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Deseret Morning News Archives
Lucybeth Cardon Rampton (1970)

Lucybeth Cardon Rampton, wife of former Utah Gov. Calvin L. Rampton, died Friday. She was 89.

The former first lady passed away at St. Mark's Hospital from heart failure. She is survived by her husband, Utah's longest serving governor, a Democrat who headed the state for 12 years from 1965-77.

Mrs. Rampton was considered a woman of great warmth and vitality. She could also be described as a teacher, mother, hostess, civic leader, preservationist and scholar — one of the most admired and honored women in Utah's history.

"She was a gracious lady," said J.D. Williams, a retired University of Utah political science professor and longtime supporter of Gov. Rampton.

"Receptions at their splendid home . . . were delightful occasions. She was so graceful and so friendly that all of us would come away feeling personally rewarded by the association with her."

Mrs. Rampton was a motivating force in the advancement of the arts, the preservation of Utah's pioneer heritage and an advocate for the mentally disabled and mentally ill.

"She was a champion of education, she was a champion of women's rights . . . and above all else she tackled the issues of mental illness," said Vincent C. Rampton, one of her three surviving children. "She grew up in a generation when you didn't talk about the mentally ill. You put them away.

"She coped with her own battles with clinical depression for years and years before they even knew what it was."

Her father, P.V. Cardon, was president of Southern Utah State College from 1932-33. Her grandfather, Anthony W. Ivins, was a counselor to President Heber J. Grant in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

She was born Aug. 18, 1914, in Washington, D.C., and attended junior and senior high schools in Logan.

Mrs. Rampton attended Utah State and George Washington universities, earning a bachelor's degree in speech and English from Utah State in 1936. She worked in Washington, D.C., as a legal secretary to Ernest L. Wilkinson, later the president of Brigham Young University. She met her husband in the nation's capital, where he was an attorney. They married in 1940.

She earned a master's degree in anthropology from the University of Utah in the late 1950s and later authored a book on anthropology. She also taught a class in anthropology at Westminster College.

Mrs. Rampton and her husband enjoyed traveling. They visited Burma, China, France, Iran, Italy, Palestine and Russia and took more than 20 trips to their favorite locale, southern England.

Active in politics for more than 24 years, she worked on all of her husband's election campaigns. She supported the Utah Historical Society and helped create both the Governor's Committee on Historical and Cultural Sites and the State Antiquities Committee. Anasazi State Park in Boulder was created in part through her efforts.

"Lucy was an outstanding first lady," Williams said. "She and Gov. Rampton were together in most of his political venues. Her smiles and laughs came with ease, and they helped to make political scenes full of good humor and warmth."

Williams, who called Mrs. Rampton a "classy woman," taught all four of her children at the University of Utah.

"They were living testimonies . . . of the wonderful parental leadership that Lucybeth and Cal provided," he said. "We will miss her desperately."

A funeral will be held Tuesday, Jan. 27, at noon at the Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary, 3401 S. Highland Drive. Friends and family are invited to call at 10:30 a.m. at the same location.

Instead of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to either the Utah chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill or the University of Utah Museum of Natural History.