Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mary Elizabeth Herbert Rex

Mary Elizabeth Herbert Rex
5 Feb 1892, Redmond, Sevier Co., Utah
p. Charles Martin Herbert, Martha Ann Wells
m. Percy Harold Rex, 25 Aug 1941
Salt Lake Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah
d. 12 Jan 1979, Salt Lake City, Utah
b. Randolph City Cemetery, Randolph, Utah

Mary Elizabeth Herbert was born in Redmond, Utah in 1892, the 7th child of Charles Martin and Martha Ann Wells Herbert. Soon after her birth the family moved to Salina where she grew up. Mary attended a year of high school in Nephi, Utah and graduated from B. Y. U. High School in Provo, Utah. She was only able to complete her education after her mother moved to Provo and took in borders. She and a sister received teaching certificates there. She taught school in many Utah school districts. In the 1921-22 school year she taught at the Randolph, Utah elementary school. She and another school teacher boarded with P.H. and Bessie Rex.

Aunt Mary on Old Spot, Randolph, winter 1922.

While teaching in the Granite School District her bishop asked if she would fill a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She agreed to serve if she could earn and save $900 that year. She did and was called to the Central States Mission where she served from June 1930 to May 1932. After hearing of Bessie Morgan Rex’s death in 1938, she sent a note of condolence to the Rex Family.

She and Percy Harold [she always called him P. H.] corresponded. Then she met him and some of his family in Salt Lake City at Conference time. They were married 25 August 1941 in the Salt Lake Temple.

She asked P.H.’s family to call her Aunt Mary. Everyone did. An early instructor said of Mary, “she was a natural born teacher.” The Rex family, and Randolph community benefited from her talents. As an active Church worker, she served in primary, relief society, and the stake mutual. She worked as the welfare director and as a news reporter for the Salt lake Tribune. She was artistic and crafty. She painted ceramics and collected salt and pepper shakers, and amassed a collection of upward of 300 sets. She made attractive covers for her kitchen appliances, and kept them in place. Hand-crocheted doilies covered the backs and arms of her upholstered furniture.

Aunt Mary and the P. H. Rex Granddaughters (except Bessie and Nancy) at a family reunion, Liberty Park, Salt Lake City, Utah, about 1962. L-R, sitting in front, Irene, Yara, Aunt Mary, Susan F., Flora Lee, Susan R. Back row; L-R, Ilene, Marilyn, Geraldine, Marlene, Carol, sitting on the table, Janene, standing with Marion.

Aunt Mary warmly welcomed each of P. H. Rex’s children and their families to their Randolph home. She cooked for them and housed them, rearranged plants and quilts and furniture so everyone fit. And she let the grandchildren construct hospital beds on her stairs and hall seat so they could play “nurse.” Ever able to nurture any plant to grow and blossom, she extended compassion to the old and the ill.

In the winter of 1959 she worked as a messenger, and was secretary to eight legislators at the Utah State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City. Thereafter she and P.H. frequently rented a Salt Lake apartment during the winter while the legislature was in session. They worked as aids and messengers. Aunt Mary’s sister, Mabel, and nieces and nephews lived in Salt Lake City and she liked to visit them. Aunt Mary’s Randolph grandchildren called her “grandma,” were very close to their grandparents, and visited frequently through the back fence.

In 1976 P. H. and Mary Rex left their Randolph home and moved into an apartment in South Salt Lake near Glenn and Helen Frazier.

I inherited Aunt Mary’s copy of One Silent Sleepless Night by Spencer W. Kimball. The title and utility bill envelope tucked inside, offer a brief history of P. H. and Mary’s stay in Salt Lake City.

P. H. Rex passed away 20 March, 1977. Aunt Mary lived in The Salt Lake Home, across the street from the 17th Ward Chapel to the West, and across from the old Groesbeck Homestead to the East. She made some very dear friends there. Family visited with her as often as possible. One of my fond memories of Aunt Mary while she lived there, is a trip we made together to the Salt Lake Temple for an endowment session. She passed away 12 Jan 1979 at the Hill Haven Convalescent Home on 9th East in Salt Lake City. Loving family members stayed near and were with her at her passing.

Randolph, A Look Back, written and compiled by Steven L. Thomson, Jane D. Digerness, Mar Jean S. Thomson, 1981, pg. 438. History, Descendants, and Ancestry of William Rex and Mary Elizabeth Brough of Randolph, Utah, compiled and edited by Ronald Dee Rex, 1999, pg. 271. Pictures from Helen Rex Frazier collection.


  1. What a lovely biography. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for bringing to my mind so many good memories. Bob and I were talking just yesterday about milking cows. Our cow was milked in Grandpa and Grandma's corral. We did run through the backyard often to their house. Bob and I were also talking about raising chickens. We would look after their chickens while they were at the legislature. Dad would feed grandpa's cows and I like to go with him because I got to "drive" the jeep while he forked the hay off the wagon. I have been embroidering lately and I think it was grandma, Aunt Mary, who taught me or at least worked with me on embroidering and knitting. I liked to watch her paint decorations on dish towels.