Mary Lee Dugovic, daughter of Thomas Wilbur Simpson and Myrtle Irene Englent, was born on December 14, 1939, in Sanger, California. She passed away from the effects of age on September 17, 2023. Mary Lee was raised in the city of Sanger in a stately white house with green shutters, creating a beautiful backdrop for a childhood filled with cherished memories.
Her childhood was intimately connected to the rhythms of ranch life, as her parents owned beef cattle and ran a thriving ranch plus a high mountain pasture for summer grazing. Mary Lee grew up surrounded by the sprawling landscapes of the ranch, and it was there that her love for horses and dogs was nurtured. She spent countless hours riding horses on cattle drives, cooking for the cowboys, and forging a deep connection with these majestic animals that would stay with her throughout her life.
She graduated from Sanger High School in 1957 and was a true child of the ’50s, she loved to dance and taught her kids the bop, the stroll, the swing, and the Charleston. Mary Lee was also a trained ballet dancer. Her love for ballet was most evident in her affection for her beloved toe shoes. Mary Lee’s athletic abilities extended to the pool, where she earned swimming medals for breaststroke and medley relay during her high school years. Her exceptional skill with the “frog kick” in the breaststroke impressed many, and she was even invited to demonstrate this technique at other high schools, showcasing its power and efficiency.
After her first marriage ended, Mary Lee embraced the role of motherhood to her two daughters. In 1972, she found an eternal love with James Arthur Dugovic, and together they blended their families, expanding their love and commitment to include seven children.
Mary Lee worked initially at a local credit union and then, in 1968, as a valued Chiropractic assistant and secretary at Dr. Cartwright’s office. She worked for a variety of Chiropractors for the rest of her career. Her official retirement was at the age of 75. During her work career she loved learning and teaching about childbirth. She shared this knowledge through natural childbirth classes and opened her home to babysit numerous children over the years.
Later in life, residing in Springville, Utah, Mary Lee continued her tradition of bringing people together through “Taco Sundays” on the first Sunday of every month at 4:44pm. Everyone was welcomed with open arms to enjoy her delicious tacos and homemade salsa.
Mary Lee and Jim found immense fulfillment in their faithful service within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their most cherished period of service was during their mission from 2002-2004 in the North Carolina – Raleigh Mission, where they made a profound impact on the lives of those they served.
In her later years, Mary Lee was lovingly cared for by her daughter, Jill. Mary Lee leaves behind a legacy of kindness and service that will forever be remembered and cherished by all who had the privilege to know her.
Services: Saturday, September 23, 2023, Viewing from 8:00-8:30 am with Funeral Services at 9:00 am at the Spring Creek 5th Ward building 860 E 200 N Springville, UT.
Interment will follow at the Springville Evergreen Cemetery.
Condolences can be offered at www.springcreekmortuary.com.