Obituary for Denise Neish
Multitudes mourn the passing of Denise Jo Neish (Spriggs), age 44. Denise passed away peacefully at home in Highland, Utah, in the presence of her adoring husband, Branden, their children, Alec (15), Lily (9), Max (9), Macy (8), and her mother Jeanne Sykes. Denise is also survived by her siblings, Jeanette Robins, Chris Heinrich, and Will Spriggs. Denise was preceded in death by her father, Dennis Spriggs, in 1992.
Denise fought a heroic battle with stage IV breast cancer for over 7 years, inspiring family and friends with her unshakeable faith, optimism, humor, and resilience.
Denise was born in Jefferson City, Missouri on July 16, 1973. At age 6 she began a running routine with her dad and siblings. This ignited a lifelong passion, that, along with a rare tenacity, made Denise virtually unbeatable in the 800, mile, and cross country throughout junior and senior high.
After being recruited by multiple colleges, Denise accepted a track scholarship to Weber State University. She loved being a collegiate athlete and highlighted her career by placing third in the nation in the 1500 at Junior Nationals.
After her junior year, Denise surprised her coaches and teammates by leaving to serve an LDS mission in Adelaide, Australia, where she was a beloved leader and in the first sister companionship to serve in the remote city of Darwin.
Upon returning from her mission, Denise surprised everyone again by joining the University of Utah track team, resulting in her meeting and eventually marrying the love of her life, Branden Neish, on October 16, 1997, in the Salt Lake Temple.
After earning her English degree and putting Branden through BYU, the couple embarked on a nationwide adventure, having their first child, Alec, while living in Michigan, Lily and Max (twins) in Boston, and Macy in San Diego. Along the way, she coached track at UVU, Harvard, and Alec’s school, Timberline Middle.
Denise loved music and began teaching herself piano and guitar as she went through cancer treatment. She also loved writing and authored a beautiful memoir and kept a blog at deniseneish.com
Denise, our little hummingbird, will be remembered for her unwavering dedication to faith and family. Her deep love for her children gave her the drive to push through each difficult treatment so that she could have as much time with them as possible.
Thank you, Denise, for enriching our lives and inspiring us to be better.
Funeral Services will be held Saturday, April 28th at 11:00 am at the Highland Stake Center, 5335 West 11200 North, Highland, Utah, where Viewings will be held Friday, April 27th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm and prior to services on Saturday from 9:30 to 10:30 am. Interment in Highland City Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please offer a donation in memory of Denise Neish to Huntsman Cancer Foundation: huntsmancancer.org