Ferris Kleinman Mathis

Ferris Mathis, 85, passed away peacefully from natural causes with her family gathered (some virtually) around her on Monday, April 20, 2020. She was born the middle of five children on August 18, 1934 to Mifflin Morris and Annona Hirschi Kleinman. Her father’s death when she was only ten had a profound and lasting impact on her. Through the years, as Ferris assisted her widowed mother with the immense responsibilities of providing for and raising a family, she learned perseverance, determination, and the necessity of hard work. The two of them forged a unique bond that remained strong throughout their entire lives as they cared for one another.

Ferris danced and cheered her way through grade school and graduated from Hurricane High as a loud and proud Tiger. That fall she, and five close girlfriends, packed their bags and moved 17 long miles to the “big city” to attend Dixie College. After her first year, while decorating for a school dance, Ferris met a handsome ball player named Richard (Dick) Mathis. They began dating and shortly thereafter were sealed in the St. George Temple on June 2, 1954. Over the next few years, Ferris honed her secretarial skills while Dick finished school at Dixie and BYU.

In 1959, following a brief two years in California, Dick and Ferris returned to be near family in St. George and built what would become their forever home on the edge of town–600 south. They raised their family on that wide, welcoming street, in a neighborhood full of young children. And there they’ve remained for the past 60 years. Loved and supported by the most wonderful neighbors who, like them, have been there from the beginning.

Ferris flourished as a homemaker. She was a meticulous seamstress–a skill learned from her mother. She spent hours creating countless dance costumes, prom dresses, and outfits for special occasions such as Easter and Christmas. It’s been said you could wear whatever she made inside out because the clothing was as beautiful and perfect on the inside as it was on the outside. It was not unusual for her to be putting the finishing touches on her daughter’s formals after they were already zipped into them and their dates were ringing the doorbell. The only job she ever held outside the home was at Camelot Fabrics. There she was in her element and brought home drawers full of fabric in lieu of a paycheck. She was also an exceptional cook and worked tirelessly to provide three delicious meals a day for her family. Ferris perfected the Sunday pot roast, Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, and also enjoyed a good hot dog roasted on the Red Hill. She delighted in sharing food with her neighbors, family, and even an occasional repairman. Her monkey bread and homemade root beer are legendary.

A clean and orderly home was a top priority for Ferris. She adhered to a rigid cleaning schedule with the precision of a drill sergeant. Nothing and no one could keep her from doing laundry on Monday, bathrooms on Tuesday, and dusting and vacuuming on Friday. Of course, her kids learned to clean right alongside her. They were trained to NEVER throw clothes on the floor and ALWAYS make their bed. Without fail, she spring cleaned the entire house every single year, and oft times stated that she must surely be the last person on the planet who would continue to do such a thing.

Later in life, Ferris continued developing her talents by taking up organ lessons, making porcelain dolls, and piecing quilts. She thoroughly enjoyed playing her fancy organ with Dick as her permanent resident audience, and occasionally to the delight of her visiting grandkids. She was the ultimate grandmother showering her grandchildren with homemade clothes, dolls, blankets, and holiday packages sent to those living far away. One of many beloved traditions she started was giving each grandchild a special Christmas ornament every year. The older kids have accumulated quite a collection—each one a cherished memento.

Ferris was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and served diligently in every calling that came her way. She loved accompanying the primary children and serving as the ward music director. She was a true minister never passing up an opportunity to feed, comfort, and love those around her. Ferris and Dick served a Member Locator Mission where they had dear friends and memorable experiences. However, without question she loved serving her family the most. She sacrificed time and means to ensure her children had every opportunity imaginable and supported them in each and every pursuit.

Ferris is survived by her husband of 65 years, Dick. Their children Marilyn Zaruba (Brad), Cape Girardeau MO, Marsha Johnson (Gale), Loveland CO, David Mathis (Leina), St. George, and Malea  Wuehler (John), St. George. Sister, Karol Beard (Mike), Fruit Heights, and sister-in-law Cleo Mathis (Jack), St. George, 20 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, extended family and dear friends. She is preceded in death by her parents Mifflin and Annona, brother Wayne Kleinman (Lee), and sisters Manon Tanner (Fred), and Luene DeMille (Wally).

The family would like to thank Ferris’ neighbors, friends, and ward members for their many years of love and support. They would also like to thank the staff and aides at the Meadows Memory Care where Ferris has resided for the past year.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the family is holding a private service. 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 Ferris’ online guestbook at www.spilsburymortuary.com. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Humanitarian Fund.



Second Visitation




St. George City Cemetery

Guest Book

23 Responses

  1. Dick, our sincere condolences. A beautiful love story and legacy after 65 years together. We pray legions of angels will surround and comfort you at this very difficult time.

  2. So thankful for her in my life and the many good times we’ve had with her and Dick and their family. I’m going to miss her greatly!! I love all of her family!

  3. I am proud to be one of the famous Lyman of Ferris. Who ever wrote this obituary for an elect lady did a fine job. She was amazing. I am so sorry that she had to be alone before she passed during these hard times. I know she is with those who love her. Sometimes I get jealous thinking about who she is with now.
    My condolences to her family, Dick and children.


  4. So saddened to hear of Aunt Ferris’ passing, but enjoying reminiscing about cherished memories from long ago. She could always make me laugh, and I still haven’t eaten a better bran muffin! We send our love to Uncle Dick and the Mathis family.

  5. Aunt Ferris was such a wonderful woman. We lived so far away during my growing up years that we didn’t get to visit often, but when dad moved to Henderson, NV, I loved stopping by to visit Aunt Ferris and Uncle Dick while driving to or from a visit to dad’s. One of my favorite things about Aunt Ferris was her unique laugh. You just had to smile whenever you’d hear it.

    Sending my love your way during this difficult time. But also imagining such a glorious reunion above.

    Paige De Mille (niece)

  6. Uncle Dick and family, and also Aunt Karol:
    I’m very sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  7. I loved seeing my Aunt Ferris because she always reminded me so much of my mom, Luene. Grandma must have been a great teacher because I think all her girls had the same, wonderful traits. I can only imagine a wondrous reunion in heaven. Much love to Uncle Dick and family. ❤️

  8. Dear Dick and family, I hope you know how much I loved Ferris, and love you Dick! We not only are related, but we were neighbors for almost 15 years, and worked together in the Ward Choir, and on the Ward Music Committee. She was such a dear lady, and so devoted to any calling she had. It was such a privilege to know and love you as neighbors. I’m sure that Wayne is with the dear members of the 7th Ward who are up in the beautiful Spirit World together. Sending such love and sympathy, and empathy to you Dick. I do understand how lonely you will be, and what a choice man you are! I didn’t live there when you were the bishop, but I know you are good through and through, and I know you were such a loving and caring husband to dear Ferris. Love, Pal

  9. My heart breaks over the loss of this amazing woman. Her kindness and talents deeply touched my life. My sincere condolences to Dick and family. She will truly be missed.

  10. My sincerest condolences. What a beautiful obituary. That is exactly how I remember Ferris growing up across the street.

  11. Dick, You and Ferris have been the best friends and neighbors anyone could have. We cherish the years we’ve spent on 600 South living next to you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

  12. Ferris is the sweet “older sister” to my friend Karol and was so kind to us. Their mom, Annona, made their home a welcome place for friends to gather. We sang, danced, slid down their stair rail, and laughed together. Kelly and I met and married as a result of a party held on their front lawn. I know Karol loved and adored Ferris and her whole family all of her life. Sheila Wright Dutton

  13. I was a 6th grade classmate of Marilyn’s. I have a wonderful memory of a party and sleepover for all the girls in our class (Mr. Sullivan’s) on the last day of school. I appreciated the fact that Mrs. Mathis did a lot of planning and work to make it successful.

  14. sorry to see this. She has been a great friend for most of my life. my condolences to Dick and the family. Don

  15. +sorry to see this. She has been a great friend for most of my life. My condolences to Dick and the family. Love Donj

  16. I just wanted to add my love and sympathy to your family. I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you. 🙏❤️

  17. So MANY wonderful memories flood our minds as we think back on the years of our friendship with Dick and Ferris! Ferris was, indeed, a master of many talents. We often visited with them when we traveled to St. George. Occasionally we were treated to an organ recital (after much coaxing!). When we came, we would always find an immaculate home, often filled with the delicious aroma of homemade bread! Her fresh homemade bread and jam was a treat she was always quick to share. SUCH GOOD TIMES!! We have all grown old these past decades, but will forever treasure our memories of dear friends. Neldon (Ned) and Rula Jean Snow Williams.

  18. When Ferris became ward music chairman in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in my ward, I was and still is a really good organist in the ward, she would always get after me for me playing to loud and (maybe jazzing up the organ. I don’t remember.) on the organ for the service. She did not like it. So I just try to ignore her when she gave me the negative conversation. She never apologized. But now it looks like we’re ok now. I will miss her for her wonderful service in the ward and as a ward member.

  19. Ferris had the ability to scare the daylights out of me growing up in Hurricane; and being younger than Ferris, I admired and respected her. No matter what mischief all the cousins got into, Ferris remained calm, cool and collected. Later in life, I grew to really appreciate her gentle and welcoming nature. The life Ferris and Dick created for themselves and their family was a shining example of love and dedication.I always remember Dick sitting back and letting Ferris run the show, knowing that anytime he wished to be in charge, all he had to do was ask!! A devoted wife, mom and grandma, Ferris lives on.

  20. Ferris had the ability to scare the daylights out of me growing up in Hurricane. No matter what mischief the cousins would get into, Ferris remained calm, cool,and collected. The life that Dick and Ferris created for themselves and their family, is a shining example of love and dedication. I remember watching Dick just sit back and let Ferris take charge, knowing full well that whenever he wanted to be in charge, all he had to do was ask!! Ferris lives on in our memories of her goodness. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  21. Marilyn I am so sorry for the loss of your Mother. After reading her beautiful obituary, I see where you get your hidden talents . Not only will your family miss her she will also be missed in her community. Your mother had so much to give. My deepest sympathy. May God bless you and your family🙏❤️🙏

  22. Sorry for your loss.
    I hurts us when someone goes home to God but it is great joy for them.

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