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Vivian Best

Vivian Croft Best

Tuesday, October 20th, 1936 - Wednesday, August 5th, 2020
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Vivian Croft Best graduated--with high honors--from this mortal existence on 5 August 2020.
She joined her parents, Jacob Calvin Croft and Lula McClellan, her brothers, Mack Gerald Croft and
Kent Calvin Croft, her daughter, Karen Best, and her grandchildren Hannah Elizabeth Hughes and
Ansel Edison Best.

Vivian will be sorely missed by her husband of 64 years, Myron Gene Best, her daughters, Jenny
Lyn Jensen (Brad), Teresa Fugate (Richard), Katrina Hughes, Laura Miller (Derek), her sons, Karl
Fredrick Best (Catherine), Richard Russell Best (Marci), and Tyler Kory Best (Katrina), her 27 living
grandchildren and their spouses, her 43 great-grandchildren, and by her sister, Mary Jones (Kendall),
and brother, Clair Lewis Croft.

All of the family anticipated that Vivian would be a centenarian, like her mother, who lived to105
and a great grandmother, Almeda Day McClellan, who bore 12 children and lived to 101, along with
two Day siblings who died at 100! However, despite Vivian’s genes, cancer of the pancreas and liver
felled the great and noble soul at age 83.

Vivian was born on October 20, 1936 and lived in cities in Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada,
while her father worked for the government, until her sealing in the Salt Lake Temple on 16 March
1956. Her fondest memories while growing up were during the years of World War II when she lived
in Cedar City. The nearby campus of the Branch Agricultural College (now Southern Utah University)
and juniper-covered hills to the west provided ample opportunities for youthful activities. Skipping her
senior year at Granite High School in Salt Lake City, Vivian attended the University of Utah on a Ford
Foundation scholarship for one year and then transferred to BYU for a year. Viv had a lifelong interest
in medicine and biology but further academic pursuits were curtailed upon marriage and arrival of

Vivian liked to travel. Tours were enjoyed to Israel, Turkey, Greece, Germany, Austria,
Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, the Caribbean,
Japan, Alaska, and Hawaii.

She sang in ward choirs and with Sweet Adelines. A good pianist, she played for Church
gatherings and for ordinance-worker prayer meetings in the Provo Temple.

An insatiable and highly productive interest focused around doing things with her hands and
solving problems. She accurately typed Myron’s thesis in 1961, making three carbon copies, and a
decade later, with equal accuracy, typed several drafts of his manuscript that was published as a 630-
page textbook. She crocheted, tatted, and carded and spun alpaca wool on her spinning wheel, knitting
a warm sweater for herself. Dipping chocolates was mastered in Ottawa, Ontario while helping Relief
Society sisters raise money for the first Latter-day Saint meeting house in the nation’s capitol. Ever the
frugal homemaker, Viv sewed carpet samples together for the living room floor in their first home in
Ottawa. Soon after arriving in Provo she started an annual Christmas activity making hundreds of
glazed doughnuts for the neighbors, which became a family tradition for decades. This was
accomplished in a new house that Vivian designed and had a contractor build on Arapaho Lane. She
did most of the initial indoor painting and was forever making the inside and outside a comfortable and
attractive family nest. Several remodels were accomplished over one-half century as a result of her
ingenuity. In a major add-on, she made sure a loft over the two-car garage was created for
grandchildren and great grandchildren. Taking classes provided the opportunity to learn the techniques
of making jewelry and leaded (stained) glass. Woodworking was an enduring activity and, with no
trepidation of power tools, she crafted household furniture and cabinets for family room, spacious
sewing room, and for the kitchen in the mountain home, which she built jointly with Myron and family
members. Some of Viv’s genes and family tradition supported the wood working activity. Her
grandfather, Samuel Edwin McClellan, constructed the Juarez Stake Academy building in the
“Mormon” colonies in Mexico, and these genes have been manifest in Vivian’s children and grand
children. Her son, Richard, and his son, Russell, crafted her casket, which was decorated with the
artwork of grand daughter Jane Hughes burned in by Spencer Hughes’ laser tool.

Because Myron was often gone on geology trips, Vivianx mastered household repairs and
maintenance. For several summers she was the camp cook for the BYU Geology summer field class in
the wilderness of Nevada and western Utah, which provided the cash necessary to buy a new sewing

Much preferring stitchin’ over the kitchen, Vivian’s lifelong love and joy was sewing. It started
with making her own wedding dress, followed by additional ones for daughters, a daughter-in-law, and
grand daughters. There wasn’t much that she could not make a pattern for, or alter, and sew to
completion, including children’s and men’s clothes and chair covers.

While her children were growing up, Vivian taught by example, never lecturing. Life skills were
learned by watching. Daughter Katrina recalls: “I remember the summer before I started first grade.
She asked me to draw pictures of the school clothes I wanted her to make me for that year. I tagged
along to the fabric store to pick out what I wanted; never was it her that chose for me. We would then
come home, clean off the kitchen table, and the drafting began–on paper towels, mind you, because
tissue paper was too expensive. We had the paper towel patterns and to this day that’s how I do mine!!
She made my school wardrobe exactly to my drawings. This continued until through my fourth grade
year until I took over–unknowingly her apprentice, unnoticed I had learned what I needed to make my
own patterns and sew my own clothes–I never once had a ‘lesson’–just simply watching and doing it
along side her. I don’t recall her ever trying to change my mind of the fabric I picked even in the first

Vivian’s crowning achievement in her sewing room over the past several years was the production
of an unique quilt for each of her children and 27 living grandchildren. Aided by her fellow sewers in a
quilt group, she crafted unique and exquisite works of art. But the most memorable one was a baby
quilt she helped her oldest daughter, Karen, undertake when she was 13 for her little brother, Richard.
But the ravages of cancer precluded Karen’s completion of the quilt so with finishing touches supplied
by two grand mothers the quilt was finished. It was auctioned at the Festival of Trees and hung in the
Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City for several years before finding a place in the entry of the
Arapaho home.

Although rarely articulated, Vivian’s testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ was rock solid,
steadfast, and true. She served in many capacities in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
mostly in the Relief Society. A love for the native people was developed while serving a welfare
services mission in 2003-4 with Myron in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Since then Viv served as an
ordinance worker in the Provo Temple; a white dress topped off with a head of snow-white hair made
her look like the angel she was in her heart.

Vivian’s enduring legacy is her children, grandchildren, and spouses, and a growing number of
great grandchildren. Through a quiet unassuming example her posterity stands as a unified responsible
contribution to society and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A viewing for friends and neighbors will be held Tuesday August 11 from 6 to 8 PM and for family
members Wednesday 12 August from 9:00 to 10:45 AM at the Nelson Family Mortuary, 4780 North
University Avenue, Provo. The funeral will follow at 11 AM in the Mortuary. Burial in the Provo City

The family is grateful for the loving kindness of many friends and neighbors and for professional
care by Dr. M. Austin Healey, the Utah Cancer Specialists, the Intermountain Utah Valley Palliative
Care, and Symbii Home Health and Hospice, especially Marlene Oaks.

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Tuesday, August 11th, 2020 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Tuesday, August 11th, 2020 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Nelson Family Mortuary
    4780 N. University Ave.
    PROVO, UT 84604
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Second Visitation

    Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 | 9:00am - 10:45am
    Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 9:00am - 10:45am
    Nelson Family Mortuary
    4780 N. University Ave.
    PROVO, UT 84604
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 | 11:00am
    Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 11:00am
    Nelson Family Mortuary
    4780 N. University Ave.
    PROVO, UT 84604
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 | 12:30pm
    Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 12:30pm
    Provo City Cemetery
    610 S State Street
    Provo, Utah 84606
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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Private Condolence

Cassandra and Sampson

Posted at 04:37pm
May the family find peace and comfort in a life tremendously lived, and memories that will never fade.

5 trees were planted in the memory of Vivian Best

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Posted at 06:01pm
To the entire Best Family, my most sincere heartfelt condolences. I only recently heard the news. Such rich years I remember living on Arapahoe across from your family. You have always been great neighbors to my family. I am so sorry for your loss.
With love, Steven B. Heiner

Cindy Stone

Posted at 03:45pm
I served with Vivian in the Provo temple for several years and love her very much. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to work with and learn from her.

Cindy Stone

Bradley Taylor

Posted at 02:50pm
We purchased the home across from Myron and Vivian in 2018. Our friendship, started in the first weeks of occupancy continues unabated by the limitations of our mortal eyes. They are warm and amazing neighbors. It was clear, observing her behavior, that Vivian was deeply interested and engaged in helping/serving the individuals who lived in close proximity in a personal way. She, like the Master, enjoyed serving and teaching one-on-one. Vivian initially engaged our young children in conversations about her cat and the many personal handiwork/projects she loved that adorned their museum-like home. She enrolled us in her craft circles and never hesitated to engage in friendly conversation. As a distinctive tribute to her, we loved it when she would tease and then take a long pause sporting her well-practiced grin. While we knew and observed her she “…was anxiously engaged in a good cause, and [did] many things of [her] own free will, and [brought] to pass much righteousness” (D&C 58). Vivian made us feel a part of her extraordinary life; That is the beautiful heritage of the Best Family. Her legacy lives on in personal and tangible ways through those she touched. Now on the other side of the veil, Vivian continues to inspire us to make every day count. She is a true example of a life well-lived. Though we will miss her stern but friendly wave while we are out on our routine strolls in the neighborhood, we will think of her and picture ‘Viv’ on a swift and healthy walk in the halls, canyons and fields of heaven!

Gayle Dudley

Posted at 07:29pm
Vivian was such a special quiet and yet so friendly. She was a delight to be around in our meetings and activities in the Daughters of Utah Pioneers. She did her share in making the events even more worthwhile, Her talents became visible with lots of admiration from all of us. It was such a pleasure to have her in my life....a woman with firm faith and sweet friendship. Hope we will still be working together on the other side.

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