I am still somewhat in shock that the life of this radiant woman has come to a close. My Grandmother was a force of nature. She could do anything. I feel like I have always been in awe of Grandma Dot. I loved the way she kept her home, nothing wore out in Grandma Dot’s house—she replaced, repaired and reupholstered before that could ever happen. I loved the way she drew people to her. She always seemed to have the right thing to say—she was confident and she had gumption. Most of all, I loved that she was the first generation convert to the church in our Harnly ancestral line. Grandma was a pioneer in my eyes, and a woman of great faith. She chose, as an adult, to change her life and accept the burdens and blessings of discipleship. She was instrumental in giving me my most prized inheritance—a perspective of faith and belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, my most cherished memory of Grandma Dot was the day she told me her own conversion story.
I interviewed Grandma for a school project while I was in college. She described how she had always believed in God, even as a little child. When she married, she wanted her family to attend church together. She felt this desire so strongly in her heart that it changed the course of her life. She knew that Grandpa Lou would not go to any church besides the Church of Jesus Christ. So, when the Mormon missionaries knocked on her door, she let them in. She was baptized after she gave birth to Uncle Andy, but she said she didn’t gain a testimony of the Church until she lived it. Just like her strong conviction about family church attendance, she felt strongly that she needed to jump into the church with both feet and be a committed member, one hundred percent.
This conviction led her to the temple. When I interviewed her, Grandma shared with me her perspective that she had seen great blessings because of the church’s emphasis on the family and because she chose to make the temple the anchor of her life.
It’s beautiful to me that her story of conversion is really the story of a lifetime of church membership. She has been my example of motherhood, faith and goodness in a million little ways throughout my life. What a beautiful path she left to follow.
I could never say enough in tribute to this great woman.
Until we meet again.