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Dad and Matt met us between sessions of General Conference to commemorate Mom's birthday.  Thanks to Matt for this picture:

Thursday, March 30, 2017 -- David Harmer

In honor of Carolyn's birthday, the flowering cherry and pear trees are blossoming!  She loved this view from our front porch:

The Utah siblings and Dad gathered today at Paradise Cafe in her honor.  We met for lunch and spent the next three hours reminiscing:

Happy birthday, Mom!  We still adore you, and always will.  Everything lovely reminds us of you.  :)

April 3, 2016 -- Remembering Carolyn

Following General Conference on Sunday, April 3, Amy's, Joe's, and Dave's families gathered at Dave's house for a joint birthday party for Abby, who turned 13, and Carolyn, who would have turned 78 on March 30.  As part of our family home evening, each person present shared something they love or miss about Carolyn.

Madison Harmer: I miss all the pictures Grandma would take at every family event, no matter how small.  She would develop the film from her disposable cameras and send us pictures, sometimes whole albums, always with a nice note.  I also miss her voice--it was so cheerful and mellow, and it always made me happy to hear her talk.

Elayne Wells Harmer: I miss how she was always smiling, and when I saw her, she always made me feel loved and special.  I knew that she thought (not just said, but truly thought) there was nothing about me she’d fix.  That’s the kind of mom and grandma I want to be.

Joe Harmer: Dad shared his appreciation of mom's ability to find and appreciate the beauty that surrounded her -- flowers, music, literature, art, etc.  That impressed me to remember that Mom also found gratitude in most of life's circumstances, especially during some of life's more challenging times.  She was grateful for the weather, the beauty of a sunny day, the beauty of a billowing cloud, the clean air from a good breeze, and or the moisture from a heavy storm to a water-needy area like Utah.

She appreciated her family in all its forms and in every direction.  She loved her parents, and their parents and their parents.  She was grateful for and to her ancestors, for their sacrifices and their dedication.  She was grateful for siblings and extended families, and she expressed gratitude regularly for her children, their spouses, and their children.

In so many ways, including but not limited to prophets, patriots, pilgrims, and pioneers, Mom found gratitude for so many, who she believed had done so much, from which she felt she benefited.

Charlie Cox (via Amy):  David asked me to type up my children's remembrances of Grandma Carolyn at her birthday observance this week.  I will start with Charlie.

Tonight as we finished scriptures and prayers, Charlie wanted to know what happened to Grandma's old house -- the one with the swimming pool.  We talked about it a bit and then he said (as he often does), "But Mom, when is Grandma coming back to be Resurrected?!"  Typically after we have this discussion, I find Anna weepy in her bed, also missing Grandma.  Tonight was no exception, and Anna told me that if someone offered her tons of money for Grandma to say dead, she wouldn't take it.  "I would give them all my money, Mom, just to have Grandma alive."

While these exchanges are emotional, and make me sad that my children don't have their Grandma here with them, I am grateful that they still remember her and miss her so much.  She was such a big part of their lives and they love her.  I don't want them to forget her and the tender feelings they have for her.

When we were remembering our favorite things about Grandma in commemoration of her birthday this past week, Charlie said:

  • "She always used to take me to Old McDonalds."

  • "She always let me swim in her swimming pool."

  • "She let me see her in her pajamas, even when she was sick in her hospital bed."

  • "She let me drink all of her apple juice."  (She always had little boxes of apple juice in her pantry.)

  • "She blowed bubbles with me on her porch."

  • "She's cute!"  (The ultimate compliment from him at this age and stage!)

Abby Cox: My memory of grandma was I loved going over to her house for Sunday dinners.  She was an amazing cook, and being around her just made you feel good!  She always congratulated you on your accomplishments, and her smile was contagious.  I also miss her taking me to violin lessons.  It was fun to spend a few hours with her a week and talk!

John Harmer: As I said during the FHE inside your home, Mom was always finding something beautiful in the world about her.  She would love to be outside on a sunny day and watch the white clouds floating by.  She always checked the sunset to see if there was going to be one of the spectacular sunsets over the Great Salt Lake.  She noted every day the progress of spring in the flowers, bushes, and trees about her.  We usually took a drive around the canyons in the fall to see how the leaves were turning.  We would start with Sardine canyon between Brigham City and Logan, and then move down the Wasatch front until we went up Provo Canyon abound the back of Mt. Timpanogos.  This process would take several weekends and always provided an excuse to stop at a favorite restaurant.  Nothing would please her more than a bouquet of flowers that could last for an entire week or more.  Her several experiences with rafting on one of the rivers were always in her memory.

It looks like we will have to wait another couple of weeks to start taking flowers to the cemetery.

Thanks for a wonderful evening.

Zachary Harmer: What I loved most about Grandma Carolyn was that she loved everybody and supported everybody for anything and everything they chose to participate in.
Today would have been Mom's 78th Birthday.  Wendy writes:

I am going through some of Mom's voicemails while I wait for a doctor's appointment.  I miss her so much today!  This is her Easter voicemail from last year, when she was with Mir, Chris, and Shelley.  I love that she took the time in a voicemail to mention her favorite conference talks.
Love to all,
Wendy Bryn

Download the voicemail at this link:


Wendy, who saved a few voice messages from Mom, shared this one with us.  (LiveJournal doesn't enable audio files to be embedded in this post, but here's a link to a DropBox file; click it, and you'll be able to hear Mom's voice again.)


Friday, January 29, 2016 -- Amy Marie Cox

Dear Family,

I had a tender experience this week when I was especially missing Mom.  I started going through a bin of what ended up being 6 or 7 journals she had started for grandchildren or children.   I enjoyed leafing through them and seeing her beautiful handwriting on the pages.  (They are all in different states of completion.)  I believe she started giving these to some grandchildren as gifts?  I know Abby got one when she turned 12.

Anyway, there was a fun page I thought I would type up and share.  These were the only 2 pages she completed in this particular journal of "Grandma's Remembrances."  Notice that some of her children's performances made it to her "greatest" list!

David, feel free to post to the blog.

Please forward to your children if I didn't include them! (I put some of the grandkids on the distribution list.)



Grandmother’s Treasures
Reflections and Remembrances


Handels’ Messiah, Bach’s Brandenberg Concertos, Smetana’s Ma Vlast, Chopin’s piano music, choral music of John Rutter.


“Three Coins in a Fountain,” “Unchained Melody,” “Blue Velvet”


We danced to a lot of big band music.


… is mostly classical music.  I love the singing of Sissel and Bryn Terfel.


Metropolitan Museum of Art, Frick Gallery in NY, Boston Fine Arts Museum, Bishop Museum (Honolulu), British Museum, Reichsmuseum in Amsterdam


I love the paintings of Winslow Homer and Mary Cassatt.  I love Monet, Renoir, Rembrandt, Fragonard, Gainsborough, Reynolds, and the religious paintings of Harry Anderson.


Hillary Hahn, Joshua Bell, James Galway, the Gina Bachauer concerts in Utah, Wendy singing in the Hollywood Bowl, David and Joe singing with BYU Men’s Chorus, Vivian playing flute concerto with BYU Philharmonic and Salute to Youth.


Miracle Worker, Jane Eyre, Christmas Carol, Elizabeth and Essex, Mikado, Magic Flute (at the Met)


Gettysburg, Gone With the Wind, October Sky, The Mission, Scarlet Pimpernel, Blind Side, Chariots of Fire, 1776, Seabiscuit, Anne of Green Gables, Tora Tora Tora, Miss Potter


James Stewart, Kenneth Branaugh


Julie Andrews, Mary Martin, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench

Sunday, January 24, 2016 -- David Harmer

A week ago today, the families of seven of Mom's ten kids gathered here at my home to choose mementos from among her remaining belongings.  Vivian, Amy, and Miriam -- who had spent the weekend organizing Mom's apartment and taking inventory -- presided.  It was a happy occasion, with lots of warmth and good memories.  Best of all -- thanks to a 16x20 canvas print of this picture mounted on the wall of the great room, and a 12x16 canvas print propped on the fireplace -- whenever we glanced up, it looked like Mom was right there with us.

The sisters kindly offered me the red coat Mom's wearing in this picture.  It still smelled like Mom!  It's hanging in our hall closet, with a big bar of Bisous de Provence lavender triple-milled soap in the pocket.  Whenever you come to visit, feel free to hold the sleeve or just inhale the fragrance for a quick whiff of Mom.

The sisters also invited me to keep Mom's custom-made leather coat from Argentina.  I couldn't find a picture of her wearing it, but here it is now.  Looks pretty good for 34 years old:

It's hanging in my bedroom closet, where I'll see it first thing every morning.  I remember Mom wearing it to her kids' and grandkids' football and soccer games when the weather was cold.  It also brings good memories of Mom bravely trooping all over South America with me after my mission -- although not in the coat; it was January when she came, summer in the Southern Hemisphere.  In Argentina, she walked miles of paths to see las Cataratas del Iguazu from every possible vantage point (and was as enchanted by the butterflies as the waterfalls).  In Peru, at 8,000+ feet elevation, she wandered all over Macchu Picchu.  In the Yucatan Peninsula, she climbed the narrow steps up the pyramids at Chichen Itza and Uxmal, all the way to the top.  Near Mexico City, she did the same at Teotihuacan.

Along with the coat, the sisters gave me the passport Mom took on that trip, with stamps from the Argentine consulate in San Francisco and the various countries we visited (along with many countries she visited later).  Also pictured are the mother's awards from each of my scouting rank advancements:  Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, Eagle, and Arrow of Light.  I have no idea where my own scout uniforms or awards are, but Mom faithfully kept hers.

The sisters also returned the binders of Mom's letters I'd given to her.  (There should be a fifth binder somewhere to complete the set; it has printouts of emails she sent.)

Sadly, I don't think Mom had time to read them all.  At the time of her diagnosis, I had given her only the first volume or two, intending to present the remaining ones for Christmas, her birthday, and Mother's Day.  The day after her surgery, realizing that we'd have to accelerate that cadence, I stopped by her apartment on my way to work and gave her all the rest.

When the time came to distribute her other possessions, I chose a few of her greeting cards, Christmas ornaments, some piano and organ music, and a few books.  Chris, Jonny, and Wendy, we have several more bins waiting for you.

I like having a few of Mom's things around.  Makes it seem like she's near.

October 6, 2015 -- John Harmer

Tributes to Carolyn

Carolyn led a very full, active and successful life.  She leaves a rich legacy of love and dedication not only to her family, but to her church and profession as well.  She truly was a remarkable woman, as proven by her children.  I’m sure you are all very proud of her many accomplishments and she will be dearly missed.  I hope that the many warm and loving memories of her will help bring you all great comfort.
Congressman Rob Bishop

Dear Grandma:
I hope that you feel better.  I love you vary much.

Dear Grandma:
Thank you so very much for the beautiful pearl necklace and memory book you gave me.  I don’t think I’ve ever received such a thoughtful or meaningful gift before, and it means so much to me that you took the time to make it.  I’ve had so much fun reading it these past few weeks and looking at the pictures inside.  I am so blessed to have you as a grandma.

I’ve been meaning for some time to say thank you for the adorable outfit, baby doll, and books that you gave to our little Carolyn Eve (aka Pebbles or Evie).  They were so appreciated, especially the Olivia book…I hope our little girl takes after her namesake in so many ways.  I hope that she learns to read as you do, play the piano, love her family, and love the Savior the way you do.  Thank you for all you do and for being a rock to Chris.  I hope you know that you are an angel to him.  Thank you for the many prayers you offered on his behalf throughout the years that undoubtedly saved his life on a number of occasions.  Your prayers, faith, and example are and will be much appreciated for years to come by me and little Carolyn Eve.
I love you.

From Aunt Arlene Harmer:
Carolyn, you are awesome – yes you are!
It was my privilege to sit beside you today, hold your hand and share your spiritual strength.
Once again, as you always have been, you were calm and strong, accepting a terrible disease.
The love you your room of sisters and brother wa overpowering as you peacefully shared by example the testimony of a true and faithful believer, as well as a gracious mother and wife.
You have taught us well.”
We love you.
August 2, 2015

Carolyn will live on for how she touched my life.  I will forever cherish the moments I had with her.  Our spirits bonded.
Marlene Sims

From Wendy Bryn Harmer:

She always leaned to watch for us
Anxious of we were late,
In winter by the window,
In summer by the gate.
And though we mocked her tenderly,
Who had such foolish care,
The long way home would seem more safe,
Because she waited there.

Her thoughts were all so full of us,
She never could forget,
And so I think that where she is,
She must be watching yet.
Waiting ‘til we come home to her
Anxious if we are late
Watching from Heaven’s window
Leaning from Heaven’s gate.

From President and Sister Garff, of the Bountiful Temple:
I just now received your e-mail that apparently you sent last night.  I also heard this morning at the temple that Carolyn passed away last night.   I am so sorry for you and yours.  Our most sincere apology and empathy  for not being there last night to say goodbye to a true and benevolent servant…Parting is never easy, but it is sweet when you think of the memories and all that you two have accomplished together.  Your greatest and most poignant memory has to be your family that you have raised together.  May your sweet memories be with you during the hours and days to come.
Robert and Kathi Garff
04 August 2015

Jan. 21, 2016 -- Bishop Featherstone

President Harold B. Lee said:  “The spirits of the deceased are allowed to remain close until after funeral services.
So I am quite sure that Carolyn is here.  Where else would she be, when most of those she loved most are gathered in this room. Of course she is here.

So on behalf of the Harmer Family, we welcome extended family, friends and neighbors to this occasion today. As John and Carolyn’s Bishop, I invoke a blessing upon all those who will participate in this service, and upon all those that are in attendance… both seen and unseen. I invoke a blessing that the witness of the spirit will be upon each of us, that those who sing and speak will do so, as with the tongue of Angels. That there will be a spirit of peace and comfort rest upon each soul is my blessing and prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Carolyn was Adamant that the service be no more than an hour. We tried, but I think we all knew that it was not to be.  Carolyn, we will ask your forgiveness once more, with no doubt that you will forgive this breach of your wishes.
David last night mentioned that I have been adopted temporarily into this remarkable Harmer Family. John has included in me in family events, and they have all made me feel for a few days, a part of them during this sacred time for them. This experience is engraved on my heart. And for a few days I have felt like child number 11. But then there are dozens that Carolyn and John made feel that way. Carolyn always spoke about her children and their families, and as far as I know they are perfect. I am the only imperfect child. Which is the why, I’m sure,  the adoption is temporary.

John and Carolyn moved into the 2nd ward a year ago. Of course for the Featherstone’s part… we knew and loved them already from our time the 10 ward. But in just a short year, the ward has fallen in love with them and I believe they have fallen in love with the ward. Their coming to our ward was an answer to my prayers. It may have been less than ideal for them, but they have embraced the opportunity to serve with all the love and experience they have.  John as a worthy Priesthood holder in Riley court has become an extension of the Bishopric to watch over the many singles and widows that live there. We have so many sisters that crave a priesthood holder living close to them.  Carolyn was engaged in the ward before she ever attended. My executive Sec wife received a letter for Boston, which arrived the day they came home from the hospital with a new baby. The letter said that Carolyn had been called as her visiting teacher, that she knew she was having a baby and that she would visit as soon as she arrived back in town. Carolyn was blessing our ward before she was even there physically.

A couple of quick experiences so we all clearly understand the characteristics of a saint. That’s who she is… a latter day saint in every aspect of her life. (Parenthetically…I wrote these things just after leaving Carolyn for the last time last Sunday. I wanted to write the things that were in my heart just leaving the presence of an angelic soul. For those that may wonder what it is like to be in the presence of Angels, if you have been with Carolyn… you already know. )

My Wife went to see her last Sunday… the day before she passed. She did not want to intrude on family time, but she had been invited by John to see her. Carolyn is ward choir director and had prepared the Choir music for the next several months and wanted to pass it along to my wife who is the ward music chairperson. Till the day before she passed, it was important to her to magnify her calling.

2 weeks ago, as she was in the hospital, just days after the diagnosis, She asked me to come to the hospital to give her a blessing. And I thought, why me, with so many Righteous priesthood holders in her family, her husband, sons, sons in law. And I realized it was not me, It was that she wanted a blessing from her bishop. I hold the keys, and she understands that. I was giving her a blessing not only as a friend… but as her Bishop holding the keys.  Only 4 of us in the hospital room.  I think there were dozens of family members down a floor in a room. John anointed and I sealed the anointing. And if there was a thought of blessing her to continue the fight, it was clear that it was not the right thing to do. It came to me so clearly with my hands on her white hair, that she had fought the good fight, had endured hardship and had done so with such grace, dignity and purity… her fight was over. She passed the test with perfect marks. The battle was over and she is the victor. And that was the blessing that day.

I went to say Goodbye on Sunday…the day before she passed away. I have had several friends these last several months that have passed from Cancer. One was Jan Freeman who many of you know. It has come to me in those last moments with treasured friends to say: “Goodbye for Now” “For Now.” Two miraculous, magical words that apply because of our understanding of a loving Father who wants us to be with Him and with those we love. We will see those we love again so we are able to say… Goodbye for now. The love we have for others…for family… must transcend this world. How could it be otherwise?
In conclusion,  What do we take away from this service? How do we honor Carolyn and the way she lived?

Since presiding over several Funerals, I have come to the realization that a Funeral for a righteous soul, is possibly the best meeting we have. The veil between this mortal world and eternity is thin… almost transparent…if we allow it to be. So as David said last night to the family, what do we commit to do better, in this sacred setting with the veil so thin?
Section 121 describes her and I believe the characteristics we want to embrace. Think of Carolyn as I describe these attributes:
“No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by (any of us), only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned. By kindness, and pure knowledge.”  That is who Carolyn is, and who we should aspire to be.

That is my hope and prayer for all of us, all of us number “Elevens” in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.