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Aurilla Merrill Heiner

Sep. 10, 1931 - Jan. 8, 2022

Date of Service: Jan. 15, 2022

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HEYBURN – Aurilla Merrill Heiner, age 90, of Heyburn, died Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at Diamond Peak Assisted Living in Burley.

Our beloved mother, grandmother, aunt and sister-in-law, Aurilla Heiner, was a private woman. This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that showed up in some of her letters sent to buoy up struggling, lonely children says it all: “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what people think. The rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

Aurilla Merrill Heiner was born 90 years ago (September 10, 1931) in the upstate New York village of Westport to Walton Merrill and Della Stevens. An older brother by a year, Leo Merrill, also welcomed her. Together these two accompanied their father, a woodsman and sometimes chiropractor, tramping all over the woods of the Lake Champlain area. Aurilla attended school in Westport and she and her brother graduated from Westport High School. She always gave deference to many good people in that community that helped raise her as she was motherless from the age of two, among them her schoolteachers, the town nurse, her father and her beloved brother, Leo. She was fortunate to have a bevy of girls with strong values and high standards as her friends in high school, such as Nancy Lobdell Haskell, and she always attributed to them her love of schooling.

Aurilla's father, Walton, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when Aurilla and her brother were 10 and 11 years old. Aurilla and Leo were baptized also and remained faithful members their entire lives. At this point Aurilla's life took a new path far from New York to the state of Idaho. Aurilla wrote in her own words regarding her marriage to Stevens Elmer Heiner of Heyburn, Idaho, remembering that she was fond of the movie, The Sound of Music.

“Do you remember when the Reverend Mother said to Maria, ‘the Lord never closes a door but what he opens a window somewhere?’ I believe the Lord has been busy opening windows in my life. My mother gave me three choice blessings: first, the gift of life, second, she introduced my father to the Gospel. Third, even in her leaving she left me in the hands of one who believed the Gospel implicitly and lived it to the best of his ability. When I graduated from high school another window opened. I was invited by a sister missionary to come live with her and her large family in Paradise, Utah. So, in August of 1950 I was on my way West, young man! What a change from my quiet world to live with a large, loving, outgoing family I can never thank enough for the happiness I experienced as one of them. And then the window just opened wider. One of the daughters, Cleo Johnson, invited Stevens Heiner to Sunday dinner. He had returned from an LDS mission and was attending college in Logan, Utah. We got acquainted, dated once and then discovered we were in the competent hands of a “matchmaker” - namely, Cleo. Methinks we didn't protest to strongly and were engaged in June and married in September 12, 1951 in the Logan LDS temple.”

Aurilla dedicated her life in Heyburn, Idaho to raising her seven children, welcoming her 42 grandchildren and wishing she could have more time to bond with 68 great-grandchildren. She was the town's seamstress, sewing exquisite tailored suits, wedding dresses, costumes and custom fitted school clothes for her children. She served in almost every leadership and teaching position there was in her LDS faith. She and her husband served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tallahassee, Florida. Aurilla loved American history and was very loyal to this country. She loved words and the crafting of them and the reading of them, a true bookworm.

Our beloved and heroic mother is survived by her brother, Leo (Marie) Merrill of Orem, UT; and ALL of her children: Valerie (Les) Dixon of Cusick, WA, Vaughn (Mary) Heiner of Anchorage, AK, Kevin (Christine) Heiner of Burley, ID, Bruce (Aleta) Heiner of Colfax, WA, Carol (Steve) Allred of Montpelier, ID, Teresa (Tom) Worthington of Burley, ID and Heidi (Dan) Kline of Boise, ID.

The family would like to express gratitude to the staff of Diamond Peak Care facility in Burley for their sincere love and kind care of Aurilla this past year. Thank you for making her life sweeter.

A final word from her in one of her letters to one of her children best ends this memorial. “I wish I could remember all of this short poem but the end of it states,

'Separate but together we stand -
Coward, take this coward's hand.

It seems to me, my dear, that we all have fears and problems but together it is easier.”

The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 15, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Heyburn Ward, located at 300 S. 500 W., of Heyburn, where a viewing for family and friends will be held from 1 until 1:45 p.m. preceding the funeral at the church. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery in Heyburn.

A live webcast of the Funeral Service will be available and maintained at the following link: https://youtu.be/lw58s-mi2Yw.

Condolences for Aurilla Merrill Heiner

Comments may be screened and removed by the staff as deemed appropriate.

From DeLyle and Annette Bennett:
I loved your Dad and Mom. We moved to Heyburn and were in their ward for many years. I was a visiting teacher to Aurilla and we became good friends. When my girls needed a wedding dress she made them a beautiful one. My daughters got married about three weeks apart so they both wore it. I have missed them so much in our ward. I loved seeing you children when you came home to visit. The stories she told about the fun things you did as a family were so fun to listen to. I loved the one about you floating down the snake river altogether in if I remember right barrages you had put together. What wonderful memories. You were blessed with some of the best of the best parents.
We pray you will be blessed with peace and comfort.
From Esteban Hernandez:
We settled in Heyburn shortly after finishing college, and I give thanks for the Heiner family being a great strength to me in raising my young family. Their stalwart faith, kindness, and teaching example were great qualities that helped in directing us in our life journey. Peace and comfort to the family.
From Joseph E Stringham:
Teresa and family, Alesha and I are very sorry for your loss and express our condolences. May Heaven send ya comfort and peace.
From Lonnie and Gay Downs:
What a beautiful obituary! We learned so much about your precious mother. Our thoughts and prayers for peace and comfort are with you all.

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