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Dorothy Staley McNee

Jun 5, 2024

“Grandma Sweetheart”

Dorothy Staley McNee passed away after a battle with cancer on Monday, June 3, 2024, in the comfort of home in Sunset, Utah, with her loving husband by her side. She was born July 3, 1936 in her Grandmother’s house in Cub River, Idaho, the eldest child of four children. She married her husband, Don McNee, in the Logan, Utah Temple in 1955, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Outside of most formal settings in the past several decades, Dorothy wasn’t known by her given name – she was simply known as Grandma. Grandma Sweetheart, for those close. While Grandma had many passions, accomplishments, and talents, first and foremost was always her children, then her grandchildren, and eventually, her great-grandchildren. Grandma grew up in rural southeastern Idaho, the progeny of a father with an alias running from his past, and a mother who often struggled to show love. Determined to turn her origin story on its head, Grandma gave all of herself to everyone she met, and did her best to impart herself onto their stories with her boundless acceptance and kindness. In that drive, she met, then married, her high school sweetheart and soulmate in Arimo, Idaho, kindred spirits who celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary two weeks before her passing. Inseparable from the day they met, Dorothy and Don did everything and went everywhere together, from learning the Cha-Cha, to moving to Europe, to having three children they doted on, to riding snowmobiles, to running roadshows, to traveling around the world. Grandma balanced her joyful lust for life and ebullient energy with a tack-sharp wit, a dark sense of humor, and a knack for always telling things as they were.

While Grandma’s means were never large, her dreams always were. When Don was in the Army, she lived in Germany with him during the Cold War. They cruised around Alaska. Toured Guatemala. Worked and lived in Detroit as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She took every opportunity to travel and see new things, from far-reaching family road trips to Niagara Falls and Disneyland, to nearby camping jaunts at family reunions in Idaho and Utah. Later, when she got sick, she lamented spending her “Acapulco and Vegas Money” on cancer drugs. She lived to create excitement for everyone around her, an endless font of energy, always the center of the action, never sitting at any social, church, or family function. Indeed, Grandma was legendary for serving up seconds or thirds at parties and holiday meals before sitting and having a bite, making sure everyone else was having a good time before thinking of herself. A dedicated theme park and beach enthusiast, it’s almost certain she kept nearby Lagoon and Antelope Island afloat in lean years, dragging the entire clan there countless times over many summers. She loved live theater and was always up to take in a show at every chance she could. Of course, her second priority was making sure everyone was having a good time at her gatherings, and with the footage to prove it: If TikTok had been around in the 80s, the enormous VHS camcorder perpetually on her shoulder would have ensured her multiple influencer deals. She enthusiastically took on the role of family documentarian decades before the era of the smartphone, always ready to capture the moment, no matter how big or small.

It’s in that vein that Grandma was always selfless. She served faithfully in a litany of church callings – full-time missionary, Relief Society president, Primary president, Sunday School teacher, and Cub Scout den leader, and Temple ordinance worker, to name a few. Some a couple times over. Beyond that, she had an uncanny ability to make anyone feel seen and loved, especially amongst her grand and great-grandchildren. She was our matriarch, an oracle, a guiding light and effortless source of love when things got hard. We could come to her, always without judgment, even when we just wanted to be hugged and heard. Or spoiled. Grandma could always be bought off with a pint or three of ice cream, her everlasting vice.

While Grandma’s interests and influence were far-reaching, she was a steady pillar of her local community, living in the same home where she raised her children in Sunset, Utah for 63 years until her passing. Nearby, she worked for decades in institutional nutrition, first at Clearfield High, then Sunset Elementary, before finishing the final 20 years of her career as a Dietician Tech at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden. After her retirement, her notable accomplishments included a love of flower gardening, attending every event that her grandkids were in, and being kicked out of her Zumba dance class for being too enthusiastic. Their loss, if we’re speaking honestly, and now it’s ours. We can’t wait to see her smile, feel the warmth of her love, and hear her cutting insights again.

She is survived by her husband Don, sisters Doreen Young and JoAnne Serrano, her children Kevin McNee (Jeanette), Cheryl Wilson (Steven), and Debi King (Sid), 11 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, Delores and Ed Staley, brother Joseph LeRoy Staley, and great-grandchild Paisley Vanderelberg.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2024 at 11 a.m. at the Sunset 3rd Ward, 338 West 1800 North, Sunset, Utah 84015. Viewings will be held the night prior on Friday, June 6, 2024 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Lindquist’s Roy Mortuary, 3333 W. 5600 S. Roy, Utah and prior to the service at the church on Saturday, June 8, 2024 from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Interment, Lindquist’s Memorial Gardens of the Wasatch, 1718 Combe Road, Ogden, Utah.

Condolences may be expressed at www.lindquistmortuary.com.