E. Beth Tanner Spackman, beloved friend, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, passed away peacefully on 11 August 2018 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada at the age of 91.
Beth is survived by seven of her eight children: Larry (Flora) Spackman of Calgary, AB, Kathy (Wendell) Cahoon of Sandy, UT, David (Camilla) Spackman of Calgary, AB, Bill (Colette) Spackman of Calgary, AB, Hugh (Penny) Spackman of Santa Barbara, CA, Carl (Tracy) Spackman of Phoenix, AZ and Michael (Jennifer) Spackman of Boise, ID; grandchildren: Beth (Stuart) Thompson, Mary Anne (Nelson) Kroeker, Sara (Dustin) Johnson, Holly (David) Melchin, Grant L. Spackman III, Jay (Cindy) Cahoon, Kay (Kris) Whitehead, Tom (Crystal) Cahoon, Christy Hadley, Sally (Daniel) OKeef, Eddie (Karlie) Cahoon, Eldon (Abbey) Spackman, Sarah (Brad) Leishman, Steven (Chelsea) Spackman, Jeffrey Spackman, Benjamin (Jessica) Spackman, Stephanie (Matt) Rempel, Mark (Jennifer) Spackman, Scott (Rachelle) Spackman, Renee (Jake) Sherlock, Michael Spackman, Rachel Spackman, Sam Spackman, Zack Spackman, Ginger Spackman, Christian Spackman, Chloe Spackman, Ian Spackman, Nathan Spackman, Daniel Spackman, Tanner Spackman, Jacob Spackman, Bethany Spackman, Lily Spackman; and 60 awesome great-grandchildren. (While listing all their names would be awesome because she loves each and every one of her great-grandchildren, it will take up too much room;) sister, Helen Tanner Beaton of Medford, OR, and many more family and dear friends. She was preceded in death by her cherished husband, Grant Spackman, her son Thomas Spackman, grandson Michael Spackman, great-granddaughter Kaitlyn Leishman, her parents N. Eldon and Sara Tanner, and sisters Ruth T. Walker, Isabelle T. Jensen, and Zola T. Rhodes.
Edna Beth Spackman (known as “Beth”) was born 16 March 1927 in Cardston, Alberta to Nathan Eldon and Sara Isabelle Merrill Tanner, the fourth of five girls. At the time of her birth, her family was living in Hillspring, AB, but she was born in the hospital in Cardston. Her family moved to Cardston when she was very young. When she was 10, her family moved to Edmonton where she lived until she married.
Her independent streak showed itself early as exemplified by her baptismal day. At the age of 8, Beth and her friend, Kent Burt, marched themselves to the Cardston temple to get baptized as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – without their parents! They knew where their recommends were, showed the temple worker, got baptized and went home. Their parents were terribly surprised when informed that the baptismal ordinance had already been performed.
Beth earned her first university degree with a B.Sc. in Home Economics from University of Alberta. She taught school in Athabasca for one year before she married. After her marriage, she completed her second degree in Education.
Beth married Grant Lawrence Spackman, her WWII war hero, in the Cardston Alberta temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 28 July 1949. Their union has produced eight delightful, intelligent and opinionated children, 35 stellar grandchildren, and 60 practically perfect great-grandchildren, with three more babies on the way. After their university life in Edmonton, they lived in Estevan, SK, Regina, SK, and the majority of their family life (40 years) was spent on an acreage south of Calgary where they raised chickens, pigs, cows, an enormous garden, and lot of children!
Beth embraced her role of homemaker with zeal. Their home was filled with love, laughter and prayer, hard work, diligence and a deep love of the Lord. Her cooking and family dinners were legendary, especially her mouth-watering multi-grain bread (which her father declared “the best bread in the world!”) She was an excellent seamstress. Her love of music enveloped their home. Her deep love of the hymns of the gospel of Jesus Christ provided peace and solace to Beth throughout her life, including her last day in mortality when she joined some of her loved ones in expressing her love of the Savior through music while confined to her hospital bed.
Beth was good at just about everything. When she decided something was worth doing, she learned how to do it, and do it well. Her incredible intellect blessed the lives of all those with whom she came in contact. She was a prodigious reader. Her expectation of perfect grammar was infamous. Beth was an extraordinary teacher; she had the ability to explain complex concepts with clarity, both to large groups and individually. Her administrative abilities were not just utilized in running a large and busy household, she used these talents while serving in her church and community. For years, she worked diligently to keep her mind nimble: daily crossword puzzles, playing Scrabble, reading the scriptures in English, Icelandic, French and Spanish and frequently memorizing long declarations, such as, “The Living Christ,” and “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
Beth took excellent care of her physical body and expected everyone around her to do the same. She exercised every single day. When at their much-loved summer home in Waterton, she would hike almost every morning before breakfast, usually to Bertha Falls (5.2 km round trip.) If anyone else was awake, she would take them with her, but she usually did her daily hike alone. She hiked the strenuous Crypt Lake hike (17.2 km round trip) at the age of 79 – on the hottest day on record in Waterton! At the age of 81, she climbed the Carthew-Alderson Trail, informally known as “the Summit,” (20.1 km.) Her self-discipline and tenacity are legendary.
One of the most challenging times in Beths life came with the death of their sweet son, Tommy, who passed away from leukemia shortly before the age of eight. Beth expressed often to her children how grateful she is for the knowledge that families can be together forever, that they will be reunited again and what a blessing it is to have Tommy as part of their family. Beth has a strong knowledge and fervent gratitude for the blessings of the sealing covenant in the temple that enable families to be together eternally.
Beths life was defined by constant service. Her work ethic and intellect combined with her pure love for the Lord and her fellow beings had the effect of changing countless lives. She served with diligence and exactness wherever and whenever she was asked. She served as a leader and teacher in the auxiliaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints including ward and stake Relief Society President. Beth and Grant served four church missions together: New Zealand Christchurch Mission as mission president (1983-1986), Iceland as counsellor to the Denmark Copenhagen mission president (1992-1993), Toronto Temple (1996-1997), and Phoenix, Arizona in the Mesa temple visitor center (2001-2002.) Her love of missionary work continued to the end of her life, carrying Book of Mormons in English and Tagalog in her walker to give away when the opportunity arose. Beth and Grant loved to attend the temple, and Beth was blessed with the physical health to be able to attend weekly right up until she passed away. Her last day in the temple was one week before her passing. She was filled with almost inexpressible joy at being together with all her children and their spouses in the Calgary temple.
A viewing will be held for Beth at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Foothills Stake Centre, 30 Everstone Blvd. SW, Calgary Calgary) on Friday, August 17, 2018 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. A funeral service will then be held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Foothills Stake Centre (30 Everstone Blvd. SW, Calgary) on Saturday, August 18, 2018 at 11:30 am with a viewing before the funeral at 10:30. Interment will follow at Mountain View Memorial Gardens. Messages of condolence may be forwarded to the family at www.piersons.ca.
Pierson’s Forest Lawn Chapel
4121 – 17 Avenue SE
CA T2A 0T1