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Lillian Jean Tyler, 82, of Pleasant Grove, our beloved mother, grandmother and sister returned home peacefully to her Heavenly Father on April 28, 2021 surrounded by family. Lillian was born January 12, 1939 in Chicago, Illinois—the fifth of eight children—to John and Coy Mae Wurtzbacher Tyler.
Lillian grew up in Detroit, Michigan and went to school there. At 19, she married James William Claflin, Sr. and they were blessed with four children. Shortly after their divorce, Lillian—blessed with a strong, lifelong faith in God—began searching for the true church, the one she’d studied about in the Bible as a young girl. She and her children attended various evangelical denominations weekly.
It wasn’t long before God directed LDS missionaries to her front door. She was initially unconvinced and had hopes of reforming the young Elders, saving them from being “brainwashed.” It took her some time to come around, but the spirit of the Lord, especially as manifest to her from reading the Book of Mormon, was powerfully undeniable. She and the two eldest children were baptized. The younger two were baptized later.
She was a lifelong, faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spreading her infectious missionary spirit and zeal with everyone she met. The lessons she taught, from Family Home Evenings to Sunday School classes, were always marked by her passion, spirit, and deep love for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. She was invited many times to speak at firesides and gatherings to share her inspiring conversion story and how it informed her entire mortal life.
As a first-generation Latter-day Saint, Lillian is the reason so many of her posterity now thrive as faithful Christians themselves and are eternally indebted to her for that. She is our “pioneer ancestor,” having literally crossed the plains to join the Saints.
In 1977, with the selfless help of the greatest home teachers ever, Lillian packed up the kids and their few belongings and made her way west to Orem, Utah. Her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are mostly all settled in the Western U.S., many in Utah.
In 1993, at the age of 54, she received her law degree and worked as a feisty solo practitioner for many years. With her gumption and never-back-down determination she fulfilled her dream as a litigator to fight for those in need.
Her lifelong passion is bowling (she has a wicked hook, renowned for its accuracy and utter lack of speed) and especially after she retired, Lillian was regularly playing in leagues in Salt Lake and Utah Valley. She spent many years with her league friends at Bonwood Bowl, and nothing could keep her from her weekly games. A right-handed bowler, Lillian simply switched to her left hand to bowl when her right shoulder had to be surgically repaired! She played right up to a few weeks before her death.
She loved music and singing. A beautiful soprano soloist, Lillian was very often heard singing Christian standards and other hymns at home and in the car. She had a great ear and could harmonize with anyone or anything. She learned to play the guitar (sort of) to accompany her singing. She loved to read and write. She could never get enough of board and card games. She was so fond of Racko. (“Racko, with a 3-card, 3-card, 3-card run!”) And she loved her Jeopardy.
Humor and laughter were a constant for Lillian. Her sense of humor was keen and witty and remarkably on point even late in life. Her raucous, peeling laugh is legendary. Most will remember her for how beautifully she blended levity and spirituality.
Lillian is adored by so many people whose lives were changed just from knowing her. She is simply one of the most charitable, compassionate, patient and Christlike people we will ever know. Her life was replete with trials and challenges, but her faith and love of God and others never waned.
She is survived by her four children: BONNIE Claflin Kane, JAMES and Kathy Claflin, ANDREA and David Cook, and SCOTT and Liz Claflin; 20 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren and more on the way; siblings: JUNE and Bob Griffiths, CAROL Blanck, and RONALD Tyler. She was preceded in death by her parents and her siblings: John Jr., Coy, Mary Jane, George, and Robert.
Funeral services will be held Monday, May 3, 2021 at 11 a.m. at Olpin Mortuary, 494 S. 300 E., Pleasant Grove. Family and friends may attend a viewing from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m., prior to services. For those who would like to watch the live stream, please follow the link above. Interment will be in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.olpinmortuary.com.
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