Berniece Holdaway Murdock, 86, was born to Leland Eugene
and Violet May Moulton Holdaway in Heber, Utah on 1/15/1927.
Ruth died peacefully of diabetic complications at a care
center in Highland, Utah with family around her on 1/6/2013.
Ruth married the love of her life, LaDell Reece Murdock
on 6/21/1948. She graduated BYU in social work and psychology
in June 1949. Reece accepted her diploma to the laughter
of the audience because Ruth felt too pregnant with their
She possessed many talents, a mischievous wit, and wicked
sense of humor. A voracious reader until her eyesight failed,
the last book her son Phil and daughter Trea read aloud
to Ruth was Donald Hall’s Eagle Pond. Ruth valued,
pursued and promoted education, literacy, and the arts.
She loved antiques, red geraniums in clay pots, teddy bears,
kittens, thrift stores, mashed potatoes and gravy, old movies,
all musicals, yard work, deer hunting, and puttering at
the family cabin now beneath the waters of Strawberry Reservoir.
Ruth loved raising her family in the old American Fork
2nd Ward. There she participated in ward choirs, taught
many Primary and Sunday School classes, and served happily
as co-Scoutmaster with Reece. A daughter-in-law remembers
meeting Ruth for the first time after picking beans at the
church farm. Ruth climbed on the back of son Steve’s
motorcycle, utilizing the bean bucked as a helmet for the
ride home. She learned to read Danish in order to research
Ruth worked 17 years as an x-ray technician at the old
American Fork Hospital. She was also a social worker for
the then American Fork Training School. After Reece died
of a brain tumor in May ‘76, Ruth was no longer able
to endure a hospital environment. So Ruth became the children’s
storyteller and then the research librarian who ordered
all the books for the American Fork Public Library for another
17 years. Ruth completed a master’s degree in library
science at BYU in 1986 while working full time.
Ruth is survived by her sisters: Dorothy H. Eggleston (Heber,
UT) and Leah H. Monson (Redondo Beach, CA); Ruth’s
five children: Petrea M. (Doug) West of American Fork, Phillip
(Beverly) Murdock of Rexburg, ID, Stephen (Colleen) Murdock
of Castle Dale, UT, Ross (Pam) Murdock of Enoch, UT, and
Russell Murdock, her chief care-giver, of American Fork.
Ruth leaves a legacy with ten remarkable grandchildren and
fifteen great-grandchildren (one more’s on the way).
Ruth is reunited with her Reecie and his father Isaac Stacy
Murdock, whom she regarded as her father too. She is with
her grandmother, Annie K. Jensen Moulton who grew fabulous
flower gardens. She adored her older brother Floyd Holdaway,
and mourned for and missed her late brothers-in-law Howard
Eggleston, and Vern Monson, as well as Reece’s brother
Ralph and sister Colleen M. Casper; also brothers-in-law
Ellis Casper, Floyd Webb, and Pat Patterson. She is getting
to know three grandsons now: Loren Jackson Murdock, Stacy
Murdock West, and Joseph Whitley Murdock, in addition to
twin great-granddaughters Seija and Daisy Yardley.
The family wishes to thank Ruth’s care-givers at
Sunrise and I-Care Home Health Care, particularly loving
hospice nurse Lori Liston, RN, and CNA Balenda Gutierrez.
Cody, Balenda’s fluffy white Maltese/Pomeranian, jumped
into Ruth’s lap joyously almost every day. She would
also want the efforts of Kaitlyn Harris, CNA, and neighbors
Bill Wood and Ross Bratt who saw to outside chores (without
being asked) acknowledged. Long-time home teachers Bill
Brailsford and Ted Strong visited Ruth faithfully even in
the care center. CNA Katie Johnson took a special interest
in Ruth during her holiday stay at the Ashford Memory Care
Alzheimer’s/Dementia care center. The Murdock family
appreciates the many kindnesses of staff and administrators
during Ruth’s weeks there.
Funeral services will be held at 12:00 noon on Friday,
January 11, 2013 at the Warenski Funeral Home Chapel, 1776
North 900 East in American Fork. Friends may call from 10:00
to 11:30 am on Friday prior to funeral services.
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