Shirley Nadene Bennion Swensen, of Cedar Hills, UT, returned home on Monday, April 4, 2016.\n\nShe was born on April 24, 1921 in Magrath, Alberta, Canada to Ernest and Olive Lavina Graham Bennion. She was the eighth of nine children and her older siblings loved doting upon her. Little Shirley was a bright and precocious child, blessed with a beautiful voice. She learned early to play the ukelele, and accompanied herself, singing for church and community talent shows and programs. She performed in and directed many plays throughout her life and her children were the beneficiaries of these multiple talents, starring in her theatrical productions as well as accompanying her on the piano.\n\nHer first job at the age of nine, was working with her father in his sugar beet fields, counting the rows; later she worked in the sugar beet factory.\n\nShe left Canada to attend Brigham Young University where she entered as a sophomore due to the rigorous Canadian educational standards. It was there, in a speech class that she met her future eternal sweetheart, Knud Walker (Kay) Swensen. She often said that she was first intrigued and then impressed by his confidence and his friendly ease in communicating and reaching out to others. She became roommates with his sister, Laura, which bolstered the budding romance. When Kay joined the army and left overseas to serve in WWII, Shirley returned to Canada and worked for the government in Ottawa as a stenographer, aiding in the war effort.\n\nShirley and Kay wrote many letters while he was serving in Europe. At war's end he returned home, and they were married in Picture Butte, Alberta, on September 4, 1946, and later sealed for eternity in the Idaho Falls Temple on September 27, 1946. This truly was a blessed union. Their children can attest to the strength and enduring love their parents had for each other. Their partnership produced nine children; six boys and three girls. Love, nurture, instruction, and recreation were key components of family life under Shirley's and Kay's guidance.\n\nShe honed the task of moving an entire household and family to a fine art due to Kay's numerous employment opportunities. Each child was born while living in a different house with the exception of one. From Idaho, Utah, Idaho, Washington, Arizona, and back to Utah, Shirley always ensured it would be an edifying experience with her positive attitude and zest for new and exciting challenges. She had a knack for creating adventure out of the otherwise mundane. Her children have nostalgic and wonderful memories associated with each home.\n\nThe home was filled with uplifting music, often classical or show tunes. Her children remember being awakened to the sound of her lilting voice, like bells, singing "Oh What a Beautiful Morning". She encouraged her children to pursue piano lessons, singing, musical instruments, and trips to the symphony. Music was one of her great loves. She also encouraged the mental acuity of her children on long trips by playing all sorts of spelling games, posing riddles and thoughtful questions to ponder. Shirley loved Shakespeare plays and attended the Ashland Shakespearean Festival every summer with Kay and as many children as were old enough to appreciate it. She loved the outdoors and the ocean in particular. Every summer for several years, she and Kay made sure the family spent most of the summer, renting a cabin by the sea. She loved to swim, camp, and hike and golf.\n\nHer children all remember how much she loved to include them in picking and canning jams and jellies of the bounteous fruits that appeared each summer. Blueberries, Rhubarb, and Blackberries were made into the most perfect and delicious pies. Crabapple jelly was an annual favorite.\n\nHolidays were amazing when Shirl was in charge. Every Fourth of July she came up with clever costumes and themes for her children to be in the community parade. No one could decorate a house more exquisitely for Christmas, or even Halloween, than she did. She won first prize almost every year in the community "Best Decorations" contest. She made all celebrations joyous with her enthusiasm and cooking skills. Her annual Christmas fruitcake was a coveted and highly anticipated gift. She hosted parties with creative flair. She loved to play games and loved even more to win. Kay was her companion and partner in all of these endeavors.\n\nShirley was a seamstress sewing many dresses for her daughters for Easter and dances. She knit blankets, sweater outfits, booties and bonnets for every one of her grandchildren.\n\nAn example of lifelong learning, Shirley returned to school and graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in Psychology in August 1972 when she was fifty-two years old. At age 63, she and Kay made a strenuous thirty mile hike in and out of an offshoot of the Grand Canyon. She was always up for a challenge and expected her children to enthusiastically explore many facets of life.\n\nThe single most influential and important thread that bound and wove this budding and flourishing family together however, was the example of this faithful couple in their noble efforts to teach and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Shirley was a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She knew its precepts were true and had a strong testimony. She served in many callings throughout her life including Choir director, Stake Young Women's President, Primary President, Sunday School teacher, Relief Society Teacher, and the eternal calling of Ward Chorister. Often times she performed several of these callings at once when she and Kay were helping to form a new branch in Arlington, WA. She put on plays and directed delightful musical roadshows with the youth of the church. She taught her children to find their own strength and answers through prayer and diligent study. The success and wellbeing of her family was the most important thing in Shirley's life. Though she had myriad interests and a keen mind, her focus and loving service was always directed first towards her children.\n\nShirley is deeply loved and adored by many, but none more than her devoted children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. They are grateful for her long, fruitful and productive life. She was an extraordinary woman and will be deeply missed but will always be close by, because she will be carried in the hearts of all who knew and loved her.\n\nShe is survived by eight of her children: G. Knude Swensen, Gayle Swensen Rapier, Peggy Swensen Grimmius, Shelley Swensen Porter, Eric B. Swensen, Kirk W. Swensen, Shane R. Swensen, and Tyler Q. Swensen. Thirty-nine grandchildren and sixty-four great grandchildren.\n\nShe is preceded in death by her parents, Ernest and Olive Bennion, her infant son, Paul Swensen, her grandson, Christian Swensen, and her siblings Reginald Bennion, Verda Bennion, Deloise Hill, June Bennion, Melba Bennion, Bernard Bennion, Florence Bennion, and Robert Bennion.\n\nFuneral services will be held Monday, April 11, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. in the Cedar Hills LDS Ward Chapel, 4560 West Cedar Hills Drive, Cedar Hills, Utah. Visitation will be held from 9:30 -10:30 a.m. at the same location. Burial will follow the funeral service at the Utah Veteran's Memorial Cemetery, 17111 South Camp Williams Road, Bluffdale, Utah. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.olpinmortuary.com.