Deseret News, 12/29/13
Criesta Thomas Bytheway was born on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1930, to Viola Criesta Peterson Thomas and Charles Edward Thomas. She was raised on the family farm in Malad, Idaho. She studied business at Idaho State University in Pocatello. In 1954, she was called to serve an LDS mission in the Holland, Amsterdam Mission. She loved the rich experiences of her mission.
She returned from her mission in January, 1956, and soon met Alvin Gene Bytheway. She fell in love with him while dancing to a live performance by Nat King Cole. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on October 10, 1957. Together they raised two sons and two daughters (Renée, Sid, Jared and Emily) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Murray, Utah.
Criesta excelled as a mother, teaching her children valuable lessons of love, faith, work, and sacrifice by her personal example. She made holidays and family gatherings happy and perfect. Her annual Easter egg hunt is legendary. She was a marvelous cook. Her talent for personalizing gifts is well-recognized by her children and grandchildren. They knew she loved them by her personal interest in them.
Criesta was a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ's restored gospel. She served faithfully in a multitude of Church callings. She worked in the translation department of the LDS church and volunteered during General Conferences. She was a hostess at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which she loved. She and Alvin served a mission in the Philippines at the Manila MTC.
Criesta passed away peacefully, from complications of pneumonia, on the morning of Thursday, December 26, 2013 surrounded by her family. She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Charles Thomas, and Marcus Thomas. She leaves behind her beloved husband, Alvin, and four children: Renee (Jon) Bronson, Sid (Trish) Bytheway, Jared (Shellie) Bytheway, and Emily (Greg) Oldroyd. She is also survived by four sisters: Hope Price, Renee Burgess, Gayle Walker, and Polly Steenblik, and by 15 adoring grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held Friday, January 3, 2014 at 11:00 am at the Murray Little Cottonwood Stake Center, 6180 South Glenoaks Street in Murray, Utah. Gatherings for friends and family will be Thursday, January 2nd from 6 to 8 pm at the same location and 9:30 to 10:30 am on Friday, January 3rd. Interment will be in the Murray City Cemetery. Online condolences and expanded life sketch at www.jenkins-soffe.com
Published in Deseret News from Dec. 29, 2013 to Jan. 1, 2014