Cover photo for Elaine  Smedley Holbrook's Obituary
Elaine  Smedley Holbrook Profile Photo
1928 Elaine 2021

Elaine Smedley Holbrook

April 19, 1928 — October 28, 2021

Our beautiful wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend Elaine Smedley Holbrook passed away in the early hours of October 28, 2021.  She has given us a lifetime of memories and a legacy of love that we will cherish forever.

Elaine was born on April 19, 1928, in Salt Lake City to James Samuel Smedley Jr. and Ruby Pearl Mabey Smedley.  She was the eldest of six children, growing up on Main Street in Bountiful, Utah, then a small rural city. Her kind, hardworking parents taught her to have a strong work ethic, to stand up for what she believed in, and to be honest in everything she did. Throughout her life, these same values were passed down to her children and grandchildren.

Growing up across the street from her grandparents, the young Elaine spent many happy hours in their home. One of her greatest joys came when that home became the Bountiful Museum and Learning Center. Elaine was very proud of her ancestors and worked hard to make sure they were always remembered. In addition to serving on the Bountiful Historical Preservation Foundation, she was a member of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Utah Society of Mayflower Descendants, where she served as governor for 12 years.

Elaine loved learning and especially enjoyed the arts. She studied at the McCune School of Music in her youth and began teaching piano as a teenager. During her 60 years of piano teaching, she influenced hundreds of students, many of whom she kept in contact with throughout her life. In addition to being active in the Davis County Music Teachers’ Association, she was a member of the Jessamine Jr. Book Club and was a founding member of the Triunus Literary Club which was started in 1957 and is still meeting today.

Elaine believed – and taught through example – the importance of being informed and standing for what you believe in.  She was active in the Bountiful Republican Women’s Club and served in state leadership positions for the Republican Party. She never failed to vote and gave her family many history lessons to help them appreciate the land we live in and the responsibilities we have as citizens.

Elaine watched her father and brothers in the scouting program and became a dedicated supporter of scouting.  Since she had daughters and no sons, it was her goal to have all 13 of her grandsons receive their Eagle Scout awards, and with her influence, they did. The pride she felt as the last Eagle sat in the Eagles Nest was evident by the pictures, plaques, and wall hangings that were on the “Eagle Wall” in her study.

A faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elaine served in many callings over the years, including serving in Relief Society presidencies, being a gospel doctrine teacher, and volunteering as a missionary at the Lion House. She also supported her husband in his callings and was an especially great strength for him when he served as branch president of the North Davis Hospital.

Her greatest service, however, was not the kind one is called to but the kind one does from the heart.  Her parents died when she was still a young mother, but she immediately took on the role of matriarch, arranging family get-togethers for her siblings, carrying on traditions that had been in the family for years, and making her home the gathering place for extended family.  She had a gift for making everyone feel loved and special as she fussed over them, helping them see their unique gifts and talents. Nieces and nephews will tell you stories of how she took them under her wings and became a second parent to them when they needed her.  She loved everyone and showed it in everything she did.

Elaine married Dean Webster Holbrook on June 23, 1948.  Theirs was a courtship that spanned a lifetime. She and Dean were born two weeks apart, and we have been told that they met as newborns in the hospital. They grew up a few blocks apart, went to school together, sat in church meetings beside each other, graduated in the same class, and literally have no memory of life without one another. Together they worked and built a beautiful home where many precious memories were created for their children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends.  Elaine was a warm and gracious hostess, always making her guests feel welcome. Together, she and Dean created a home of love, a place of refuge, and a safe harbor for all who came. Watching Dean take care of Elaine in her final days touched our hearts.  Theirs was truly a love story.

Elaine is survived by her husband and four daughters: Kristine Gill (David), Julene Robbins (Ken), Lisa Cena (Mike) Andria Cranney (Charles). She has 20 grandchildren, 55 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild, all whom she loved dearly.  She is also survived by her brother James Smedley and sister Kathleen van Dijk.  She was preceded in death by her brother Stanley Smedley and sisters Sylvia Dix and Marion Harrison.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, November 6, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at the Bountiful 16th Ward Chapel, 720 East 550 North, Bountiful, Utah.  Viewings will be held on Friday, November 5, 2021, from 6:00–8:00 p.m. at Russon Mortuary, 295 North Main, Bountiful, and Saturday morning from 10:00–10:45 a.m. at the church prior to services.  Interment – Bountiful City Cemetery.

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

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Elaine Smedley Holbrook, please visit our flower store.

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