Descendant of Mayflower Pilgrims serves as Utah group's governor

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 24 2010 7:00 a.m. MST

She did think it was interesting when she met the governor from Michigan, who was a Protestant minister. "He told me he had a cousin that lived in Salt Lake, and, in fact, it was his cousin Boyd and his wife, Donna, who helped him with his research. I asked him what his cousin's last name was, and he said, 'Packer.' We all know him as Boyd K. Packer; he just calls him cousin Boyd."

But, she adds, "it is a privilege and an honor to belong to this hereditary society. All it is, is about family."

That's what life is about, she says. "It's about family, about relationships. It's not about things, things, things; it's about love."

Lee has a couple of 6-inch-thick family history books, one on the Walker family, another on the Dilworth family. When she's looking for a little "light reading" at night, that's what she picks up. "I want to learn all about these people, so that I will know them when I see them," she says.

Each night, she also plans out her agenda for the next day. "I write it all down on a bill envelope. I heard a multimillionaire talk once about not wasting paper, so I recycle my old bill envelopes."

If she doesn't get everything done, she moves it along to the next day.

Her day's agenda may include a daily walk, or taking doughnuts to all the neighborhood children (or clementines to the boy who has diabetes). It may include visiting with young women. She served for five years on the General Board of the Young Women organization, "and I just love young women."

What her agenda doesn't include is any "pity days. I have a happy, wonderful life. I don't want to waste any time crying 'why me' or thinking about what's wrong. I don't have pity days. I plan my agenda and go forth."

For that attitude, she gives a lot of credit to her mother. "She always told me to carry my burdens lightly." But she also draws inspiration from her earlier progenitors. She looks at what the Pilgrims did and what the pioneers did. "They had to be so strong. They displayed such courage, integrity and bravery. Whenever I feel down and out, I think of them." And she thinks of her children and grandchildren, too. "None of them are going to have an excuse to drop out on my account."

e-mail: carma@desnews.com

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