1928 DeReta 2024

DeReta Jayne Mathews

June 19, 1928 — January 17, 2024

DeReta Jayne Mathews, 95, of Centerville, Utah, passed away peacefully on January 17, 2024, surrounded by family.

DeReta was born on June 19, 1928, in Hinckley, Utah, to David and Dora Day Sanderson. The youngest of six children in a blended family, she was deeply loved and cherished from birth. The Great Depression helped her appreciate the simple things in life, like driving to Delta for a movie, floating down irrigation canals in a washtub, or riding her mustang pony, Slicker. "I was poor, but I never knew it." Family, friends, and faith were always more valuable to her than worldly comforts.

DeReta described her mother as "the most wonderful woman the world has ever known. She would find something good in everyone." The apple didn't fall far from the tree, as a grandchild recently affirmed: "I would hear [DeReta] compliment everyone. She always made me feel so important and beautiful, like I was 'the greatest thing since sliced bread.'" From her father, she learned to work the farm: painting walls with calcimine from the mountains, polishing floors with milk, and guarding the watermelon patch from teenage fruit bandits. At the age of nine, she would drive the family car as her father walked beside, collecting firewood for the kitchen stove. Later, she became a realtor, and in that capacity, trained and hired many of her own grandchildren to install sprinkler systems, wood floors, cabinets, toilets, fences, and electrical outlets. Even in her nineties, DeReta carried an array of tools in her walker basket. Her indomitable work ethic and determination were a great blessing to family and friends who learned from her example.

In 1942, the family lost their poultry farm and moved to Los Angeles, and then Hollywood. As a teenager, DeReta enjoyed Hollywood High School, working at the Farmers Market and soliciting autographs from movie stars on Sunset Blvd. She fondly remembered exiting a movie theater to find people dancing in the streets: the War was over!  Following high school, a BYU education was cut short to care for her dying mother, who even on her deathbed reminded DeReta that "this is a beautiful, wonderful world!"

On July 18, 1950, DeReta married the love of her life, Wesley I. Mathews, in the Manti Utah Temple. They lovingly raised six children in a home that was never empty, primarily because DeReta was so fun and welcoming. She was 54 years old when her husband suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. For over two decades, she joyfully and compassionately provided full-time care, never complaining about the hand she was dealt. During those years, she developed new life skills, like real estate management, family history, and landscaping. As she would sometimes quip, "Not bad for a poor farm girl from Hinckley!" She firmly believed that God always had her back, and that her "angel parents" were cheering her on.

Above all, DeReta loved and cherished each of her children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. They will never forget the family dinners, backyard power toys, Rummikub games, Christmas festivities, pioneer stories, black and white movies, never-ending hugs and kisses, and Christ-like examples of unconditional love.

DeReta is survived by six children: Christine (Daren) Francom of Centerville, UT; Barry (Louise) Mathews of Thousand Oaks, CA; Debra (Craig) Schank of Fallon, NV; Kathleen (Dave) Tervort of Elk Ridge, UT; Paul (Laura) Mathews of Northridge, CA; and Curtis (LeAnn) Mathews of Moorpark, CA; and over 100 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her beloved husband, parents, brother, three half-brothers, and one half-sister.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, January 26, at 11 a.m., at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2110 North Main Street, Centerville. A viewing will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., prior to the service. Interment will be at Panaca Memorial Park in Panaca, Nevada, next to her husband. In lieu of flowers, the family would ask that you honor DeReta's memory by performing an act of service for someone in need. 

Services will be streamed live on Russon Brothers Mortuary Facebook page and this obituary page.

Services will also be streamed on Zoom at:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81483529754

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of DeReta Jayne Mathews, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Viewing

Friday, January 26, 2024

9:30 - 10:30 am (Mountain time)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chapel

2110 North Main, Centerville, UT 84014

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Funeral Service

Friday, January 26, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chapel

2110 North Main, Centerville, UT 84014

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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