Sarah Averill Westgard Karren turns 80! Sally was born On July 15, 1940, right at midnight in Billings, MT, to Blake and Martha Westgard. She has an older brother, Jim, and younger twin sisters, Joyce and Jeanne.
Sally grew up in Anaconda, MT, where she enjoyed snow skiing, ice skating, swimming, fishing, and playing outdoors. She often attended the Presbyterian Church and joined the Masonic Rainbow girls.
At the age of 6 she started taking piano lessons. She quickly showed talent and self motivation. By the age of 15 she was employed by local churches to play in their meetings. She eventually earned a full ride scholarship to Montana State University in Missoula for her talent. If you walk past her house these days you often hear her playing classical music on her cherry wood baby grand piano.
At the age of 15 she and her friend began following two very handsome young men in suits. The one with the blue eyes winked at her. These young men told them it wasn’t good to have girls following them around town but that they could set up a time to discuss their religion.
Sally believed everything they taught but was more interested in the boys than taking their message seriously. It wasn’t until her freshman year at college that she began to think more seriously about the things she learned. She contacted local LDS missionaries and took the steps to become baptized. She was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Feb 7, 1959.
Sally’s parents were upset with her decision to join herself with this unfamiliar religion. Her grandfather offered her an expense paid trip to Europe if she’d quit with the Mormons. Feeling she had no other option she called her friend, Jay B. Karren, the one with the blue eyes that winked at her four years prior, and she moved to Utah. She lived with his cousin while they dated and were married in the Salt Lake City LDS temple on Sept 6, 1960.
Together they lived in Provo, UT; Lawrence, KS; Radford and Rocky Mount, VA; Ogden, Price, and Smithfield, UT. With an exciting 20 month adventure in Somalia, East Africa. In the span of 22 years they welcomed 3 boys and 6 girls: Robert, Louise, Roger, Lori, Leighann, Lynette, Richard, Lisa, Lorna. They also have 8 grandsons, 26 granddaughters, and 4 great granddaughters.
In 1989, Sally graduated from Weber State with a Registered Nursing degree. She has worked as a lifeguard, organist, seamstress, fast food worker, janitor, 4-H leader, piano teacher, pianist for Cache County schools, and an RN before retiring. She worked at bother nursing homes in Cache Valley and at Logan Regional Hospital taking care of new moms as a postpartum nurse.
She has stayed faithful to the church throughout her life. She has served in every auxiliary in the church in leadership, teaching, scouting, and of course accompanying on piano and organ. She and Jay served a 2 year mission to Santiago, Chile 2012-14.
She has been blessed with more travel than her grandfather could have offered her. She has visited 38 states, 16 countries, 5 continents, and she’s not done yet!
She has an adventurous spirit and a commitment to her faith, her church, and her family.
According to her children she’s as tall as a telephone pole, wore wooded underwear, played with Laura Ingles, and helped write the Bible. According to her grandchildren she is the skinny grandma, the grandma that doesn’t stink, and the white grandma.
A drive by birthday party will be held on Saturday, July 11 at 4 p.m. 60 East 400 South, Smithfield. Come have a slice of cake and share your best wishes and big waves.