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Written by her sister,
Eva Luella Heaps Freeman
Rachel Heaps was born 29 April 1907 at Butlerville, Salt Lake County, Utah. She was the sixth child and fifth daughter of Benjamin Franklin Heaps and Ann Eva Dittmore. She was baptized and confirmed by William J. Despain 5 August 1916.
She was always such a very happy, good-natured and witty person to be around. Rachel had beautiful dark brown hair and eyes. She was small and petite all her life.
Rachel was a very good student at school. After her high schooling, she became a very efficient stenographer and office clerk. She was always busy and had many friends, who enjoyed her sunny disposition. Rachel loved to dance, ride horses and swim. She played in a home talent show in Pocatello, as a dancer and was a very delightful and graceful dancer. [Her niece, Shirley Blackmer Tyler recalled that whenever Uncle Avard was home and some music was playing on the radio, he would grab Aunt Rachel and they would dance all through the house, including the hallways.]
Rachel Heaps married Paul Ray McClellan 5 January 1942 in Pocatello, Idaho. They were divorced in 1943. When their daughter, Susan was born, Rachel truly showered her with love and devotion and took great pride in her.
She was always so especially good to her parents – never seemed to lose her temper. [Shirley also said that Aunt Rachel cared for her parents financially all of their older lives – without any comment or thought. Aunt Rachel felt, "it was just what children were supposed to do when their parents could not care for themselves."]
Rachel loved to travel and after her marriage to Glen Rowe, she had the joy of traveling many places in the United States, and to Alaska and Hawaii.
Rachel became afflicted with breast cancer and was operated on for it in 1952. The operation was not a success and the disease slowly permeated her whole body. During her years of illness, she never complained and her courage and good humor was a wonderful thing to behold. She never indulged in self pity. She considered that her life had been full and happy.
She was always so thankful for her sweet daughter and her husband, Glen. She was always very fond of her sisters and brothers, and kept close to her sisters and enjoyed being with them and always strived to make those moments together, happy ones. Her courage and stamina is the pride of everyone in her family.
April 1, 1956 Glen Rowe was killed in a car accident in Utah. In that same accident Rachel had both legs broken. Susan escaped with only minor injuries. Rachel died 24 October 1956 and is buried in Los Angeles, California.
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Memories by Rachel’s niece,
Claudia Blackmer/Freeman Vance
I was quite young when Aunt Rachel came to live with us, prior to the birth of Susan. This was a difficult time for Aunt Rachel, as she was newly divorced and was struggling with the prospects of being a single parent. I was so impressed with her ability to make the best of a hard situation. She was quite short and in the last stages of her pregnancy, it was difficult for her to reach the pedals of the car, so she sat on a pillow and drove with her tiptoes. Her stomach got in the way, and she really gripped the steering wheel to keep herself up far enough to see over the dashboard. But, she laughed and made good sport of the whole thing.
She loved to wear slacks and she kept herself neat and well groomed all the time. I had not been around many "professional working women." I thought she was so smart and sophisticated.
One time when my parents and I were visiting Aunt Rachel and Uncle Glen in California, I saw a cute sign in her kitchen. It took me a few minutes to figure out what the sign said, because it was just one, long word. It read: "quityerbellyachin!"
That was Aunt Rachel’s philosophy of life.
I remember whenever the brothers and sisters were together as soon as Aunt Rachel came there was never a dull moment with lots of laughter and love! As my mother said, "she was an inspiration and a source of pride for the whole Heaps family. We all loved her, and, her "sweet Sue!"
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