Mary Alyce â€œRickiâ€ Richardson Whitlock, 95, passed away of natural causes on March 11, 2022, in her apartment at The Wellington Assisted Living Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was preceded in death by her husband Ira Edward Whitlock and daughter Joyce Whitlock Fields. She is survived by her children, Jeanne Whitlock Gunter, Reed Whitlock (Jennifer), and Jamie Whitlock (Alysa); 17 grandchildren and 36 great-grandchildren.
Ricki was born in El Paso, Texas, on August 4, 1926, to Maria Luisa Gonzales and Joseph Richardson who gave her the name Maria Dominga Richardson. After the death of her mother in 1939 when Ricki was just 12 years old, she became a full-time resident of St. Maryâ€™s Academy in Silver City, New Mexico, where her given name was changed to Mary Alyce. After graduating as the valedictorian of her class in 1944, she returned to El Paso to enroll in the Army cadet nursing program in order to serve in WWII. It was there that she met a strapping young man in flight training school named Ira Whitlock, and the two married on June 6, 1946.
After a short stint in Worland, Wyoming, Ricki and Ira relocated to the Washington D.C. area where Ira pursued a career in government, and Ricki raised their four children in the northern Virginia suburb of Alexandria, where they lived from 1959 until 1991. During their time in the Washington, D.C. area, Ricki worked in the Alexandria Public Schools system in a variety of positions for over 20 years.
Because of the curiosity of her young daughter, Ricki, born Catholic, made the decision to investigate the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized a member in October 1953. She and Ira were subsequently sealed in the Manti, Utah Temple on July 27, 1955, and she served in a wide variety of callings in the church throughout her life.
Continuing a life of service in the church, Ricki and Ira served a mission to Tonga from 1989-1990. After their mission, they retired to St. George, Utah, where they lived until Iraâ€™s passing in 2017. While living in St. George, Ricki successfully battled and survived breast cancer. After her bout with breast cancer, they returned to their love of world-wide travel.
Ricki, always ready with a wry joke and a sly smile, leaves behind a closet full of J.Jill clothing, a pile of silver jewelry which could best be described as â€œgenerous,â€ and approximately three million Lladro porcelain figurines distributed amongst her children and grandchildren. Her love of serving cheese, mayonnaise, and pear salad will never be surpassed. She also leaves behind a legacy of love and laughter to be shared by all.
The Whitlock family would like to express their gratitude to the staff and caregivers at The Wellington, where Ricki lived after Iraâ€™s passing. They tended to her needs with compassion and kindness. Additionally, we express gratitude to the hospice staff and caregivers at APlus Hospice, especially Christian Dives, who treated her with such kindness and love during her time in his care.
A graveside service will be held on March 25, 2022, 11:00 am at Tonaquint Cemetery, 1777 S Dixie Drive, St. George, Utah, where she will be buried next to her husband of 70 years.
Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S Bluff Street, St. George, Utah. 435-673-2454. Family and friends are invited to sign Rickiâ€™s online guest book at www.spilsburymortuary.com