Annette Pierce Marler, of St George, Utah, passed away on Thursday, July 1, 2021, at the age of 90. Annette was born in Harriman Tennessee, November 24, 1930. She was the third daughter of Clara Norman and Joseph Pierce.
Annette had an inquisitive and tenacious spirit from the very beginning! She loved to roam the neighborhood playing games with friends and cousins, making rings out of “lightenin’ bugs”, and making friends wherever she went. She loved the people in her community in Harriman, and that love would last a lifetime.
When she was 18 years old, during her Senior year at Harriman High School, she met the Latter-day Saints missionaries. Shortly after they began teaching her, they were transferred away from her town. Annette still had questions. She consistently wrote them letters seeking answers and more knowledge. After months of pondering, deepening understanding, and prayer, Annette chose to be baptized. She was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on March 13, 1949. This was a decision that would have a tremendous impact on the trajectory of her life. Once she graduated, she left her beloved green hills of Harriman Tennessee and took a train across the Western Plains to Utah with just $100.00 to her name. Upon her arrival in Salt Lake City, she made her new home at the former home of Brigham Young, which had been converted into a dormitory for young women, “The Beehive House” (now recognized as The Lion House). Her room and board was $48.00 a month and included breakfast and dinner each day. She often recounted how she would get a candy bar for lunch if she was hungry. This was a pivotal experience in her life and one that she often reflected on fondly! She made many new friends and learned about the differences between the cultures and way of the life in the West compared to the South. She found it fun to disprove some of the notions of the other residents had about southerners. As the girls learned about each other they developed a mutual respect that turned into wonderful lifelong relationships.
Annette met her sweet husband, Ben C. Marler at church while she was living at the Beehive House, and they were married on November 7, 1952, in the Salt Lake City Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They later welcomed their only child, Shahara Ann Marler in August 1953.
Annette always had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. She loved to study the scriptures, history, and was a lifelong learner! She constantly sought opportunities for learning and understanding. She graduated from the University of Utah, with a Bachelor of Science Degree on August 18, 1968. She was a gifted teacher, both in the academic arena and within The Church. She was a highly sought-after substitute teacher with the Salt Lake City School District where she worked with High School students teaching mostly English and History. She also served as the Gospel Doctrine Teacher in the Morningside 2nd Ward for 17 years. In her later years, she invited many of her Morningside 2nd Ward friends to attend ICL classes with her at Dixie State University.
Annette and Ben served several LDS missions together: First a Leadership Mission, in the Liberty Stake/Salt Lake City, UT. They then returned to Annette’s roots and served in the Nashville Tennessee mission – which included her beloved hometown of Harriman. She found great joy and satisfaction in being able to rekindle many of the relationships from her youth and serve the community that she loved so dearly.
Ben and Annette loved to travel! They traveled all over the United States, as well as Ireland, Canada, Korea, and Costa Rica. Annette visited Venezuela while she served as the Director of Friendship Force for the State of Utah under the direction of President Jimmy Carter. This program was designed to connect Americans to people of other countries and cultures. Annette relished the opportunity to learn more about the Venezuelan people and immerse herself in their culture.
One of the greatest joys for Annette and Ben was to host friends, family, and acquaintances. They had an open door, “Leave the Light On” policy in their home and they wanted everyone to feel welcome. Annette loved people and loved to talk! Throughout the last 2 years of her life, she would get up in the morning, unlock and open the door so she would be ready to receive any and all who came to visit. All were welcome! She cherished the time spent talking, sharing stories, and engaging in discussions about the Gospel.
Annette will be remembered for her inquisitive, tenacious, fun-loving nature. As well as her remarkable storytelling, her love of all things Christmas, her incredibly marked scriptures, her teaching, her lucky Skip-Bo skills, her strong character, her wonderful southern accent, her affection for her beautiful Smoky Mountains, her love for travel, and fondness for cookies! She has left an indelible impression on our minds and our hearts, memories to treasure, and a legacy of faith, conviction, learning, and love!
Annette is survived by her daughter, Shahara Marler Davis, Holladay, UT, Grandchildren, Keisha Davis Weight (Kevin) Mesa, AZ, Kjord Ben Davis, Palm Springs, CA, Kimball Jared Davis, Midvale, UT, Kambria Keara Davis, South Jordan, UT. Great Grandchildren, Braxton Petersen Davis, Jackson Ben Weight, Naiya Grace Weight, and her sister, Betty Jane Newhouse, Kingston TN, and many loved nieces and nephews.
Beloved “son by choice”, Ramon (Sue) Sanft, Provo, UT, Grandchildren, Doran (Marni) Sanft, Provo, UT, Shahara (Tom) Crist, Orem UT, Kameron (Anne) Sanft, Orem UT, Ryan (Flora) Sanft, Grand Terrace, CA, Adam (Kim) Sanft, Orem, UT, Maile (Cameron) Ashby, Santaquin UT. Great Grandchildren, Hannah (Matt), Samuel, Isaac, Amelia Sanft, Braden, Marisa, Maya, Robby, Miles Crist, Derek, Alexis, Max(deceased), Reeves Sanft, Rayma, Aisea, Julianne, Sunia Sanft, Dresden, Manaia, Ty, Jozy Sanft, Inde, Esme Ashby.
Annette is preceded in death by her husband, Ben C. Marler, mother, Clara Pierce, and sisters - Geraldine Pierce, Evelyn Fielder, and Peggy Britt. Niece Linda Siecinski, Nephews, E.Allen Britt, and William “Billy” Fielder.
Viewing and Visitation will be held on Friday, July 16, 2021, from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Morningside 2nd Ward), 879 South River Road, St George, UT 84790, and on Saturday, July 17, 2021, from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm, 1 hour prior to the Funeral Service, at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 South Bluff Street, St George, UT 84770.
Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, July 17, 2021, at 1:00 pm at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 South Bluff Street, St George UT 84770. Dedication of the Grave will follow the services at Tonaquint Cemetery, St. George, UT.
Friends and family who are unable to attend are invited to view the funeral service online. Please click on the link below:
Our Family would like to thank:
CNS Health and Hospice as they have cared for Annette over the past 2 years. Her nurses, Shanae, Taylor, Toni, Caitlin, and Emily. Her Chaplin Lonn, Social Worker, Laurie, Dr. Joshua Frame, and Annette’s devoted CNA – Nora Ludloff.
Also, thank you to Kind Hearts Senior Care – Lisa.
Funeral arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St., St. George, Utah, (435) 673-2454. Friends and family are invited to sign Annette’s online guest book at