Annette Pierce Marler

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




6:00 – 8:00 pm at the LDS Chapel (Morningside 2nd Ward), 879 South River Road, St George, UT 84790

Second Visitation

11:30 – 12:30 pm at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S Bluff Street St. George, UT 84770


1:00 pm


Spilsbury Mortuary Chapel
110 S. Bluff
St. George, UT


Tonaquint Cemetery
1777 S Dixie Dr, St. George, UT 84770

Guest Book

22 Responses

  1. I loved talking with my Aunt Annette. She possessed a massive expance of knowledge and a great sense oh humor. We shared many meaningful moments together. I will miss her but am grateful for having had the privilege of connecting with her. I am also very grateful to have Shahara in my life, so thank you Ben and Annette for bringing her into this world.

  2. Annette was a devoted and responsible substitute. I loved to have her “cover” for me – as she always loved the students and followed what I had planned for her to do. We visited often when she was in our school substituting for other teachers – and I always enjoyed our conversations.
    WONDERFUL woman!

  3. I knew Annette, Ben and Shahara when we all lived in the Sugar House area. What an amazing family! Annette truly was so full of life and fun. You had to smile when you were around her. Shahara, I loved you then and I am sending my love to you now. Always hold your memories of your mom close. She was so special. Love,

  4. I am so glad I got to know my great Aunt Annette! She was so full of family history and I loved talking to her. She encouraged me to study the Pierce family history, and she sent me lots of information and pictures. She love my dad, Fred Pierce. I kept her up to date when his health began to fail. I called her in January when he passed and sent her pictures and his funeral book. I regret that the last time I talked to her was this past February. I will miss talking with her, but I have lots of fond memories of both her and Ben. He really was the sweetest man and their love was so special! My sympathy to friends and family for the loss of a truly strong, passionate woman!

  5. Dear Annette – Jay and I loved her so much and also loved her Sunday School class at the Morning Side 2nd Ward. She and Bishop Ben were wonderful people..

  6. Love Annette and Ben! Everyone was always welcome in their home. Great leaders when I was in young men’s in the Colonial Hills Ward. I think about them every time I walk be their old home on Browning Ave. I still have a piece of paper in my wallet that Ben had us write when he was our Priest’s leader. ‘I will try to live a Christ like life!’ Annette a great example of a Christ like life!!

  7. Love Annette and Ben! Everyone was always welcome in their home. Great leaders when I was in young men’s in the Colonial Hills Ward. I think about them every time I walk be their old home on Browning Ave. I still have a piece of paper in my wallet that Ben had us write when he was our Priest’s leader. ‘I will try to live a Christ like life!’ Annette a great example of a Christ like life!!

  8. When I returned from my LDS mission of Canada been and Annette and moved into my ward, the Colonial Hills first Ward in the Salt Lake Hillside Stake. I quickly developed a friendship and a love for them. I had the privilege of serving with Ben in our young men’s presidency and enjoyed a relationship that meant a great deal to me. They were special people who will have a lasting impact on my life.

  9. I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know Annette when I moved To St George in 2017. She was the best Gospel doctrine Teacher. Her Knowledge, enthusiasm, love, and humor made you want to study more and share her love for Our Savior. She truly was an inspiration and fun person to be around. She will be missed. May you as her family, find comfort and Peace at this special time as you share and remember the fond memories.

  10. I surely loved Annette. She taught me to love the stories of the Scriptures. When she taught Sunday School she was able to somehow bring the scriptures to life. I began visiting her a few years ago and taking her some food from our Sunday dinners (if they turned out good). Also if I was at lunch with a friend I would grab her one of the salads from Durango’s. Those turned out to be her favorites so I whenever I went to that shopping center Annette came to mind and I would get her one to enjoy. I loved spending time with her and hearing her stories. She fascinated me and I grew to love her very much. I can just imagine she is now helping teach those who need to learn and love the scriptures. What a pleasure it was to get to know her!!

  11. Annette was the Sunday School teacher at my Mom’s church. I’ll never forget the first time I was visiting my mom (I lived in Salt Lake) and was lucky enough to attend Annette’s class. BEST. TEACHER. EVER. Over the next few years, I would always attend her class when visiting and Annette and I had a special bond. I would introduce myself in the class as the “President of the Annette Fan Club, North Division” and she would laugh. She and I would hug and talk together after class. I get warm fuzzies just thinking about those interactions and how much I felt like she was a good friend and kindred spirit. I really look forward to more hugs and laughs down the road at the eternal campfire with Annette the GREAT! 🙂

  12. Annette and Ben blessed the lives of all who knew them. I am grateful for the time that I spent with Annette learning, laughing enjoying her many stories. I admire the kind and loving care that Shahara and her family have given to Annette as her health was failing. Their dedication to her is an inspiration and example of Christlike commitment. Annette and Ben have left a legacy of all that is good through their dear daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

  13. A Strong Determined Women as I’ve known her – she is loved and will be missed.
    Shahara, Kjord, Keisha, Kimble, Kambria –
    We Love You! Please have peach and comfort in your lives always.
    Pat and Maddie

  14. Annette is loved and a Strong Determined Woman, as I have known her.
    Shahara, Keisha, Kjord, Kimble, Kambria; Please know we love you and find peace and comforting your own way always!

  15. Annette and I used to take early morning walks together. She was a strong Democrat, I a strong Republican. Friends in the ward who saw us walking together wondered how we could get along. We laughed and reminded them that a moderate Democrat and a moderate Republican were never that far apart on issues and we really enjoyed discussing issues with each other. We both believed that life would be rather boring if we only listened to those whose views were exactly like our own.

  16. I remember Annette so well when they lived up the street from us on Browning Ave. She was always great to talk with. I had the privilege of traveling to Korea with her on a Friendship Force trip. I will always remember her laugh. Great lady.

  17. Annette Marler was and is an amazing lady! We loved her Gospel Doctrine lessons, they were a wonderful journey of pure joy! My husband and I visited her often where he shared western stories from his books about outlaws in early Arizona and ranch life. We also enjoyed many gospel discussions and experiences. I will miss this sweet lady and the fun times with her.

  18. To: Shahara and Sister Marlers
    I have known Sister Marler since the mid 60s when I was a teenager. I met the Marlers through her sister Peggy Pierce Britt who was my Sunday school teacher. I went to Sunday school with Brent Patterson, my boyfriend and future husband. His father Harrell Patterson was Sunday school superintendent for the Mormon Church in Harriman, Tennessee. We had the services in an old VFW building.
    I learned to love the Marler’s and all of her family through the years. I was church pianist and I played the piano at her nieces wedding in the ’90s, Jerri Newhouses.
    Sister Annette Marler was a wonderful friend, teacher, confidant, missionary, and was so compassionate and caring for others. She was a beautiful example to me the Christ like way she lived her life. She hosted a bridal shower for my second of four daughters, Shila in 1994 and it was lovely. Her and Ben gave many Christmas parties at their home and were so involved in our Ward and brought us so close together as a unit.
    We were so sorry to hear about your loss of Sister Marlar. I know one day we will Join her. My four daughters loved her dearly as well as my entire family.
    Our love & prayers are with you that Heavenly Father Will comfort
    And bless you. We love you.

  19. To: Shahara & Family
    Sister Annette Marler was a wonderful lady who set a Christ-like example for me and my entire family.
    She was loving, kind, a go getter, United our Rockwood, Tennessee ward, was compassionate and caring. She gave my second of four daughters, Shila, a lovely bridal shower and 1994 that was Royal. All of my family love her entire family dearly.
    In 1964, Brent Patterson, my boyfriend & future husband, went to Sunday school at the Mormon Church in Harriman,Tn. and Sister Marler’s sister, Peggy Pierce Britt,
    Was our Sunday school teacher. Years later I played the piano for Sister Marler’s nieces wedding, Jeri Newhouse.
    Brother and Sister Marler welcomed us in their home often in Harriman, Tennessee. There were Ward fire sides, Christmas parties and many happy gatherings. They were Senior Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Rockwood ,Tennessee Ward in the early 90’s.
    Our oldest granddaughter is named Kambria ~ same as one of the Marler’s granddaughters.
    Our heart goes out to your family. We love Sister Marler and Brother Marler also. Our love and prayers are with you and we pray that God will cover you as only He can. We will never forget your sweet, sweet family.

  20. To: Shahara & Family
    I have known the Marler’s since the mid ’60s. I have always loved them & their family. When a teenager, Brent Patterson, my boyfriend & future husband, went to Sunday school at the Mormon Church, Harriman,Tn. Sister Peggy Britt, sister Marler’s sister, was our Sunday school teacher. Years later I played the piano at the wedding of Sister Marler’s niece, Jeri Newhouse.
    Then Bro. & Sis.Marler were Senior Miissionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Rockwood, Tennessee Ward. Their home was always open to everyone. Sister Marler was so loving, kind, compassionate, entertaining, and they gave many firesides, Christmas parties and Sister Marler even hosted a royal bridal shower for the 2nd of my four daughters, Shila, in 1994. She was a shining example to me & always had a Christ like Spirit about her. She was a dear friend and I will miss her so much.
    Our hearts go out to her family for I know they will miss her too. OUR love & prayers are with you & we pray that God will comfort you as only HE can.

  21. Annette, you will be so missed. How happy those on the other side must be. I always loved to see you at church, always smiling as you were in your element. When Jim and I went over to drop a little something off, we stayed for three hours at your invitation and we had such a wonderful time listening and learning about your life, childhood, train ride, Salt Lake City experience. And it was so fun to listen to you and Jim exchange gospel principles and truths. You loved the Gospel so much, I know you are teaching it right now. What a blessing to those who are listening. We love you and will miss that beautiful smile. Don’t forget to open that door and leave the light on for the rest of us who will follow. Love you, Linda and Jim Lundwall

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