Our beloved wife and mother, Mary Jane Watkins Bracken, passed away on September 30, 2021 after a valiant struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. In true Mary Jane fashion, wanting things to be precise and orderly, she passed early on the morning of her 81st birthday.
Mary Jane was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 30, 1940 to Naomi Ann Fugate and Raymond Cowger Watkins. She was blessed with a deep abiding love for her parents and siblings: Joy, Jay, Sherry and Richard.
Mary Jane was someone who loved learning. She attended schools in Salt Lake City and worked hard to achieve her education. She accomplished an important life goal at the age of 51 when she graduated from the University of Utah.
The greatest blessing of her life came when she married and was sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on December 8, 1961 to her best friend, Ralph LaVell Bracken. They would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary later this year. Together they raised their family of four children in Holladay, Utah.
As a young child, Mary Jane began her life long journey to come to know her Savior, Jesus Christ. She made the decision to be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at age 9. Her unwavering commitment and faithful example has shaped her posterity’s lives. She served faithfully in many callings throughout her life. She and LaVell served together as senior missionaries in the Florida Tallahassee Mission after her retirement.
Mary Jane was industrious and energetic. She had lists and projects and her organizational skills are legendary! She was a professional seamstress for many years while her children were at home and spent countless hours creating beautiful things with her hands for her family and loved ones. She returned to the workforce full-time and spent 23 years employed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an executive secretary first for Elder Ronald E. Poelman and later working in the Office of the First Presidency. She cultivated relationships with her colleagues that were cherished and an important part of her life. These years were precious to her and to our family.
Mary Jane loved her family. Not one of us doubt her commitment to us. She loved each of us unconditionally and always had time for a conversation or a walk. She spent time with those she loved. She was an incredible genealogist! She spent her life searching, finding and telling the stories of our ancestors. We are confident she was greeted in Heaven by legions of family members she discovered.
Mary Jane is survived by her loving husband, R. LaVell Bracken; her four children: Ann (Gary) Millward, Scott (Ann) Bracken, Jason (Bonnie) Bracken and Tiffany (Ken) Jenkins as well as her 13 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren with two on the way. Additionally she is survived by her sister Sherry Hoggard and her brother Richard (Pam) Watkins, and her sister-in-law Dorine (Dean) Ralph. She cherished her many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Joy and her brother Jay as well as LaVell’s parents, Ralph & Norma and his two sisters, Belva Wayman and Lana Siple.
Funeral services will be held Monday, Oct 4, 2021 at 11:00am at the Holladay 24th Ward, 4395 South Albright Drive, Holladay; where friends and family are invited to visit Sunday evening 6:00-8:00pm and Monday morning 9:30-10:30am prior to the service. Interment will be at the Elysian Burial Gardens.
For those unable to attend in person the funeral will be live-streamed at: www.HolbrookMortuary.com. To watch the funeral scroll to the bottom of Mary Jane’s obituary page on the Holbrook Mortuary website on the day of the funeral, the live-stream will remain available to watch for 90 days.