Elaine Kent Dunkley passed away peacefully at Franklin County Medical Center on the morning of December 22, 2019. She lived with miraculous physical and mental vigor through all of her advanced years. While her physical wellbeing deteriorated in this last year of her life, she remained at home until the day before her death and was blessed not to experience a great deal of pain. Elaine welcomed numerous visitors over the past many months. Her family and friends were anxious to see her and express their love and appreciation for her. Always one for humor, Elaine began saying it was like she was holding a very long “live viewing.”
Born to Percy Adelbert Kent and Sarah Ethel Litz on Saturday, April 21, 1923, Elaine grew up in Lewiston, Utah during the great depression. Despite the struggle involved in living during such a difficult period of time, Elaine loved her childhood years, especially because of close proximity to a large extended family and many cousins near her age. As she wrote in her personal history: “It was my good fortune to live next door to two sets of loving grandparents. My father was from a family of nine children and my mother was from a family of six. These circumstances resulted in a childhood happily filled by many relatives, aunts, uncles, and cousins. My living Kent cousins numbered forty-three, and my Litz cousins numbered twenty.”
At the age of 16, Elaine married Victor Lowe Dunkley on August 18, 1939 (sealed January 17, 1945, in the Logan Temple). Victor was an ambitious, self-made man, one of the first mink ranchers in Cache Valley. Victor and Elaine soon welcomed daughters Dixie and Paulette, then son Kent. As part of the traditional domestic life of the time, Elaine developed extraordinary skills as a seamstress. As she recounted in her history: “I soon realized the joy I received from creating dresses for Dixie and Paulette. They were both just as delighted with the results of my sewing as I was in doing it. This was in spite of the many times they had to come and try on the latest creation.”
Probably owing to her childhood filled with so many extended family members nearby, Elaine created a home whose doors were wide open to family, friends, and visitors. Elaine and Victor were pleased to provide a home for family members who lived with them for extended periods of time in Franklin, and they were particularly pleased to welcome Pamela Winn-Fletcher-Gustman to their family and home in Pamela’s late teenage years. Such generosity and inclusiveness provide a testament to Elaine’s good will. She believed above all in the importance of family bonds and being there for those in need. Elaine lost husband Victor and daughter Paulette to cancer when they were only 72 and 57 respectively. Crushed by their deaths, she nonetheless cherished the restored gospel and the reality of eternal life and families. Upon passing, we expect that she was joyfully welcomed by Victor, Paulette, her parents, and all of the family around whom she enjoyed growing up. While those of us in mortality will miss Elaine, we thank the Lord that she was part of our lives for so many years. She leaves with us an appreciation for all things of beauty, for showing respect for oneself and others through attention to personal appearance, for innumerable fond memories, and for the valuing of family above all else.
Elaine is survived by her younger sister Suzanne (Bakersfield, CA), daughter Dixie (Carlisle) Hunsaker, son Victor Kent Dunkley, daughter Pamela (Guy) Gustman, 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, as well as many loving nieces, other family, and close friends.
Elaine enjoyed a wonderful network of caregivers and friends who supported her wellness over the years and contributed to her comfort in her final months, chief among them her son Kent. We, her family, express our gratitude to all who lovingly cared for her and thereby improved her quality of life, with special thanks to Jane Bodily and the caregivers of Franklin County Home Hospice. Funeral services will be held Saturday, December 28, 2019, at noon in the Franklin Stake Center, 112 E Main St, Franklin, Idaho 83237. A viewing will be held that same morning at the Stake Center from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Interment will follow at the Franklin Cemetery. Funeral arrangements provided by Franklin County Funeral Home, 56 S State St, Preston, ID 83263.
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