Marilee was born in Salt Lake City on August 26, 1942 to June Macfarlane Forsha and Donna Done Forsha. She was the second of four children. Because her father worked in the Passenger Traffic department of the Union Pacific Railroad, every time he was promoted the family moved to a different city, including Boise, Idaho; Kansas City, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; and Omaha, Nebraska.
In Chicago, Marilee, her sister Mona and a friend liked to do fancy roller skating tricks. They called themselves “The Three Star Skaters.” In Omaha, she had frequent opportunities to serve in the church. One of her favorites was to lead the music and serve in youth leadership positions. In high school she loved to sing and participate in musicals. The death of her mother at the age of fifteen had a profound effect upon her. Marilee’s perseverance with overcoming challenges helped her throughout life. She earned her own way to Brigham Young University by working as a telephone operator.
While they lived in Omaha, Marilee was part of a trio called “The Two Dots & a Dash.” They sang at several events in Omaha. While they were at BYU, they sang “My Funny Valentine” in the Fieldhouse Frolics, accompanied by Janie Thompson, the legend of BYU’s Program Bureau. On October 6, 1961 the trio sang “Hey, Look Me Over” in a BYU vocal competition.
Marilee was a great actress and singer. She starred in the BYU musical, “The Boyfriend.” When she arrived at the audition, she was asked if she could speak with an English accent. She replied, “Is the Pope Catholic?!” In 1963 Marilee met an elder named Richard Crandall who had just returned from his mission. She was very popular and Richard had to wait for a period of time before they dated. During that time BYU had both a homecoming queen event and the “Belle of the Y” which included, talent, popularity, dancing, art, and baking. This event included sixty-five contestants and Marilee won the whole thing!
In 1964 Marilee and Richard were married in the Salt Lake City Temple by Marion G. Romney, at the request of Marilee’s mother who was Pres. Romney’s secretary. Her talents were immediately recognized and she was called as a BYU Stake Young Women’s President. Later that year, Richard graduated from BYU and received an officer’s commission in the United States Air Force. He entered pilot training in October and Marilee accompanied him to Del Rio, Texas where he was enrolled in pilot training.
During that time, Marilee gave birth to their first child, Brett Richard. After graduation the family moved to Merced, California where Marilee gave birth to their second child, Angela Marie. Their next assignment was to Fairchild AFB in Spokane, Washington where Marilee was soon called to teach the youth. Always missionary minded, she was instrumental in teaching the Gospel to a young neighbor, Martha Hoover, who, with permission from her parents, joined the church. In 1970 Marilee gave birth to her third child, David Forsha. Richard left the Air Force to help in the family business located in Twin Falls, Idaho. From there they moved to Utah where Marilee gave birth to Todd Martin and Brandon Douglass. Richard built Marilee a home in Sandy, UT where she first served as the primary music director. She offered the children candy if they sang loudly and joyfully, and that lasted until the primary president said she could not continue the candy. In 1982, Marilee followed Richard to Washington, D.C, where he was re-activated to the military by President Reagan. Marilee then moved with the family to assignments in Colorado and Virginia, where Marilee continued to serve in numerous church positions. Following Richard’s retirement, the family moved to Utah where Marilee went to work in retail sales and was very successful. They were in search of a home when news came of the loss of their first son, Brett Richard in January of 2001. This loss deeply affected Marilee and has been a challenge the rest of her life.
Marilee endured many trials in her life, however, her testimony of the Gospel and her Savior never wavered. She was a spiritual giant to all who knew her. Heavenly Father must have felt she endured enough and freed her from further pain and sorrow on Saturday, December 28, 2019, in the Utah Valley Hospital, surrounded by her loved ones.
Marilee is survived by her devoted husband, Richard Wallace Crandall, and four of their five children; Angela Petersen (Clint), David (Courtney), Todd (Brooke), and Brandon (Jenny), as well as 20 beloved grandchildren. She is also survived by her three siblings; Mona White (Robert), Dick Forsha (Jill), and Douglass Forsha.
Marilee was preceded in death by her dear mother, Donna Done, her first born, Brett (Angelique), her father June Forsha and his wife, Alice.
Viewing will be held on January 3, 2020 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Sundberg-Olpin Funeral Home – 495 State St. Orem, UT. Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 4, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. (prior viewing from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – 1315 East 900 South Provo, UT.
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