Ara Belliston Richards died Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, due to a head injury from a fall the previous week. James Clarence Richards mourns the loss of his eternal companion. He says, “She’s the most brilliant person I have ever met. I have rejoiced in her association these sixty-three years.” She is preceded in death by two granddaughters, Suzy Aileen Baker and Joyce Jenette Whitehead, and one great-grandson, Oliver Raoul Pritchett Reyes.
Ara was born in Nephi on Feb. 28, 1932, to Lester H. and Leona Peterson Belliston. Her siblings are: Bona (Parley) Belnap, Nancy (Ron) Whetman, Ward (Judy, and later, Susan), Peter (Karen), Brent (Diane), Don (Marianne), Blanche (Ron) Keller, Elizabeth.
Ara graduated from: Juab Seminary 1949; HS 1950; U of U Institute of Religion 1952; BS in Education with a minor in music BYU, 1953; Masters in Education with Supervisor and Principal Certificates BYU, 1958. She also attended Northern Virginia Community College and certified as a Master Gardener. She taught school in Granite, Alpine, and Ogden School Districts. She trained teachers at BYU, 1955-56.
Ara loves Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and served in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, beginning when she was 12 years old as the church organist. Thereafter she was an organist or choir director almost continually. She wrote and directed many Christmas scripture/music programs. In Ohio she wrote and taught a ward 12 choral directing class. She filled three missions: Hill Cumorah Pagent, 1953; Cleveland Ohio Area Building, with her husband and children 1963-65; and Fredericksburg VA stake in the 1990’s. She was on Relief Society and/or Primary stake boards in Utah and Virginia, and taught Relief Society for many years in Ogden and Draper, Utah. She was an organist and ordinance worker in the Washington, D.C. temple in the 1990s. She loved the Book of Mormon and was frequently seen sharing it. She wrote a missionary article which was printed in the Instructor, the precursor to the Ensign.
She belonged to the Salt Lake Oratorical Society in the 1950’s, Ogden Chorale in the 1960s, and the Mormon Choir of Washington D.C. from 1980-1996. She was the director of the University of Utah Stake Singing Mothers 1962-63. She taught piano about 38 years. She wrote five books which are soon to be published: Rear Children and Stay Sane, Teach Children and Reap Testimonies, Member Missionary Moments, Effective Efficient Piano Practicing, and The Almost Perfect Ward Choir.
She married James C. Richards on March 15, 1956, in the Manti Temple. She had 13 children and she felt that her highest priority and greatest accomplishment was her children: JaNae, UT, Mariann (Bart) Adams, WA, Ruth (Mike) Anderson, GA, Leslie (Kenneth) Nufer, OH, Lee (Sharon), UT, Carolyn, ID, Linda (Dee) Dodson, GA, Alan (Cindy), UT, Mark (Ada), FL, Valerie, UT, Vicki (Brett), UT, Karl (Chrysta), AZ, Diane (Bill) Whitehead, AZ. All her children sing, play piano and at least one other instrument. The girls took several years of ballet. Her family presented musical programs with instruments, singing and choreography. Twelve children went to BYU Provo, one to Ricks College (now BYU Idaho.) Two daughters and all sons went on missions. All sons are Eagle Scouts. She felt her greatest accomplishment was her children. It has been said that the effect of her children and posterity would positively influence the whole world. She currently has 76 grandchildren and 70 great-grandchildren, with three more on the way. Currently she has 6 grandchildren on missions.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 at 11 AM at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Rock Canyon Church, 2445 N. 650 E., Provo, Utah, with a viewing from 9:30 to 10:45 AM at the same location.
Family and friends may also view on Friday night 6:30-8:30 PM, Oct. 25, 2019 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Stake Center, 2400 North 1060 East, Provo, Utah.
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