Our dear mother, Verla Beckstead Sperry, age 72, passed away on May 4, 2022 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
Verla was born on November 18, 1949 to Reed Holt Beckstead and V. Melissa Farr and raised in Midvale, Utah. Verla graduated from Hillcrest High School and went on to study at Brigham Young University to become a teacher. During her first semester at BYU, Verla met a handsome young man named Stephen Lynn Sperry at a Computer Dance in the Wilkinson Ballroom. Verla and Steve were married on May 25, 1972 in the Salt Lake City Temple. They are 3 weeks shy of celebrating their golden 50th wedding anniversary together.
After graduating from BYU with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education, Verla started her career and passion for teaching that lasted for over forty years. Verla was a life-long learner. She went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Teacher Education at Utah State University. Verla also was honored to earn her National Board Certification for teaching. Verla was a talented teacher and was recognized for her creativity and ingenuity in helping children learn. She was the recipient of the Utah Reading Teacher of the Year Award. Verla was also honored to be a State of Utah finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She was recognized as Teacher of the Year at Crescent Elementary School. The impact she had on her students and they on her is everlasting.
Though teaching was her passion, Verla’s greatest honor was being wife, mother, and grandmother to her family. She loved to call herself the “Book Grandma.” One of her delights was taking her beloved grandchildren to Barnes and Noble to buy books together and get a treat. Verla loved having family gatherings, dinners, games, and lots of visiting! Her hugs, laughter, and beautiful smile will be deeply missed.
Verla always expressed a profound interest in and concern for others. She was a dear friend to many and enjoyed getting together often especially with her “breakfast buddies” and teacher friends. Verla truly cared and helped many people wherever they were on their journey through life. There have been many stories shared since her passing of her inspiring others to follow their dreams.
Verla was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all of her life. She held various callings throughout her life but the most meaningful and impactful calling she had was that of temple organist in the Salt Lake City and Jordan River Temples. She played the 5:00 a.m. shift every Saturday morning for over 30 years. Verla’s life was not always easy physically, financially, and emotionally and this calling sustained her, gave her strength, and inspiration to stay faithful to the end. She will always be remembered for her deep love of the temple.
Verla was preceded in death by her father, Reed Holt Beckstead, her mother V. Melissa Beckstead, her sister Beryl Renae Beckstead, and her two grandchildren Elise Jeanne Prestwich, and Jacob James Prestwich Jr.
Verla is survived by her husband, Stephen Sperry; siblings, Carol Loughmiller (Grover), Garth Beckstead (Sheila), Kenny Beckstead (Janice); children, Cammie, Jeanne (Jake), John (Nicholette) and 8 beautiful grandchildren: Anna, Emma, Jack, Madi, Kate, Lily, Lacy, and Jett.
The family would like to thank the outstanding Memory Care Staff at Sunrise Living Center in Sandy. Verla adored them all and was blessed to have them be a part of her life providing quality care for the last 6 months of her life. The family would also like to thank Inspiration Home Health and Hospice for the exceptional service they provided to Verla.
Services will be held at Goff Mortuary at 8090 S. State Street in Midvale, Utah on Saturday, May 14. The viewing will be from 9:30-11:00 A.M., and the funeral from 11:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. Interment will be at the South Jordan Cemetery.
The service will be livestreamed on the Goff Mortuary Facebook Page at the following link:
(The livestream video will appear when the service starts.)