10/02/2014 09:35 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The End of an Era


My father, who founded our company with a nine-stool root beer stand in 1927, came from a family of eight children. Dad had four sisters and three brothers. Woodrow was the youngest member of the family and he died in 2005. His widow, Judy Cannon Marriott, passed away on August 24. She would have been 98 on September 20. She was the last surviving member of my dad's family - thus, the end of an era.

She was a truly remarkable woman. Whenever I saw her, I felt I had seen an angel in the flesh. She was born into a musical family. Her father, Tracy Cannon, was a renowned composer of hymns in the Latter Day Saints Church. Aunt Judy was our church chorister for 40 years and served in a number of positions in the women's organizations of our church.

She and my Uncle Woodrow had four children but these children had an incredible posterity. Nancy, their oldest, had seven children; David was next with 11 children; Susan with six and Judy Ann with 12. These 36 grandchildren gave Woodrow and Judy 106 great-grandchildren.

Aunt Judy's funeral was held in Salt Lake City on August 29. It was a tremendous tribute to Judy and her inspiring life. The opening hymn was a stirring and uplifting piece called, "There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today." I can't think of a more fitting hymn to describe Judy whom the speakers described as always happy, fun loving and full of laughter.

I always remember that she had a cheerful twinkle in her eye. She loved a good story and she never spoke ill of anyone.

Judy's three surviving children gave inspiring talks about the love they had for their patient and kind mother who was always reaching out to help others less fortunate. They told stories of her seeking out those who had no place to go and would bring them home to dinner.

She even invited those who were more fortunate, giving a large Christmas dinner at her home for our entire Marriott clan of 40-50 people in Washington for over 30 years.

Halfway through the funeral service, her great-grandchildren were asked to stand on their seats in the audience and join in singing a Latter Day Saints children's hymn, "I Am a Child of God." When approximately 90 young ones stood and sang this tribute to their great-grandmother, it was a truly tender moment for me. The church was filled with musical talent, inherited from my Aunt Judy.

The service concluded with a beautiful hymn, "Come Unto Him," sung in a very strong tenor voice by Judy's grandson, Cannon Marriott. The service was a fitting tribute to a loving, happy, valiant woman - a fitting end to an era in the life of our family.

I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

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