On October 4, 2023, Emilyann “Hiyi” Spellman, of Provo, Utah, crossed the veil peacefully at Legacy Village Assisted Living with her family at her side. She was 86 years old.
Emilyann was born on May 14, 1937, to Michael Bernadyn and Edith Reynolds in Baltimore, Maryland. Emilyann was the eldest of three children, including her brother Michael “Sonny,” and sister Sharon.
Emilyann left high school in 10th grade to help take care of her siblings while her mother worked to support the family. At the age of 19, Emilyann met her future husband, Marty Spellman, while out at a restaurant on Broadway in Maryland. They married on September 8, 1956. Their first daughter Michele was born in 1957. Michele’s birth was followed by the birth and loss of another daughter, Katherine. Then came the boys: Martin John III, James, Christopher, and Jason. In addition to caring for their own children, Emilyann also cared for multiple foster children over the years. Emilyann was particularly close with Lucy and Ida, two young sisters in the foster care system whom she took care of for twelve years.
As a mother, Emilyann was always very organized and clean, and kept her home and kids spotless. She was a great cook, and often made stuffed cabbages and pot roasts. Her macaroni salad and potato salad are still family favorites. Emilyann always had a penchant for sea food, and especially loved crab and shrimp. She often cooked crab cakes and crab soup for her family. As much as Emilyann loved sea food, she hated chicken. The only chicken Emilyann would eat were the chicken wings at Kentucky Fried Chicken, and only Kentucky Fried Chicken.
In 1962, Marty moved to San Francisco to look for work, and later sent for the family to join him in Downey, California.
The gospel of Jesus Christ was the cornerstone of Emilyann’s life. Emilyann joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1963. Emilyann served in the Church in various callings, including in primary and as a genealogy consultant. She developed a lifelong passion for genealogy and through her research, connected Marty with his biological father before he passed away. Emilyann was devoted to temple work and served as a temple worker in both the LA and Mount Timpanogos temples. She also indexed over 10,000 names into the church’s ancestry database, which families use to locate their ancestors. During her 40s, Emilyann stopped going to church for a time, but she always maintained her testimony. She credited the kindness of her visiting teacher in helping her go back to church.
Emilyann has been through many hardships in her life. Emilyann and Marty divorced in 1987, making Emilyann a single mother to her 12-year old son Jason at the age of 52. In order to support her son, she moved to a small townhome in Whittier, California, and worked in sales at Nordstrom. It was no surprise that when Emilyann entered the workforce, she pursued a career in fashion and jewelry. Emilyann was always a fashionista. Her hair and nails were always on point, even in her final years. She had a great sense of colors and could always tell you what your “season” was. She loved to rock animal prints, golds, and jewel tones. She was not shy to dole out compliments. She never missed an opportunity to compliment someone: hair, clothes, jewelry, anything she liked about you, she would tell you about it.
Emilyann continued to work in retail sales for many years and was a top salesperson. During this time, Emilyann’s mother, Edith, who was suffering from dementia, also moved in with them.
In 2005, Emilyann moved to Utah to be closer to her daughter Michele. She lived independently until her dementia progressed and she needed to move in with Michele. Emilyann bravely battled dementia in her final years, but always remembered her family. We are grateful for the care she received at Legacy Village Assisted Living and Memory Care for the past four years of her life.
Family Who Went Before
Emilyann was predeceased by her father Michael Bernadyn, her mother Edith Reynolds, her daughter Kathy, her brother Sonny (Pat), and brothers-in-law Jidge and Richard.
Family She Left Behind
Emilyann is survived by her younger sister, Sharon, her sister-in-laws Helen, Connie, and Billie, brother-in-law Alex, her five children, Michele (Jack), Marty (Kim), James, Chris, Jason (Kendra). Emilyann is also survived by her eleven grandchildren: Tiffany (Quint), Stephanie (Kevin), Brooke (Grant), Martin John IV(Mariah), Brittany, Nicole (Grant), Christopher Jr., Emily (Mackinley), Dylan (Sophie), Sean, and Connor); and sixteen great-grandchildren: Kevin Jr. (Saylor), Luke, Ryley, Hannah, Jack, Lacey, Michele, Jake, Asher, Madison, Ava, Scarlett, Summer, Asher, Peyton, and Chloe, and many nieces and nephews.
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Spellman, Emily Service(After conversion).mp3