Gwen was born Gwendolyn June Kern on Aug. 25, 1937, to Mable and William Kern in Denver, Colorado. She grew up in Riverside, California, and Henderson, Nevada. She passed away peacefully at home on May 8, 2020, with her husband, Garry, her son, Brian, and the Hospice Nurse, Kristy by her side.
She graduated from Henderson High School in 1955. She met Garry Prisbrey at a local 1950s drive-in. Garry caught her eye, in a classic 1952 Chevy Coupe. She married Garry Prisbrey on Aug. 5, 1955.
She was a city girl. She loved to shop. She had a handbag and matching shoes for every dress. She was a very classy lady.
In 1970, they moved to Washington, Utah. Gwen transformed and blossomed into a true Country Girl. She learned how to plant a garden, can and bottle her crops, take care of cows, horses, goats, sheep, dogs and everything else that came home with Garry and the kids. She learned to bake bread, pies and every country meal imaginable. There was no such thing as leftover food. It was “Planned” overs. There wasn’t anything she didn’t try. “Can’t” was not in her vocabulary, at all! She gave this country life everything she had and she mastered it with grace and style.
Gwen raised her children with a strong hand and a kind loving heart. Garry worked out of town and she was the glue that held everything together. She loved her children and they knew it, but she was not about to let them run over her and get away without doing their chores. She had a paddle and she wasn’t afraid to use it if needed. She never said, “Wait until your dad gets home” to get a little correcting. She took care of everything at the time. Nothing was left until later.
Gwen took a furniture refinishing class from Montrue Larkin at Dixie College about 50 years ago. Gwen became the master teacher and when the class ended at Dixie College, she kept a group of “Strippers” going right up to her passing. She didn’t just refinish a piece of furniture, she restored it to its original beauty. She was known for taking old broken dressers, chairs, an organ, tables, etc., in boxes full of pieces and repairing and fixing every detail even down to patching the veneer. Every piece of furniture that she restored was a “Master Piece.” She took great pride in all her work. I think her favorite gift from her children was tools, steel wool, and a can of stripper.
Gwen’s talents didn’t begin or end with refinishing furniture. She was an amazing seamstress. She sewed all the Halloween costumes and clothing that couldn’t be purchased … and they were professionally done. You could not tell they were homemade.
Gwen made many (hundreds) of Bears and Dolls, both out of wood, material, and old fur coats. She put joints in the legs and arms, and you would never guess they were homemade either. Everything she made was with precise perfection.
Gwen had an eye for decorating. She loved the Country Sample Magazine. She could see a picture and create what she saw … she had a saying: “just like that, only different.” What we saw was “just like that, only better.” Gwen never got bored. She always had a “new” pattern to try out. She loved keeping busy and creating things.
Of all the things she accomplished and learned in her life, her greatest joy was her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She encouraged them to always be doing something. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to save money and spend time with family. Family gatherings were very important to her. She was always fussing about trying to feed everyone and make sure they were taken care of. She was an amazing grandmother. She played on her hands and knees constantly with her grandchildren making forts, reading books, playing dolls, sewing, cooking with them and doing “whatever” they wanted to do. She gave them her undivided attention when they were with her.
Gwen was always prepared to drop what she had planned to take care of her family. We could call, and at a moment’s notice, she was there to save the day.
Gwen was Garry’s right hand. She was always by his side helping with every project he was doing; fetching a tool, holding this or that in place while he fastened or repaired, running for supplies, and keeping a cold drink close by.
Gwen is survived by her husband of 64 years, children: Becky and Kevin Whitney, Brian and Sarah Prisbrey, Bruce and Nanette Prisbrey, Brenda and Chris Veit, seven grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and one on the way.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Mabel and Bill Kern, baby girl Peggy, her mother and father in law, LaRue and Harold Prisbrey, and Grandma and Grandpa Prisbrey, Susan and Hyrum Prisbrey.
Due to COVID-19, there will not be a funeral at this time. We will have a celebration of life at a later date.
We would like to thank the staff at Sun Tree Home Health & Hospice. Especially, Christy, Laura, Ronnie and Tricia.
A Private Family Graveside Service will be on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at 11 a.m. in the Washington City Cemetery. There will be a family visitation prior to services from 9:30–10:30 a.m. at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff Street, St. George, Utah 84770.
Arrangements under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St., St. George, Utah, (435) 673-2454. Family and friends are invited to sign her online guestbook at www.spilsburymortuary.com