By Universe Contributor, Capital West News Service
The memorial service for BYU alumna Becky Lockhart, known as “Utah’s Iron Lady,” reflected the House Speaker’s passion for politics and religion.
Lockhart attended BYU, where she earned a degree in nursing. She emulated BYU’s motto “Enter to Learn, go forth to serve” with her role in the Utah Legislature. Lockhart remained in Provo after graduation and began to raise a family with her husband, Stan. Lockhart began service in the House of Representatives in 1999 representing a district in south Provo.
Gov. Gary Herbert depicted Lockhart’s political legacy as the champion of the underdogs, who overcame all obstacles. “She was an example to all of us. … She was willing to do,” he said.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert speaks at the Becky Lockhart memorial on Jan. 22. About 1,500 people attended in remembrance of Utah’s “Iron Lady”. (Bryan Pearson)
Lockhart was a devout Latter-day Saint, but her funeral featured aspects of diverse religions, reflecting Utah’s religious culture. Reverend John C. Wester, from the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, offered the invocation, and the Calvary Baptist Church Choir performed both “Amazing Grace” and the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of The Twelve, spoke about the doctrine of eternal life. He praised Lockhart for her legacy in civic engagement, which he said would survive for several generations. Elder Christofferson also touched on how the depth of life matters more than the length, and he said Lockhart’s life was full of depth.
“(She) was a wonderful example of the life blood of our democracy; a life well lived in the service of others,” Elder Christofferson said. “Becky shall indeed be seen again by family and loved ones, thanks to the gift of God’s beloved son.”
David Litvack, former minority leader of the House and one of the few Jewish Democrats to serve in the Utah Legislature, recalled how Lockhart and her family celebrated Passover with his family. Litvack also respectfully described Lockhart has a “mensch,” a Yiddish term that describes a person of high integrity. “Becky made me feel valued as a Democrat and as a Jewish person. Thank you on behalf of my daughter,” Litvack said.
Sen. Curt Bramble, who is a close friend of the Lockhart family, tenderly described Lockhart as a caring person and champion of women’s rights. As he choked back tears on the stage, Bramble also described the spiritual strength of Lockhart regarding her choice to retire this past legislative session at the height of her political career because of spiritual promptings.
Many had speculated that Lockhart was going to run for governor; however, with her death, Utah is left to mourn for its “Iron Lady.” “She has moved on to a higher calling,” Bramble said.