Lehi, Utah—Our blonde “flower lady of Utah” is now tending to the gardens and flower beds in heaven.
Bonnie Jane Jeppson Mlaker passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by her loving husband and children on Wednesday, August 10, 2022 after a hard-fought battle with acute liver failure.
Bonnie was born the third of six children on November 28, 1954 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Barbara Jean Tuttle Jeppson and Floyd Ray Jeppson. Bonnie spent her early years in Magna, Utah. Her family then moved to West Jordan where she graduated from the old Bingham High School and seminary in Copperton in 1973. Growing up, Bonnie developed her talent and love of the piano and organ from her mother. Amazingly, Bonnie became ward organist at the young age of sixteen. It was a calling she had throughout her life that brought peace, comfort, and joy to all who heard her play. Bonnie was often asked to play for funerals, missionary farewells, and had the honor of playing at the dedication of the Timpanogos Temple in 1996. She loved being the primary pianist and music leader for the little ones every Sunday.
Shortly after graduating from high school Bonnie began working at the church distribution center sewing garments. Then at a young single adult activity, she met Steven Mlaker, a recently returned missionary, and they began dating a few months later. They were married for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple on September 6, 1974. They lived for the first part of their married life in Salt Lake City while Steve finished school at the University of Utah. While living there, their first son Anton was born. Shortly after Steve graduated, they moved to Provo for a short time before building their first home in Orem in 1977, where they lived in the Aspen 1st ward for the next 26 years. They were soon blessed with four more children: Stephanie, Valerie, Michelle, and Jesse. In 2003 they built her dream home on a half-acre lot in Lehi, where they were living at the time of her death.
Bonnie was meant to be a mother. She was a fierce protector of all of her children but especially her daughter Valerie who was born with special needs. Bonnie spent all of her time tirelessly doing things for her children who have many fond memories of homemade clothes, blankets, and Halloween costumes, Sunday dinners, sleepovers on the back lawn, and backyard dance parties. Bonnie’s home was always open to her children’s friends and was a favorite neighborhood hangout spot.
Once her children were in school full time, Bonnie began working part time at a nursery close to home. It was there that her love of flowers and gardening really blossomed into a passion that benefited the lives, and yards, of many people. She earned her certification as a Master Gardener from Utah State University and Certified Nurseryman, a title held by few. She knew the scientific name of nearly every flower native to Utah. She worked as a groundskeeper for the Timpanogos Temple soon after it was built and was instrumental in designing the flower beds that are still thriving today. She was always very proud of her role in beautifying the temple grounds.
One of Bonnie’s favorite callings was den mother and Cub Scout leader, where she lovingly served for over 30 years. She enjoyed spending time with the cubs, building crafts, learning new skills and exploring the outdoors.
Bonnie’s greatest role was that of grandma. She insisted on being called “Grandma Bonnie” which suited her perfectly. She adored each little one that joined her family. She knew each grandchild individually, regularly travelling across the country to spend time with them. She was so proud of each one of them and bragged about them to anyone who would listen. Her grandchildren adore her and her loss has affected them deeply. Bonnie was also “Grandma Bonnie” to all the ward primary children who loved her and visited her often over the years. They loved to pick her flowers and strawberries from her yard, visit her pond to see the fish and turtles, or come inside to make fairy houses.
In late 2021, Bonnie began to feel unwell. After a brief hospital stay and extensive testing Bonnie was diagnosed with acute liver failure. She was readmitted to another hospital with specialized care where she received a liver transplant. Although ultimately unsuccessful, her family will be forever grateful for the liver she received, which gave them eight more months with her. She is now free of the pain and burden of a broken body. Her family has the utmost gratitude to the family of the anonymous liver donor who also lost a loved one.
Survived by her “boyfriend” of 48 years Steve, her children: Anton (Kandee) Mlaker, Stephanie Mlaker, Valerie Mlaker, Michelle (Spencer) Prows, Jesse (Christina) Mlaker, her twelve grandchildren: Ashley (Garron) Ceci, Sammy Bingham, Hyrum Prows, Sister Abigail Prows (serving a mission in Tampa, FL), Elder Ethan Mlaker (serving a mission in Everette, WA), Sadie Bingham (fiancé Michael Cole), Anthony Prows, Weston Prows, Ava Mlaker, Ali Mlaker and great-granddaughter Marley Ceci. Also survived by sisters Brenda Wilcox, Eileen (Thomas) Pryor, Shirley (Steve) Finlayson, and brother Adam (Diann) Jeppson and many other beloved family members and friends. Preceded in death by her parents Floyd and Barbara Jeppson and older brother Jeff Jeppson who welcomed her with open arms.
Funeral services are Monday, August 15, 2022 at the Lehi 8th wardhouse at 127 E. 3200 N., Lehi, Utah. The viewing begins at 10 am followed by the funeral at 12 pm. Graveside service to follow in the Lehi City Cemetery at 1525 North 600 East. In lieu of flowers, please consider becoming an organ donor or donating to
in Bonnie’s name.