Helen Stevens Fitzgerald, born July 18, 1927, high tailed it out of here on April 22, 2022 after a brief battle with cancer. She was born in Fillmore, Utah to Daniel Ward and Ila Pearl Callister Stevens. She was fourth of seven children growing up with four cherished sisters and twin brothers. Her parents owned and ran the Stevens Hotel, which offered her and her siblings plenty of opportunities to learn to work hard at an early age. She was rodeo queen and Gold and Green Ball royalty in her youth. Academics were her strength in both high school and at BYU and the AC (Agricultural College) in Logan.
During a flight lesson in her hometown, she impressed the pilot Leland Allen Fitzgerald when he performed a barrel roll, and she showed no fear. They eventually eloped February 1, 1948 to Las Vegas, NV. They moved to Draper, Utah where they raised their family. Mom utilized a plethora of talents to create a beautiful home, yard, and a great life for her family. She was known to stay up in the wee hours of the night sewing clothes for her children. Her passion for creating beautiful things lead her to develop talents for making jewelry, ceramic dolls, rugs, pottery, oil paintings and beautifully designed and sewn quilts. She even ran a long arm quilting business until she was 85. Her yard and garden were a thing of beauty. After seeing her flower beds, people would stop to get gardening advice. She grew a vegetable garden every year and would eat, almost exclusively, out of the garden during the summer.
Mom showed true grit while helping dad run their sheep operation at Cedar Valley, Strawberry, and Little Red Creek, Utah. She cooked for big crowds whether feeding ranch hands or entertaining family and friends. Many will remember her delicious meals whether cooked around a campfire or indoors. She earned the Academy Award for best sport when dad invited people to stay for dinner which she hadn’t even started preparing yet!
Mom lived for her children and grandkids. Whether sewing their clothes, making them special quilts, baking homemade birthday cakes, helping with their projects, attending their sporting events, or making ordinary work fun, she showed up for her family in a myriad of ways. Her grandkids remember having her tend and teach them how to sew, oil paint or cook. Mom also baked signature desserts for her grandkids’ special events.
Mom was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She was a dedicated ministering sister who cared about and loved the sisters she visited. She served by giving of herself. Many have been blessed by the gifts she has given them of her paintings, quilts, jewelry, home cooked meals, or service. At age 92, she loomed 92 hats to give to the homeless and at age 93 she sewed 70 masks for health care workers. If there was a need, she went to work to fill it.
One of the secrets to mom’s longevity was living a very active life and eating chocolate every day. When her day’s work was done, she turned to one of her many hobbies. Once dad died, she made a point of getting involved in book club, Draper Senior Citizens’ Center, or a gardening group. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. you could find her at senior citizens exercising, playing cards and games, or attending classes. She loved the friends she met there and looked forward to seeing them daily. She added to her friendships while living at Cedarwood, Silver pines and Crescent Senior Living. Often her family would call at 9 or 10 p.m. only to get an answering machine because she was playing cards with friends!
When she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, mom was ready and excited to see her family who preceded her in death. Her family will miss her example of emotional resilience, physical strength, unfailing service, and passion for life. She is survived by children Rochelle Fitzgerald, Brett (Karren) Fitzgerald, Jacci Ottosen, Russ (Sara) Fitzgerald, sisters Lorraine Staples and Joyce (Glen) Whatcott and grandchildren Connor, Cole and Paige Ottosen, Katie Budge, Jacob Fitzgerald, Jensen Fitzgerald, and Savanna Fitzgerald. She is preceded in death by husband Leland Allen Fitzgerald, son Scott Fitzgerald, grandson Kade Ottosen, sisters Mae Cropper and Beth Yarbrough, brothers Dan and Don Stevens, and her parents. Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 30, 2022 at the Corner Canyon Stake Center on 13366 South 1300 East in Draper, Utah. A viewing will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. with funeral services at 11:00 a.m. Interment in the Draper Cemetery.
The Fitzgerald family would like to thank the staff at Crescent Senior Living and Canyons Home Health and Hospice. Our entire family was given much love and special care and support during a difficult time. A special thanks also to her friends and family who reach out to lift her spirits in her last days.
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