Mary Alice Powell Lindsay was born April 15, 1883 in Granite, Salt Lake County, Utah to Theodore Powell and Mary Ann Cunningham. Mary was the fourth of seven children. When she was young, the family moved to Wasatch where her father worked at the Salt Lake Temple Granite Quarry. He passed away at 40 years of age, and the family later moved back to Granite and eventually to Sandy, Utah. Mary attended school in Granite and Sandy, and graduated from the 8th grade in Sandy. Following her graduation she attended the L.D.S. College and was then called as a Relief Society Missionary to enroll in a home nursing course taught by Dr. Margaret C. Roberts. She received educational and practical training for 3 years, but desired to gain further training. She was accepted into the Battle Creek Sanitarium and Hospital Nurses Training School in Battle Creek, Michigan. After three years she graduated and was asked to join the faculty at the school. She said this was a great honor 'as [she] had difficulty gaining admission to the school because of [her] LDS faith.' She did not accept the offer as she was anxious to return to Utah to her family and friends. Mary was the first woman in Utah to become a Registered Nurse, and upon her return to Utah served on a committee working to get nurses Registered in the State of Utah. She then accepted a position as Assistant Superintendent to Charlotte E. Dancy of the Nurses at L.D.S. hospital where she served 4 years. She also attended the University of Utah for two years to further her nursing education. She met her future husband while on a home nursing call. She took his pulse and later commented that 'two hearts beat as one.' She married Samuel J. Lindsay in the Salt Lake Temple on June 14, 1916. They were the parents of five children. Prior to their marriage they planned and built their home in Taylorsville, Utah where Mary still lived at the time she wrote her autobiography at 81 years of age. Her husband served in the Bishopric and was then set apart by Melvin J. Ballard as Bishop in 1921 where he served until his death in 1932. Shortly after their marriage, Mary was appointed a member of the Cottonwood Relief Society Stake Board where she helped to organize the Cottonwood Maternity Hospital. Mary was also involved in organizing Child Health Conferences in Murray in cooperation with the Utah State Board of Health. She worked for the Child Health Conferences as a volunteer for many years along with local doctors who gave their service. Just ten days after her husband's untimely death from pneumonia in 1932, Mary lost her oldest son, Powell, to an acute sinus infection. As it was the beginning of the depression at that time, it was difficult for Mary to take on both the role of breadwinner and homemaker. She worked as a home nurse visiting clients, taught Red Cross courses, and eventually became a public health nurse in Salt Lake County. She worked in the Jordan and Murray school districts which allowed her to be home with her children as much as possible. Mary was the President of the Plymouth School PTA for 3 years, and budgeted carefully to send all of her children to college. She was nominated for the Mother of the Year award for the State of Utah in 1965. Mary passed away February 12, 1979 in Taylorsville, Utah.
This collection contains Mary's autobiography, her nomination form for Mother of the Year, and tributes and letters corresponding to this nomination. Also included are family pictures, brief biographical information for each of her children, and copies of Mary's nursing certificates and pins. Mary was a strong woman with great faith and perseverance. One son wrote, 'She is a mother among mothers, one deserving all honors. She has been our mother and our father. We all pay tribute to her.' Mary's life was full of service both to her family and community. As a nurse, she was described as an 'angel of mercy' in going the extra mile with her patients. Mary was full of faith and pushed forward amidst great adversity. One daughter recalled an experience following her father's death when she awoke during the night and heard her mother sobbing. She quietly watched her mother who was kneeling in prayer and pouring her heart out to her Father in Heaven. Mary was full of grief and asked for help, following which she became peaceful and calm. Her daughter wrote that after that experience she knew that prayers were heard. Mary was diagnosed with a 'tired heart' in 1951 and given a distressing prognosis. Her son Kenneth cared for her at home for a year, and she gradually regained strength. Following this illness, she was able to take a trip to Europe as well as Tonga to visit her son Kenneth and his wife. While in Tonga, she was invited to visit the 'palace of the reigning monarch of the kingdom, Queen Salote Tupou.' Mary held callings as Treasurer of the Ward Young Ladies' MIA, Secretary of the Sunday School, teacher for Sunday School and MIA, literature teacher in Relief Society, visiting teacher, and a merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts. Mary's two sons served missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and, along with her 3 sons-in-law, served in WWII. Mary wrote of their loving and sharing home and joy in their family life. She wrote of the wonderful experience of seeing all of her children in the temple when her youngest son was married. She spoke of the joy she had in knowing that her family relationships are eternal. One child wrote, 'She has been a power for good in her home and community.' Mary Lindsay truly led an incredible life of service and faith.