Elizabeth Kirkham Ryser

1923 - 2013
Elizabeth Kirkham Ryser, age 90, born January 28, 1923 completed this mortal existence on April 15, 2013, ready for the next adventure. She is the daughter of Ebenezer John Kirkham and Mary Ethel Wright Kirkham. She married James J. Ryser Jr. on September 4, 1947 in the Salt Lake Temple. They had almost 65 years together. She is survived by her four children, Randall James Ryser (Kathryn), Robyn Ryser Nicholas (Peter), David Kirkham Ryser (Antoinette), Rebecca Ryser Jolley (Kevin), and 16 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and her sister, Marie Thompson (Robert). She was preceded in death by her siblings, Homer Kirkham (Millie) and Barbara Jolley (Arben).
Elizabeth was a remarkable wife, mother, grandma, counselor and educator who valued service and lifelong learning. After attending BYU for one year beginning at age 16, she attended the University of Utah. She worked as a social worker for the Red Cross during World War II. She subsequently attended graduate school at Tulane University where she met her husband Jim. Elizabeth completed her Masters in Social Work degree at the University of Utah. She worked at Relief Society Social Services, Primary Children's Hospital, Utah Family Court, and was a marriage and family therapist in private practice for 15 years. She served as President of the Utah Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. She taught at BYU Education Week for 7 years, specializing in couple communication and classes in Eliminating Self Defeating Behaviors. Elizabeth loved serving as a docent at the Church History Museum representing the story of pioneer Amanda Smith. She served many years in Young Women and Relief Society callings and enjoyed the great friends she met there. Elizabeth loved Jesus Christ and the gospel. She and Jim were privileged to serve in the Johannesburg South Africa Mission (1984-85). They served most of their mission in Zimbabwe. She delighted in creating and showing her Plan of Happiness Tree, based on the scriptures she loved and knew well. Her special interests included gardening, flower arranging, and entertaining friends. She and Jim participated in a monthly dinner group for more than 60 years. She loved rejoicing with Jim and her descendants as they enjoyed the wonders and beauties of this world.
A service to celebrate her life will be held at the Monument Park 2nd Ward, 1005 South 20th East, Salt Lake, on April 20 at 1 PM. Friends may greet the family prior to the services between 11:30 to 12:40. Interment at Larkin Sunset Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to the LDS Church Perpetual Education Fund are appreciated. Thanks to Sunrise of Sandy and Vista Care Hospice for their tender and loving care.

Published in Salt Lake Tribune from Apr. 18 to Apr. 20, 2013