Lonnie Rae (Cooke) Smithson, 94, passed away in her sleep on June 14, 2019, her husband Rulon Nephi Smithson at her side. They celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary just before her passing.
Lonnie Rae was born in Tremonton, Utah on March 6, 1925 to David James and Sarah Pearl (Haws) Cooke. Shortly after graduating from West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, she enlisted in the U.S. Navy WAVES during World War II and was stationed in New York City for basic training. Her second assignment took her to Chicago, where she received training in the medical corps and was the leader of a singing platoon. Her third assignment found her stationed near San Diego, working with the severely wounded and amputees, caring for 30+ newborns in a Navy maternity ward, and working as an ECG technician. She served in San Diego until Germany surrendered in 1946.
After her military service, she attended Brigham Young University and the University of Utah, studying nursing under the G.I. Bill. In 1950, Lonnie Rae was a member of the first nursing class to graduate with a B.S. degree from the University of Utah.
After receiving her degree, Lonnie Rae was called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Germany, Frankfurt Mission. While serving in Heidelberg, she met a tall young man from Utah who was studying at the University of Heidelberg after completing his own LDS mission in Paris, France. He would later become her husband.
Rulon and Lonnie Rae married in the LDS Salt Lake Temple, on June 8, 1955. They spent the next several decades living in Provo, Utah; New York City, New York; Macomb, Illinois; and Pleasant Grove, Utah. While Rulon taught French and Lonnie Rae worked in the nursing field, together they raised their seven children. After 26 years in Macomb, Rulon retired from teaching and they moved to Pleasant Grove, in 1996, living in the LDS Battle Creek 6th Ward.
Lonnie Rae was a talented poet and musician. She played the piano, sang beautifully, and wrote dozens of songs - many of which were performed in 1970 and recorded on her album “Oh, Let Me Sing.” Lonnie Rae was also well-known for her amazing homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, carrot salad and spaghetti.
Lonnie Rae had a silly, quick wit. She was also one who would speak her mind and stand up for what she thought was right. She loved serving her sisters in the Relief Society and gained many lifelong friendships through her church service. Whenever a storm was coming, she was the first to warn those in its path, and go to their aid when help was needed.
Lonnie Rae is survived by her loving husband Rulon Smithson and her brother James Kimball (Nina) Cooke; sons Val-David Smithson, Randall (Lisa) Smithson; daughters Tamara Smithson, Sarah (Guillermo) Artaza, Stephanie Smithson, Stacie (Anthony) Tahy, Amy Smithson; 12 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
God has you in His care. We have you in our hearts.
We love you and miss you. God be with you ‘til we meet again.
Special thanks to the CNAs and nurses at Elevation Hospice and Spring Gardens Memory Care who took such tender care of our sweet wife, mother, and grandmother.
Funeral services will be held Friday, June 21, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. in the Pleasant Grove East Stake, 825 South Loader, with a viewing from 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. prior to the services. Family and friends may also attend an evening viewing Thursday from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Olpin Family Mortuary, 494 South 300 East, Pleasant Grove. Interment will be in the Pleasant Grove City Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.olpinmortuary.com.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Battle Creek Sixth Ward missionary fund.
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