Shirlene Hackworth

by Elayne Bybee


“And who shall I send into the hill of the Lord, and who shall stand in that holy place?”  Someone like Shirlene.


Twenty-two years ago today, her parents, Dorothy and Alton Tidwell, looked with pride and love at a tiny little baby, the fluff of dark hair, and wondered what the future would hold for their newly born daughter. Most of all, as all parents, they wanted their daughter to be a good girl, morally clean, and someone the world would love. Shirlene has paid this promise back a hundred fold. In the last few days I have talked to many people, and each one has said so many nice things about her. It would be difficult to include them all into a life sketch, and yet they are there.


Today she leaves her mother, Dorothy, and her beloved step-father and adopted father, Hubert, her father, Alton Tidwell, who lives in Salt Lake City, her grandparents, Bishop and Mrs. Frank Tidwell of Smithfield, and her beloved Grandmother Nannie Hackworth in St. Anthony, and her sisters, Lois and Donna; and Regina, who is not able to be with us today, and her brother, Allen, who is on a mission, and her brother, Gerald; and also, she leaves a host of loved ones and friends.


In a brief life story Shirlene wrote about herself many years ago.  She told of being born in American Fork, Utah on September 22, 1939; that her parents had separated and she had gone to live in Smithfield, Utah with her grandparents, Frank and Eva Tidwell, and typical of Shirlene, she had written “and they were good to Allen and me.  They had two daughters, Barbara and Eunice, and they were good to us too.”  Shirlene loved everyone, and in her childish scrawl (we feel it was a long time ago, for she was a beautiful writer), she said, “I can remember one time when Aunt Barbara locked me in the attic, and scared me half to death.  Another time, I ran my arm through a wringer, and after that I was scared of one." And her story ended. That short remnant was all we found.


Shirlene moved to Idaho Falls with her mother and brother, Allen. They  lived for a time with her mother's parents, Grandfather and Grandmother South.  She started school in Idaho Falls. When she was in the second grade a new daddy came into her life. Shortly afterwards (Jan 1948) the family moved to St. Anthony.  Later Shirlene was to be adopted and to wear with pride, the Hackworth name.


When she was about twelve years old, she had the unfortunate experience of breaking her leg. This resulted in two things: first, she was filled with a horrible sensation of not wanting to sleep as she feared she wouldn't awaken; second, she decided she would become a nurse.


Her early years then were spent in st. Anthony. Upon graduating from High School in 1957, she decided to pursue this nursing career. She had been an alert, inquisitive student, always wanting to learn things. She was delighted to be able to go to St. Benedicts Hospital in Ogden, Utah to become a nurse, but as the weeks passed, more and more she felt nursing was not for her. She was terribly frightened of the responsibility for caring for someone whose life would rest in her hands and she didn't know what she would do. She decided to give up this dream, come home, and attend Ricks College where she would study to become a teacher. She graduated from Ricks in 1960.


Shirlene lived for a period of time in the home of Russ and Zelma Archibald.  This was a marvelous experience as she was treated like a member of their family. She was cheerful by nature and always wanted to help others, as Bishop Stanford has told you.


Soon after this, Shirlene lived with my husband, Warren, and me, I think we solved the problems of all the people we ever knew. She was always wanting to know what to do and what to say to people.


When she was in college, she was very active in the foreign students club, and also was in the dance group. She was deeply religious and found time to act as secretary of the mutual in her college ward. During high school she had taught primary in St. Anthony. How proud she was of being a Silver Gleaner! She in time hoped to achieve the Golden Gleaner award.


After Shirlene broke her leg, her parents thought that perhaps her fear of darkness could be lessened by having her obtain a special blessing by her patriarch.  In her patriarchal blessing, she was promised that she would be an influence for good among her associates who did not belong to her faith. "And many of them" the blessings said, "will see your good works."


Shirlene worked at the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho Falls. She held a very responsible position as a data clerk. Her co-workers were quick to point out to me that she was an excellent of her religion.  She dreamed of going on a mission and was thrilled when Allen was called to serve in the Great Lakes Mission.  Many of you will remember the sweet talk she gave from this pulpit the night of Allen’s testimonial, and how thrilled she was for him to have this privilege of serving.


A stake mission had been mentioned for her. She along with co-workers at the site enrolled in a mathematics class which would aid them with their work.  Shirlene considered and weight the facts that if she took the math course, she would not be free to pursue the stake mission call, should it come.  Finally she decided, “I won’t take the course.  I’ll study the gospel and be ready to accept the call.”  Her boss told me that Shirlene like to work and was concerned about doing the best she could, and always tried to do everything just a little bit better.


A loving daughter, she wrote home to her mother just a couple of weeks ago, "They say we should tell our folks real often how much we appreciate and love them, and though I don't tell you as often as I should, I want you to know that you are very precious to me, and you mean more to me than you'll ever know. I sincerely appreciate all you have done for me." A wonderful birthday letter to her mother.


To her parents, Shirlene will always be the ideal girl, the girl who gave them no trouble, a girl who proudly told of kneeling down to pray with her friends. Young for her age in high school, she seemed to blossom the last two years. In Idaho Falls, she had a host of friends, many of them who are here today to pay her tribute. She brought many of these girls home with her on weekends to meet her family. She was very active in the Church in Idaho Falls in the Fifth Ward and served as dance director.


Last Saturday night she had directed a floor show at the tabernacle dance. There her friends said she was at her best, going around from person to person, seeing that they looked their very best, congratulating them and saying, "You are doing just fine. Come over to our apartment later for refreshments."


Following the dance they went to Joyce and Shirlene's apartment where they had refreshments, sang songs and had good talk. Then a carload of young people were Shelley bound to take one of the girls (Valeri Barker) home. Then a grinding crash, a wave of silence, a hospital room, and it was over.


Love had recently come into Shirlene's life when she met Spence Barker, brother of the girl they were taking home to Shelley. Their plans were that after his mission, he would claim her for his bride. But instead he sent a white orchid today to be pinned on his sweetheart. Almost as if she felt a premonition that time was fleeting, she recently borrowed money with which to pay her tithing in full. About three weeks ago, on September 19 in the Logan LDS Temple, she was privileged to be endowed.  She spoke glowingly of this rich and choice experience and looked forward to going with her parents as soon as possible. to the temple.


In her Patriarchal Blessing she was promised that when her mission in life came to a close that her life would be accepted by our Father in Heaven as having been well and faithfully lived, and that she would receive a crown of reward for service given to her fellowmen.


“So, who shall I send unto the hill of the Lord, and who shall stand in His  holy place?”  Shirlene, who will forever be young and lovely.