Fae Garda Anderson Picklesimer returned to her Heavenly Father on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017 after stuffing more into her short 98 years than most people fit into 125 years. She was an educator by profession and was instrumental in the early days of Utah’s reading and special education programs, raised three children and hordes of grand and great-grandchildren, traveled and hiked the world over, quilted and handstitched for over 40 years and served faithfully as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She knew the Gospel of Jesus Christ was the perfect way to raise her children and believed giving service to others was the way to show her love of Christ. She gave often and freely.
Fae was born on March 15, 1919, to Neils Albert and Amy Deslie Lowe Anderson at Anderson Ranch, a sprawling fruit orchard and roadside stop located a short dusty stroll from “Toker” (Toquerville), Utah, and nestled in the shadows of the rugged volcanic and sandstone formations of Southern Utah that forever held her fascination.
Flight itself was just 15 years old when Fae was born, and when she passed, humans were on the verge of sending commercial flights into space. No doubt she would have signed up for a trip if it had been possible. Incidentally, it was her love of flying that led her to Ben Oakley Picklesimer, her ex-husband with whom she had three children — Mike, Gary and Colleen. Though she and Ben later divorced, Fae always adored Ben and even helped to care for him when his health declined before his death in 2003.
A wrongfully-failed eye exam kept her from becoming one of a select group of female civilian pilots who assisted with the U.S. war efforts during World War II, and she (jokingly) vowed to come back and “haunt that doctor who failed me, because I could have been a pilot!” Fae celebrated her 95th birthday in a helicopter buzzing the Virgin River and cresting the plateaus along the southwestern edge of her beloved Zion National Park.
And to her, the park truly was Zion. She instilled her love of Zion in her children and grandchildren who (eventually) looked forward to her summertime 4 a.m. wake-up calls. After all, to her there was no point in hiking if one didn’t hit the trail before dawn when all of nature’s wonderful sounds and creatures are just bedding down after a playful night.
Fae was educated at Dixie Junior College (now Dixie State University) and Brigham Young University where she earned a master’s in education. She turned down a teaching job so that she could join the Civil Aeronautics Administration as a control tower operator during the war.
After the war, Fae and Ben moved to St. George and she returned to teaching. She eventually helped to create a new reading program that later turned into a special education program. She loved her work and helping her students find the joy and confidence that comes through reading. Fae herself was an avid reader her whole life, typically bringing home (and finishing) a stack of books from the library every week.
Fae built a network of close friends with whom she traveled, hiked and quilted throughout her retirement years. Her Roadrunner friends were some of her dearest, with whom she shared birthday luncheons, Christmas cookie parties and worldwide travels. For 60 years these gals enriched each other’s lives. They were as near and dear to Fae as family – creating eternal bonds. Fae also loved her quilting circle. In addition to the many quilts she provided to those in need, she also served for many years in the St. George Temple, among other time spent serving others.
She loved traditions. One of her grandchildren’s favorites was the annual summer trip to the Veyo, Utah, swimming pool and recreation area. Fae and her friends coaxed the owners into opening the pool early for them and all their grandkids, and everyone would enjoy the refreshing spring water before sitting down for a made-to-order lunch of hamburgers, pronto pups and crinkle cut fries. Another beloved tradition was the annual New Year’s Day Glider Flying. Everyone gathered at a local hill to fly gliders, throw rocks and eat sloppy joes … all of which was merely a distraction to bide the time until returning to her house for her famous homemade carrot pudding and caramel sauce.
The family would like to thank Fae’s friends, neighbors and ward for being ever mindful of her needs. She will be truly missed.
Fae was preceded in death by her ex-husband, Ben Oakley Picklesimer, and her son, Gary. She is survived by her children Michael (Dotty) Picklesimer and Colleen (Greg) Thornock; daughter-in-law, Elsa Picklesimer; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
- Funeral services will be held Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, 11 a.m. in the St. George East Stake Center, 449 S. 300 East, St. George, Utah.
- Viewings will be held Sunday, Aug. 13 from 5-7 p.m. at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St., St. George, and prior to services Monday from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Stake Center.
- Interment will be in the St. George City Cemetery.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Spilsbury Mortuary, 435-673-2454.
For condolences, full obituary, and funeral listings please visit Spilsbury Mortuary online.