It is impossible to properly pay tribute to such an incredible woman and queen among mothers, let alone fully articulate her legacy and the impact she has had on every person with whom she associated. Beth Packard Walker was a fierce force for good, inspiring the generations after her with her example of unwavering faith, hard work, optimism, love of family (past and present), and affinity for fun and games!
She was born September 3, 1918, in Glenwood, Alberta, Canada, to Forrest Leroy and Esther Carter Packard – the second of 17 children. She grew up in Meridian, Idaho, with a rich family heritage, an abundance of talents, and a deep abiding faith in her Savior. She learned to work hard, play games, and sing. After studying at a music program in Pocatello, Idaho, she declined the invitation to study at the Metropolitan Opera because she had met her “Prince Charming” Wendell Holmes Walker, whom she married June 11, 1937, in the Salt Lake Temple.
Wendell and Beth’s marriage was a true love story. They carried on the legacy of their parents, creating a home filled with hard work, fun, music, faith, and love. Their personalities perfectly complimented each other. He was gentle, soft-spoken, and patient while she filled their lives with excitement, passion, and accomplishment. As a team, united in love and vision, they raised 13 children. Even with all her accomplishments as a singer, expert seamstress, wedding cake decorator, avid genealogist, gospel scholar and teacher extraordinaire, she happily transferred the spotlight to her children, encouraging them to excel in every way.
While busy raising her children, and a handful of others who came to live with them, she found time to serve in various positions in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Her favorite was serving as a missionary with her sweetheart. When asked about their service, one of their mission presidents stated that they were the most amazing companionship in the entire mission. They lived a life of example, so it came naturally to them.
In 2001 Wendell passed away, but that didn’t mark the end of Beth’s amazing service. After having done genealogy by hand for years, with hard work and sheer determination, she became a blossoming technological savant in her eighties – enabling her to submit thousands of names for temple work. She served in the temple until she was 90 and continued attending weekly until the Covid-19 pandemic closed all temples.
Together, Wendell and Beth’s proudest accomplishment was their posterity: 13 children, 83 grandchildren, 372 great-grandchildren, and 58 great-great-grandchildren. In response to the many times she was asked, “How did you do it? How did you raise such a faith-filled posterity?” She wrote, “The gospel of Jesus Christ has formed the very axle that has carried our family through rough times and over smooth ones. We have experienced an abundance of joy, yet we have suffered deeply of disappointment, sorrow, loss, and even death. Daddy and I have always had an unwavering testimony of the purpose of life – why we are here, where we are going after this life, and what we need to do to be together as a family with our Savior and our Heavenly Father.” We, as her family, do not doubt, ‘our Mother knew it.’
Beth died peacefully on October 2, 2020, at the age of 102, surrounded by her daughters singing her favorite songs – just as she wished. She was anxiously received by “the most handsome husband,” son Carvel, daughter Karyn Hoopes, and many others who loved her and have waited long for her arrival. While her love and counsel will be greatly missed by all who she has left behind, we are eternally grateful to have had the best of the best that heaven had to offer.
Written by her sixty-eighth grandchild.
Beth is survived by eleven of her children: Wendell Walker, Lary Walker, Ellen Dee Leavitt, LeeRen Walker, Daleen Kofoed, RoEen Peterson, Tamra Zinn, KLynn Lochhead, Ilona Hunsaker, Wendee Graham, and D’On Reid, as well as 7 of her siblings; Floyd Packard, Ronald Packard, Darwin ‘Bud’ Packard, Ace ‘Bill’ Packard, Robert Packard, Bernard Packard, and Barbara Kunzler.
The funeral will be held on Saturday, October 10th at 11:00 am in the Weiser, Idaho Stake Center.
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