Cover photo for Juanita Marie Chamberlain Esplin's Obituary
Juanita Marie Chamberlain Esplin Profile Photo

Juanita Marie Chamberlain Esplin

December 29, 1936 — December 28, 2022

Juanita Marie Chamberlain Esplin

Juanita Chamberlain was born at the tourist lodge at Jacob Lake Arizona, in the middle of a snowstorm, second of the eight children of Isaac Cornell and Sylvia Chamberlain. She was smart, beautiful, social, and kind from her earliest years. She grew up in south central Utah, spending summers on family land in Clear Creek and Hog’s Heaven (Chamberlain Ranch) near Zion Canyon, and wintering in Orderville and later, Glendale. Her mother was always glad to get back to town where the family could go to church, rather than play pretend Sunday School at the ranch. Juanita worked hard with the younger children and in the family dairy business. She held outside jobs as a server at the “Y” at Mount Carmel Junction and in Cedar City while in college.

Juanita shared her mother’s love of reading and education. She was active in 4-H as a student and leader. She worked on the yearbook, attended Girls State, and won Miss Kane County. She graduated from Valley High School in 1955 and attended the College of Southern Utah (now SUU), where she was both Miss CSU and student body vice president—as she explained, women were not elected president in that era. She was active in academics, in service, and in church. In later years she fondly remembered being extremely active socially.

Juanita had known the family of Lynn James Esplin all her life. They began dating when he was a student at Utah State and continued a relationship by letter while he was in the Army and stationed in Germany. Lynn’s planned career teaching Ag Science was derailed by rheumatic fever. Lynn and Juanita were married in the St. George Temple on May 31, 1957, his first day out of bed after his recovery. Lynn began a master’s program and took a job as assistant County Agricultural Extension Agent in Salt Lake County. The couple’s first two children were born there.

The next phase of Juanita’s life centered on service at home, church, and community in the small town of Nephi, Utah, where Lynn was County Agent from 1961-72. The couple built a cozy red-brick home with a beautiful yard, garden, and orchard. They welcomed three more children into the family. Juanita volunteered in 4-H, was active with a women’s social club, and helped with the county fair and other community projects. A large part of her service was as a teacher and leader in the Primary, Relief Society, and Cub Scouts. Lynn, Juanita and the children had two extended stays in Fort Collins, Colorado, where Lynn completed his master’s degree at Colorado State.

Lynn achieved a life-long dream when the couple purchased and lived on a beautiful farm a few miles north of Nephi. As happens, however, within the year he was promoted and transferred to Iron County, and the family moved to Cedar City. With much frugality, hard work, and long hours driving, they were able not only to maintain the farm in Nephi, but buy a beautiful home in Cedar Valley. While there, Juanita continued her extensive church and community service. She helped provide for the family’s increased expenses by running a drapery-making business with her cousin in the basement of the new home.

Because she now lived in a college town, Juanita achieved her own life-long dream of finishing her bachelor’s degree (SUSC at that time) in home economics and secondary education, with emphases on middle school and reading. Graduation opened up new opportunities in the community, such as serving on the Board of Regents. Over the years she tutored many children in reading, both in Cedar City and back on the farm in Nephi after Lynn’s retirement in 1987. All of the couple’s children graduated from college, all were married in the temple, and their sons served missions.

“Retirement” did not accurately describe living on an alfalfa and beef cattle farm. The couple built another new home, which was soon joined by homes of a daughter and son. Lynn served as bishop in their ward, and Juanita was active in church and DUP. Her declining health curtailed her activity over the years, but she was always the soul and center of the home for children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Juanita is survived by Lynn James Esplin, her husband of 65 years. She was preceded in death by her parents, Cornell and Sylvia Chamberlain, her sister Corinne (Maurice) Pugh and her granddaughter Lucy Marie Bennion. She is survived by her siblings Lee (Mary Jo) Chamberlain, Isaac (LouNell) Chamberlain, Sam (Linda) Chamberlain, Roger (Caroleen) Chamberlain, Michael (Lorraine) Chamberlain, Mary Ann (Sam) Pugh and Evaline (Flexi) Vallo. She is also survived by children Karla (John) Bennion, J.Lynn (Tana) Esplin, Cindy (Jody) Gale, Tena (Sepesi) Mo’unga, Boyd (Mary Ann) Esplin, and by 25 grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren.

Funeral Services will be Saturday January 7, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at the Nephi 4th/5th Ward Church, 355 E 500 N. Viewing from 9:30-10:45 a.m. the same day. Interment at Vine Bluff Cemetery.

The service will be livestreamed on the Anderson & Goff Mortuary Facebook Page at the following link: (The livestream video will appear when the service starts.)

Past Services


Friday, January 7, 2022

Starts at 9:30 am (Mountain time)

Nephi 4th/5th Ward Church

355 E 500 N, Nephi, UT 84648

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