Grace LaVon Thornton, 87 a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and disciple of Jesus Christ returned to her heavenly home for a reunion with family and friends on October 31, 2021. She passed away peacefully with family at Sandy Health and Rehab where she was a resident. She passed because of complications of dementia.
Grace, or LaVon as so many knew her, was born in Midvale, Utah on October 17, 1934 to Charles William Thornton and Grace Greenwood. LaVon was the youngest of five children, she had one older brother and three older sisters.
She attended Jordan High School where she was popular, a class officer, and yearbook artist. She met Don William Merrill there who she would later marry and who would become the father of her three children, Brad William Merrill, Allison Merrill, and Clark Wallace Merrill. They married in the Salt Lake Temple on June 10, 1957 after Don returned home from a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to South Africa.
She served in several different callings. Among her favorites were teaching in the Young Women’s organization and in the Relief Society. Perhaps her favorite was as the Stake Spiritual Living instructor. Not only was she able to impart her love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others but was able to use her God given talents as an artist creating visual aids to go with her lessons. She also served as the Stake Quilting Director in her Stake and made many beautiful quilts for others.
She was a talented artist in multiple media such as Prismacolor, watercolor, acrylics, and oils. She not only did commissions for others, but shared her gift with others by teaching, both in Community Education programs and in her home.
After multiple strokes in August 2016, she had to leave her home in Cottonwood Heights. Since November 2016, Grace was a resident at Sandy Health and Rehab and was loved by all who knew and interacted with her there, both Staff members and other residents, until her passing. As a family, we are grateful for all that they have done for her these past five years.
Grace is survived by her older sister Emma Jane Nelson, and her children Brad Merrill (Cyndee), Allison Graves (Gary) and Clark Merrill, as well as seven grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren and one on the way. She was preceded in death by her parents, older brother Calvin, older sisters Carol and Lucille and the father of her children Don Merrill.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, November 4, 2021 at the Crescent 14th Ward Chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 10375 S. Leilani Drive, Sandy, Utah at 11:00 am. There will be a viewing prior to the service beginning at 10:00 am. Grace will be interred at the Midvale City Cemetery.
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