The best Mom ever, Colleen Boss Carlisle, passed away peacefully on December 7th, 2023. She was born on July 9th, 1934, in Garland, Utah to Aileen and Chester Boss. As the oldest child, she was a huge help in raising her four younger brothers (Paul, Lynn, Doyle, and Lyle). Colleen spread her wings in the small town of Garland. She had class and style from the beginning. She remembered her first piece of jewelry, a ring, given to her at her 5th birthday party by her longtime friend Marlene. Many years later, she still remembered some of the outfits she wore when she went to dances and dated. She was the consummate fashion lover with an ability to put the perfect look together. One of her last requests was to have her nails done and her hair cut.
Colleen graduated from Bear River High in 1952 and subsequently went to BYU’s Girls University in Salt Lake City where she lived in the dorms. She worked in the local department store to save money to purchase a pair of Charles Jordan high heels. She tells stories of wearing these on dates. Colleen married Roy Dee Williams in 1954. He died tragically 15 months later.
In the following months, Colleen went to stay with her Aunt Donna in Concord California. While there, she was lined up with Howard Carlisle by Bob Preston and the Boss family. Howard had a young son, Richard, and had recently lost his wife, Janice Baugh Carlisle, in an automobile accident. Colleen and Howard fell in love while visiting the Monterey Coast. On one of their first dates, they drove to Carmel and took a photo at the Lone Cypress near Pebble Beach. The match was perfect, and they were married on December 18th, 1956. Through the years, they returned to that same beautiful location to reminisce and take another picture. In 2007, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at Pebble Beach with their four children and spouses. The children will be spreading Howard and Colleen’s ashes in the ocean near the Lone Cypress now that they have been reunited.
Colleen and Howard raised 4 children (Richard, Julie, Jana, and Michael) primarily in Cache Valley. Colleen enjoyed life in the academic circles. She was an amazing gourmet chef. She made throwing a lavish dinner party look effortless. She was creative and artistic, sewing everything from draperies for the home to business suits. She went back to work at Utah State University as the Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the College of Education.
The family spent many vacations driving to Howard’s business conferences across the country. They also enjoyed summers at the family cabin in Island Park. They were fortunate enough to spend four months in England as a family while Howard taught business classes. Colleen kept the kids busy rubbing brasses and going to small English towns while Howard taught during the week. On the long weekends, the family explored Great Britain and other parts of Europe.
Colleen made everything an amazing adventure with her cooking skills, creative energy and funny wit. Hours were spent as a family playing card games and, more often than not, Colleen won. She was an exceptional bridge player spending many hours with her friends playing bridge in the day and watching Shakespeare in the evenings.
Colleen retired and went back to school when the kids began to leave home. She earned BA and Masters degrees in English and Literature. She was at the top of her class. She loved her major and spent countless hours reading books and being part of book clubs. She and Howard supported the arts in Logan. They enjoyed social clubs, music, the theater, and the other arts. Colleen loved to create. She took art and ceramics classes and learned to paint with oils.
Colleen and Howard traveled the world, often with their close friends. Colleen was the history expert who enhanced their experiences. She loved Egypt and returned there more than once. She collected art from around the world while Howard documented their travels in slides and photos. Her art collection moved with her from her homes in Logan to her assisted living apartments in Salt Lake. One place she did not have a chance to visit was Machu Picchu when her back problems prohibited the long flights and walking. She often provided the advice to “travel as much as you can as often as you can as you don’t know when life’s events will get in the way.”
Colleen lived in her home following Howard’s passing in 2011 and then for a brief time with her daughter Julie. Julie’s passing in 2014 was a heartbreaking loss to Colleen and the family. Colleen was preceded in death by her husband Howard, her daughter Julie Robinson (Kerry), her grandson Sammy Robinson, and her great grandson Dax Jeffrey Williamson. She is survived by her children Richard Carlisle (Debbie), Jana Kuhn (Jeffrey), and Michael Carlisle, her brothers Paul Boss (Paula), Lynn Boss (Judy), Doyle Boss (Pam), and Lyle Boss (Deanna). She is also survived by 14 grandchildren and 36 great grandchildren. The family is grateful for the care that Colleen received from The Ridge, Capitol Hill, and Legacy Village of Sugarhouse senior living facilities, where she made new friends and mastered the art of shopping online. We offer special thanks to Legacy Village of Sugarhouse and Symbii Hospice who took exceptional care of our mother in the last months of her life. As was her nature, Colleen developed a close bond with the aides and nurses who watched over her. The extended family will hold a private Celebration of Life for Colleen on December 15th, 2023, in Salt Lake City.