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LaRae Gurney Jeppson, a cherished wife, mother, and grandmother, peacefully passed away on January 19, 2024, surrounded by her family and their love. Born on September 16, 1944, to Jaynes Ferrin and Virginia Weight Gurney, LaRae's life was marked by love, dedication, generosity, and countless moments of selfless service.
Growing up in Lehi, UT, LaRae embraced the values of hard work, community involvement, and a zest for life. LaRae had an inseparable bond with her identical twin sister, LaRee, spending their lives “joined at the hip”. Her early years were filled with activities, including participating in 4-H, Pep Club, Future Homemakers of America, the high school student newspaper, the Thespian Society, and attending rodeos. She attended and graduated from Lehi High School in Lehi, UT in 1962.
After graduating from LDS Business College in Salt Lake City, where she honed her skills as an administrative secretary, LaRae worked at the Utah State Capitol before relocating to Richland, WA in 1967. It was there that she met and fell in love with Lee Jeppson, whom she married in the Salt Lake City Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for time and all eternity on August 30, 1968.
The couple built a life together, raising four children in Richland and creating a home filled with love and laughter. LaRae's devotion extended beyond her immediate family, as she welcomed LaRee and Woody's five children into her heart as her own. All nine children proudly claim both LaRae and LaRee as their mothers.
LaRae's greatest joys in life were her children and grandchildren. Her commitment to volunteer work in the community, involvement in school activities, coaching softball, and serving faithfully in many children and youth church callings reflected her passion for making a positive impact on the lives of children. She devoted many years to serving on the PTA, where she earned the Golden Acorn Award, their highest honor, being each of her children’s homeroom mom, participating in Bomber Boosters, and going to Camp Wooten as a cabin mom and teaching classes. As a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, LaRae shared her love for the gospel with her family and instilled in them a desire to serve and love the Savior.
Known for her boundless energy, LaRae had a myriad of talents, from cake decorating and hand-dipping chocolates to boating, waterskiing, bowling, golfing, singing, and sewing. LaRaecould be found at each of her children’s many sports activities and events, cheering them on and supporting them as their biggest fan. She spent innumerable hours enjoying the company of her grandchildren, creating lasting memories with each one.
When LaRae’s children were older, she returned to work as an executive assistant on the Hanford site where she enjoyed continuing her career and forming many lasting friendships.
LaRae is survived by her husband Lee Jeppson and her children: Rebecca (Sam Hunt), Trent Jeppson (Trina), Jodi (Ben Archibald), and Brooke Jeppson; her grandchildren: Callie and Macyn (Rebecca); Talia, Tucker, and Taelyn (Trent); and Tessa, Ashlyn, Kylee, Jacob, and Dexton (Jodi). She is also survived by her siblings Lloyd Gurney and Paul Gurney (Donna) and LaRee’s children: Blake Smith (Sheri), Haylie (Alex Bustamante), Darci Jo (Brian Howald), Clinton Smith (Kim), and Kelli (Todd Stonestreet).
Preceding her in death were her parents, J. Ferrin Gurney and Virginia W. Gurney, and her siblings Howard Gurney, Corene Bennett, and LaRee Smith.
Viewings will be held at the Richland Stake Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (1720 Thayer Drive) on Thursday, February 1st, from 6:00-8:00 pm and on Friday, February 2nd from 10:00-10:30 am. Funeral services will take place on Friday, February 2nd, also at the Richland Stake Center at 11:00 am, followed by interment in the Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Richland, WA.
The family expresses heartfelt gratitude to the Visiting Angels caregivers and Heartlinks Hospice staff for their tender and compassionate care during LaRae's end-of-life journey. This brought peace of mind to the entire family and allowed LaRae to remain at home where she was most comfortable.