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Mothers of the Year


Honoring all moms with a nod to a special few who were "Mothers of the Year"

On Mother's Day, we're honoring all mums and mommies with a special nod to a few who were "Mothers of the Year."

 Kathryn White Egan (Salt Lake Tribune)Kathryn White Egan, who died April 9 at age 64, was Jacksonville, Florida's Mother of the Year on Mother's Day in 1985, according to her obituary in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Egan, who had lived in five states and held various leadership posts with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, raised seven children and served as "'mission mother' to more than 400 missionaries from 30 countries," from 2005-2008, while her husband, Robert, presided over the church's South Africa Cape Town Mission.

Many of those missionaries as well as former neighbors, who regarded her as a second mother, shared their memories of Egan on the online guest book that accompanies her obit.

One former missionary wrote: "Her life and teachings are indeed celebrated and evident in the lives of the many missionaries she taught how to be men, women and Serving Always Christ The Master."

Nonagene Daniel, who died April 15 at age 90, was named "Mother of the Year" by the DeKalb Chapter of the Georgia Federation of Women in the 1970s, according to the family-placed obit in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Daniel, the mother of three and a member of the First Baptist Church of Lithonia, Georgia, was concerned with the well-being and spiritual growth of missionaries.

She considered the support of Christian missionaries a "calling" and together with her husband [William Thomas Daniel Sr.] built and maintained a special home in Lithonia for furloughed missionaries from throughout the world. A mentor to many young women and men, she was a "listening ear" and "encourager" to generations of young people providing prayerful guidance as they planned their educations, careers and families.

 Helen Kim (Springfield State Journal-Register)Helen Kim, the 1985 Illinois Mother of the Year, who died April 11 at age 85, raised two daughters and a son, according to the obituary in the Springfield State Journal-Register.

She had hosted a national children's radio program in her native Korea before immigrating to the United States and marrying the Rev. Mark (Myung Sup) Kim in 1961.

From 1969 to 2010, Kim was a piano and vocal teacher to approximately 300 students, the obit said.

She became naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1974.

 Hattye Mae Biddle (NewsZapDE)Hattye Mae Biddle, the 1976 Delaware Mother of the Year, who died April 4 at age 96, is described as "a much-beloved figure in Delaware educational, political and civic circles," in the online obit published by NewsZapDE.

Biddle, the mother of three, and her husband of 79 years, Millard, established a grocery store and "were a familiar sight at Christmastime when they played Santa and Mrs. Claus at The Little School [the first private pre-school and kindergarten in lower Delaware, which she co-founded in 1956] and The Governor's House."

 Sophia E. Godbout (Pioneer Press )Sophia E. Godbout, who died March 17, one day after her 90th birthday, was named the Minnesota's First Merit Mother of the Year by the Minnesota Mothers' Association in 1976, according to the obit in the Pioneer Press.

She and her husband of 59 years, Medric, raised three daughters and "provided a home for numerous unwed mothers through Lutheran Social Services," beginning in the 1960s.

"In 1965 she became a Research Associate with the University of Toronto Insect Migration Studies and began tagging Monarch butterflies," which earned her the nickname of the Butterfly Lady.


This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer. She was the director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers before she passed away in 2015.