Fort Collins, Colorado – Grace Kathleen Talley Memmott, age 101, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on March 20, 2023, at Fort Collins, Colorado. Grace was born September 25, 1921, in Bybee, Tennessee to James Bernard Talley and Callie New Years Campbell. She was the fifth of eight children.
Her childhood was spent roaming the hills on the family farm. She was tasked with catching a chicken for dinner, milking cows, picking berries from over in “the holler,” and carrying food to her older brothers as they worked on the farm. She told of once being chased back home by a black racer snake when she was little. Her account of surviving an attempted kidnapping in her youth is family lore. Early on in elementary school, Grace told her teacher she wouldn’t be back the following year—she was headed to college. While she never made it to college, she did earn a college scholarship. Grace graduated from Newport High School and later worked in a sock factory in Morristown, Tennessee.
The Talley home was the center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the area. Worship services were often held in the home. Year after year, a stream of missionaries would pass through the home in need of a hot meal and a place to stay. Even years later, Grace would always pray for the missionaries. These experiences would impact Grace for the rest of her life—but none as much as meeting one Elder Memmott from Scipio, Utah.
Grace would later marry Ralph Calvin Memmott on November 2, 1943, in the Manti Utah Temple. Her parents had made the trip to Utah and were also sealed the same day. Grace and Ralph settled in Scipio and, later, Fillmore, Utah. They welcomed three daughters—Sandra, Sue, and Pamela. Ralph and Grace also cared for her younger brother, Don, in their home for a few years.
She would often travel—back to Tennessee to visit family, with Ralph on sales trips around the country, and to visit children and grandchildren. Favorite family memories include month long road trips across the US and Canada, visits to the cinder pit, and roasting hot dogs at the sand hills. She was a fan of Elvis Presley and even saw him at a concert in Las Vegas. Even in her 90’s she was still able to recognize beauty. She once commented after a movie, “That Johnny Depp is one good looking man.” Grace would often teach her grandchildren songs and sayings she learned from her childhood growing up in the Southeast. She knew the words to almost every nursey rhyme and had a mind like a steel trap. One tongue twister is single-handedly responsible for many of her grandchildren’s first curse words: “I slit a sheet and a sheet slit me.” Say that ten times fast.
In her almost 102 years, Grace witnessed and endured much of recent history. Loved ones describe her as smart, determined, persistent, and a little spunky. Her mother described her as a “bright grey-eyed little girl…that if she started to do a thing she was sure to win before she quit.” And she did not quit.
Ralph passed away in 1992 after a years-long battle with cancer and she spent much of her remaining years in Fort Collins, Colorado living in her daughter’s home. She always looked forward to visits from her grandchildren. Until a few weeks before her passing, she was in relatively good health and enjoyed a daily adventure in the car.
Grace is survived by her three daughters, Sandra Memmott, of Fort Collins, Colorado; Sue Bushnell, of Provo, Utah; Pamela Sanders (Craig), of Fort Collins, Colorado; a brother, Donald Talley, of Wellington, Ohio; fifteen grandchildren, 37 great grandchildren, four great-great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Grace was preceded death by her parents; her husband, Ralph; four brothers; two sisters; a son-in-law, the late Jim Bushnell; and two great grandsons.
Funeral services will be held Monday, April 3rd at 11:00 am in the Fillmore 1st Ward (290 East 500 South). A visitation will be held from 10:30 am to 11:00 am. Internment and graveside services will follow at the Fillmore City Cemetery.