Care and caring staff at the Meadows Assisted Living and Memory Care units.
- Funeral services will be held Saturday, Oct. 20, at 11 a.m., at the Rustic Drive Chapel, 1905 Rustic Drive, St. George, Utah.
- Visitations will be held Friday, from 6-8 p.m., at Metcalf Mortuary, 288 West St. George Blvd., and Saturday, prior to services, from 9:30-10:30 a.m., at the church.
- Interment will be in the St. George City Cemetery.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, 435-673-4221.
For condolences, full obituary and funeral listings please visit Metcalf Mortuary online