Being able to help decorate the Salt Lake Tabernacle for the 158th Semiannual Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with beautiful flowers was a dream come true for a Salt Lake County woman.
"It was like walking into paradise" for Tisina Wolfgramm Gerber, Holladay, and many of her relatives and friends, who joined in arranging for and preparing hundreds of flowers for display in the historic building.
Flown from the islands of Hawaii and Maui and from South America, the flowers included bird of paradise, anthuriums, halenconias, orchids, maile leis, tropical ferns, coconut palm leaves, carnations, plumerias and gardenias.
Much of the work included stringing leis, which were draped around the railing of the Tabernacle balcony.
"The church has done so much for me and my people. It has given the beautiful Tonga Temple," said Gerber, explaining why she asked Peter Lassig, landscape architect at church headquarters, to let her and others bring in the flowers.
She was assisted by her husband, Elmer Leroy Gerber; her daughter, Christine; her mother, Salote; and father, Iohani Wolfgramm; sisters, Norma Dean and Leilani Watene; nieces, Salote and Caroline Wolfgramm and Ania Filipe; a brother, Charles Wolfgramm and his wife, Fonoga, all of Salt Lake City; Erick and Uinise Langi, Laie, Hawaii; Christine Smith of Maui; and Ika Vea of Hawaii.
"Every little flower in the leis represent love. We love all the (church) leaders," Gerber said.
A member of the Valley View 7th Ward, Valley View Stake, where she is a Primary teacher, Gerber sang in the Salt Lake Tongan Choir, which provided music for the Saturday afternoon conference session. She was born and reared in Tonga, emigrated to Canada when she was 16, is a licensed beauty operator and enjoys raising flowers for missionary farewells, homecomings and funerals.
Gerber assisted in translation activities for the Family History and Translation Departments of the church and has taught Primary since she was 13.