Shirley Ann McConkie (Riley), age 80, was released from her health challenges and earthly struggles on June 25th, 2023 in Santaquin, Utah.
She was born July 5, 1942 in Ballard, Utah, the oldest daughter of Lyrad Charles McConkie and Ilene Jenkins. She is survived by her sister Suzan Reynolds (Robin), sister-in-law Beckey McConkie (Shawn), and brothers-in-law Larry (Jeannie) and Leon (Dixie).
Growing up in Altamont, Shirley loved school and music, was a good student, and carried with her memories of the school outhouse and carrying a shared water bucket with a ladle that was used for washing. Raised on a ranch, there were always chores to do, especially for the oldest child. She was a great student in high school, learned typing, piano, office work, singing, and was beautiful. She was voted homecoming queen.
Her marriage of 25 years to Ernie Riley of Altonah, Utah brought much happiness – including 1 very special daughter Lizabeth who died shortly after birth. She held the memory of her in great reverence. Along came 7 adventurous sons: Cory, Darren, Lyrad, Keyan, Jared & Jason (twins) and Nick. The family moved to rural Penryn, CA and this became their home base for decades.
There, she was so happy building a small family farm, learning “tole” painting, earning money with paper routes, and serving neighbors in Church. She bragged to everyone she met, about her sons and 25 grandkids. Although she loved reading, making real estate deals, shopping, camping, and sitting for an entire day on the California coast, it was truly her family that gave her the most joy, fulfillment, and meaning.
The Riley house was filled with her singing and piano playing. She was extra skilled at homemaking of all kinds: quilting, canning, making homemade bread and butter, special meals and desserts, sewing clothes for the children, and creating amazing Halloween costumes of their choosing. Nothing was ever store bought!
Mom was known for her exceptionally strong faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. As her heart's whole desire, she dedicated the rest of her life to her faith and unwavering sacrifice to her family. She lived and shared her desire for an eternal family with complete love and endless devotion.
She managed the finances and family affairs of raising 7 boys on a teacher’s salary — no small task! In her home, she expected her boys to grow into strong men and fathers; thus her boys were expected to work hard with a giant garden, chores, helping with cooking, activity in scouts and marching bands, and filling up a church pew on Sundays.
She sacrificed and overcame many challenges in her lifetime. She carried the burden of her first daughter’s early death, a house fire, divorce, relocation away from her beloved California home, various health struggles, and restarting life as a single mother with few workforce skills. She enjoyed working at the county health office in the well baby program.
She descended in part from pioneers who helped settle eastern Utah, and she was proud of this family heritage. Family vacations were either camping (California coast, Yosemite were some favorites), or driving back to Utah to keep family ties firm.
Thousands of lives have been richly blessed by their association with Shirley Riley. She served as a seminary teacher, girls camp leader, and relief society leader. People who knew her back in those “happier” days remember her for her quick laugh, gift of gab, faith, and sharp wit. She had an opinion on everything, and she was quick to share it.
She will be missed and our grief is eased by the knowledge that we will see her again without mortal ailments. We treasure great memories of growing up in a “free range” home in which she would stand on the front porch and call us all back in for dinner after a day of exploring nature, building and breaking things, and caring for the animals. She was at times stern, but we knew that her firmness was the result of a no-fail passion to succeed in raising her family— she considered her boys as THE monument to her life and sacrifice.
We honor her for her inner light, commitment to an eternal family despite so many trials, and her uniqueness. She will be forever remembered and deeply missed.
We will always strive to carry the torch she passed to us – of Faith, Resilience, Endurance and Devotion.
If you would like to join us for the zoom broadcast of the funeral proceedings join this zoom link Saturday July 1st at 11:00 am Mountain Time, held at the Ballard, Utah chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.