Heaven’s choir gained a beautiful alto voice as Ione Grace Pugmire Wilcox slipped peacefully away surrounded by family on Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 10:00pm. Being 98 years old, she lived a long and full life.
The second of their two daughters, Ione, was born to Herbert Harry Pugmire and Grace Maycock Smith on November 30, 1922 in Montpelier, Idaho. The two girls spend their early childhood years living in Boulder, Nevada, while their father worked on the construction of the Hoover Dam.
Ione’s musical talent was apparent early on as she and sister, Avanell, sang and played ukuleles on a local radio program in Las Vegas, Nevada. She often spoke fondly of this time in her life.
Her family later moved to Garden City, Utah, and lived with her Aunt Gertrude while her father looked for work as a professional baseball player. The family eventually relocated to Montpelier, Idaho, where Ione attended Montpelier High School and met Eugene Wilford Wilcox (Willy). Their favorite activity was frequenting the local Fish Haven dances.
A cheerleader in high school, Ione was know as ”Pug”. Will and Pug fell in love and were married on March 8, 1939. The couple’s pride and joy and only child, Layne, was born a year and a half later. The family was sealed in the Logan, Utah Temple. Willy proudly served in the Navy during World War ll. As a young mother, Ione took her baby boy and lived with her mother and her sister, who also had a son the same age as Layne, in Pocatello, Idaho. Willy returned from the war in December of 1945.
The family enjoyed many happy times fishing, hunting, camping, and picnicking. Ione was an excellent cook and made sure anyone who visited was fed well. She made especially good pies.
Well-known around the country for her deep and rich alto voice, Ione performed in many singing groups including a quartet, and sang solos at hundreds of funerals in the area… often more than one a day. In her later years, she loved singing in the Southern Utah Heritage Choir and toured with them all over the world. Her biggest fan was Willy and he loved to listen to her sing and show her off.
Ione worked as a bookkeeper at Tri-State, Inc. for 30 years. She loved to walk to a nearby Drug Store and get a Cherry Coke on her break every day. After retiring, she and her husband managed a shoe store in Montpelier for several years and later a campground in Ogden, Utah. To keep busy in her golden years, she clerked at Nisson’s Hardware Store in Washington, Utah. Ione was friendly, outgoing, and loved to talk to people.
Visiting her children and grandchildren was always a highlight and being with family was Ione’s greatest joy. Willy and Ione spent many happy retirement years savoring the sunshine of Arizona and eventually settled in Washington, Utah. A perfect evening for the couple, at their home in Montpelier, included sitting on their patio and soaking up nature and the night air while listening to soothing music.
After losing Willy ten years ago, Ione stayed in Washington and then moved near her son in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, for the last four years. She could still beat anyone at a game of cards in her 90’s. She was feisty, fun and a delight to be around. She is survived by Layne and Odetta and her five grandchildren and spouses: Marci (Sam), Travis (Brenda), Tyler (Holly), Torry (Kelly), and Misti (Matt). She has twenty great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
Ione’s greatest legacy is her posterity, who believe in their Savior, Jesus Christ and know families are forever and this is not the end.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at Matthews Mortuary.