1928 ~ 2016
Colleen Fern Hinckley Maxwell, our cherished wife, mother and grandmother, returned peacefully to meet her Heavenly Father and loving husband on Sunday, January 17, 2016. Colleen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on Easter Sunday, April 8, 1928, to "goodly parents", Fern Anna and George Edwin Hinckley. She had an idyllic childhood growing up with her two brothers, George and Ed, eating popcorn by the fire and playing happily in their father's magical garden.
Colleen attended East High and then the University of Utah, where she earned a bachelor's degree in home economics. While at the "U", she was active in Lambda Delta Sigma and Chi Omega sororities where her open hearted goodness made her many dear friends. After graduation, she taught home economics in junior and senior high schools in Thatcher, Arizona, and Salt Lake City.
Around this time, Colleen met "an outstanding returned missionary" named Neal Maxwell. She remembers him as "a very impressive young man" and that "everyone seemed to have great admiration for him." After their first date, Colleen and Neal really "hit it off" and felt that they were meant for each other. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on November 22, 1950.
Colleen and Neal wasted no time before they started exploring the wider world, moving to Washington D.C., where they lived from 1952-1956. Their time in the nation's capital was stimulating and rich with friends.
But home beckoned, and Neal and Colleen returned to Salt Lake when Neal was hired at the University of Utah. Soon after, Neal was called to be a bishop of a university ward and Colleen, with their four young children in tow, served diligently by his side and often gathered students to their home.
Colleen's devotion to her children was complete and she manifested it through countless acts of selfless service. This loving-kindness was later extended wholeheartedly to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who treasure memories of drinking from tea cups at her famous Peacemaker Parties, eating Marie Callendar's pie at special one-on-one birthday lunches and discussing happiness, goodness, and religion at Grandparents' Firesides.
Along with taking care of her family and supporting Neal in his demanding callings, including as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Colleen fulfilled many callings in her wards. She served as Primary President, Young Women President and Relief Society President. In addition, she was a member of the Young Women General Board. She also faithfully carried out her calling as a Stake Relief Society President while Neal served in the Seventy.
Colleen traveled with Neal on his church assignments throughout the world, making long hours fly by with her ready support and equally ready laugh. As they traveled, her superlative optimism lifted the hearts of all who met her. When Neal was diagnosed with leukemia in 1996, Colleen carried him through dark moments with her unrelenting love and brightness of hope. She was so cheerful during this difficult time that her family gave her the nickname Bluebird of Happiness. When her beloved Neal passed away in 2004, she continued to seek out and root for others.
Despite her busy life, Colleen gave hours of her life to community service, tutoring reading at the Guadalupe Center; volunteering at the Spina Bifida Clinic; and serving on boards for Primary Children's Hospital and the University of Utah.
Through constant lifelong devotion to living gospel principles and consistent study of the scriptures, Colleen became grounded and rooted in faith in her Savior, Jesus Christ, and in His Atonement. This engendered an ability to endure with unwavering gratitude and to trust in God's plan throughout her life, but particularly in her final years. The family is most grateful for the exceptional care of her physicians and also for the angelic ministering of her dear nurses.
Colleen is survived by: her brother, Ed (Joyce) Hinckley, Bluffton, SC; her four children, Becky (Michael) Ahlander, Las Vegas, NV; Cory (Karen) Maxwell, Melbourne, Australia; Nancy (Mark) Anderson, Orem, UT; and Jane (Marc) Sanders, Salt Lake City, UT; 24 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents George and Fern Hinckley, and by her brother, George Hinckley.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 23, 2016, at 12:00 noon, at the Monument Park II Ward, 1005 S. 2000 E. Salt Lake City, UT. A viewing will be held Friday, January 22, 2016, from 6-8 p.m. at Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, 2350 E. 1300 S. SLC. Another viewing will be held Saturday, at the ward, prior to the funeral from 10:30-11:40 a.m. Interment will follow at the Salt Lake City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Missionary Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Primary Children's Hospital.
Published in Deseret News from Jan. 21 to Jan. 22, 2016.