In Memory of




Obituary for Barbara Jean Whiteley

Barbara Jean Hardwick Whiteley

1931 ~ 2022
In Loving Memory

Salt Lake City, UT-"Happiness is a choice," her frequent comment, became over time, the foundation and theme of our Mother's exemplary life. Born July 4, 1931 to wonderful parents, Eva and John Franklin Hardwick, Barbara Jean grew up in Preston, Idaho and Spreckels, California. She captured in watercolors favorite scenes from her childhood among the orchards, farms and eucalyptus trees of the Salinas valley. These paintings ended up in a book, Freckles, Spreckels and Barbara Jean.

She first noticed a young missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, John M Whiteley, serving in Northern California, when she was 16. Years later, while attending BYU, she met John M again and this time began a courtship that lasted 61 years. All of her children observed, and were forged by, that beautiful marriage - a true, respectful, and most of all, joyful partnership.

Born with a photographic memory and extraordinary artistic talent, she created countless paintings, watercolors, drawings, charcoals, pen and ink drawings, collages and works in several other mediums, including gift cards and books. Her drive, curiosity about the world, and her intellect were fierce. She was constant and eclectic in her pursuit of knowledge and truth; being able to recall and recite exact passages and details from anything she had read or seen.

At the dinner table her children were often given impromptu book reports on subjects ranging from the travels of Sir Richard Burton, to the empire building of Genghis Khan, the paintings of Claude Monet, or the personality and leadership style of Teddy Roosevelt.

After her five children were raised, she got more involved in politics, in Utah and in Washington. She enjoyed working alongside with fellow advocate and friend Claire Geddes. She became a host of a radio program, "Born on the Fourth of July" on KTALK radio – a two-hour political program which she tirelessly researched and conducted well into her 80's. She was quoted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and was interviewed on C-SPAN. She also served as Chairman of the Board of Ross Perot's organization, "United we Stand America." She loved her country, the work and writings of the founding fathers, and the study of American and world history.

She delighted in travel. She walked along the great wall in China, visited Japan, France, Scandinavia, Mexico, Germany and was particularly thrilled with a visit to Hardwick Hall in England.

She lived in Idaho, California, Utah, and Texas; and kept a special place in heart for her Waikiki home in Hawaii. She hiked to Delicate Arch in Moab at 70.

She adored her sisters Beverly (Jensen), Karen (Nisonger) and Suzie (her children) and all of her extended Hardwick and Whiteley in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews.

She was beautiful and elegant her entire life – the hospital staff were shocked when told her age, as they took note of her perfect hair, nails, pedicure, and jewelry. Even at 91, she would meet each day with her room organized, fully dressed in her pressed linen outfits and sparkling jewelry.

Barbara spent her last summer in Salt Lake City with her daughter Melinda. She enjoyed this time being with her children and extended relatives and friends. In retrospect this extended stay was a timely blessing. When she arrived, Melinda asked what do you want to do? She answered "I want to have fun everyday!" And she did.

In her later years she spoke frequently of her gratitude for the care and homes her daughters Melinda and Jessica provided for her in Salt Lake City and in Kingwood, Texas. Up until her last moments, Barbara remained studious, curious (books about Queen Victoria are still on her nightstand), creative, positive, kind and cheerful. She was aware of and grateful for the hand of God in her life, and did not hesitate to speak of the experiences behind her faith.

Barbara and Jessica spent a week at Snowbird in mid- November 2022, enjoying the mountains and visits with family and friends. The day after her return to Kingwood she collapsed in her home. Doctors were able to revive her briefly. Angels guided her to speak with family members via phone. Then suddenly and peacefully she was gone.

She is preceded in death by grandsons, Anthony and Jonathan Jordan Call, and her husband, John M Whiteley. (Melinda will not forget the care, and support Barbara extended to her after the untimely deaths of two grandsons.)

She is survived by her five children Jonathan, Jeffrey, Melinda, Lisa and Jessica; 10 grandchildren; and 7 great grandchildren.

Her legacy will not be forgotten. We see her personality, her love for beauty, and her artistic vision in the colors, subject matter, and elegance of her paintings. Our grief is tempered with a sense of gratitude for the life she lived, her gifts to us, her cheerful heart, and by the thought of her reunion with her beloved parents and our father, John M. Whiteley who loved her so.

A celebration of her life will be held in Salt Lake City after the New Year. More information will be forthcoming to family and friends. Please feel free to share your memories of Barbara Jean Hardwick Whiteley at