Margaret Maurine Harris, beloved sister, aunt, teacher and friend, passed away on Wednesday September 22, 2021, due to natural causes. Maurine was born on August 11, 1927, in Wellsville, Utah, to Margaret Poppleton Harris and William Matthew Harris. As a baby, she lived in Cody, Wyoming. While she was there, a rattlesnake came into her crib, but thankfully, the sheriff removed it. When Maurine was a young child, her family moved to the family homestead ranch in Hilliard, Wyoming, where she lived until she was 7 years old. She loved the ranch, and even drove the horse that pulled the rake to harvest the hay. When Maurine was in 3rd grade, the family moved to Evanston, Wyoming. She lived there until she graduated from high school.
After high school, Maurine worked for an attorney in town for a year. World War II had started, and nurses were needed, so she joined the Cadet Nursing Corp. She had found her vocation and continued her nursing education at the LDS Hospital School of Nursing where she earned her nursing degree within three years. Maurine went on to work in pediatrics and attended the University of Utah where she earned a bachelor’s degree.
Having completed school, Maurine moved to San Francisco and worked in surgery for a year at Franklin Hospital. She then received a call to become a missionary in Sweden for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She served faithfully for two years.
“The missionaries from her mission were so bonded that they held continuous yearly mission reunions for 70 years.”
After her mission, Maurine worked at LDS Hospital in pediatrics, and then taught freshman and sophomore classes in nursing at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She went to Los Angeles where she worked in a VA hospital, after which she came back to the nursing department at BYU. Maurine also worked at Cupertino College in California, but once again returned to teach at BYU and to earn a PHD in clinical physiology. Finally, she was asked to be the chair of the College of Nursing at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, where she remained for 14 years. As the nursing chair, Maurine added a bachelor’s degree to the nursing program as well as a student nursing study-abroad pediatric practicum in Jerusalem and Merida, Mexico.
Maurine served a second LDS mission to British Columbia, Canada, where she proselyted in Vancouver BC. After retirement, she went to China three times with her brother, Bill Harris, to teach English in Xi'an. She was instrumental in raising the funds to build a new children's school in An Shang Village. They honored her with her name on a plaque in their new library.
Maurine loved to travel. She went to the British Isles many times with her sister, Kay Davis, and her family. She went to Norway with her brother, Bill. They also traveled to Holland and Panama, Greece, Italy, and with her mother to Peru. Other places she visited include Northern Africa, Egypt, Poland, Russia, Mexico, Spain, several other European countries, and to Jerusalem several times with her sister, Kay, and her niece, Julie. Maurine loved to learn about people, cultures, economies, and religions, and she made friends all over the world.
Maurine met Eva Larsen in a clinical assignment at the Utah Valley Hospital. She was the only physician who was able to help Eva become functional back in society. Maurine became her special "foster" mom and caretaker. Eva lived with Maurine over 30 years until her death in December, 2014.
In her later years, Maurine served a third mission at the BYU Family History Center. Then she volunteered for several years, once a week, at the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah, helping missionaries practice the Swedish language. She was a tough investigator. She served there until her health made it impossible to do so.
Maurine had a keen mind and an extraordinary memory. She told fascinating stories from her early childhood and life. One of her talents was her interest in what her visitors were doing. She never bragged about her many accomplishments, rather she was more interested in her guests and what they were doing. People always left visits with Maurine feeling important and valued.
Maurine always regarded her family as her greatest blessing, and she spoke with love and gratitude for her forebearers for the sacrifices they made and for their faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. She freely shared her testimony of the gospel and the plan of salvation. She felt blessed to have grandparents who left their families and beloved county of England to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to live in difficult circumstances as homesteaders. Most of all, she loved her Savior Jesus Christ and His gospel. Her fondest experiences were as a missionary, sharing the message of hope and peace that is found in the restored gospel and temple covenants.
Maurine is preceded in death by her parents, her brother William E. Harris and Minnie Harris, and her foster daughter Eva Larsen. She is survived by her sister Kay (Lorin) Davis, 10 nieces and nephews - John (Susan) Grobben, Billy (Joan) Harris, Nancy (Bill) Holt, David (Lisa) Harris, Jonathan Harris, Lori (Gary) Moss, Jerry (Rebecca) Davis, Paul (Lisa) Davis, Julie (Roland) Nelson, Brian (Wendy) Davis, and numerous great nieces and nephews all who loved her dearly and who will greatly miss her.
Funeral Services will be Wednesday, October 6, 2021, at 11 am at Sundberg-Olpin & Wheeler Mortuary at 495 South State Street Orem, Utah. Family and friends may visit from 9:30-10:30 am. Interment will be in the Evanston Wyoming Cemetery.
For those unable to attend, you may view the Service HERE
Condolences and memories may also be shared with the family on this page.
The family would like to thank Emily and Julie and their families for the wonderful and loving care given during the final years of Maurine’s life
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