Barbara Eleane Clement Wright, 89, returned to her heavenly home on May 18, 2023, to be reunited with loved ones after suffering a severe stroke at her home in Lehi, Utah.
Just a day earlier, she had been energetically trimming roses, planting flowers and connecting with nature in the warm sunshine of spring. A master gardener, she knew how to make living things thrive — in much the same generous and skilled way that she raised her seven children.
Barbara married Norman Edward Wright of Pleasant Grove, Utah, in the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 22, 1952 — after first capturing his heart with a loaf of homemade bread. They settled in Richland, Washington to start their family.
In all her 71 years of marriage to Norman, Barbara demonstrated pure love for her husband — all the more as he approached age 98. She never faltered as she cared for his daily needs. Typically, she would hide her own physical strains and disguise her troubles with positive, happy energy. She never complained and always found a way to move forward.
Known for her Fourth of July flag cakes and countless culinary delights of her own invention, she reveled in her role as homemaker, wife, mother and grandmother.
As a youth, she developed a deep love of music and performed in choirs and ensembles and as a soloist with a professional-grade soprano voice. She qualified for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and church hymns were her favorites. They reinforced her faith and testimony of the gospel, including the Book of Mormon, priesthood power and spiritual matters, which she often shared with her family in clear, simple terms.
Barbara’s love of Earth life began on Aug. 17, 1933, when she was born to Raphael and Pearl Olsen Clement during the Great Depression in the small farming community of Fairview, Utah. She was the sixth of 10 children, nine of whom grew to adulthood. The family’s 82-acre farm always occupied a beloved place in her heart and shaped her pragmatic self-image. It also formed a foundation for her faith and an appreciation of her pioneer forebears. She produced numerous writings over many decades, including histories of both parents, Revolutionary War ancestors and others.
When Barbara was 16, her father was ordained as the Richland, Washington Stake Patriarch and she served as his secretary for a year, transcribing the inspired blessings he gave to members. She graduated from Columbia High School in Richland in 1951 and was hired by the General Electric Company as a typist secretary at Hanford, the atomic energy installation in southeastern Washington.
She moved with her husband and first five children to Provo, Utah, in July 1963, after Norman was hired by Brigham Young University as a computer systems analyst. He later joined the faculty and taught for 30 years. So, Barbara was always close to the school, living in the “tree streets” just a few blocks away.
During her husband’s sabbatical in Washington DC, Barbara relished the opportunity to do genealogical research at the National Archives, Daughters of the American Revolution Library and the Library of Congress. She wrote and spoke of her firm testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ and expressed her gratitude for the sacrifices of her ancestors — Foote, Clement, Cox, Kelsey, Olsen and Frederiksen. Her heart was truly turned toward them.
Over the years, her interests leaned strongly toward music. She liked a variety of sports as well. (She was a ferocious ping-pong competitor against her husband.) She enjoyed reading, cooking, gardening, sewing, pencil drawing and watercolor painting.
Barbara’s church work included many callings in the Primary and Young Women’s programs and in the Relief Society. She often served the youth through music. She also pursued temple work. After her children were grown, she held a job for a decade at the BYU Bookstore and kept a beautiful home in Oak Hills, east of campus. It was filled with things of beauty, taste and quality, which she admired.
She is survived by her husband, Norman, seven children and their spouses/partners — Peggy Wright Slifka (Michael Slifka), Randall Wright, Kevin Wright, David Wright (Cathy Stevens Wright), Elaine Wright Paulsen, Amy Wright Ranahan (Mike Ranahan) and Bryan Wright (Maria Fernanda Luna) — as well as dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She knew them all.
A public viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24, at Sundberg-Olpin Mortuary, 495 S. State Street, Orem, Utah 84058. Flowers may be sent to the mortuary.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 25, starting at 11 a.m. in the LDS Oak Hills Stake Center near the Provo Temple — 925 E. North Temple Drive, Provo, Utah 84604. Following the funeral, a luncheon will be served to all guests in the cultural hall.
Grave dedication and burial will take place at the Pleasant Grove City Cemetery, 500 N. 100 E. in Pleasant Grove, a 20-minute drive north. The dedication and interment will begin at 2:30 p.m.
Condolences may be expressed to the family on this page.
For those unable to attend in person, you may view the Service HERE