Lynn Andrew Sorensen
December 1, 1979
I was born of very goodly parents on Sept. 25, 1919 in Salt Lake City, Utah. My mother was Fannie Boam Sorensen and my father Ulrich Andrew Sorensen. They were wonderful and very special people and I was certainly tremendously blessed to be born the first of their five children. To start, let me tell you just a little bit about my ancestors, first on my father's side. As I recall, my grandfather Hans Sorensen was born in Denmark and there, as a young man, was converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was the only active member of his family, at that time, to join the church and was generally ostracized by the family members. Grandma Sorensen, Dorthea Anna Hansen, was also the only member of her family converted to the gospel in Denmark as a young girl and she also was ostracized or ridiculed by her family and she and grandpa both migrated to Salt Lake City because of their beliefs in the family. It is my understanding that they did not know each other until they met and then courted each other here in Zion in Salt Lake City.
My early recollections of Grandpa and Grandma Sorensen were very fond ones. Quite often my parents would take us to visit Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Mae as they lived on California Avenue, just west of 9th West. Grandpa had a lovely red brick home a nice garden spot and a bar in which he still kept a cow in those early days and it was always real interesting and a special thrill to go and visit Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Mae who was living with them. I can still recall as a young boy when we lived in Murray, Utah, before my father owned an automobile, that we used to catch the old electric streetcar in Murray, travel to downtown Salt Lake and then catch another streetcar that went out 9th West and we got off at California Avenue. One time during the winter-time I can remember that I didn't want to leave my red sleigh behind and the roads were hard and snow-packed and so my father hooked the sleigh on to the cow catcher of the streetcar so that I could take it with me and go and visit Grandma and Grandpa Sorensen.
Grandpa worked for many years for the Salt Lake City Street Department. He never held a very responsible job, but he was always a very hard and dedicated worker and was able to earn enough to provide for his family. There is still a vivid recollection in my mind as to when Grandpa passed away of our attending his funeral in the old Cannon Ward. It was a very special service, but particularly do I remember the song sung by Nellie Faldma, a very favorite of Grandpa's, as she sang for him Oh My Father.
I regret that I did not really learn more about my grandparents while they were still here on earth and make a record of more of their accomplishments, but I am going to study the family records and what my Aunt and Uncle have written and prepared so that I can be better acquainted with their great but humble story and so that I can more fully appreciate the great heritage that I had out of that land of Denmark where so many sacrifices were made in behalf of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
May I make some observations about my grandparents on my mother's side. My mother's name was Fannie Goodman Boam, her father and my grandfather was William Boam and her mother and my grandmother was Mary Moss. I have only one slight recollection of my Grandmother Boam. I recall that as a very young boy—I probably wasn't more than three, we were living in our home on Maple Avenue in Murray, Utah and Grandpa Boam's home was at the end of Maple Avenue as it intersected with Wasatch Avenue. My grandmother had made for me a pair of mittens, the kind that were tied together so that you put the one mitten up one sleeve, across the back and down the other, so that if the hands did come out of them they still stayed in place in the coat. But after I had received those mittens, my mother wanted me to go and thank my grandmother for them and I remember going to the house and going into my grandmother's bedroom and there she lay very, very ill on her bed with the typical old-fashioned white nightcap on her head and tied underneath her chin. My mother lifted me up on the bed and I gave my grandmother a kiss and thanked her for my mittens. That is really the only recollection that I have of her and apparently she passed away a short time after. I always felt sorry that I didn't have a chance to get better acquainted and know more about my Grandma Boam.
Grandpa Boam was a very jolly man. He was a big man and was a little bit on the stout side and always wore a mustache. He was so good to all of us children that we really loved him. Unfortunately I don't know much about my great grandfather. I do recall my mother telling me that he was quite a wealthy man, joined the church over in England, and sold most all of what he had to provide for himself and other converts to come to Salt Lake Valley. I do have one keepsake that was passed from my grandfather to my mother and then she passed it on to me, which is a small English bone whistle in the shape of a dog's head, that my great grandfather brought with him from England to Salt Lake City. It is a priceless treasure which I am grateful to have even though I have no recollection of my great grandfather.
Grandpa Boam lived for some time there in Murray where we lived and later on he remarried a woman by the name of Sara—I don't recall her last name—and we always just referred to her as Aunt Sara. After he married Aunt Sara, he moved to a home on M Street. At that point there were two houses that sat in between the houses that actually fronted on M street facing west, which were reached by a narrow alley and he lived in one of these homes behind. I have many fond recollections of going to the home there, going down the creaky, wooden stairs into the partial basement, into the fruit room all of which was so dark and spooky. I guess above all the most special and favorite memories and the old home thereon M Street was when he would take us to Aunt Vinnie's and Uncle Sam's place in Idaho Falls up on the farm during the summer time. This was an annual trip that we made almost every year that I can recall. So that we could get an early start, Mother and we children would go to Grandpa's home and we were fixed up a bed on the floor, where we would try to sleep, but very fitfully since we were so excited to be on our way in the morning, to make the trip to Idaho, which at that time in the old Hudson and with the poor roads took us 8-10 hours to make the trip. Now with freeway all the way it runs less than half that—only about 4-4 Â˝ hours time. But what a great experience it was to go with Grandpa up on the farm to spend a couple of weeks there. Then dad would be able to take a day or two off and he would come up and go fishing with Uncle Sam up on the Beckler Boundary Creek and then would take us back home. It was really the only vacation time and the only place that we ever traveled as a family on a vacation that I can recall.
I do remember Grandpa as such a kindly man and he was so good to us children. I can still remember sitting on his knee and how he used to give me a kiss and it would tickle so because of his big, grey mustache. I remember one trip to the farm, as we were traveling along, getting close to Malad, Idaho, all of a sudden my mother screamed in the front seat that there was a big bumble bee in the car. It came over on to Grandpa's side and he made a big swat at the bee to kill it, but in the process lost control of the car and we went off the side of the road and started down into the barrow pit. Fortunately Grandpa recovered in time and was able to get us turned around and get us back out before the car turned over and before we had any kind of a serious accident. We were all scared to death and I will never forget the incident with the bumblebee on the way to Idaho Falls.
Grandpa Boam was so proud and happy when I received my call to go into the mission field and I recall how proudly he sat there in the congregation as I gave my missionary talk and how he counseled me and expressed his love and appreciation for me at the home afterwards. I can still see him also at the train station as he was there to wave goodbye to me and this was the last that I was to see Grandpa Boam alive, as a few months afterwards when he was in California visiting with his only son, he was stricken and there passed away. I can still remember what a sad day it was in the mission field when I received that letter from my mother telling me that Grandpa had passed away and giving me the details of his funeral.
Here again I am so grateful for the great heritage that is mine through my mother's side of the family and through the Moss side and through the Boam side. My Uncle Jimmy Moss who was on my mother's side was certainly a very legendary figure and maybe sometime we can give more of the details as to Jimmy Moss who was known as the father of the Utah High School Athletic Association—a great man who I also remember quite well and who was the father of Senator Ted Moss from Utah.
Let me tell just a little bit about the courting days of my mother and father as my mother related them to me. The old Moss farm home was situated on the north side of 48th South and east of 9th East. The old home has since been taken down, but I remember many times as a boy our family driving past the old farm home and mother pointing out where she grew up as a little girl. She lived there on 48th South and east of 9th East and my father lived way over on Redwood Road and south of 13th South. He, of course, did not have a car and often times did not have a horse and buggy available and had to do his courting on a streetcar. That was really quite a long ride from Redwood Road clear out to Holiday where he could court Fannie. He recalled for us that on occasion they got carried away and he would miss that last streetcar going into town, so more than once it was necessary for him to walk all the way home from there.
Mother and Father were married in the Salt Lake Temple and shortly after they were married, my father was given the assignment in his work—he was a master cabinet maker working for the Salt Lake Cabinet and Fixture Company which was owned and founded by Kaspar J. Fetzer—to go up to Canada and there install all of the beautiful woodwork in the Canadian Temple located at Cardston. The company had the contract for all of the interior woodwork for this great temple. My mother would often tell of their trip to Canada, how cold it was in the winter-time, how they became acquainted with the Hugh B. Brown family and particularly with the Tueller family, with whom we had some contact throughout the years after they moved down to Preston or Franklin, Idaho. I have not had the opportunity to visit the Cardston Temple yet, but I certainly hope that I will be able to do so and understand that a good part of the original woodwork no longer exists, but I understand there are still some paneling and items there that are great testimonies to his skill as a cabinet maker.
It wasn't too long after mother and father returned from Canada that I was born and they were at that time renting a home on Lake Street, just north of 13th South and east of 7th East. I have no personal recollection of this home, but in later years mother and dad would occasionally drive by and point out to us children the home where they lived.
Mother was given a building lot out in Murray. Actually Grandpa Boam gave Aunt Katy, Aunt Gladys, and her all three lots that were side by side on Maple Avenue. Mother had the center lot. My father decided that he would go into business for himself doing home building or contracting and one of his first projects was to build our home at 215 Maple Avenue. His stay in the homebuilding business was relatively short as he found that he was too much of a perfectionist and built too much quality in his homes for people to be able to pay for it. He was really not able to make a living building homes and was not willing to sacrifice the quality of the homes so he returned to his work at Fetzers. I have many fond recollections of our home on Maple Avenue, having the two vacant lots on either side and then also a big vacant field out to the back and another one right across the street. Our father had a big garage and had a chicken coop and a big chicken run and I recall that we always had chickens to help supplement the family diet. I remember how much fun it was to run in the fields, to dig trenches, and to make a dirt house and all of the other kinds of things that young boys usually do. The field across the street was quite large and this became our baseball diamond and our football field. As long as I can remember I had a great love and interest in sports and was always so interested in getting into any kind of a game and was always trying to promote a football game in the fall or a baseball in the spring or the summer.
I had many good friends in Murray and the two that I was the closest to were Russell McDonald whose home was next to Grandpa's on Wasatch Avenue and Charlie Call whose home was just on the other corner. We were great friends and formed the nucleus of many neighborhood teams that challenged other teams throughout the area.
I should mention that I was the oldest of five children in our family. The next to me was my brother Richard and then came my sister Virginia and then my brother Lincoln and finally my baby sister Mary. There were other families that we were really close to there in Murray, the Ericksons, the Martins, and the Beans and many others. It has now been a long time since I have seen many of those people, but I still think of them and have fond recollections of my childhood years. One other good friend, particularly in the later years in Murray, was Marshall Brinton. His father, D. Branson Brinton, founded the Brinton Electric Company in Murray and over the years we have purchased most of our major appliances from Marshall Brinton and have always been pleased with the quality of the General Electric products.
We attended the Murray First Ward and I attended the old Arlington Grade School up through the Sixth Grade. The school sat on a little hill and I can remember that down at the bottom of the hill was the baseball diamond and then in the winter time the hill was steep enough that it made an excellent sleigh-riding hill. We would always take our sleighs to school with us and on the weekends we could always be found, if the conditions were right, over on the school hill sleigh riding to our hearts' content. What a wonderful experience that was and how hard it is now a days to find a place where the young children can sleigh-ride in safety. We had a great hill and I was so proud of my flexible flyer and most often was able to hold the record for going the farthest down the hill.
There are a few experiences that stand out most vividly in my mind as they relate to the old Arlington school and my early childhood. One was in the early spring when I was in the first grade, my father was given the assignment to do the installation of all of the woodwork in the new temple at Mesa, Arizona. There were just three of us children at the time, Myself, Dick and Virginia. Father decided that he would take the whole family to Arizona since he was going to be there for some time so that we would not have to be separated from him. I can still recall how mother came to school to make arrangements with the teacher for me to be taken out of school early and to finish up the minimum amount of schoolwork so that I could still pass. I can still recall how at this tender age of six getting on the Union Pacific train and making the long journey from Salt Lake to Los Angeles. Of course, that was the only way to get to Arizona in those days, to go by train to Los Angeles and then back to Phoenix. I can still recall what a thrill it was to be on that train and the big wicker basket that mother took with all the fruit and good things for us to eat.
I can remember just snatches of the trip. I do recall visiting with Uncle Will and Aunt Laura and how one day they took us down to Long Beach on the ocean and there we had a very special day on the ocean and at the amusement park there. I recall the first house that father rented for us in Mesa and how it was sort of dilapidated and especially how inconvenient the kitchen drainboard and sink was. And so Mother kept after father until he decided to remodel and fix up that drain board for her. One night after he came home from work, he brought his tools and started to tear out the old sink and cupboard and I can still see, as he tore the boards away, all of the cockroaches and bugs that had been hidden from our view that came literally out of the woodwork as he tore it apart. Needless to say, this was very disconcerting to mother and she refused to live any longer in that house with all of those bugs and so it was necessary for father to find another place for us to live.
I remember how unbearable hot it was there as it got into summer time and actually it became so warm and uncomfortable that mother felt that she just couldn't stay much longer. However, it was getting close to the end of the summer and time for me to be back in school. One time there was a man who agreed to take us on a drive in his old touring car (open) over the Roosevelt Dam. I can recall riding across the desert in that car and how unbearably hot the wind was as it blew through the open sides of that car.
I enjoyed my growing-up years at Arlington. I wasn't an outstanding student, but I enjoyed all of my subjects except art. I did poorly in art and my pictures were the worst ones in the whole class and I thoroughly detested having to go to that class. I guess probably the highlight of my time there in the school was, when I was in the fifth grade, they instituted the system of junior traffic policemen at the various street crossings, to help the younger children cross the street of the fifth grade and how proud I was when I got my bandelo and my policeman's badge. Number 315 was the number and I think it's probably still in my mother's mementos, I hope. I still have such a crystal clear picture in my mind since it made such an impression upon me to be given that important assignment as a young boy. I recall that we were able to do a little extra work during the summertime, for the kindergarten children that went for a short time, and were even given a little pay at that time for coming and manning the crossing walks so that the children could go to school without incident.
The other thing that stands out most in my mind was my feud with Billy Kilby. He and I never could get along and Kilby was sort of the school bully and he really liked to pick on me. So many times we got engaged in fights out on the school ground at recess and I recall that even when it started to warm up, I preferred to wear my heavy overcoat because then Billy's fists didn't hurt quite so hard as he would pound me as we would get into the fights out on the playground.
I do remember one very traumatic experience that happened the first or second day as I started school. I had to go to the bathroom and there were no bathrooms in the main school building itself. There was a special red brick building behind the main school building with a door on one end for the girls and a door on the other end for the boys. Unfortunately I didn't learn which was which. I just knew that that was the bathroom and the first time I had to ask the teacher's permission to go to the bathroom, I unfortunately made the mistake of going into the girls' side. I can remember how embarrassed I was to have to be ushered out of the girls' bathroom and around to the other end of the building and shown where the boys went in to go to the bathroom.
We lived in Murray until I was 15 and the last two years for the seventh and eighth grades were part of the junior high school which was part of the Murray Senior High School which sat up on the hill, up past the smelter. It was about a mile and a half, at least, to school and I can remember, particularly in the wintertime in the deep snow, making that long walk up past the smelter and up to the top of the hill to the Murray High School. Actually I did very poorly in school in the seventh and eighth grade and had mostly C's and D's. I don't know what it was, but it seemed to be very hard and difficult for me to get interested in school and I was not willing to study or do the things I needed to do to make satisfactory progress. I do remember, especially, that I was dared at one time to take a cooking class, which I did, and I was the only boy along with all the girls in this cooking class. So it was quite an experience, but I remember how proud I was when we learned to make cream puffs and I came home and made a batch of cream puffs for my mother. I don't really remember much else that we learned how to cook and I don't think that I did very well, but it was quite a special experience.
When I was 15 years old my father decided that Murray was too far to go to his work at the factory located at 1436 South West Temple and so he and mother found an older home that had been completely repainted at 460 Cleveland Avenue which we purchased and moved into. I can remember so clearly the basement because the walls and the floor were all painted with a blue paint and red and gold trim. It was really quite a beautiful basement. Since Cleveland Avenue is about 1500 South, this made it very close to father's work and he was able to walk to and from work very often.
When I came into Salt Lake I was sent to South Junior High School in the ninth grade. It was located at 13th South and State Street, but has long been discontinued as a school. I have very many happy memories of going to school there and my two very special friends were Bill Lloyd, who lived just through the street from us, and Howard Tucker. The three of us were inseparable through junior and senior high school.
There were no official athletic teams on the junior high school level in those days, but there were a lot of intramural type teams and I got great enjoyment out of playing on the winning basketball and the winning touch football teams. I ran for a student body officer, but was not successful, but one of the highlights of my career was having one of the leads in an operetta there at the school. I was "the general" and had a solo that I had to sing in this operetta.
One of the experiences that I remember so vividly was the worst earthquake that ever hit the Salt Lake Valley. The first one hit in the morning just after I had gotten up and was getting dressed. Father had fixed up a little bedroom by walling off part of the basement and Dick and I had to sleep in this bedroom down in the basement. The light was a single light bulb hanging on the light cord from the ceiling. All of a sudden that light began to swing and the old brass bed that we slept on began sliding across the floor. We became so scared and ran upstairs to mother and dad and found that we had had a small earthquake. It didn't seem to be particularly serious and so we all went off to school, but then about ten o'clock as we were sitting in the classroom, once again the lights which were suspended on chains really began to swing and the building began to shake and the windows began to rattle and the teacher quickly evacuated us out of the school building, out into the playground where we remained for some time until the principal decided that it was too dangerous for us to go back into the building and so we were all sent home. The building sustained a few cracks, but no real long-lasting structural damage so that after a couple of days when they felt sure that there would be no further problems, we were sent back to school.
The most traumatic part of—Well, actually there were two, I guess, while I was still going to junior high school. One, I used to be an avid reader and would get the Motor Boat Boy mysteries and would read them at night after my mother had sent me to bed, would even get up early and sit under the light reading in the basement until it was time to go to school. On one particular morning, our cousin Elaine from Idaho was there and was helping mother. She came downstairs to wash and I was sitting under the light which was by the drain. She put the hose into the washer and then went over to the tap to turn it on. The force of the water flipped the hose out of the washer and sprayed all over my back. The water was scalding hot and of course I yelled bloody murder which brought my parents running. The scalding hot water burned my back badly and raised many blisters, some of them as large as a dollar. For three days I had to just lie on my stomach on my bed and they put all kinds of medications on it to help it get better. That was a very traumatic and painful experience and I still remember feeling the shock of that hot, scalding water spraying on my back.
The other traumatic experience was this: Our basketball team from South Junior was invited to play the B team at South High School during the Christmas Holidays. We had to play the game in the girls' gym and there wasn't adequate space underneath the baskets to the wall. Actually the backboards were supported by brackets coming out of the wall. Midway in the game I intercepted a pass and went dribbling down the floor as hard as I could go and went up for the basket. When I came down the ball of my foot was up against the wall and my heel on the floor and I came down with all of my weight on my left leg. Being in this particular position it sheered the bone just above the ankle and as I turned it also twisted and dislocated the joint at the ankle. This was such a very, very painful thing, I can remember screaming out in pain and how they got my shoe off and how my ankle had swollen so rapidly and was already turning black and blue, since I had ruptured some blood vessels also. The coach took an old baseball bat and put a splint on my leg to try to hold it solid. They got me in a car and took me down to the old Salt Lake County hospital on 21st South and State Street and from there called my mother and father to come down. Fortunately they obtained the services of a very excellent doctor, Dr. Alexander, who came and set the leg. As they put that ether cup over my face to put me out when they were setting the leg, I can still remember so clearly how awful that ether smelled and how I fought, actually knocking the cup off two or three times before I finally went out. It was so painful. The dislocation caused my ankle to swell up so much more that the pressure on the inside of the cast was more than I could bear and finally the doctor had to open up a small hole in the cast to relieve some pressure. However, it was necessary for me to keep the cast on my leg for 16 weeks. I had it for 12 weeks from the ankle and clear above the knee to keep the ankle joint immobilized and then the last four weeks the cast was on from just below the knee to the ankle. That was quite a job going to school all those days on crutches and I remember one day the kids coming down the stairs so fast knocked my crutches out from under me and almost pitched me headlong down the steps. Fortunately I was able to catch myself on the wall or I would have had an additional serious accident. Dr. Alexander was a great doctor and did a wonderful job with a very difficult break. My ankle has been at times a little bit tender and never quite has returned to its normal size, but has functioned perfectly and has never been any kind of a detriment to my desired athletic endeavors, for which I am very grateful.
From South Junior we went to South High School where I attended 1935-36, 1936-37, graduating actually in June 1937. My high school experience was truly one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. Because we had so many good times and really didn't have any great worries or preoccupations, it was really quite a carefree time. Fortunately I was endowed with a reasonable amount of athletic ability and so I participated in basketball and baseball both years, but the coach advised against my playing football that first year because of the problem that I had had with my leg.
I should mention that changing schools and going to South Junior changed my entire outlook as far as school was concerned and I made up my mind that I was not going to continue to be a poor student as I had been at Murray and so I worked hard and was encouraged by teachers. I am pleased to report that I had almost a straight A average those last two years of junior high and those two years of senior high at South High. In basketball I played the position of center and my first year that I played was still when they had the old rule where after each basket the ball was brought to the center circle and there jumped between the two centers. This was quite an experience and I managed to get my share of the tips. However, my senior year was when they made the change in the rules and only jumped at center at the start of the game and at the start of each quarter, and the ball was put in play after each basket underneath the basket. We had a great team. The others that were on the first team were Claudell Empey, Clarence Morandi at forwards. I played center and I think it was Robinson that played guard with Gene Tussenbrook. Then in my senior year I played guard. I had a great time playing basketball and in my senior year I made "All-City," which was good for me. At that time the Salt Lake City schools were not part of the Utah High School Association and our competition was limited to East and West High School, but I did have a great time in athletics. My senior year I went out for football and was desirous of playing end and was the substitute end behind Larry Weiler in the first game, but after practice that next week, the coach called me out of class and brought me over to the gym and let me see how well I could center the ball. The center had broken his hand and he decided that I had the potential and I was changed to center on offense and played a halfback position on defense. We didn't win the city championship, but we won two of our four games and it was a great experience that I really enjoyed. My position was first base in baseball and I played that position for both years.
I had the lead in the school play one year and was on the school speech team. I was also a member of the school a cappella choir. My senior year I was elected Senior Class President and was involved in almost all of the school activities. I did not know how to dance when I went to senior high school but could see that I would have to learn if I was going to enjoy myself, because school dances were such a big part of the activity program. Well, my first few dates were very painful and the girls got their toes stepped on quite a bit, but they were very patient and continued to encourage me until I was able to at least carry on satisfactorily.
This does bring to mind, a little out of sequence, that really the only other dance that I had ever been to was when I was in the seventh or eighth grade out in Murray. Grace Bateman who was the daughter of the superintendent of schools, invited me to a dance and I somehow agreed to go with her, but that certainly was one of the most painful nights that I ever had in my life. I guess that was part of the reason that I steered away from dancing for so many years until I was a junior in high school.
We did have great fun and the school dances turned out to be some of the high lights of our high school activities.
I guess the most memorable teacher that I had was Miss Mildred Dressler. I took type two years and shorthand one year from her. She seemed to take a very special interest in me and I in her and she was a great inspiration to me. At the conclusion of my senior year, I was offered a combination athletic-scholastic scholarship to the University of Chicago—That is it took care of all tuition, books and supplies, but all the living expenses would have to be paid by myself. My parents were not in a financial condition to be able to support me so it looked like I was going to have to turn down the scholarship until Miss Dressler came to my aid. She felt that I should take advantage of it and offered to loan me the money that it would take to get to school at no interest with the only stipulation that I would pay it back as soon as I could after I graduated. How grateful I was to her for that opportunity to go back to Chicago and have a great experience there for two years.
The particular scholarship that I was given was given to one high school student in the whole state of Utah each year. The year that I went back as a freshman, Earl Pierce was the sophomore and he had been selected the previous year from Box Elder High School in Brigham City, Utah. The Junior was Jerry Jeremy who had been selected from West High School and the Senior was Hal LaBelle from Tooele High School. I can still remember that very memorable and scary train trip from Salt Lake back to Chicago. It was good that Hal LaBelle made the trip with me. I was grateful for his company. However, once we arrived at the train station in Chicago he had to leave me for it was against the rules for a fraternity man to be seen with a freshman on campus or to be wielding undue influence. He got me steered straight on how to get to the campus and I had a room reserved and lived in the regular college residence hall for men. I was successful in obtaining two jobs while there to help defray the expenses so that I wouldn't have to borrow any more than necessary from Miss Dressler. I had a job waiting on tables in the residence halls and then I also worked in the school of business library. I think we had to put in some ten hours a week at the library, but between these two jobs I was able to make a go of it, with the money from Miss Dressler.
I went out for the college basketball team and was successful in earning my freshman numerals and I made the squad my sophomore year, but I did not get enough playing time to make a letter my sophomore year. The University of Chicago at that time was still part of the Big Ten and had had some very difficult and outstanding competition. It was a very special experience for me to at least make the squad and be involved in basketball.
After my sophomore year the school did decide to drop Big Ten football. It was just before my time that Jay Berwanger was the great All-American from Chicago and Alonzo Stagg was the great, famous coach that coached there for many years. Because of being on the basketball team, I was able to get a job for the home football games selling programs on Saturdays to the football crowd and this was a special experience too.
It was difficult, but I managed to get along. My most difficult subjects were German and English. In fact, I guess I've never had a course that I struggled harder with than German at the University of Chicago. It was a basic requirement to have a foreign language to complete your lower division work and since I had not taken any languages in high school, I had to take German. There was only one other student beside myself that hadn't had at least a couple of years of high school German. So it was a very difficult course and never was I so glad to get a C out of any course as I was that one.
There was a University Branch of the Church at that time that was over on Kenwood Street and not too far from the campus and I was able to attend Sunday School and Sacrament meeting there. This helped a great deal. I was rushed by the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, which fraternity the other three boys from Utah had all joined and so I was very happy to be initiated and become a member of that fraternity. Sometime I'll have to record a lot of those experiences particularly in the hazing that we went through that was really quite an experience.
I did enjoy my school back there, particularly my sophomore year and upon returning home for that summer, although it had always been my plan and the plan of my parents that I should go on a mission after my sophomore year, when I came home I felt that it was more important for me to go on with my education. I remember how hurt my mother and father looked when I told them that I felt that religion was old-fashioned and out-moded and that it was more important for me to continue my education than to go on a mission. Fortunately for me I had very loving and understanding parents who did not scold or rant or rave or "go through the roof" but just very quietly and sincerely prayed that something would happen, that they would be able to touch my heart or that the Lord would so that before time came to go back to school that I would change my mind. I am sure because of their great faith and their prayers and also because of a kind and understanding bishop, when the time came to make that decision, I elected to go on a mission rather than return to school. I would like to testify to all of my posterity that that was truly one of the most important decisions that I have made in my entire life and how many times I have thanked my Heavenly Father for the influence of my parents and my bishop that I made that decision to go on a mission. As I have looked back on it, I was really bordering on the point of apostasy and it would have been easy to become inactive, go the way of [the] world, and accept the philosophies of men as taught by those professors at the University of Chicago. However it didn't take me too long, once I was in the mission field and was giving time to the Lord and studying His scriptures and really learning more of Him and His ways as I should have been doing all the way along, that all the doubts, concerns, and questions that I had flew and my testimony returned even stronger. Never have I had a single regret in my life for making that decision and leaving my education to go on a mission to Brazil.
Our old Waterloo Ward had been divided not long before that and actually I was the first elder ordained in the McKay Ward, as it was called, being named after President McKay, and also I was the first missionary to be called out of the McKay Ward.
I had always hoped to be called to the land of Denmark, the land of my ancestors, or to England. At the time I received my call Hitler was making his moves in Europe and no more missionaries were being called to Europe. In fact, they were being evacuated from many areas there. However, I guess my training in German in school may have had some bearing on it, but I received a call to the Brazil Mission and left early in January of 1940 to go to that mission field. Fred Blechert from the Jefferson Ward was also called to that mission and the two of us traveled together all the way to Brazil.
Before going on with my mission experience, I should go back and pick up two or three other experiences before leaving for the mission field. Perhaps two of my outstanding experiences were with the speech team in high school. We participated in the speech invitational tournament at Brigham Young University and there I won first place and a silver medal in oratory at that speech festival. I still have that medal with my treasures in a little strong box in my desk. I'm very proud of that medal and winning that competition. One other competition that has particular significance now in my life—it didn't seem to be that particularly important—We had a meet with Granite High School in my senior year and we went out to Granite to participate and my competition from Granite in the oratory contest was James E. Faust. This was the first time that we met. We had a very friendly competition and I don't remember to this day whether Jim won that contest or I did, but this turned out to be the start of a very long and lasting and very special friendship and we next found ourselves in the mission field in Brazil at the same time.
However, before going on with that mission experience, I must relate how a very special young lady came into my life that summer before I left for Brazil. I had been going with a girl by the name of Beverly Searle with whom I was quite infatuated that latter part of my senior year and to whom I wrote that first year in college and through that first summer. However, things sort of fell apart that second year back at Chicago. She got interested in another fellow and the time and the distance made the separation. While I was home in the summer, Keith Jones, Howard Tucker and I, some of the boys, were up the canyon to a Wells Stake activity and there we got associated with a group of girls and I was particularly impressed with one girl by the name of Janet Weech. I was very pleased to learn that she lived in our ward, the old McKay Ward, and actually lived on Browning Avenue just a block and a half from our street. There she had been in the ward all the time, but I had never noticed or knew who she was until I saw her that night up the canyon.
A few days later when we decided to go out on a date, I decided, "I'm going to call Janet Weech and see if I can get a date with her." I was successful in so doing and there was the start of our courtship. I became quite taken by Janet and although I did some dating of other girls up to the time of my departure for the mission field, I felt quite sure when I left that she was indeed the girl for me and the girl that I wanted for my wife. I got into a pretty tight situation. My mother was promoting Marie Pierce, the younger sister of Earl. We got acquainted with the Pierce family through my education at the University of Chicago. I had dated Marie somewhat, but the more I got interested in Janet, the less I was interested in Marie. I didn't quite know hot to break it off and my mother kept promoting it. She really didn't know Janet as well as she did Marie and so I found myself in the real dilemma when I went to the station to leave for my mission of having two girls there to see me off. I guess that was also a very traumatic situation for Janet and I guess she got unhappy at that point and almost broke off our relationship because of that, but I'm so glad that she didn't and that she took it in stride and continued to write to me throughout the course of my mission. Throughout this time and through her letters and correspondence our love and our liking of each other grew. It certainly meant a great deal to me to have her letters and her love throughout the course of my mission.
Fred and I left by train and as I recall spent most of three days and two nights going to New Orleans, Louisiana, where we stayed in a hotel one night and then embarked on the little tramp steamer, the Del Valle, which carried 27 or 28 passengers and was primarily a cargo ship. I still remember how disappointed we were when we went down to the docks that first day to see our ship and to see how small it was and how cramped our quarters were. What an experience for two young boys to be sent off on their own without anyone else to make this long journey to Brazil! Actually we were 20 days on the water to Rio De Janeiro and then one more day to Santos for a total of 21 days on the water or almost a full month of travel time in getting to our mission field.
Fortunately I didn't get sea sick—I was a little woozy the first two or three days—but unfortunately, Fred was uncomfortable most of the way. I thought the time would really drag, but those three weeks on board ship went by very fast. It was enjoyable; we had good companionship. The food was excellent! It gave us ample opportunity to study and to help prepare ourselves. It was a very enjoyable experience and particularly I recall our initiation into the court of King Neptune as we passed over the equator and some pictures in my album record that very happy occasion.
I will never forget our first experience in Brazil. This was before the time of the Language Training Mission and neither Fred nor I had heard a word of Portuguese before arriving in Brazil. We happened to dock in Rio right in the middle of their great celebration of Carnival. As we got off the ship and went down the gangplank, I really began to wonder what the people were like in that country. Here they were all in costume, painted faces, and the girls immediately came up and sprayed us with an either perfume. The people were just wild and dancing and singing in the streets. I have never seen such complete and wholehearted participation in a celebration. I thought we were down in a very poor part of the streets because all of the buildings had the big iron doors pulled down in front of them and I really couldn't believe it when I had the opportunity to return to Rio on my way home, that we were in one of the most beautiful parts of downtown Rio. This is the custom in most South American cities. At the close of business at the end of the day the big steel doors are pulled down hiding the store and the contents in the window for security reasons.
I was met at the dock in Santos by Lynn Cromar, who was actually from our ward and who was the mission secretary. I had been advised to bring a lot of things to last for my whole mission so that one thing I had was a lot of soap. In fact, the whole bottom of my trunk was lined with soap. We had a very sticky customs inspector and he wanted to charge me about $60 duty for the soap and items that I was bringing into the country. Well, they weren't worth anything near that. We offered to give them the soap. We offered to dump it into the bay. And we tried everything, but after Lynn haggled with them all day long we were finally able to get them into the country for $15 or $20, which was still much more than it was worth, but it was all that could be done.
I won't go into great detail about my mission at this time, other than to say that our Mission President was J. Alden Bowers and he was a great Mission President. I had gotten some infection under the cuticles of two of my fingers of my left hand and so I had quite severe infection in them when we arrived. I learned later that I had been assigned to the companion of Grand [Grant?] Bangerter and work in Curitiba as my first city. However, with the infection the mission President thought it was better to keep me in Sao Paulo until we could get it cleared up. I was assigned to work with Elder Bybee as my first companion. We later were able to get the infection cleared up and there was no great problem with that.
We lived with the Tarazona family, a little family with two children, out in the Ipiranga District and it was there that I had my first exposure to Brazilian food and the Brazilian language. It was a great experience, being put right in the middle of the family you learned to speak or else. I spent the first 8monthsof my mission in Sao Paulo with Elder Bybee and during that time, he baptized the very first native Brazilian that was baptized a member of the Church in Brazil. He had a very special Assyrian friend by the name of Acras, who was very kind to us, who on our preparation day would occasionally take us for a ride and a drive to the various points of interest in Sao Paulo in one of the very few private automobiles. This was really a special treat for us.
I was later transferred to Porto Alegre and Frank McKean was my companion at first there and it was there that I was first made a senior companion and Carl Gibson was made my first companion fresh from the United States. It was really quite an experience to get your first green one. Porto Alegre was a great experience. Two of the highlights there were the big flood in 1941, in which the downtown area was completely flooded and two or three blocks on both sides of the River Guaiba. Our little church where we were holding our meetings was flooded. We had to pile the benches and the organ way up and we were able to keep the organ out of water but almost everything else was ruined. I have pictures standing in front of the building with the water up about to our chests. That was really quite an experience.
Another very special experience was Carl and I tracting out the Eiyck family and Sister Eiyck was one that was really prepared for the gospel. When we went tracting along that street, Rua Piradentes, the first time, she was out in front talking to some one and so we went by and went down the street. Then I felt motivated that we must go back and talk to her and when we went back, she said that she had felt impressed that she should talk to us. She was so glad that we came and invited us in and there we began teaching her the principles of the gospel. This was a very special experience in teaching her and she had three beautiful young boys, Max, Nilo, and Arno. What good-looking boys they were! I have some pictures of these boys and this lovely lady. Just when we were getting close to the point where she was converted and about ready to be baptized, I received a transfer and was called back to Sao Paulo to be the Mission Secretary. I really hated to leave Porto Alegre and this special family, but you respond to whatever call or direction that comes from your Mission President. A short time after I went back to Sao Paulo, the elders, Elder Anderson and Elder Gibson, did baptize Sister Eiyck. I'll just mention at this time that it was decided that I would have the opportunity to baptize the boys and planned to do so and went back to Porto Alegre at the end of my mission to do that. However, when I arrived there the father had decided to not give permission for his boys to be baptized and so we were not able to do it.
I spent the last 15 months of my mission as Mission Secretary and this was a very special experience for me in many ways. One of the real highlights was to live in the Mission Home and to be close to President and Sister Bowers. Sister Bowers didn't have any children of her own and had a lot of childish rules in the home, but she treated us well and we had good food and I really enjoyed my assignment as Mission Secretary and particularly my association with President Bowers.
I guess the highlight of my mission in many ways was part of this time. Jim Faust was what was called the District President in Sao Paulo and he and I were assigned as companions for our proselyting work and our activities outside of the regularly assigned duties and so it was at this time that we became very close and fast friends—Even to the extent that I shared with Jim my letters from Janet and to this day he talks of how much he enjoyed reading those letters from my girl. This was a real choice friendship and association that developed there in the mission field.
I was about ready to be transferred back out into the field toward the end of my mission when we received word that we were going to get a new Mission President, W.W. Seegmiller. President Bowers felt that we shouldn't have a new Mission President and a new Mission Secretary at the same time so he asked me to stay on in the office. However, no one anticipated, even though it was in the middle of World War II, that it would take President Seegmiller so long to get down. With all of the submarine activity in the Caribbean, they wouldn't let him come by ship. He had to come by plane, but there was very limited plane traffic and most all of the seats were taken up by government or military personnel. It took over two months from the time that we expected him to come before he was able to get space for himself and his wife and arrive in Brazil. So that by the time that we got him squared away so that he would feel comfortable with another Mission Secretary, it was time for me to return home. I was given the opportunity to go down to Ipomeia or the Highlands, as it was called, to settle some tax problems on the Church property there and then go back and spend a week in Porto Alegre before I came home, since I hadn't had a chance to get back out into the Mission field.
Elder Barlow Briggs, Fred Blechert, and I then went to Rio and we had to live there for two weeks, checking in with Pan Am twice a day, living in a little pensao just a block off of Copacabana Beach, before we were able to get out passage to return home.
My mission was a great experience. I returned home in September 1942, having left early in January of 1940, having been gone almost three years. Foreign missions were 2Â˝ years at that time due to the fact that we had to take the extra time to learn a language.
As we returned home, the United States was right in the middle of the war and most missionaries were given very little time before they were drafted and off into the military. In fact, some missionaries elected to stay in South America, against the counsel and guidance of the Church, and accepted jobs with American companies or with the consulates or the embassies so that they wouldn't have to go home and be drafted into the military. Because I had had two years of college before my mission I was able to get into what was called a College Training Detachment and there had the opportunity of getting in two quarters of school before having to leave for the military.
Of course, the most exciting part of my return from my mission was meeting once again with Janet. She was there at the train station to meet me along with all the members of my family and I knew as soon as I saw her and embraced her and kissed her for the first time after returning that she was still the girl for me and that she was the one that I wanted to marry. I wanted immediately to give her my fraternity pin and to start going steady, but it took her a little bit longer to realize or convince herself that I was the one for her so it wasn't until some two weeks after I had returned home that she consented to go steady with me.
I should comment a little bit about my family. I certainly had great parents who supported me in the mission field. It was a difficult financial sacrifice for them at that time, especially with four other children, but my parents managed to send me $25 every month while I was in the mission field and I managed to get along on an average of $22.50 a month. We were able to get board and room for about $10 a month. We were able to get all our laundry done that we could get dirty in a month for about $1.50. Things were very, very inexpensive in Brazil at that time. I think the mission average was somewhere around $28 or $30, but I managed to live on $22.50 and save enough money so that I was able to buy a Brazilian diamond before I left the mission field for my sweetheart.
There were a couple of really traumatic experiences in the mission field. The one I have already alluded to when I got the word that Grandpa Boam had passed away, and this grandpa of whom I had thought so much and who was so dear to me, that I would not get a chance to see again until we were reunited in the other life. The other was when I had gone a little longer than normal in getting my regular letter from home and my mother was so faithful the whole time that I was gone in writing every week and writing such wonderful and encouraging letters to me. This one day I got a letter in father's handwriting and I knew that something must be wrong and so I hurriedly opened the letter and sure enough it was. My father related to me how my mother, in attempting to cross the street in front of the old Waterloo Ward chapel on 5th East on a cold and wintry night had slipped and fell on the ice and before she could get up out of the way, a car driven by a young boy came along the street and was unable to stop and hit her and broke her leg and seriously injured her. Actually I guess she was very close to death for a period of two weeks and it took a number of months for my father to be able to nurse her back to health. This was a very difficult time for my family and particularly my father who had to maintain his daily work and yet his family. He learned to cook and to perform the household duties and did just a great job of taking care of mother and the family until mother was able to get back on her feet again. She never did recover completely. Dr. Alexander did a great job with her, but her leg, until the time of her death, always gave her trouble, sometimes more than others. She continued on and provided for the wants and needs of her family and saw them all well-married in the temple and certainly gave and sacrificed for her family as they were really her main interest in life along with her husband.
It was really a wonderful courtship with Janet. Our very favorite place to go on a date was Jerry Jones' Rainbow Randevu down on 5th South. It was a very special place and many of the big-name bands came through and played at the Rainbow Randevu. One of our favorites was Carl Ravazza, but there were many others and we really loved to dance. From September through December our love grew and flourished and on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1942, I gave Janet the engagement ring, the diamond I had bought in Brazil and had set by a jeweler friend, a member of the church that I knew in Miami, on the way back, and we became officially engaged. We had been out dancing and then came back home in front of the fireplace and it was a beautiful winter evening. It had been snowing all evening in great big white flakes, the snow was deep and everything was covered with a blanket of white. It was very beautiful and very romantic that night. To try to add a little suspense, I had put the ring box in a little bigger box, and then a number of bigger boxes so that when I gave Janet her Christmas present, I think she was expecting a ring, but exhibited visually although not in word, quite a big of disappointment in seeing a big box, in thinking that that certainly was not the engagement ring that she had expected. After unwrapping a number of boxes and finally getting down to the bottom, there the engagement ring was and she let me put it on her finger and we became officially engaged.
At that time we didn't set the date as our future was very uncertain, but it wasn't very long after that that we received notice that our college training detachment would be called to active duty at the end of the winter quarter at the University of Utah. We decided that we just couldn't be separated again without being married and so we set the date for our wedding, February 12, Lincoln's Birthday, 1943. We had always had such high regard for President David O. McKay that we felt that we would like him to marry us, but thought that our chances of being able to get him would be very, very slim, but we decided we could lose nothing by asking. We submitted our request and how thrilled and happy we were that he accepted. We were married in the Salt Lake temple on Feb. 12, 1943 by President David O. McKay, who was at that time a counselor in the First Presidency.
I didn't own a car. It was difficult to get gas. Janet was working at the time for the FBI and was only able to get about three or four days vacation, even to get married, since it was war time. We had a very glorious, even though it was a very short honeymoon at Las Vegas, Nevada. We stayed at the Last Frontier Hotel and at that time there were just two hotels on the now famous strip—The Last Frontier and El Rancho Vegas. We went to Las Vegas on the Greyhound bus and returned the same way and first set up housekeeping in the Lincoln Arms Apartment on east First South in Salt Lake. We just barely had less than two months of married life together when our unit was activated and I had to leave for Little Rock, Arkansas and Camp Joseph T. Robinson to begin my full-time military career.
This is a good breaking point. I assure my posterity that I will continue on with this until I am able to get it completed so that in the future whenever any of my posterity do feel that they would like to learn a little bit about their father, or grandfather, or great grandfather, they will have this record to read. (Transcribed from voice tapes)
I didn't own a car. It was difficult to get gas. Janet was working at the time for the FBI and was only able to get about three or four days vacation, even to get married, since it was war time. So we had a short but glorious honeymoon in Las Vegas, Nevada. We rode the Greyhound Bus there and back and stayed at the Last Frontier Hotel, which was one of just two hotels on the now famous Strip. (El Rancho Vegas was the other.) Upon our return we set up housekeeping in the Lincoln Arms Apartment on east First South in Salt Lake City. We had less than two months of married life together when our Branch and Material replacement training unit at the University of Utah was called up the first of April and we were assigned for general basic training at camp Joseph T. Robinson at Little Rock, Arkansas.
The War Years
These were very difficult times with the United States heavily involved in World War II. The night when we got on the train in Salt Lake City leaving for Camp Robinson was certainly one of the most difficult and trying times in my life. To leave my young bride and all of our family and to go off into the war not knowing what our future situation would beâ€”when I would be able to return to Salt Lake or when we would be able to be together againâ€” was almost more than I could bear. We certainly hoped that things would work out, that Janet would be able to join me after the initial basic training was completed, and that we could have some time together before actually being embroiled in the midst of World War II, but we didn't know.
Camp Joseph T. Robinson was located just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. Basic training there was a very difficult adjustment for me. However, I was so grateful that I at least had had two years away from home during my schooling at the University of Chicago and then the three years in Brazil on my mission so that it made it easier for me than for many others who were leaving their homes and families for the very first time.
Our training unit was theoretically what they called a Branch Immaterial Replacement Training Center. In it we would receive general basic infantry training and then, based on our performance and test scores, (and I guess primarily on the needs of the military), we would be assigned to a specific part or division of the armed forces.
It did not take me long to realize that the training and action in the war of the infantry made it not the most desirable branch of the service to be in. Of course, no phase of war is agreeable or even pleasant, but certainly there are some divisions of the service that are more enjoyable than others. My situation was not helped any by the fact that I caught a bad cold and, with our rigorous training program, developed a case of pneumonia. This particular week we were out on the firing range doing our gunnery training and performance, and I would manage to get out of bed in the morning, get out to the gunnery range, complete the training, make it back to camp and then just collapse in bed without even enough strength to get to the mess hall to eat. Finally I realized I was too sick and couldn't continue on that basis, so I reported for sick call. The doctor's determination was that I had pneumonia and was therefore confined to the base hospital for almost two weeks.
I recovered and was able to work it out that Janet could come visit me at Little Rock. She came in May or early June and what a glorious reunion that was! It was great for us to be together, although the time we could spend together was very, very limited, since I was not able to get away from the base during the evenings but only on the weekends.
It was while Janet was there that they posted on the post bulletin board a notice that the U. S. Air Force would be on the base to perform admission testing, and, because of their high priority needs, any soldier who desired to transfer into the Air Force would be able to do so if he passed the basic tests.
I saw this as an opportunity of a life time, or at least a means of escaping from the infantry, so I signed up for the tests. The first was the mental test administered on the base. Wouldn't you know it, I drew KP that evening, but fortunately was able to find a friend who would take my KP service for me so that I could take the test. Fortunately I was able to pass it. This meant that the following Saturday we had to go into Little Rock where the Air Force had a recruiting station and go through a very severe physical examination to make sure that we could meet the minimum physical standards set by the Air Force.
We had a small branch of the church in Little Rock, and one of the Air Force testing officers was a member of the church. So I asked him about it and he expressed some concern relative to my weight. With the heat in Arkansas in the summer and the rigorous training, my weight, which had never been very much, had dropped down to approximately 137 pounds. The training man said, "it looks like you do have a problem because you are about 7 pounds under the minimum weight for your height." Well, Janet and I really prayed about this and I was able to come into Little Rock on Friday night and spend the night with Janet. Then early Saturday morning before we went to take the test, I started drinking water and eating bananas to put on as much weight as possible.
After all of that I almost didn't make it to the weighing station before I absolutely had to go to the bathroom. But our perseverance paid off. I was just barely able to make it over the minimum weight limit and pass the physical exam so I could be officially transferred to the Air Force. This was certainly a very, very happy day in our lives, and a great blessing.
Janet had to return to Salt Lake City, and the first part of July I was assigned to the Air Force. We traveled from Little Rock, Arkansas to Miami Beach, Florida where the Air Force conducted their basic training. What a change from Camp Joseph T. Robinson! We were housed in the high rise beach hotels that had been taken over by the Air Force for military personnel and training purposes. Fortunately, the hotel we were in had maintained the same kitchen staff, so the quality of the food we received was marvelous and just 110% improvement over what we had at Robinson. We only stayed in Miami Beach for a couple of weeks because they determined we had had our basic training at Joseph T. Robinson. While there they put us through a number of detailed tests to help them determine what the next phase of our training would he.
I was then assigned a College Training Detachment at a small Midwest college called Knox College at Galesburg, Illinois. The food there was also marvelous. We were there primarily to brush up on the educational skills necessary to prepare us for further assignment in the Air Force. We were also able to participate in a very excellent and enjoyable intramural sports program.
While I was at Knox College a very special event took place in our lives. Our first child, Marti Lynne, was born on the 9th of November 1943. We had decided that I would apply for emergency home leave after Janet got out of the hospital so that she and I would have more time with each other, rather than to come home while she was still in the hospital and be very restricted in the amount of time we could spend together. And so it was marvelous to be back at Salt Lake. Janet was living with her mother and father at 662 Browning Avenue. They were kind enough to provide a bedroom for us and we had a marvelous reunion. What a thrill to see our first baby! Marti had some colic problems which made it difficult to get her to sleep and to keep her from crying, but what a beautiful baby and what a marvelous blessing for us to have her and to be able to be home even for just a few days!
After completing my college detachment training at Knox College I was assigned for my preflight training at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas. This was in January of 1944. Some time after arrival there Janet was able to get a ride with her brother Grant and his wife who were traveling across the country, and she and Marti came to spend a few weeks in Houston. We were only able to find a room with kitchen privileges in a home, but it was great to be together, even though I did not get off the base until Saturday about noon. We had Saturday afternoon and evening together. I had to go back out to the base to sleep on Saturday night and then I could come back in on Sunday morning and could stay until Sunday afternoon when we had to return for the weekly parade of all the cadets.
I did receive some special recognition at this time. I was made the Cadet Commander over all of the cadets. It was my responsibility then to direct these weekly parades and to issue all of the basic commands to the cadets as they marched in review in front of our commanding officers. Here again I felt that the maturity I had achieved in the mission field plus my two years of college and training in my family and the church helped me to qualify for this highest of cadet positions.
One phase of our preflight training was 10 hours of pilot training in a small two seat Piper Cub-type airplane. This was very interesting and kindled within me a desire to qualify for pilot training if at all possible. While we were there, Jim and Ruth Faust had been married and Jim was also in the Air Force in the Intelligence division. They came through Houston, Texas on the way to their assignment (I think it was in Florida) and it was so great to see them and have a little time to visit with them. What wonderful people! They have been our choice friends over the years. Jim and I served in Brazil at the same time and were actually companions in Sao Paulo for a period of time.
From the preflight training in Houston, we were sent to San Antonio where they had a very extensive placement testing program. This was basically to determine whether you were qualified for pilot training, navigation training, or bombardier training. I listed pilot as my first choice, navigation second and bombardiering third. I actually passed high enough in all three of these divisions to be qualified; however, my highest qualification was in navigation. At that time the Air Force had a much greater need for navigators than they had for pilots so, although I tried to get into pilot training, I was sort of arbitrarily assigned to be trained as a navigator.
Before entering into Advanced Navigation School, they sent us to Laredo, Texas, right down on the Mexican border, for six weeks of gunnery school training. This involved a lot of ground training, but especially air to ground gunnery practice in B-24s and B-17s. This was right in the summer time and it was so hot and the food was so poor that I began to wonder if we would really survive. If it hadn't have been for the PX and the ice cream and the extra things we could buy there I don't think we would have been able to survive with the food they were providing us in the mess hall. We made many formal complaints, but it just didn't seem to do any good.
I can so vividly remember when we were doing our training in the B-24s. The navigator was assigned to the upper turret, which meant that you manned the gunnery station right on top of the airplane. So we would go on a gunnery mission in the afternoon after the airplane had been sitting in the runway in the sun all day. I don't know how many degrees over a hundred it was in that tiny turret with the plastic top, but to climb up into it with two very heavy belts of 50 caliber machine gun bulletsâ€”one over each shoulderâ€”and to load those belts into those machine guns was certainly a very, very difficult and disagreeable task. To make things even worse, we never flew more than about 400-500 feet above the ground and that made the flights very bumpy. That, combined with the heat and the acrid smell from the shooting of the machine guns, made most of us very sick. It was a very difficult and disagreeable time.
I wanted Janet to come to Laredo because we did have a little more free time in the evenings, but it was such a hole of a place and the housing was practically unavailable, so it was just out of the question. So we suffered through our six weeks of gunnery school training before being assigned to Advanced Navigation School at San Marcos, Texas.
San Marcos is located about midway between Austin and San Antonio, Texas. The normal advanced navigation training program was a 26 week program, but since the Air Force had such great need for navigators with the war going poorly and the need to increase the Air Force, our training was reduced from 26 weeks to 16 weeks. Our training days went from early morning until 10 o'clock at night. This was certainly 16 weeks of the most intensive training and studying that I went through.
However, I was very blessed and was made the Cadet Colonel for our class and actually for all the cadets on the base. Once again I commanded the various parades and reviews and our final review before graduation. I was also selected to be in the final navigation training exercises between the various groups in our training class, which was a very special experience. I goofed up, though, on the night navigation part. I had plotted the destination 60 miles or 60 degrees on the map farther north than it actually was. I had the plane exactly on the right course and we were heading right straight toward our destination and I went up in the little cupola to make my final observation and the pilot asked, "What in the world are you doing that for? Our destination is right ahead." And so I was very embarrassed that I had misplotted our destination and therefore had miscalculated the estimated time of arrival.
Our graduation from Advanced Navigation School was set for September. It was so great that Janet was able to borrow Grandpa Weech's car and come down to be with me at that time. How gracious he was and how understanding to let her take it. My sister Virginia agreed to accompany her so that she and Marti would not have to travel alone. And so they traveled the distance from Salt Lake City to San Marcos together. They had difficulty in arriving because of so much difficulty with flat tires, but they finally did make itâ€”arriving before the actual graduation ceremonies.
In my graduation from navigation school, once again the Lord was with me and certainly I received a special blessing. I think in my own mind and heart that it was a direct response to my prayers and to my decision to fulfill a full time mission. Just two of us out of our class of some 75 cadets were selected to remain at the base as navigation instructors. All of the rest of the class, after a 10 day furlough, were sent to their overseas phase training and then went directly into the war.
We had a 10 day leave and traveled back to Salt Lake City in Grandpa Weech's car also having continuing tire problems. Of course rationing was on and it was impossible to buy new tires. All you could get were recaps and those were of such poor quality. But finally in a little place in Colorado, with my military ranking I finally wrangled one new tire so that we could continue our journey and make it to Salt Lake where we were able to stay for a few days.
With my commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force and with my navigator's wings, I was assigned as a navigation instructor at San Marcos Advanced Navigation School. Fortunately we were able to get a reservation for a compartment with a berth for our trip back to San Marcos and that was certainly a very enjoyable and special trip to be able to be together, to have our own private compartment, to be able to enjoy each other and particularly our new little daughter.
With so many military personnel in San Marcos and being such a small city on the river it was impossible for us to find an apartment in the city itself. Finally we were successful in getting a little caretaker's house on a cotton plantation a number of miles out of town. A family by the name of Martindale had fixed it up and repainted it for the purpose of providing military housing. I think we were the first couple to live in it, and it was a great thing for us to be in our own little house with some degree of comfort although we were a ways from the base and it took considerable time to go back and forth. We had to depend on rides or on the bus that only ran every hour to get back and forth.
We were able to spend our very first Christmas together in Texas. It was a joy to be together, but what a lonesome time to be separated from all of our family. It was also a very difficult and trying time still not knowing what the future had in store for us with the war real]y not going as well as we had hoped. Life was just uncertain and we had to live on a day by day basis and pray for the Lord's blessings to be with us. At least we were together. I was able to come home each evening and we had our weekends together. On Sundays we were able to take the bus and go into San Marcos for the branch Sunday services.
Now one of the most important happenings during my assignment as an instructor was that we received a group of Brazilian cadets to be trained. They had originally been sent to the United States to be trained as pilots, but had washed out of pilot training so they wanted to see if they could salvage them and make navigators out of them. Of course, they were very thrilled and pleased to have an instructor who could speak their language, since I had learned Portuguese on my mission. So I had a very enjoyable and very challenging time as the chief instructor for this group of Brazilian cadets. We were able to buy an old used Pontiac two-door car which a couple who were being transferred were selling, so this gave us a little bit more flexibility as far as transportation was concerned.
Then one day I received my orders that I was being transferred to overseas phase training in preparation for entering directly into the conflict. However, when the Brazilian cadets learned of my transfer, they were so concerned that they pleaded with their commanding officer to see if he couldn't intercede and get my orders changed so that I could remain and at least complete their phase of training. He was successful and my orders were changed. What a great blessing it was to have my time extended at the navigation school. We finally were successful in obtaining an apartment in downtown San Marcos, where we could be closer to other cadets, the branch of the church, and the base. Janet was able to buy some blue material and make some curtains for the windows which dressed things up a bit.
As all good things have to come to an end, I finally received my orders assigning me for overseas combat training at Chatham Field in Savannah, Georgia. The orders came out this time that, regardless of rank or assignment or whatever, any military personnel who had not actually participated in combat must be assigned for combat training and enter therein. Even though our Pontiac car was old and unreliable, we decided we would try to make the trip by car. And so we drove from San Marcos, Texas down to New Orleans and over to Savannah where Chatham Field was located. We spent our first night there in a hotel, but we would have been better off to have slept in the car. There were so many mosquitoes and they were so big and so powerful that we stayed awake practically the whole night swatting mosquitoes and trying to protect little Marti from them. It was certainly a very, very disagreeable time.
We thought that we had arrived early enough that we would at least be able to find a small apartment to live in, but that was not to be. Finally the very best we could find was a bedroom with kitchen privileges with a little old Jewish lady. She was certainly very nice, but the living quarters left a great deal to be desiredâ€”particularly with the number of cockroaches. As we got involved in our training I would have to get up at about 2 o'clock in the morning when we were assigned to fly a training mission. We had to go out to the base and preflight our airplane, which took about 4 hours, and still be ready to take off around 8 o'clock in the morning. When it was time for me to get up, Janet would stand up on the bed and flip the light switch onâ€”a single bulb over our bedâ€”and I would take a broom and try to kill as many cockroaches as possible and sweep them out of my way on the way to the bathroom.
I was assigned to B-29s, which were the newest and biggest bombers that the Air Force had at that time. The captain of our flight crew was a man by the name of Hal Bukema, who was General Omar Bradley's son-in-law. His wife's father was a colonel at West Point and so they were a true blue military family. The B-29 was a great delight for me in comparison to the B-17 and the B-24. We had gyro-stablized drift meters, I had at least a good work bench to work on, and we had the latest in Loran navigational equipment. And so it was a great benefit and step up from what I had been used to at gunnery school.
We received a lot of ground training, but also flew a number of 3000 to 5000 mile extended training missions. Sometimes we would fly from Savannah out over the ocean and back and other times we would fly over into the Midwestern part of the United States and back. The most memorable (which I really don't like to remember in many ways) of these training missions was one that we flew into the Midwest. Partway along we had problems with one of our engines, which caught fire and had to be throttled down and out. Of course, at that time we were better than 1500 to 2000 miles from our base and so we had to make the decision to either land or return. While we were contemplating this decision, we lost a second engineâ€”fortunately on the other side of the airplane. The B-29 is a big four-engine aircraft, but with losing two of our engines, this made it that we could not maintain our flight speed, nor could we continue to maintain our altitude with just two engines.
All of our crew voted that we should land in Nebraska at a base there and get the airplane fixed before we attempted to return to our home base in Savannah. However, our captain overruled us. I think the reason was that he realized that if we landed there in Nebraska, we would be on the ground for at least one or two weeks getting the engines fixed, and he did not want to be away from his new bride for that long. So over the objections of all of the rest of the crew, he made the decision that we would fly and make it back to Savannah.
That was certainly a very trying and tense time for me because we were gradually losing altitude and, as more time went on, the captain became more and more concerned about his decision. It seemed like he was calling me on the intercom about every five minutes asking me for a new estimated time of arrival, our gasoline consumption, etc. to determine whether or not we were going to be able to make it back. Needless to say, I prayed very fervently in my heart that we would be protected and that we would be able to make a safe return back to our home base, which we were able to do. However, upon landing and getting out of the airplane, we noticed the third engine was leaking oil severely. If we had been flying for very much longer we would have lost engine number three. Then there would have been no way we could have maneuvered the plane or made a safe landing on just one engine.
So the Lord did hear and answer our prayers and we were able to make it back to our home base. However, the rest of the crew decided that they would not ever fly again with Hal Bukema if he was going to be that irresponsible and that inconsiderate of the lives of his crew members. A formal protest was registered by the rest of the crew against Hal. I liked Hal and really understood a lot about what his reasoning was, so I didn't sign the protest along with the rest of the crew. However, before it could come to trial or for review by the base commander, the earth shaking events of the dropping of the two atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki took place. Japan surrendered, and the war ended the end of August, 1945.
We were scheduled to leave for Saipan in the South Pacific on the 15th of September. And so we missed actually going to the Pacific and being involved in the direct conflict by just two weeks. Certainly again, the hand of the Lord was seen in my life and I feel that again I was blessed for having made the decision to serve a mission for the Lord in Brazil. For it was that language capability I gained as a missionary which made it possible for me to have my time extended as an instructor at the Advanced Navigation School and thereby miss entering into the actual conflict.
Janet had already returned back to Salt Lake by train, as she was expecting our second daughter, Kathy. Unfortunately, I was not able to go with her, as our status was very undetermined with the end of the war as to whether we would still be required to go overseas and fly maintenance-type patrol duty or just what. But after two months in limbo, the decision was made that those who wanted to get out of the service, regardless of the number of points that had been accumulated, could be discharged. The points were based on your time of service and the type of service you had. I didn't really have enough points to be discharged at that time, but because of the big build up of flight personnel, the decision was finally made to declare us surplus and make us eligible for discharge regardless of the number of points.
Hal and his wife were permanent career military people, and they tried their best to talk Janet and me into staying in the Air Force and continuing on with our career in that regard. I was really sort of tempted to do that because the kind of work I was doing as a navigator was some of the most fascinating and challenging work that I had done in my life up to that point. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and the flying. But after discussing it and praying about it and going to the Lord for help, we finally made the decision to get out of the service at this time and try to complete my education so that we would be able to settle down in Salt Lake where we could be with family, get a home of our own, and get on with our lives and the creation of our family.
Kathy was born in the LDS Hospitalon the 19th of October, 1945. Shortly thereafter I was released from the service. I sold the old Pontiac car and also had the opportunity to sell the good German camera I had bought at such a bargain price in Brazil for double or triple what I had paid for it. Since we had so many expenses ahead of us and two years of schooling yet to complete, we needed every cent that we could get. I was able to get a ride with another Air Force man, Dean (I've forgotten what his last name was) and we were able to travel across the country and return to Salt Lake after my discharge from the military
My intention in going back into school at the University of Utah was to pursue the field of education. I wanted to be a teacher and major in educational administration with an end objective of becoming either a grade school or high school principal. I felt that teaching was in my blood. Particularly my experience in teaching in the mission field and then my experience as an instructor in Advanced Navigation School helped me to realize that teaching was indeed an integral part of me and was something that I really enjoyed.
Upon my return to Salt Lake I stopped in at Salt Lake Cabinet and Fixture Company where I had worked as a young boy and where my father was still in the position of plant superintendent. I knew the Fetzers, who were running the business, particularly the two sons of the founder, Casper J. Fetzer: Percy K. and John K. Fetzer. Upon going into the office and talking to John, he wanted to know what my plans were. He offered me part time employment with very flexible hours and said I could work around my school schedule at the University of Utah. Then upon my graduation in business administration I would be given the job of purchasing agent for the company.
This was a very tempting offer and certainly one that offered a way for me to complete my schooling. We did get some minimum help out of the G.I. school benefits but it certainly was not enough to pay for schooling and maintain a wife and two children. And so Janet and I, after fasting and praying and most prayerful consideration, made the decision that I would change my career path. Instead of pursuing a course in educational administration, I would change my major and go into business administration.
This completes the first phaseâ€” "The War Years." I want to make just two or three observations before closing up this part of my history.
Certainly this ended a very, very difficult phase in our lives, primarily because of the uncertainty of the future. Every time Janet and I had to say goodbye, (which were many), we never knew whether or not that would be the last time we would see each other in this mortal life. And, believe me, it is hard to say goodbye to each other when it has to be under those kinds of conditions. It was, of course, a very difficult time for our countryâ€”being involved in the most extensive and all-encompassing war of all recorded history up until that time. It was of great concern even in surviving the war as to what would happen to our country, especially if we should be defeated.
And so it was a very difficult time, and we were blessed in having the two girls born into our family during this time. We were surely blessed with two marvelous and wonderful souls; however, it did restrict our flexibility in being together. Without the children Janet would have been able to spend considerably more time with me, as did other Air Force wives, and would have been able to work and improve our financial situation. (Actually we were only together about two months of the first two years of our married life.) But it is a good thing that we do not make all of the decisions in our lives independent of our Father in Heaven. Our Father in Heaven saw fit to bless us with these two wonderful daughters, and, although it increased our financial responsibilities, the joy and happiness and blessing of having these two girls come into our lives is beyond expression.
I certainly bear my testimony at this time to the blessings of the Lord that were bestowed upon me and upon us. As recorded in my previous history, the difficult decision I made to go on a mission was one of the best and most important decisions I made in my life. Certainly it had a great impact and opened the door so that Heavenly Father could bless me to be able to get through the war years without accident or bodily harm. So many of our friends and associates in the service who went into actual combat did not return. I heard at one time it was estimated that of our group at Camp Joseph T. Robinson who were given two weeks furlough and then went directly to the South Pacific, about 75% never returned. I never did get any figures about those from our graduating class at navigation school who went directly into overseas combat, but certainly many of them were killed and had their mortal lives snuffed out in defense of their country. So, certainly we were blessed and I express my gratitude to my Father in Heaven for these marvelous blessings. He apparently had something yet more important in our lives for us to accomplish.
The School Years
The University or Utah
As mentioned, I had made the change in my major to business administration. We were on the G.I. Bill and I was working between 35 and 40 hours a week at Salt Lake Cabinet. Mrs. Miller, who was the secretary of the company, agreed to let me use her car so it would not take so much time for me to go back and forth to the university on the bus. We could not afford our own car as yet, so I would take the bus to Salt Lake Cabinet and then take Mrs. Miller's car to go to school and return to work.
I was fortunate in getting the classes I needed pretty much together so that I was able to work a maximum amount of time. It was a very difficult schedule working that many hours and carrying from 16 to 20 hours of school work. And so it meant that almost every minute of free time I was studying, except that we always did reserve Friday night as our night out. Janet and I would go to a show or a dance or some type of recreation. I would have to work until 1 or 2 o'clock on Saturday, and I tried not to do any studying on Sunday.
The first couple of months we were home we lived with Janet's folks. Her brother Merrill, who was in the Navy, had a home on Sunnyside Avenue which had been previously rented. Then the renters moved out, and we were able to move in there in December of 1945. We spent Christmas there and lived there until about March of 1946 when Merrill was released from the Navy and came home.
One of the very memorable events at that time was that on New Year's Eve of 1945 we went to a show and then we invited Jim and Ruth Faust and Finn and Sara Paulsen back to our place. Finn and Sara weren't married at that time, but they were engaged to be married. We played Dirty Nellie and other games until about 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning. Throughout the years we often talked about that time and the bad time that Sara's mother gave her when she finally came home so late at night or early in the morning.
This was the reestablishment of a great friendship. Finn and I had been in Brazil at the same time along with Jim Faust; however, we actually did not meet while we were in Brazil. I was in the south when he came in, and he stayed up in the northern part all the time, so we didn't personally meet until after we had returned home. But after the war with all of us getting started into our school work, we decided to organize a returned Brazilian missionary group. There was the Brazilian Missionary Association that was meeting twice a year at April and October conference time, but we wanted to get together more often than that on a social basis and also to relive our experiences in Brazil. So we organized the group with the Fausts, the Bangerters, the Hickens, the Nixons, the Ericksons, the Duckworths, the Drexels, the Riches, the Paulsens, and Finn's cousin, Byron Paulsen, was for a time included in the group. What a wonderful association that has been. The group is still meeting after over 40 years, and we have certainly come to love and enjoy each other's friendship.
When Merrill came home from the service we had to move back in with Janet's folks. We noticed an ad in the paper by Verdi White on new homes he was building out on about Ninth East and 3000 South. We did not like the location, but we did like the price of the house. It was something that with our G.I. Bill of Rights we could qualify for. We went looking for property and finally found a lot on Melbourne Street about the same distance south. We bought the corner lot from the Simons sisters for $900, and Verdi agreed to build the home for the same price on that lot. We experienced a lot of frustrations along with the challenges of school during the construction period. Verdi promised that the home would be completed in three months but he had taken on far more than he could handle, and then there was so much construction going on that it was difficult to get some key materials. At least there were many excuses for the delays based on the unavailability of materials.
Finally the home was completed and we moved into the first home of our own on Memorial Day of 1947. What a glorious and wonderful day that was to be in our own home! We didn't have any furniture to speak of; in fact practically everything we had were hand-me-downs from our folks or what we could scrounge here and there, but we were gloriously happy to be in our own place with a nice yard. We were at that time pretty far out in the countryâ€”at least our folks thought so. There were very few houses out in that area at that time. We could sit on our front porch and watch the buses go by on 23rd East. ( Melbourne Street was 1845 East.)
I was nearing the end of my schooling, and in June of 1947, I graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. I graduated number one in the school of business with high honors and was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma, the honorary business school fraternity, and the Phi Kappa Phi, the honorary scholastic fraternity.
After two years of doing practically nothing but working and studying, it was a glorious day indeed, and I felt like I didn't want to see another school book for as long as I lived. In accordance with John Fetzer's promise, upon my graduation I was officially appointed to the office of purchasing agent for the Salt Lake Cabinet and Fixture Company, and was given a substantial increase in pay.
This had been another difficult and challenging period of our lives. I certainly want to express my love and appreciation to my dear sweet wife for her patience and her support during this very difficult time. We had the two children and were living with her mother and father, which is never easy, although they were so kind to us and so considerate. I was so involved between work and school that I really was able to spend very little time with her and the girls. But we survived. The Lord really blessed us and provided the means whereby we could get settled in our own little red brick home.
The Salt Lake Cabinet Years
I decided that perhaps the best way to record the subsequent periods is to divide my experiences up into three divisions: (1) my experiences relating directly to work, (2) major family events during that period, and (3) my assignments and activities in the Church.
As indicated, I graduated in June of 1947 and was made purchasing agent at Salt Lake Cabinet. The office at that time was at 36 South West Temple, although soon after I started full time it was moved down to the factory at 1436 South West Temple.
Shortly after graduation, Janet and I were invited to go on a lumber buying trip to the Northwest with John Fetzer. We needed to find some new sources of lumber, particularly pine. The company had just secured a new Ford car, and so it was in a way a great vacation time and a great opportunity to have a very pleasant break in our lives after the pressure of the school years. All in all it was a great trip and it was on this trip that our next child and first son, Craig, was conceived.
I was able to experience some good growth professionally. I reported directly to John Fetzer, who was the vice president of the company, but he pretty much left me on my own to direct and organize the purchasing department for the expanding firm. I had also had responsibility for the sales floor and display area and all walk-in sales, particularly in the church furniture and church pews, which was a very substantial part of our business at that time. I was able to join the National Association of Purchasing Agents, which was a great professional organization and also the Salt Lake Executives Club, which was a professional businessmen's service club.
It was great to work with my father, who was the plant superintendent. Dad was certainly a great professional and master cabinetmaker and was highly respected in his field. My responsibility in buying and supplying the materials for the manufacturing operation gave me a lot of opportunity to associate with him on a daily basis. Also I had it worked out so that once a week I would go and have lunch with my mother in the home at 460 Cleveland Avenue.
Our business was growing, and I hired a man by the name of Fred Rees to work in the hardware room and to assist me. Fred became a great friend of the family. He was a very kind and loving manâ€”not the most efficient man in the worldâ€”but certainly he earned his pay and he learned to love our family and our family learned to love him over the years.
One of the key events in my experience at the Cabinet was the opportunity to attend a national convention of the National Association of Purchasing Agents in New York City and then combine that with a lumber buying trip to the eastern part of the United Statesâ€”particularly in West Virginia and Kentucky. We were sorely in need of additional sources for hardwood lumber, particularly oak, that we could use to make our church pews. Merrill, who had been in New York and number of times, gave me counsel as to where to stay and what to do. I was able to see a Broadway show and the sights of New York. It was great, but not like it could have been. I really needed to have my wife along to share this great experience with me.
Another great trip was in 1950. We set up a trip to go back east and visit all our major suppliers. At that time both Dad and I decided to buy a new car and pick it up at the factory to save transportation charges. We had finally bought our own car, an old Ford, from John Fetzer, but Dad and I had a great time for about two weeks in making this trip. We went on the train back to Lansing, Michigan to the Buick factory where we picked up the cars. Then we drove in tandem all the way back across the country visiting the various suppliers along the way. What a thrill it was to return home with the first new car we had ever ownedâ€”a 1950 two-door Buick Special, green color. What a pleasure for us to have this car.
Another very special trip was the opportunity to attend the National Association of Purchasing Agents Convention in San Francisco. I was able to take Janet with me. We thoroughly enjoyed the convention, the entertainment, and getting better acquainted with San Francisco. It was a highlight for us.
Then in 1955, while we were with the stake out harvesting potatoes at the stake farm, John Fetzer advised me that he was going to be taking another trip back east and he wanted me to go with him. We took the Union Pacific train to Chicago and then on to New York. I particularly enjoyed sitting in the second deck of the special observation car and being able to see the engine and the track ahead and the signals and all. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable trip. We got to New York and there did some business, picked up a new car for the company, and then traveled by car back to Salt Lake.
The highlight of the trip was traveling through upstate New York where we bad a chance to visit Niagara Fallsâ€”-the first time that I had seen it, and then over to Palmyra, where we visited the Hill Cumorah. On an early Sunday morning, John and I had the privilege of visiting the Sacred Grove where Joseph Smith received his first vision and, as we were there all by ourselves, we knelt in prayer in that sacred place, and John asked me to be mouth. I poured out my heart to the Lord in thanksgiving for the great event that had happened there and our knowledge of it. Truly we felt a very, very special spirit in that sacred location.
Other highlights of work were our Christmas parties that were usually held at the Newhouse Hotel on the corner of 4th South and Main Street. Usually we received a Christmas bonusâ€”some years better than others depending upon the profit situation. That was always great for us and our family. I remember one of those bonuses when we were able to buy our first television. We also had a very outstanding Chinese-type party at John Fetzer's home where everyone dressed up in Chinese costumes, had a special program, and tried to eat with chopsticks.
As our family continued to grow, and our financial needs increased, I felt a great need to increase my salary as well. However, the Fetzers felt they were paying me all they could afford to pay for the job that I was doing, so the only opportunity I had to go ahead financially was to take a transfer into the sales department, where I stayed for a short time. There I was paid a base salary as well as a commission. I gave it a real good try, but I really could not adjust to or like the sales approach. I was much more suited to sitting on the purchasing side of the table.
So I started looking for other employment. It wasn't a difficult decision for me to make because I had really come to the point in my professional career where I could not progress further in the Cabinet. It was such a small, closely held family corporation that, at that point, I knew I needed to look elsewhere in order to be able to progress any further professionally or financially.
I starting interviewing with the Granite School District, where they needed a new administrative manager. I thought I had a real good chance, went down to the finals, but then lost out to a man who was a relative to a key man on the school board. Sperry-Univac came to Salt Lake and I interviewed with them, but, unfortunately was out of town when the interviewing group came back for the second time and didn't get to make a second interview.
Then I read in the paper that Litton Industries was coming to Salt Lake to establish a plant. I wrote to the company expressing my interest and my desire to be interviewed. As a family we had gone on a trip up to Yellowstone Park, and had just barely returned home when the phone rang. It was Vern Hefty from the Litton organization who was calling me to come in for an interview. They indicated they had tried a number of times to reach me and were ready to give up, but decided to call one more time. I went in and had interviews with Vern and with Vin Carver, took their tests, and was offered employment, which I accepted.
It was difficult to tell the Fetzers I was leaving Salt Lake Cabinet after so many years. It was especially difficult to leave my father, as he was still the plant superintendent. We had worked closely together, and it was a great joy for me. I assume it was a great joy for him, also, to have his oldest son there in the business. Although I was not inclined to follow my father in the cabinet making profession, still it was good for us to be togetherâ€”he as plant superintendent and myself as purchasing agent most of the time. So it was difficult to leave. My father understood and gave me his blessing, but I really felt he was very sad to see me leave.
I enjoyed working with John and Percy Fetzer. They were wonderful men and certainly very good to me; however, they left a lot to be desired as far as personnel relationships were concerned and knowing how to motivate an individual and particularly to show appreciation that had been accomplished.
But after almost 11 years with them since returning from the service, and with my family continuing to grow and having greater financial needs, I felt that it was a professional step that I just needed to take. I had been actually hired to be the purchasing agent for the company, but while we were small I was also given the responsibility to handle all of the personnel matters. I did not have very much experience in this regard, and so this was a great learning period for me. However, it came naturally, based on my church experience and my mission and so forth, and I feel that I made a fair contribution to the success of the company by being able to screen and hire key people who played very special roles in the growth and development of the company. Most of the people that I had a hand in hiring became permanent employees, and many of them were still with the company past the time when I left.
Five children were born to us during my years at Salt Lake Cabinet. Craig, our first son, was born on the 5th of March 1948. This was the first time I had been able to be present at the hospital with Janet when a baby was born. However, at that time they did not allow the fathers in the delivery room. The best I could do was to be with her in the labor room but then had to wait in the father's room to find out whether it was a boy or girl. We decided to name him Craig Williamâ€”after my grandfather, William Boam.
Lynn was our second son and fourth child, born exactly one year after Craig on the 5th of March 1949. He was given the name Lynn Davidâ€”the David being after President David O. McKay, who married Janet and me in the Salt Lake Temple. Later that year, just two days after Thanksgiving, Janet's father passed away. He had been seriously ill for a number of months with a bad heart condition. He had been in the hospital, then back at home on oxygen and had gone back into the hospital and passed away there. He was a very fine manâ€”very spiritual, a guide on Temple Square, and certainly did a great deal for Janet and me. We loved and appreciated him very much.
Cindy was our fifth child and third girl, born on the 19th of October, 1951 in the middle of the night exactly six years from the date Kathy was born. So out of our five children, we had two double birthdays: Craig and Lynn, and now Cindy and Kathy. We named her Cindy because it was a beautiful and different name and also because it sounded good with Marti and Kathy. Grandma Sorensen didn't seem to like the name, but certainly learned to love Cindy.
The final addition to our family during this period were the twins, who were born on the 8th of May. 1953. Both weighed exactly the same: 7 lbs. 10 oz. Both were exactly the same length: 21 inches. I will never forget when Janet was about seven months along, she went to the doctor and, being suspicious because of her large size, the doctor took an x-ray and confirmed that she would have twins. We really had mixed emotions about it being twins. We were thrilled with that prospect. But their birth gave us a total of seven children, and Marti was not yet ten years old.
This gave us a very special challengeâ€”most particularly Janetâ€”to have this many children and all of them so young. But it was very special to have these wonderful souls come to us and it was my privilege as father and patriarch of the family to give each and every one their blessings and their names. It was real interesting from the standpoint of the twins, that even though they were exactly the same size, we could tell from the moment we brought them home that they were going to be very, very differentâ€”different in temperament, different in personality. Although we tried throughout the years to treat them as close to the same as possible, they are certainly a living testimony to the personalities that spirits bring with them from the preexistence. They are two very different, but still very special individuals. How blessed we were to have them in our household.
With the birth of the twins, this meant we had outgrown our little house on Melbourne Street. It had only two bedrooms, and this gave us seven childrenâ€”nine people altogether. We had put up a double bed down in the basement where the two oldest girls were sleeping, but we had children in every room and had to convert our small dining room into a bedroom for the twins.
We did enjoy the house very much. I planted a hedge along the south side of the house with starts from Uncle Art, and also got raspberry starts from him. We had a small garden spot in the back.
We also had some very serious quality problems with the house, which we could not. get the contractor to correct. Jim Faust, our good friend, was just starting in law practice. After consulting with him, he said, "Let's try it and see what we can do. If you get something I'll charge you something; if we don't get anything I won't charge you anything." But it did not work out. He determined that the contractor was in bankruptcy and just did not have anything. He felt that we could get a judgment against him but the judgment would avail us nothing, so we dropped the suit. The floors had warped and were terrible uneven, so my father came up and helped me and we leveled up the floors considerably.
We sold the home finally and moved down into a rental place at 3212 Highland Drive on Thanksgiving Day of 1953. Our good friend, Ray Duckworth, drew up house plans for us; Percy Fetzer helped me to obtain a 5% loan from Beneficial Life, and my father agreed to help oversee the construction, and so with his help I decided to do the contracting work so we could save money and get as much as possible from our limited funds.
We started construction in the spring of 1954. I was able to buy all of the material wholesale from Salt Lake Cabinet. We certainly had a great deal of help from our friends. Dad and I did all of the carpentry work and all of the cement work with the help of friends. I did all of the common labor and most of the painting with the help of Larry Whitman from the Cabinet and Jay McBeth. We contracted out the plumbing, the electrical work to Lee Larson, the plastering to Brother Davies who was a counselor in the bishopric, and the block to Holger Peterson, who was a counselor in our stake presidency. The roofing was done by Layton Roofing.
Certainly this period was one of the most difficult for our familyâ€”for Janet, living down on Highland Drive. It was a nightmare for her trying to control the children with a very busy street out front, the big Safeway store just down the street, a bar next door, and all the enticements of the old Interstate Brick Yard with the train which hauled the clay and huge sand piles.
The minute I got home from work I quickly ate dinner and then went up to work on the house until 10 or 11 o'clock every evening and all day on Saturday. On Sunday, after going to church and having Sunday dinner, I completely collapsed. Some of the more traumatic experiences that took place on Highland Driveâ€”once Cindy ran off and got lost and was found by the police over near 27th South. Craig and Lynn got into an old sack of lime in the basement and got covered from head to foot. Craig turned out to be very allergic to it and had a very terrible case of the hives. Kathy had asked for stilts for Christmas. We didn't quite understand why until afterwards when we found out she had wanted them primarily so that she would be tall enough to look over the swinging doors and see into the beer parlor next door.
We finally completed this ordeal and moved into a partially finished home on Thanksgiving Day of 1954. What a glorious Thanksgiving that wasâ€”to be out of our traumatic experience on Highland Drive and to actually be back into a home that we could call our own. The kitchen, the two bedrooms, and the bathroom were finished upstairs. Nothing was done in the living room but the subfloor. We had the structural supports for the partitions downstairs for the bedrooms and had the bathroom finished, but that was all. My father continued to help well into the next year as we tried to work at every opportunity to complete the home. I should record that the family home was located on a little dead end street, 30th South, at number 2046.
I had almost given up finding a lot in the ward that we enjoyed so much, and was about ready to buy a lot over in Valley View Ward, when Earl Freeman, who owned this piece of property, decided to sell. There were four other lots besides his own. I managed to get the center lot and then talked him into cutting down the other lots to 145 feet deep so that we got a strip about 50 some-odd feet wide the whole length of the five lots. This gave us a great area for fruit trees and garden, which proved to be a great help to us throughout the future years.
Although it turned out to be a lot of work, having this extra property was also a great blessing. The children really had a lot of fun out there, building forts and tunnels and playing in the trees and having all sorts of fun children's activities. We always had a big garden, which helped us to supplement our budget, and also it was great to have the fresh produce that we could bring into the home.
Later on I even grew tomatoes as a cash crop. I learned of a place in Nevada where I could buy field run tomato plans relatively inexpensively and have them shipped by American Express and for a number of years I would plant around 400 tomato plants and then we would sell the excess. The money from the sale would give us what was needed to buy the fertilizer and take care of the other out of pocket costs in operating a big garden.
It was a real challenge to get the children to do their part and work along with us in the garden. Although we got discouraged in this regard at times, it became evident later on that they had learned important lessons. They learned the effort it took to put food on the table and became converted to the importance of having a garden. Most of them now have a garden of one size or another at their own homes to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for their families.
During this period of time we had some great family trips. Some of the outstanding ones were in 1955 in the summer we took our first trip to the Brockbank beach house at Capistrano Beach, California. We took the whole family in a used red Pontiac station wagon that I had traded for our Buick. Our Buick was just a 2-door car, and now with nine people we just couldn't take care of everyone. The Pontiac was a nine-seat car and was red and had a searchlight on the top. Janet felt it looked more like fire wagon than anything else, and I don't think she has ever really forgiven me for trading our beautiful little Buick for it. But it did enable us to travel and make these family trips in considerably more comfort.
Another outstanding trip was in 1957 when we took our whole family to Yellowstone Park for the first time with my father's little wood fishing boat. We had a lot of trouble with the motor, but we did catch a lot of fish and had great time. We stayed in a cabin and really enjoyed seeing the sights of Yellowstone Park as a family.
In February of 1956 Janet and I started a tradition of going to the beach house at Capistrano Beach every February as our vacation. I was getting two weeks paid vacation at the time, so we would save one week to take the children somewhere in the summer and we would take the other week and combine it with Washington's birthday so that we could leave on a Friday and have a 10-day vacation at the beach house. It turned out to be our salvation with all the pressures of church and work and our large family to be able to get away from the winter weather and enjoy the ocean and golf and going to the many interesting places that are near to Capistrano Beach.
Some times we went by ourselves. Other times we took friends with usâ€”Cy and LuRee Paulsen, Keith Taylor and his wife, Frank and Alice Karpowitz, Bob and Ida Lue Dewey. It was certainly a great lifesaver and the most inexpensive vacation we could have. For the first few years it only cost us $25 a week and then later finally got up to $50 a week, which were special family and winter rates. It gave us something to look forward to every year and was certainly a great renewal of our love to get away and to enjoy each other.
In 1959 we purchased a new green and white Ford 9-passenger station wagon. It was a beautiful earâ€”a great car. In fact, I think we enjoyed that car as much or more than any car we ever purchased.
I should mention one other family event that took place. Grandfather Hans Sorensen, my father's father and a very humble man, died on the 16 of February 1951. Grandma Sorensen had preceded him in death by many years, and how fondly I remember the Sundays when Dad and I would go down and get Grandpa Sorensen and bring him and sometimes Aunt Mae up to have family dinner with us. My only regret with him is that I did not take the time or show the interest while he was alive to get him to tell us his life story. So he, as well as my father, who never kept a journal or recorded his story, are two of my greatest motivators in writing this family history. Hopefully, at least one or two of my descendants will feel some of the same desire to learn a little bit more about their father and grandfather as I felt about mine later on in life when it was too late to ask them.
When we moved into the Grandview Ward in 1947, I was a seventy. Actually, when I went on my mission in January of 1940, the church had a policy of ordaining all full time missionaries to be seventies. Our ward, the old Waterloo Ward, had just been divided, so I was the first missionary called from the new McKay ward, as well as the first elder ordained. I was only an elder for a couple of weeks before I was ordained a seventy.
My first major church assignment was to be a member of the stake home teaching committee of the East Millcreek Stake. President Gordon B. Hinckley was the counselor in the stake presidency who had the chairmanship of the home teaching committee. I remember attending two or three special early Sunday morning meetings in his home.
In November of 1949 Grandview Ward was divided and the Kenwood Ward was organized. I was called as second counselor to George Z. Aposhian, who was the first bishop of the Kenwood Ward. Norman Astle, a man who I did not know at the time, was called to be the first counselor.
The circumstances surrounding the call were quite interesting. It was just at the time of Grandpa Weech's final illness when Brother Aposhian first tried to make contact with me, but he was unable to reach me because we were at the hospital most of the time. Finally on that Saturday morningâ€”the day of Grandpa Weech's deathâ€”Brother Aposhian came over to our house shortly before we left to go down to Grandma's and called me to be his second counselor. We were sustained the following day.
Of course, I was very, very surprised and overwhelmed to receive a call to serve in the bishopric at 30 years of age. Brother Aposhian later related that, although we had met once, he really didn't know me, but as he went over the list of names provided by the stake president, each time as he came to my name on the list, he felt a very strong impression that I was the one the Lord wanted for him to select.
I was ordained a high priest by Matthew Cowley, a member of the Council of the Twelve and this gave me a priesthood line of just seven steps back to the Savior. It has always been a great thrill for me whenever I ordain someone to the priesthood, particularly my own sons, to read my line of authority and I would like to record for posterity at this point my priesthood line of authority:
Lynn Andrew Sorensen was ordained a high priest in December of 1949 by Matthew Cowley. Matthew Cowley was ordained an apostle October 11, 1945 by George Albert Smith. George Albert Smith was ordained an apostle October 8, 1903 by Joseph F. Smith. Joseph F. Smith was ordained an Apostle July 1,1866 by Brigham Young. Brigham Young was ordained an apostle February 14, 1835 under the hands of the Three Witnesses, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, arid Martin Harris. The Three Witnesses were called by revelation to choose the twelve apostles, and on February 14, 1835, were blessed by the laying on of the hands of the presidency: Joseph Smith Jr., Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, who ordained the twelve apostles. Joseph Smith Jr. arid Oliver Cowdery received the Melchizedek Priesthood in 1829 under the hands of Peter, James, and John. Peter, James, and John were ordained apostles by the Lord Jesus Christ.
What a thrill and what a blessing to hold the Melchizedek Priesthood of God and what a great testimony to me to be able to trace my line of authority directly back to the Savior in so few steps. I will be eternally grateful for this holy priesthood.
In February of 1951 the East Millcreek Stake was divided and the Wilford Stake created with George Aposhian as the first stake president. We were really sorry to lose him as our bishop, for it was truly a great association for about 15 months in the bishopric. It was on March 11, 1951 that our bishopric was changed and J. Marlowe White, who was our clerk and our very dear friend and sweet person, was called to be the new bishop. He retained Norman Astle and myself as counselors. Sometime later, Norman Astle was released because of poor health and Paul Felt was called in as a counselor.
On January 24, 1954 the Kenwood Ward was divided and the Kenwood Second Ward organized. Finn Paulsen was called as the first bishop. He asked me to come in as the first counselor even though we were living outside the ward at the time. (This was while we were living down on Highland Drive and getting ready to build our new home up on 3oth South.) Carlyle Braithwaite was called as the other counselor. On January 28 we had a very special experience when the bishopric was set apart by Elder Harold B. Lee in the church office building.
One of the very special experiences we had in that bishopric was during the polio epidemic. Two sisters in our ward, Carol and Gayle Loftis, caught the disease. Gayle's case was very light. and it did not take her too long to recover; however, Carol's was very, very serious and we almost lost her. She spent many months in the iron lung. How well I remember going to the hospital, donning the white gloves and the mask and going into the
intensive care room with all the iron lungs to visit Carol, who was struggling to stay alive. and try to bless her life and cheer her up.
On March 25, 1956, when I had been moved into sales in Salt Lake Cabinet and was doing a lot of traveling, I was released from the bishopric. Shortly thereafter I was called to be a member of the high council. I hated very much to leave Finn, as we had been close friends and had such a great association in the bishopric, but there was no way that I could really do justice to the job being out of town so much.
I enjoyed my assignment on the high council and feel that it is a very special calling. We started a conception of the new ward building and stake center. Finn, our bishop, was selected to be the general contractor, as he was in the construction business. We broke ground for the building on June 28, 1956. On October 20, 1956, Carlyle Braithwaite, a counselor in the bishopric died when he suffered a heart attack on a deer hunting expedition. He was replaced by Merlin Palmer.
In summary, these Salt Lake Cabinet years from 1947 to 1957 were good years. They were transition years during which I completed my schooling and we were able to settle down in our own home to start raising our family. It was also really the start of my church career with responsible positions and being called into the bishopric. It was a great period of time, yet had its difficult parts, especially the year when we were building our home on 30th South. But what a great blessing that was for us and has been throughout our entire lives. Certainly the Lord blessed us greatly during this period of time.
I guess my major regret during this period is the amount of time I spent away from the family. Unfortunately I put too much emphasis on work and church work and didn't spend enough time with my wife and children. In addition to my regular responsibilities, I was also trying to earn a little extra money by refereeing basketball games in the evenings. I started out with M-Men and later got into high school basketball. I enjoyed this activity very much, and it did supplement our limited income with our large family. But it was time away from Janet and the family that I really should not have spent. If I had it to do over again, I would do it differently.
The Litton Years
When I started with Litton Industries, a multi-national company with the corporate headquarters located in Beverly Hills, California, they were just beginning their Salt Lake operation in a small rented facility at 255 East Third South. Vin Carver was the general manager, Beverly Kumpfer, the engineering manager, Jim Shuchily, the production manager, and Vern Hefty, the controller. The Salt Lake plant at that time belonged to the Electron Tube Division. I was actually the ninth local person hired, and, as purchasing agent, the first administrative person.
As part of my assignment I had to make various trips to division headquarters at San Carlos, California, just south of San Francisco. Litton instituted an employee retirement program and I was given the assignment to go to headquarters in San Carlos, learn all the details, and then come back to Salt Lake and meet with the employees and explain it to them. I actually had the responsibility of getting the retirement program implemented and functioning. It was a challenge for me, but one that went off well, and we received many compliments from the divisional headquarters as to the job that was done in Salt Lake.
We moved into our new plant out on North West Temple and things went well for a time. Our primary product was the manufacture of electron tubes, which were used primarily in communication and navigation equipment. Then a major technological change in the field and a reduction in government procurement, caused so many of our production contracts to be cut back or cut entirely that we were faced with a very difficult future. However, the Litton corporate headquarters realized the potential of the Salt Lake City plant and also recognized the great production effort that had been accomplished at a very economical price.
So, rather than close the plant, they decided to switch us over to the Guidance and Control Systems Division which at that time had as their major product an inertial navigation system. We started out building two of the major components of that systemâ€”the accelerometers and the gimbal system, which held the accelerometers and the gyroscopes. We did well in these lines and finally were given the opportunity to take on the most complex part of the system, the gyroscopes themselves.
Each gimbal system, or stable platform as it was called, had two gyroscopes functions. It rotated at 20,000 revolutions per minute in order to provide a stable platform so that the accelerometers could measure the acceleration on the aircraft through the three different planes of acceleration and feed that into a computer, which would then convert this information into distance and direction, giving the pilot a constant readout of his position . This was a great challenge, as we had to expand our facility and build super clean rooms, as they were called, because the gyroscopes were so sensitive that even a small speck of dust within the system could cause it to malfunction The gyroscopes were selling for over $10,000 apiece, yet, because of their sensitivity and great complexity, we felt we were doing well if we were able to produce fifty acceptable gyroscopes out of every hundred that were manufactured.
At one point we were almost to lose the gyroscope work, and Bev Kumpfer, who was then the plant manager, sent me to Los Angeles to see what could be done about salvaging the program. I had the opportunity to meet with our divisional manager, Bob Sensabah, and fortunately was able to convince him to give the Salt Like operation another chance to continue on with this project. And so this phase was saved, and we went on to become the major supplier of the inertial platforms for Litton Industries.
With the growth of the company it became necessary for me to make a choice as to whether I preferred to stay with the purchasing end or with the personnel end. Since I was still learning and felt that it had greater opportunities for professional development, I elected to stay with the personnel end. A little later I was also designated to be the assistant to the plant manager.
As the personnel manager, I had some key hires who played significant roles with Litton: My good friend, Reynolds Smith, a son of Joseph Fielding Smith, the apostle and later president of the Church; Paul Flandro, who was hired as purchasing agent; and Carl Ence, who was in the bishopric with me and stayed with Litton until he retired. Wayne Omer was another great young man that I hired. He became the production and later the manufacturing manager, and we became close friends over the years. Mont Kenney, our controller, was another man who I had a hand in bringing into the fold and he also was a key employee for many years.
Later on as we got into more sensitive security contracts, I was given the responsibility as manager of security. I had to go to California to receive special training in security and be certified as the plant security officer
As a sidelight, I guess because of my church experience and later as I became a bishop, I was sort of thought of as the plant chaplain. Ralph Anderson, who was one of our first employees hired in the mechanical end, was a very excellent machinist. After I started with Litton it was necessary to hire a secretary to work for me. After working there for a while, she and Ralph became engaged and later were married. However, months later when she was giving birth to their first child, which actually turned out to be twins, there were complications and she died, as well as both of the babies. This was a very difficult time for Ralph and for us in the plant. I was assigned to represent the company at the funeral and also asked to be a speaker. It was a very difficult and challenging assignment, along with others I had in that regard.
In 1962 the Salt Lake division was doing so well that we had to make major expansions in personnel and had a need for an over all coordinated material effort. I left the personnel field and was designated the Director of Material. That put purchasing under me as well as material control, shipping and receiving, storage, inventory, everything to do with the material end and having the necessary materials available to support the manufacturing schedule. This was a very challenging assignment for me and encompassed a number of trips to Beverly Hills and out to Woodland Hills to coordinate the production and expansion of the plant.
In 1965 we passed the 1000 mark in total employees, which was a major milestone. It was shortly after this time that one day when I was in Exchange Club (I represented the company in this civic organization), Bill Smart, who was also a member and the editor of the Deseret News, indicated to me that the Deseret News parent organization was looking for a new plant manager to run the press operations. Of course, I had not had any printing background, but Bill said that they had hired a man from the outside who was not a member of the church. He had all of the production capabilities but did not understand the workings of the church and could not relate to the brethren. This was causing very difficult problems, so he had been asked to leave. What they were looking for was someone who had the managerial talents and could relate to the church leaders. Others in the organization could handle the technicalities of the production end.
I expressed my interest and was invited to an interview with Earl Hawkes, who was the general manager of the Deseret News Corporation as well as publisher of the Deseret News. He had been brought out to Salt Lake from the Boston area by President McKay to help build the paper and to give it more of a professional status. He was a great man. Apparently I impressed him. Then I had to be interviewed by Elder Thomas Monson, who was an apostle at the time and formerly a plant manager at the Deseret News Press. I also had to have a private interview with Elder N. Eldon Tanner, First Counselor in the First Presidency. Apparently I was able to satisfy all of them and so was offered the position of Plant Manager at the Deseret News Press at a considerable increase in salary over what I was making at Litton.
This change of employment was a difficult one to make and also very very difficult to tell the employees. I think the whole day after my leaving was announced was spent as key employees, one after anotherâ€”most of whom I had been instrumental in hiring and bringing into the organizationâ€”came in and expressed their thanks and appreciation and their sorrow that I was leaving. There were a number of special parties given in my behalf
It was really, in many ways, a very sad day that I left the Litton organization. I had learned to love many of these people; I had learned to play golf with them. A group of the key employees one summer had a wonderful trip to the Wind River country up in Wyoming where we went by horseback way back into the remote areas, guided by Indians, and then were left for five days to fish in real prime country. I think that whole five days we were there, we saw only two other people. We had a marvelous time and were very successful with the fishing. It was a special experience that I will never forget.
Also, one of the real disappointments in my experience there was a scheduled trip to a Materials Managers conference at the Duluth plant where the electronics were being made for our inertial guidance system. I was scheduled to go but got [an] infection in my finger and didn't get to make that trip. I had been playing softball with the company team and had been hit by a ball on the end of my right index finger, driving the nail into the flesh. It had gotten infected, and some infection had gotten underneath the nail. The plant nurse recommended that before I traveled, I ought to go down to the doctor and have part of the nail taken off and that part lanced, or the infection never would clear up. Unfortunately my doctor, Dr. Hicken, was out of town and I was sent to a Dr. Jack, who was a company doctor. He removed that part of my fingernail but by evening my hand had swollen to twice its normal size. The next day Janet was finally able to get the doctor out, The minute he saw me he could tell the seriousness of the situation, and so I was taken to the Cottonwood Hospital where I was put in isolation with a serious staph infection. I guess it was a real touch and go situation for a few days as to whether I would be able to make it and overcome the infection or not. But thanks to the faith and prayers of the family and priesthood blessings and all, I was able to recover and return to work.
Well, these are the key points as far as the work is concerned. This was a very growing experience for me to work for a large multi-national company after just having worked with a small closely-held family company. I was able to learn a great deal about management principles. I had the opportunity of teaching special classes at Trade-Tech and representing the company in giving classes and talks at the University of Utah and at BYU. It was really the greatest part of my growing experience in the professional field up to that time in my life. I was grateful for the opportunity of working at Litton, and some of the friends that I made there are still close friends.
Aunt Vinnie Brinton, who lived on the farm up in Idaho where I had spent so many wonderful summers, died on the 27th of July in 1957. The whole family went up for her funeral. It was just four or five weeks later that Uncle Sam also passed away, so we were back once again. What an end of an era this was, as the farm had played a very important role in my growth and development, and especially in my learning how to work and to appreciate the value of work.
Our eighth child, Gary, was born on April 22, 1958 during a tremendous late spring snow storm. The next morning I had to take the younger children who weren't going to school up to Aunt Helen's place, but the snow was so deep that I couldn't make it all the way up there. I finally managed to hike and carry the twins to her place, but it took me from 8 o'clock in the morning when I left home until noon to get to work because the snow was so heavy
Our ninth child and sixth son was born on the 20th of August in 1960â€”here again, a wonderful and very special addition to our family. Not long after Wayne's birth, the doctor examined Janet and told her he felt that because of her physical condition it was just not wise for us to have any more children. She was also greatly in need of some internal repair work, so the doctor recommended a hysterectomy. That ended our child-bearing years, but we were certainly blessed beyond measure in this regard with the nine wonderful children. She did not have a single miscarriage. And all of them were born in good physical condition without major birth defects.
In 1963, Janet, for a change, was invited by her mother to take a three-week bus trip back to the eastern part of the United States. She went and had a marvelous time. We struggled along at home without her and were certainly grateful to see her upon her return.
We had many special trips as a family. One we especially remember was to San Francisco. Janet had a cousin living there who invited us to stay over night. We saw many of the beauties of San Francisco and were very impressed with it. Then we drove down the coast to San Diego and spent a marvelous week with my sister Virginia and her family getting to know San Diego and spending quite a bit of time at the beach.
It was also during this period that we took numerous trips to the beach house. Janet and I usually went alone in February, but one year the children prevailed upon us to take them with us. So we took them out of school, but it turned out to be more of a disaster than a pleasure trip. That year for the first time it was bad weather most of the weekâ€”raining most of the time. And with the children being cooped up in the house and having limited opportunity to get out and into the ocean and to see the sights, everyone got on everyone else's nerves and it was sort of a disaster, but we did all survive.
It was during this particular time when we had some very severe difficult years with Craig and Cindy. They both had severe emotional problems and we tried our best to cope with it. We had the best psychiatric help that we could hire, but it was a very difficult time. They were both very rebellious and hard to control, particularly Craig. He didn't like school and it was very difficult to get him to go to school. He would barricade himself in the storage room and wouldn't let his mother in. One time he even picked up the big axe that we had and was going to attack her. A number of times I had to go home from work to try to solve the problem and smooth things over. These were very difficult years in that regard.
But they were also very happy years as far as the family was concerned. Grandpa Sorensen, who had helped us build the house, helped us build a table in the kitchen that filled our alcove and had a pull-out drop leaf, which allowed us to seat all 11 around the table at one time. Janet often commented that cleaning or washing the table after a meal was almost like scrubbing the floor because of the large surface area.
What a joyous and challenging time it was for us to raise nine children and be able to cope with that situation. I'm sure we could have done better in many ways, but I don't know how anyone could have tried any harder to do what was right. Unfortunately for Janet, this was a period of time when I was heavily involved in my professional work and also in the bishopric and had to spend many hours away from the family. Actually, if I had known then what I know now, I would have put my priorities in different places and would have put my family first instead of third. I have always regretted that in many instances I put my work and also my church work ahead of my family, which I just shouldn't have done. And so, over the years, as I have had the opportunity to counsel bishops and install new stake presidents, I have never failed to counsel them as to the importance of putting their family in first place and not neglecting their wives or their children.
It was in 1962 that our oldest daughter, Marti, graduated from Olympus High School with high honors and was successful in receiving a scholarship to BYU. This was sort of a traumatic time for Janet and me to see our first child leave the nest and to go away to school, because it signaled the point in our lives when our family would start to diminish and one by one the children would be leaving the fold. It was a period of adjustment, but of course we realized that it was inevitable.
In the fall of 1962, Skyline High School opened and the seniors of Olympus living in the Skyline district were given the choice of either completing their senior at Olympus or going to Skyline. Kathy elected to go to Skyline, and so she was in the very first graduating class, was elected historian and also received a scholarship to BYU in 1963. She was playing the violin and had become quite an accomplished violinist and played in the school orchestra.
At the beginning of this period we had started construction on a new stake center building. On July 6, 1958 the first meeting was held in that new building, and it was dedicated by Elder Harold B. Lee, one of the Twelve Apostles, on December 28, 1958.
In June of 1959, President Aposhian, our stake president, was called to be a mission president in the Central Atlantic states. Finn Paulsen, our bishop, was called to take his place. I was then called to be Finn's replacement. On July 7, 1959, I was ordained a bishop by Apostle Harold B. Lee and designated to be the bishop of the Kenwood Second Ward. Carlton Ence and Berger Kleven were chosen to be my two counselors. Myron Francom, Russ Platt, and Warwick Palfreyman were the three clerks. This was a very special group of people, and we had a very choice experience in working together.
Along the way I had tried to do some basketball and football officiating because of my love for sports and also to supplement the family income. But with my call as bishop it was no longer possible, and I had to give up this activity which I had enjoyed so much. One of the highlights of this experience was that I was asked to officiate at one of the all-church basketball tournaments at the University of Utah that was put on television.
In June of 1961 both Finn Paulsen and Bruce McConkie were called as mission presidentsâ€”Finn to go to Brazil and Elder McConkie to Australia. Lee Nelson was called as our stake president with Merritt Eagan and Verden Bettylion as counselors. One of the highlights of this time was a big special ward party we had for both the Paulsens and McConkies and their families. With their families going out, this gave us 35 missionaries in the field from our ward.
It was a great experience for me as bishop but very difficult for Janet with the family. At sacrament meeting she and all of the children would occupy one center bench, usually about the third row back. Janet would sit in the middle and we would put Kathy on one end and Marti at the other to keep any of the children from escaping. Between the three of them they tried to keep the family under controlâ€”not always with success. But they at least learned how to behave themselves and learned to come to church and make that a basic part of their lives.
We had a large number of funerals, and they are always a very special challenge for a bishop. One of the most difficult was that of Sister Guymon, who lived just down the street from us. She had been very influential in the Primary work both on the ward and stake level for many years and was a very humble person. We visited with her many times, had given her a number of blessings, but it was not the Lord's will that she remain and so she passed away. At her funeral service, just before I was to speak, all of the Primary children of the stake sang the beautiful hymn, "A Child of God." This was such an emotional experience for me and I was so touched in my heart that it was almost impossible for me to give my talk. It really took some time for me to get control of my emotions.
We had many opportunities as a bishopric to visit the sick and to see the healing influence of the Lord. One of the most spectacular was the healing of Myron Francom's boy, who had developed a large swelling on the top of his head. The pressure was building up to such a point that the doctors really didn't know what to do and really didn't give him much chance to live. But his parents had great faith, and as a bishopric we went and gave him a very special blessing and a miracle occurred. Shortly after the blessing he was resting peacefully and the swelling went down. We were concerned that maybe he might be mentally impaired the rest of his life because of the extreme pressure on his brain, but over the weeks he recovered and as far as I know has lived a very normal life.
Father's Day was a special time. Generally on Father's Day the young people honored me as the father of the ward. One Father's Day in particular, when we were having a fireside in our home, the young people brought me a beautiful shirt and gave such touching expressions of their love and appreciation for their bishop that it was a very special time. I guess being close to the young people was one of the most special parts of being a bishop. Generally we had from 20 to 24 young men and women out in the mission field and because of great leaders like Rex Curtis and Clinton Jackson and Hart Wixom, who worked go well with the boys in the scouting and exploring programs, it just became the thing to do for young men to go on their missions. I think in all of the five years that I was bishop, that there were only two or three of the young men who reached missionary age who did not go on a mission.
Each summer as a bishopric we organized special fathers and sons outings. We had such special times up in the mountains on these outings. I remember one time with the old green station wagon. To get to the camp ground we had to go through a small stream. Somehow the back end got pretty low, the gas tank got punctured by a rock, and all of the gas drained out. Nobody noticed until it was practically all gone. So in order to get home, we plugged up the hole with gum and then I had the very dubious job of trying to siphon gas out of one of the other cars. I had never done that before and wasn't really sure how to do it. I was sucking and sucking to get the start of the flow of gas going. I had been warned to be careful, but then I just took a big breath and the gas started to come and filled my mouth and I swallowed a good part of it. Oh what an awful tasting situation that was. I coughed and spit and sputtered for I don't know how long and it seemed like for two or three days afterward every time I give a little belch I was belching up gasoline. I certainly learned my lesson and didn't ever try that trick again.
In 1962 Carlton Ence asked to be released as first counselor to go back to school. With his work out at Litton, in order to progress he needed to complete his degree. He wanted to go at night which meant he was not able to continue in the bishopric. And so he was released and Berger was moved up to first counselor and Myron Francom, our ward clerk was called to replace Carlton. Clyde Gessell was called a clerk.
On December 8, 1963 I was released as bishop. This was a very traumatic and difficult time for me. When I was sustained as bishop, Vin Can7er and some of the people from Litton had come to our sacrament meeting, although they were not members of the church. So I invited them to come to sacrament meeting to sec what happened when a bishop was released. It turned out to be a very emotional and somewhat embarrassing situation for me in my remarks to say goodbye to the ward as their bishop. It was difficult to give up this particular responsibility, although after all the years I had served and with all of the demands on my family, it was really time and I was ready to be released. Rex Curtis was called to be the new bishop to replace me. He kept Myron Francom as his first counselor and Clyde Gessell as his second counselor.
This ended a rather important era in my life experience as far as work in the bishopric was concerned. I had served as a counselor under three different bishops. I had served on the high council in between, then served five years as bishop. It was really a marvelous and rewarding experience, but also very challenging and time consuming. Above everything else, I must take my hat off to my dear wife, who really had a more difficult and challenging time than I in trying to cope with our nine children without a father there so much of the time. I tried to support her, but, as I indicated earlier, I just didn't have the true perspective of how to balance the relationship between my family and my professional and church work. But she was certainly a dear wife. Certainly the greatest credit for the success we had in raising our family was due to her efforts and the great love she showed for our children.
The Deseret Press Years
Actually this period encompassed only about a year and a half, but it turned out to be one of the most traumatic and challenging periods of time in my professional career. I explained in the last section the conditions of my hiring and the great increase in salary. We were able to buy a new carâ€”a 1965 Mustang. It was just the second year out and turned out to be one of the most popular cars Ford ever built. With my new job we really needed a second car so that Janet would have car available for her since I had to drive to work every day and was not able to car pool as I had done at Litton.
I never will forget as I drove the Mustang home for the first time. Craig and Lynn, who were teenagers at the time, came out of the house to see the new car, and how thrilled and pleased they were to have their dad driving such a sporty new golden color car. It really was a pretty little car and I enjoyed it very much. Of course, the boys enjoyed it also.
The increase in salary gave us an excess of expendable income we had not had before. And so we arranged for a decorator to help Janet completely redo our front room. For the first time in our twenty-some-odd years of married life we had a complete living room full of new furniture. Always before we had some kind of combination of a new piece here and there and hand-me-downs, but we decided to re-do the whole thing and it really turned out beautifully.
However. I soon learned that having the highest salary I had ever had in my professional career did not guarantee happiness. My work at Deseret Press turned out to be more challenging than I anticipated. I inherited an organization of old timersâ€”key supervisorsâ€”who were very resistant to change and not receptive at all to modern management techniques. The big problem with the situation was that I did not have the full authority to hire and fire. The old line employees had their direct pipeline up to Elder Mark E. Peterson, who previously had been the general manager of the Deseret News publishing Company, and some of the others. So they were able to get a sympathetic ear with the brethren and I was unable to enforce the discipline necessary to make a successful company.
I was still being held responsible as the plant manager, as I should have been, for having a profitable operation, but it was such a frustrating time for me to have that responsibility and yet not have the authority to do what I needed to do. It wasn't my immediate boss Earl Hawkes' fault. He was very sympathetic, very understanding, and actually one of the greatest and most enjoyable men that I have had to work with. And he was pretty much in the same boat, having been brought in from the Hurst organization in Boston to put the newspaper straight, but yet had the great challenge in dealing with some of the brethren who were firmly entrenched in their ideas. It was really a challenging situation for me to go before the board of directors meeting every month and give the report on the operation to President Tanner, Bishop Brown, Elder Monson, George Nelson, Ernest Wilkinson (President of BYU), and others who were on the beard.
I could see many areas in which the plant functioning needed to be improved, and I knew what needed to happen to bring about the needed improvement. Many of the key employees recognized that and did their best to help make the changes because they realized they were so needed. But, a few key ones did not. And so these keys ones, who were some of the most incompetent we had, made for a very stressful operation.
Also the previous manager, John Brown, who was not a member of the church, had entered into some printing contracts, especially on labels for cans that we did not have the right equipment to do, and which were constant money losers. We had a great challenge in negotiating a settlement to those contracts and getting out from under. We had even a threatened strike of the employees but we were able to stall that off and maintain the press as a non-union type of shop.
One of the big challenges I had was that the church did not plan ahead very well as far as special manuals and other printing jobs that needed to be done. When they would come with these special jobs, we would have to drop everything to get them out. This became very difficult for us to be able to maintain the proper type of relationships with our commercial customers when we always had to give the church priority in their jobs. And so this made it all the more of a challenging situation in turning a profit.
During my time there we had our first order for one million copies of The Book of Mormon under the Seventies missionary program, and what a challenge that was to get that many copies produced. We had real technical problems in the printing of the cover and binding and so forth, but finally we were able to persevere and overcome. We were able to purchase a new five-color press and I was able to hire a man from the coast who was really knowledgeable in the printing business, and drop him in to give us the technical help that we just did not have from within. We also installed at that time on the big web press the "flying pasters," which enabled us to change from one roll of paper to another without shutting down the press.
All in all it was a very challenging job. However, when Elder Mark E. Peterson returned from presiding over Europe and Pres. Robinson, who was the previous manager of the press, returned from presiding over a mission in England, Mark Peterson felt that Pres. Robinson ought to be given his job back as manager of the press. And so, as they met with me, we came to a common understanding and, because of the extreme conflict and all, I was really not too unhappy to sever my employment with the Deseret Press. They were quite generous and gave me six months salary as severance pay. Before I had to leave I was hired as the production manager at the Litton Data Systems plant.
This had been such a difficult time. I had trouble sleeping at night. I had to take sleeping pills and tranquilizers, and I guess I came the closest to having a nervous breakdown that I ever came in all of my life. My wife and the stake president and others around me were really concerned as to my physical and mental well-being. I guess I was taking things just too seriously and was too conscientious in the job and was unable to roll with the punches and accept the things that I could not change. It was a very, very difficult time for me professionally. What a great relief it was to go back to a modern, highly organized operation such as Litton Data Systems.
During this period our oldest daughter Marti was married on 27 August 1965 to Dennis Lythgoe, who had also grown up in our ward. When I was bishop, I had called both Dennis and his older brother Tom to fulfill missions. When Marti left for college she was more interested in another young man, but Dennis knew what he wanted and was patient and waited until Marti's missionary returned and then went to work in earnest as her suitor and finally won out.
Craig graduated from Skyline High School in 1966. That was really an accomplishment. There were times in Craig's growing up years when we doubted very much, because of the emotional disturbance he had, that he would ever be willing to stick with things long enough to graduate from high school. But he did, and we are awfully proud of him. He made a very acceptable scholastic record at Skyline.
Marti graduated in 1966 from the University of Utah She had three years at BYU and then, after getting married to Dennis at the end of her junior year, she finished her last year at the University of Utah. This was a very special occasion to have our first child graduate from college.
During this year and a half, there was nothing particularly outstanding in my church experience. When I was released as bishop I was made a Sunday School teacher and a home teacher and also worked with the Senior Aaronic Priesthood brethren, and then later was called to the high council.
In summary, these were very difficult years professionally and healthwise, but yet years in which we saw some great accomplishments. Certainly the Lord was blessing us, but certainly he wasn't removing all the special challenges out of our lives. Actually, that is what life is all aboutâ€”a key proving ground. I am just grateful for this experience because it prepared me for other challenges which could have been even more difficult had I not had the experience and maturity I had gained during this time. What I learned at Deseret Press helped me to overcome problems and be successful in later assignments.
The Return to Litton
I have entitled this section, The Return to Litton; however, this was actually a totally different branch of the companyâ€”the Data Systems Division, which had built a plant just north of the Guidance and Control Systems plant where I had worked previously. I tried to get back on with Guidance and Control, but even though the manager, Bev Kumpfer, wanted to bring me back, someone in California would not approve, and I was never able to find out why. I was, however, hired as the production manager of the Data Systems division by Bob Gray. I replaced Ernie Felice, whom I had worked with at the Guidance and Control Division.
This turned out to be a very short-lived time in my careerâ€”less than a year. A few months after I got there, because of my work, I was promoted to Manufacturing Manager over some of the old time employees who currently had a direct pipeline to top management in California. And so, the Monday after Thanksgiving I went in to say hello to the boss and was given my walking papers. I never was able to find out why, although the Data Systems division had recently lost a major production contract that the plant was really built to do. That was tied in with it, but I was never really given any explanation as to why I was terminated at that time. I had a date that day at noon to play racquetball with Bob Dewey and I managed to get through it, but it was a very traumatic time to have to go home and tell Janet I had lost my job with Christmas coming up.
During this period of unemployment I collected my one and only unemployment check in the whole history of my employment. But, instead of continuing to be satisfied with unemployment checks, I talked to Uncle Merrill, who was the general manager of the Dahnkens Stores. He was hiring extra people to help with their Christmas rush, and so for the three weeks before Christmas I worked with Merrill at Dahnkens so we would be able to have something at least for our large family at Christmas. It was a difficult time, but the members of the ward responded and helped us. We got a $25 anonymous Christmas present, that we never did find out who it came from, but certainly it was a great help for us at that time.
Actually, I worked as hard to find a new job as if I were at work, having been given this counsel by others. I worked every day from early morning until late evening following every possible lead to get work. I ended up having three choices: to go to the LDS Hospital with Brent Goates, to go to an electronics company I can't remember the name of at this time, or to go with the International Regional Medical Program with Richard Hagland at the University of Utah. I finally selected the Regional Medical Program, as it looked like it had the most potential and also paid a wage that was commensurate with what I was receiving at Data Systems.
This year started out to be a big relief for me professionally to get back into a modern management organization, but it turned out to be short-lived and actually brought about another very traumatic time for me in my employment history. But the Lord was really with me and blessed me, and opened the way so that I was able to get satisfactory work at the University of Utah.
During most of this year I was serving on the Wilford Stake High Council for the second time, and this was an enjoyable assignment. One of the highlights of the year was that I was invited to learn to play racquetball and become the fourth with the stake presidency, President lee Nelson, Merritt Eagan, and Verden Bettylion. They were all good players and were very patient with me while I learned. President Nelson was the strongest player and I was the weakest. Merritt Eagan was the next strongest player, and so they teamed Merritt and I up against President Nelson and President Bettylion. I will never forget, after I had achieved some degree of proficiency, the first time Merritt and I were able to defeat President Nelson and Verden Bettylion. Well, I learned to play the game of racquetball, and it certainly became one of my very favorite sports. I have gotten a great deal of personal satisfaction out of it, as well as good recreation and healthful exercise over the years.
As far as our family was concerned, in this year of 1967, Kathy, our second daughter, married Stanford McConkie on the 26th of January. Stanford was the son of Elder Bruce R. McConkie. The McConkies had grown up in our ward and Kathy and Stanford were acquainted at that time, although Stanford seemed to be more interested in Marti than in Kathy. Then the McConkie family went to Australia and Stanford was called to fill a mission while he was there with his father. When he returned from his mission he went to BYU and renewed his association with Kathy there.
In May of 1967 Kathy graduated from BYU in nursing. She was the valedictorian of her class and played her violin on her graduation program. We were very proud of her and her academic and professional achievements
This was also the year that our very first grandchild was born. Darrin Lythgoe was born on April 28, 1967.
Another important family event that spring was our second son Lynn's graduation from Skyline High School. Lynn did himself proud. He wasn't a truly outstanding scholarship-type student like Marti and Kathy, but he played trumpet in the school band and was successful in that. He had a great desire to play on the school basketball team, and I had a great desire that he do so since I was so interested in sports throughout high school and college. But each of his last two years he made it on the team until the very last cut and then was eliminated and did not make the final squad. He was certainly greatly disappointed, and we were disappointed for him. But at least he really tried.
Another very significant family event, which brought us perhaps the greatest joy during this time, was that Craig accepted the call to go on a mission in the fall of 1967. We never dreamed that with his emotional problems and shyness he would ever go on a mission. He was so shy that he passed the sacrament once as a deacon and would never pass it again. He would not participate in offering the sacrament prayer as a priest. But gratefully and blessedly, we had a marvelously understanding bishop and we had great men, such as Clint Jackson and Hart Wixom and Rex Curtis who took a great interest in Craig and his problems and performed an actual miracle.
Doctor Cline, one of the foremost psychologists, had informed us that it looked like the way Craig was headed he could only get worse. He suggested we may want to institutionalize him, but he couldn't foresee any particular cure. However, our fervent prayers were answered and, through the spirit and activity of the gospel, the youth programs of the church, and particularly through the efforts of these key leaders, Craig made an abrupt change in his life. He actually took a small part in the ward road show, which completely flabbergasted us, and then accepted a call to go on a mission. I couldn't believe it! Bishop Curtis talked to me about it and I asked the bishop, "Are you sure Craig will be able to fulfill a mission satisfactorily?" And he felt that he could and that he would. And Craig, bless his heart, accepted the call and certainly made his mother and father very, very happy as he left for the Central Atlantic States Mission with headquarters in Roanoke, Virginia.
It was a very traumatic time for us at the train depot as we saw him off. We got him on the train and helped him to find his seat and expected him to come back off and give us a final hug but he never did. The train pulled out without us ever being able to give him our final goodbye. But that was the way Craig was at the time.
In summary, this was a difficult and challenging time, particularly professionally, but also a very rewarding time for us. Certainly the lord was looking out for us. As I look back on the situation I was being prepared professionally for things the Lord saw ahead of us.
The University Years
January 1968-March 1969
I went to work for the Intermountain Regional Medical Program on January 2, 1968. This was a special government program but looked like it had a permanent future. It was housed at the University Hospital and we were considered employees of the University of Utah. I was hired as the Director of Administrative Services directly under Richard Hagland, with whom I enjoyed working very much.
The University Hospital was relatively close to home, so it only took about 10 or 15 minutes to get to and from work. I had a good amount of variety in my work, and certainly we were in interesting surroundings. We had growth and space problems; we had temporary doctors who entered and left the program; and we had some outstanding challenges such as the seminars at Park City which I had to organize and run all of the administrative details.
Dr. Helman Castle was in charge of the entire project. I did not get along too well with him because in my view he was not a good administrator. It was very difficult to convince him of some of the things that needed to be done administratively. He was an excellent doctor but left a great deal to be desired from an administrative standpoint.
While searching for employment after leaving Litton Data Systems I had made many, many contacts. One of those was with the Montech Division of LTV. At that time they did not have a place for a materials manager but seemed to be very interested in me. Then in March of 1969 I received a call from Montech. They were on the threshhold of a major expansion and needed an experienced materials manager to help them through this expansion period. Thus, they made me an offer to go to work for them in that position.
When I received the offer from Montech and went to Richard Hagland to consult with him concerning my long range future with the project, he recommended I had best take the employment opportunity that was offered to me. I guess Dr. Castle was putting some pressure on him concerning my performance, and, since we just couldn't communicate with him, I made the decision to leave the University Hospital after just 15 months of work.
Professionally it was a good experience. I enjoyed the time there and I learned a lot, but it was another real short period of time and was beginning to not look too good on my resume that I was changing employment so often. But here again I gained good professional experience and enjoyed the assignment. I'm sure it was for a good contribution to my over all professional career.
As far as my church callings during this periodâ€”I continued on with the Wilford Stake high council and my ward assignment was with Grandview Ward. I would often take one of the children with me and give them the opportunity to sit on the stand with me and give me a chance to get a little bit closer to them. During this period I also really enjoyed my racquetball experience with the stake presidency.
Our son Lynn D. left for his mission to Brazil, the first of our family to go back to Brazil. They had just started a missionary training center in Provo. When Craig went out he went from the old mission home in Salt Lake which I went from. But with Lynn they had started the MTC in Provo and had started giving them extensive language training as well as spiritual preparation for the mission field.
Since Craig and Lynn were just one year apart, this gave us two in the mission field at the same time. But the Lord blessed us, and particularly in getting the letters from Craig, who had been so shy and for whom we had been so concerned. It was such a great and marvelous experience for Janet and me to feel of his spirit and of his success in the mission field.
Wayne was baptized during this period and our second grandchild was born. This was Kathy's and Stan's first, Dianna, who was born on September 12, 1968.
In summary, this was another relatively short period of time related to my employment. It was another learning experience that had its traumatic times as well. But all in all, we felt that the Lord was with us and we were truly being blessed.
The LTV-Montech Years
March 1969-March 1972
As I indicated previously, while I was working at the University of Utah I received the invitation to come to work for the Montech Division of Ling-Tempco-Vought, a large multi-national corporation based in Dallas, Texas. I was hired to organize the materials department in preparation for major expansion. This was really right down my alley, and the previous preparation and experience I had had with Litton and in my other positions had prepared me well for this challenge. Bill Parkstone, who had been with us in purchasing at Litton, and Brian Richards in the computer operation, were already at Montech and it was good to be associated with them again.
Just three months after I was hired there I was offered the job of managing the circuit board plant next door. I gave it a lot of careful and prayerful consideration but did not feel that would be the honorable thing to do to leave LTV so shortly after they had expressed their confidence in me and had given me the opportunity to organize and develop their materials management department. Therefore, I did not accept this particular offer.
It was a great challenge to get acquainted with the new product lines. We were manufacturing navigation equipment, but instead of being airborne equipment, this was primarily ground based. I had to make a number of trips to the East Coast to our vendors, and this was considerably different than the travel I had been used to doing to the West Coast during the Litton years.
In 1971 the decision was made to transfer an LTV plant from Arlington, Texas to Salt Lake and combine it with our plant. The manager from the Texas plant was put in charge, and our plant manager, Joe Crevass, was made the manufacturing manager. This was a very difficult time. We were involved in manufacturing various parts for aircraft and had some of the contracts on the new L-1011 that was being built. We came under tremendous pressure to be able to finish our part. The project was so far behind schedule and had so many cost overruns that the aircraft company actually put their representative as a resident in our plant and we had to report to him every day concerning the status of the situation. The materials and subassemblies, some of which we were producing and some that we had to buy elsewhere, were very critical. So it became an even more challenging time for me with undue pressure to be able to conform and produce what was required.
The work was made all the more challenging because of the actions of the Texas plant manager. Never in my employment experience have I seen politics played any more strongly than here. He did everything in his power to discourage those of us from the Salt Lake operation who stayed in the organization. We managed to survive as long as Joe Crevass stayed as the director of operations. But when he got discouraged and left, that put us reporting directly to the Texas manager and life became really unbearable. And so, once again, I started looking for another employment opportunity.
On June 26 1969, Rex Curtis was released as bishop of the Kenwood 2nd Ward and Bob Warner was called as the new bishop with George Fudge and Carl Dean as his counselors.
In 1969 I received a calling that I never expected or never dreamt that I would receiveâ€”my first general church calling. I was called to the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association General Board and assigned to the Explorer Committee with Ben Rawlins as the chairman. This was truly one of the highlights of my church experience to be able to work with these wonderful people.
When I was interviewed and received my call, I was not told what my committee assignment would be. As I contemplated the various committees on the General Board, I felt that any would be very satisfactory except the Explorer Committee. Well, sure enough, it was the Explorer Committee to which I was called. But like any job in the church, when you put your mind to it and try to do the very best that you can, you learn to love your assignment and the people you are working with and it becomes a very enjoyable assignment.
There were many outstanding experiences on the board. I guess some of the most thrilling were the June Conferences where the leaders of the youth were invited to Salt Lake City to give them a first hand how-to experience. It was great to be in the Tabernacle. It was great to be in the long receiving line where we stood and greeted the leaders who wanted to come and greet us.
It was also great to have our special Explorer conference where we hosted all of the Explorer leaders. And I had some very responsible and challenging assignments in that regard which involved an awful lot of work, especially a special display concerning the seven experiences in Exploring. I got my good friend, Farrell Allen, who lived in Kenwood Ward, a commercial artist and decorator, to help me put a very attractive display together.
I was also able to participate in two international Explorer conferences at Brigham Young University. These were just outstanding conferences with the Explorers coming from all over the world to attend. I had here the special responsibility to get all the experience booths set up and functioning, and that turned out to be a very interesting experience.
The second year, one of our twins, Kent, who was very interested and had done well in Exploring, had the desire to help out. I was able to get him on the general committee and it was great to work with him. I have a letter in my files at home that he wrote bearing his testimony and expressing his gratitude for this experience.
Certainly one of the highlights of all of my church experience has to be a regional concurrence trip to Brazil in March of 1970. Brother Call was assigned to go with the board, but he could not be away from BYU for the whole time. So he took the first part of the conference assignment down the west coast of South America and then I had the last end of the conference, which started with a regional conference in Porto Alegre and then one in Rio and then one in Sao Paulo. And then we flew to Caracas, Venezuela for the last one.
Over all the years we had had our returned missionary group, our ten or twelve couples had gotten together regularly and talked about hardly anything else except our early missionary experiences in Brazil. Our poor wives surely got tired of hearing about these experiences and wondered if they would ever have the opportunity to see some of the things we were talking about. Then came this opportunity to go back to Brazil and I wanted so much for Janet to be able to go along with me. I had my way paid, but Janet's way would not be paid, and, unfortunately, we just did not have the money to be able to do it. However, Janet's brother and his wife, Merrill and Helen, were so kind to us. When they learned of the opportunity, Merrill just told Janet that she should not miss it, that he would lend us the money to pay for her part, and that we could pay it back when we were able. Helen agreed to take the children while we were gone. How wonderful they were!
And so Janet was able to accompany me on this trip, and what a thrill it was to take her to Rio and also to go to Porto Alegre. Our son Lynn was within a couple of months of finishing up his mission and was assigned in Porto Alegre, and so when we arrived there he and his companion greeted us at the airport along with some of the local leadership. The mission president gave him a couple of special preparation days with the assignment to accompany his parents, and so in the free time that we had between meetings, he took us around and had us meet his investigators and showed us all of the changes in Porto Alegre that had taken place since I had been there as a young missionary.
I guess one of the real thrills was finding Sister Rick at home. We had gone to her home one afternoon and she was not there. Then the following morning, which was the morning we were leaving, we did have a couple of hours before the plane left and so we went over and visited with her. She was really the only convert that I brought into the church directly and how wonderful it was to see her and to visit with her again. She had gone into some degree of inactivity after the problems with Elder Forsythe, who came to Porto Alegre after my time and got emotionally involved with her, but she was a wonderful lady and she wanted to have Lynn come by and visit with her and help her to get back into activity in the church. He was able to visit with her a couple of times before his mission finished but was not able to do a great deal.
It was wonderful to be in Rio. Hal Johnson, who had served his mission in Brazil at the same time as I did, was presiding over the Rio de Janeiro Mission. It was great to be with him and Virginia and to be in their mission home at a special dinner and reception for the leaders of the young people and to attend the conference in Rio. However, it was one of the hottest days of the year. It was well over 100 degrees with tremendous humidity and we all almost died of the heat.
We had our third and last regional conference in Sao Paulo. The president of the local mission at that time was a man by the name of Hibbard and he some rather strange ideas. I won't elaborate on those at this time. He was kind enough to drive Janet and me around a little bit the one free evening that we had and he showed us the new Iguatami shopping center that was fairly close to the mission home and had a Sears store, actually one of the first shopping centers to be established in Brazil.
Well, needless to say it was a tremendous experience for me to return once again after being away for some 28 years. I had, of course, real difficulties with the language. However, when I learned of my assignment I did try to do as much studying as possible and was able to make all of my presentations in Portuguese. This gave me a great deal of satisfaction because apparently the people were able understand me.
We had a delightful regional conference in Caracas, Venezuela. My sister Virginia had a real close friend of hers whose husband was in the government service there and she had written ahead to her. She was very kind and we decided to stay one extra day in Caracas. Then, since we had never been to Mexico City, we thought we would take two or three days vacation and visit Mexico City as well since it was right on the way home.
So we had a very interesting time seeing Caracas, taking a ride on the cable car, or "teleferico" as they called it, which goes up one side of the mountain from Caracas and clear down the other side to the coast. We had very traumatic experience on the way back when the cable ear stopped in the middle and they finally hand manipulated it up to a little platform where we could get off. We never did find out what the problem was because they were all speaking in Spanish, but one of the women who was on the cable car, (not part of our group), became very traumatized and got vertigo and refused to get back on the cable car. Her husband and friend had to forcibly and bodily lift her back onto the car and control her while she was screaming all the time. There was just no other way to get her down from there but to continue on up to the top and back down into the city, which we were finally successful in doing.
In Mexico City we visited the pyramids and the big museum in Chapultapec Park. We were able to get tickets to the Mexican Folklorico production there in the main theater in the heart of down town Mexico City, which was a tremendous thing. All in all it was just a very special and unexpected experience for us that was made possible really through my calling to the General Board and my assignment to go to those regional conferences. We even managed to stop in Boston and visit with Marti and Dennis in Boston on the way. We can never thank Merrill and Helen enough for their kindness and generosity in lending us the money and taking care of the children while we were gone.
As far as family experiences during this timeâ€”Cindy graduated from high school in 1970. She did have a very traumatic experience that was traumatic for all of us. She went out for the Skyline Pep Club and we felt with her athletic ability and her coordination that there just wouldn't be any question but that she would be selected. They were notified by members of the club coming around early in the morning and knocking on their bedroom windows. When they didn't come by to knock on her window she was very, very upset and this was magnified further when two of her very closest girl friends, the White and Larson girls, were selected and she wasn't. We tried to console her in every way that we could and make it up to her, but she would not be consoled and I really think that underneath everything else, this had a very distinct negative impression on her and came back to cause her additional problems later on.
That fall Cindy reluctantly went to BYU for a few months; however, she never really got involved in school work or the social activities there. She had gotten associated with a young man by the name of Jim Newport when she was working that summer at Hires on Fourth South and Fifth East. He was a member of the churchâ€”had been baptizedâ€”but had never received the priesthood. This was a very difficult situation for us and especially when Cindy found herself pregnant and it became necessary for them to get married. Certainly this has to rank as one of the greatest disappointments in our life, and we still continually pray and hope that somewhere along the line Cindy will see the necessity of living in accordance with the Lord's commandments and come back into the fold. We certainly want to have our entire family unit reunited as an eternal family on the other side and we will feel a great loss if she is not with us.
We had three grandchildren born during this period: Marti's second, Kelly, was born on May 13, 1969 and Stephanie, Kathy's second, was born on December 9,1969. Then Ricky, our fifth grandchild and Cindy's first, was born on July 15, 1971. Certainly we were very, very pleased to have these new little souls come into our family.
Soon after Kelly's birth, Marti and Dennis moved to the Boston area and so we did not get to see Kelly very much. After Dennis had completed his schooling at the University of Utah he accepted a teaching position at Massachusetts State College at Bridgewater just out from Boston. They told us, "Oh, Mom and Dad, we'll only be back there for three or four years, and at the first opportunity we will come back out West." Well, it actually turned out to be 20 years that they were back there. They made a great contribution while they were thereâ€”Dennis being bishop twice and they were such a strength in the church. But with all the traveling through South America that was ahead of me, we did have several opportunities to stop and see them either going or coming and that helped considerably.
One of the very sad occurrences of this period of time was the death of my mother. She passed away in June of 1970 after a relatively short illness. She had been sick and bothered for some time and we just didn't know what it was. The doctor finally diagnosed it as gall bladder problems and she went into the hospital to have her gall bladder removed. However, she also had a very bad cold and cough along with it and had severe coughing spells after her operation. One of those broke the stitches loose on her incisions both internally and externally and she had to go back into major surgery once again. But she was just not strong enough to survive the second one and it was indeed a very traumatic experience to have all of our family together in LDS Hospital on that Sunday afternoon at the time that she passed away.
What a great influence she was in my life. I will never he able to thank her enough for the love she showed for me, her teachings, and her concern for our family and all that she did for us. I just regret that I was so involved with my work and church work and my own family that I did not pay as much attention to her as I really should have. We tried to have her out to Sunday dinner each Sunday and it was great. She was able to get acquainted with the children and they learned to love her very much. She was certainly a very sweet, humble soul who thought little of herself, but mostly of doing things for other people. So it was a very difficult parting, but we did have a very lovely funeral service for her and were able to bury her then in the Salt Lake Cemetery at the side of Dad. It had been just over 10 years since Dad had passed away until Mother followed him. It had certainly a very difficult time for Mother since Dad's death because she and Dad had been so close. We tried to get her to move out nearer to us; in fact, there was a little duplex right across the street from us that we felt would be ideal for her, but she would hear nothing of it and insisted on staying in her own home until she passed away.
It was just shortly after that Janet's mother died in October of 1970 after a very extended illness. She had cancer of the bone marrow. Merrill and Helen took care of her for quite some time and then we had her in our home for as long as Janet was able to take care of her. Finally it became too much of a burden and she needed so much help that we had to put her in a lovely rest home over near our place on 33rd South where Janet could go over and see her and take care of her, which she did at least twice every day until she passed away.
She was also very good to us and had provided us with housing and many other things to help us along the way. And so it was a sad day in our lives and particularly a sad day for our children, that they were to lose both of the grandmothers in this same year and not have the opportunity of having them around and getting to know and love them for a longer period of time.
Craig returned from his mission in 1969. We'll never forgetâ€”the bishop had put the two Timmerman girls on the same program as his homecoming and they had been back and participated in the Hill Cumorah Pageant. They essentially took all of the time and left Craig with less than 15 minutes to report on his mission. But he gave an excellent report and we were so proud of him. And, my, the change in his life was nothing short of a miracle, for the doctors had predicted that he could only get worse, but now here he was returning from his mission and went to BYU to continue his schooling. Lynn returned from his mission in Brazil in May of 1970 and went to BYU and he and Craig were roommates there.
Other highlights of this period were Kent's and Scott's graduation from high school in 1970 and Cindy's marriage on January 15, 1971.
Another rather outstanding event for us was that we purchased a 9-passenger Pontiac station wagon. We were able to get it from Owen Wright at a good price. Owen, who was Ruth Faust's brother, had gone back east and had driven the station wagon out to Salt Lake. it was a beautiful gold color with air conditioning and power steering that I never would have purchased otherwise, but it certainly turned out to be a wonderful car and a great and wonderful blessing for us.
Once again closed another phase of my life with LTV-Montech and very special experiences with my church calling and also with my family. Certainly Janet and I have been greatly blessed. I just don't know how to express my love and appreciation to my Heavenly Father for such a wonderful wife and such wonderful children. Yes, they have had their problems, and their challenges, but the Lord certainly heard and answered our prayers in most regards.
The LDS Church Years
March 1972-July 1973
While we were under such intense pressure at LTV and with the political pressure on the part of our Texas boss, I was really looking for other employment opportunities. One evening I saw an article in the Deseret News about a major reorganization of Church departments and the organization of what was then called the Internal Communications Department with Thomas Fyans as director. As I read about this department and many of its functions, I felt this was an area in which I could make a good contribution and which I was really prepared professionally to do. And so I called Elder Fyans and requested an interview. It was granted, and after some time I was hired and offered the job of Production Coordination Manager, initially working directly under James Paramour. As Brother Paramour reviewed all of my qualifications, he made the statement: "The Lord has prepared you for this job." And truly as I look back on my many varied experiences, it seems like that was just what the Lord had been doing was preparing me for this special assignment.
Our first office was in the Commercial Security Bank building on the corner of First South and State Street up on the fifth floor. When I was hired, James Paramour was also serving as Secretary to the Quorum of the Twelve. The Quorum of the Twelve wouldn't give him a release from that job and so they decided to see if he could handle both jobs. However, it soon became evident that he could not. He elected to stay with the Quorum of the Twelve, and John Carr then became my boss.
This was during President Harold B. Lee's administration as President of the Church. President Lee had given to Elder Fyans and the department the challenge that all production of Church curriculum materials would be on time. No more would they tolerate the situation that had taken place in the last year when the curriculum year started in September and the last curriculum materials did not get into the Distribution Center until January. In fact, he told Elder Fyans these prophetic or historic words: "Prepare not to be shot at sunrise." Elder Fyans had this printed and framed and it sort of became the motto for all of usâ€”we would be shot at sunrise if we didn't get all of the curriculum material into the warehouse on time. Now this was March of 1972, and we just had six months in which to accomplish this task for the first timeâ€”a task that had never before been done in the history of the Church.
We were able to meet this major objective, although the last two items did not get to the Distribution Center until just before midnight of the last day. I was there to receive them and, since Elder Fyans was so anxious, about 11:30 that night I called and told him that we were prepared not to be shot at sunrise and that we had some of everything on the curriculum list in the Center and we would be able to start our shipments on time.
Elder Fyans organized a big special luncheon for all of the key people involved in this project and we were given considerable praise for our accomplishment. I certainly feel proud that I was able to coordinate and pull all of the various departments together and be able to succeed in this special assignment.
One of the special assignments I had in conjunction with my job was, after I had outlined all the details of the various steps through which curriculum material went from the time of its very inception to its placement on the Distribution Center shelves, we made a special slide presentation. I was assigned to go through the whole process with all of the department heads in the Church. It was a very humbling experience to be in that situation, but it went well and I received many compliments on the presentation.
Dean Larson had been hired just a little bit ahead of me and he was working to try to get some organization out of the chaos connected with the curriculum material actually to be produced. While we were in the bank building his office was next to mine so we often conferred and at times commiserated with each other relative to the challenges we had. It was indeed a great change to work in the Church atmosphere. For so many years I had worked with major multi-national companies and many of the key people were not members of the Church. So many of our staff meetings were smoke-filled, and in so many instances, the drinking partners were the ones who got the preferential treatment. So it was a great change to be in staff meetings that were opened with prayer and where everyone was observing the standards of the Church and we were working together in the cause of the Lord. It was a very interesting assignment to meet with, individually and in groups, all of the various organization and auxiliary department heads to review our challenges and to enlist the cooperation we needed to accomplish the task. Certainly, as Elder Paramour had said, all of my previous employment experiences had prepared me for this position and I honestly believed that the Lord had prepared me and guided me toward this assignment that was so important for the Church.
In November of 1972, the entire Young Men and Young Women General Boards were released by President Lee. The Brethren had decided to make a major change in the youth programs of the Church and also in the single adults and so there was reorganized a new and smaller General Board and a new Melchizedek Priesthood MIA General Board. In January 1973, I was called to be a member of this beard. Elders James E. Faust, L. Tom Perry, and Marion D. Hanks were the General Authority advisors, and Jeffrey Holland, who was completing his educational training, was our executive secretary.
I was assigned to the athletic committee. Glory be! If I had had my first choice as to what committee I would be on, that was the one I would have chosen. Wayne Player, Harold Christensen, Howard Badger, and Buzz Tingey were the other members of the committee. I was really enjoying this assignment. We had rewritten the athletic manual and also were developing a new officials program. I guess that's the way it is when you are enjoying something so very muchâ€” it becomes short lived. I started my service on this board on the first or second of January. In February Janet and I were called into President Harold B. Lee's office where he issued to us a call to preside over the Brazil South, later known as the Brazil Porto Alegre Mission, effective July 1, 1973.
During this period Kent received a mission call to the Washington, D.C. Mission and left in June of 1972. Scott received his call to the Japan Mission and he left in August of 1972. They both had taken the language aptitude tests. Kent felt he had done very well and would probably receive a call to a foreign language mission. Scott, on the other hand, felt that he did very, very poorly and was sure a stateside mission was in the planning for him. So we were all somewhat surprised when it was Kent who received his call to the States and Scott received his call to Japan. Scott, the one who didn't like fish or rice, really was the one who seemed to us to be the least suited to go to a mission of that type. But the Lord knows what he is doing and we were pleased that they were both worthy and had prepared themselves to receive their calls.
Once again it meant that we had two missionaries out in the field at the same time, but this was a great blessing to us. There was a dear single nurse in the ward, Sister Helen Trauntvine, who was insistent on giving us some help. She made a contribution of $50 a month to each of the two boys' missions for the length of the time they were out. What a wonderful blessing and help that was, and once again, a testimony that the Lord does provide.
On February 15, 1973, Suzanne, Kathy and Stan's third child, was born. In April of 1973 Craig and Lynn graduated from BYU at the same time. How pleased and thrilled Janet and I were to attend their graduation! Again we were so grateful for Craig's progress and development. For so many years we had felt that he would never even graduate from high school â€”certainly would never be able to go on a mission, and graduating from college just seemed to be totally out of the question, but there we were. He had accomplished it and the Lord had blessed him and blessed us and how grateful we were.
After graduation Craig decided to pack up his belongings, put them all in a little trailer behind his car, and head off to California to seek employment. Lynn, who had been in the Air Force training program at BYU, was assigned to pilot training in Arizona and so he left shortly after graduation as well.
The Mission Years
July 1973-July 1976
The circumstances of our mission call were interesting. On the previous day I had left early in the afternoon to go out to Evergreen Junior High School to see Gary play in their last basketball game of the season. Gary had made the team at the Junior High and was one of the key players. And so I took the time off to go out and see him play. When I returned to the office my secretary, said, "How glad we are to see you! President Lee's office has been trying to get a hold of you." I replied, "Oh my goodness! What does President Lee want to talk to me about?" Well, my secretary was very practical and said, "Well, the best way to find out is to call up and see." And so I called Arthur Haycock, who at that time was President Lee's personal secretary and he came on the phone and indicated that President Lee wanted to see my wife and me the next afternoon, which was on a Friday at 2 o'clock and wanted to know if we could make it.
Well, for the President of the Church, you do everything you can to adjust your schedule accordingly, but I told Elder Haycock I would have to make some adjustments because I had a General Board assignment down in Louisiana and was scheduled to leave on the airplane at noon. I told him that maybe I could find another board member to take my place or maybe there might be some other flight that I could take later on in the day that would still get me to Louisiana on time. Elder Haycock said, "Never mind. You can just wait until next Tuesday and come in." I said, "Elder Haycock, you certainly don't want my wife and I to have to worry from Thursday until the next Tuesday as to what it is that the prophet wants to talk to us about. He, in his joking manner replied, "Well, at least you will have your membership in the church for that much longer." He excused himself from the line and apparently went and talked with President Lee and came back and said, "Can you come in at 11:00 on Friday morning?" I thanked him profusely and told him we would be there and I would just have to leave directly for the airport from our interview.
So Janet and I went in the next morning and met for a full half hour with President Harold B. Lee. It was certainly one of the most special half hours of our entire life to sit across the desk from the prophet of the Lord and to look into his eyes and to have him issue you a call to preside over a mission. We certainly had a reaffirmation in our hearts that the prophets are indeed prophets of the Lord, called by Him. It was a very frightening experienceâ€”one which we certainly did not expect to receive. There had been a time in my life when some of my other friends had gone that I had thought about it, like when Finn and Bruce McConkie and others had been called, but since I had begun working for the church that had completely gone out of my mind and I had not even contemplated the possibility of that kind of an assignment. But yet, there it was.
We finished our interview with President Lee and we had about five minutes on the steps of the church office building before I had to make a mad dash to the airport to catch my flight to the conference in Louisiana. Of course, we were told not to say anything to anyone except the two boys who were at home with us until we received our call letter in writing and it had appeared in the Church News.
So it was very difficult to be separated on that weekend and not even be able to talk with each other about the implications and the changes that it would make in our lives. But finally I returned on Sunday evening from my conference. On Monday evening we had a special family home evening with Gary' and Wayne, who were the only two members or the family still living with us, and we announced to them our mission call and told them we would be going to Brazil. Wayne seemed pleased but Gary did not want to go! He was really quite rebellious, and understandably so. He would just be graduating from junior high school and was ready to go on into high school. He had many friends; he had done well in athletics, which he loved so much; and he just had everything he had been working for and looking forward to in school ahead of him. And to have to leave all of that and go to Brazil, a country that he had only heard us talk about, and to leave all of his friends and those opportunities, it was really a difficult situation for him.
We were supposed to leave the end of June and assume our responsibilities on July 1.
- However, at that time the Church was having great difficulty in getting visas to get into Brazil. Although we had sent in our papers immediately, the visas were not yet available so our departure was delayed. Since we had leased our home to a family from the ward and had to be out by July 1, we were able to go to the MTC in Provo. They provided a home for us, and we stayed there for about five weeks and attended classes along with the missionaries. We concentrated primarily on language study to help get me back into some degree of proficiency and to get Janet and the boys started on their language learning. It was a very interesting, but pressure packed time, especially for Janet and the boys. I also arranged for one of the MTC teachers to give me some special lessons two or three nights a week to help me get a little bit better start on the language. After being away from it for such a long period of time, I sure needed a lot of help. But things generally worked out well.
A week or so before we finally got notice that our visas had cleared, Craig came back from California and moved in with us. He had been unsuccessful in finding employment in California and was really discouraged. It was good to see him again before we went, and we offered him the opportunity to go to Brazil with us, but he didn't feel that he wanted to do that. We noticed that Sperry-Univac was advertising for additional help and Craig was not going to applyâ€”didn't think he had a chanceâ€”but we were successful in encouraging him to go and have his interview and see what he could get. As it turned out it was the best thing for him, since he was successful in getting in employment and has been with Sperry ever since.
We left for Brazil the first part of August, arriving in Brazil August 11. On the way we took the opportunity to stop and see Marti in Boston for a few days and had a great visit with her family. Our visas from the consulate via Murdock arrived at the Boston post office on Saturday, which was good, as we were scheduled to leave on Monday.
We also stopped to see Kent on the way. He was serving in the Washington D.C. Mission and we received permission from his mission president to spend a day sight seeing with him in the Washington D.C. area and then we were invited to have dinner at the mission home along with Kent and his companion. It was great to see him and he was apparently doing very well and very highly thought of by President Nielsen, his mission president.
The Fausts were in South America and so we had arranged to stop and spend a day in Rio with them, which turned out to be a very enjoyable experience. We tried to get Gary and Wayne to go with us, but they were so tired that they didn't feel like they could.
President and Sister Arnold, the stake president, and quite a number of members were there to greet us at the airport when we arrived in Porto Alegre. We arrived on a Wednesday evening, and they had a reception for us and a farewell party for President Arnold on Thursday night. I spent part of Thursday with President Arnold and Janet spent part of the day with Sister Arnold in the mission home and then we put them on the airplane on Friday morning.
I went into the mission office on Friday morning and was completely depressed by the condition of the officeâ€”the very dark interior, the unpainted condition, particularly the drapes that were hanging in shreds. Apparently President Arnold did not feel like spending Church money in even keeping up the mission office on a minimum maintenance basis. I had to rearrange the furniture a little bit and take the drapes down to get a little bit more light in the office and to at least make things half way livable.
That afternoon one of our missionaries, Elder Passey, called in with a health problem. He had seen the doctor the week before with suspected appendicitis, but the doctor had sent him home and said he needed to wait for a little while. Then Friday he had a recurrence and it was decided we needed to get him into the hospital and operated on. So Saturday morning the mission secretary, Elder Bennett, and one of the assistants picked us up to take us to the hospital. They didn't know exactly where it was. They had the address, but it was raining so hard that we missed a turn in the street and actually the name of the street changed and so we had a very difficult time finding the hospital, but finally we did and ended up spending all day Saturday in the hospital. Elder Passey came through the operation satisfactorily, for which we were very grateful, and also spent a good part of Sunday with him.
We had Elder and Sister Tuttle arriving on Monday for a five day mission tour and midweek stake conference and by Sunday night we still hadn't even unpacked our suitcases. Janet didn't know where the silverware or anything was in the mission home. So we were hardly prepared to receive a General Authority and his wife for that period of time, but they were certainly great sports and were very kind and understanding. President Arnold had zone conferences scheduled for the whole week with a different zone coming into Porto Alegre each day for their conference. The weather was very, very cold, and boy, what an initiation to sit in that cold building all day in zone conference without any means of warming up except just piling on of additional coats and sitting and talking and doing everything wearing our heaviest clothes.
One of our major problems and disappointments was that we had shipped our personal belongings from Salt Lake in June by ship and had expected them to be in Porto Alegre; in fact I had sent a power of attorney to President Arnold so that he would be able to take them out of storageâ€”take them out of customs and have them waiting at the mission home for us. But when we arrived we got the sad news that our shipment had not yet arrived. It was promised on two subsequent ships, but it did not arrive. To make a long story short, we never did get our shipment. Apparently the ship that it was on had an accident outside of Recife and was towed into Rio and all the cargo had to be off loaded. The only thing we can surmise is that while it was on the dock in Rio it was broken into the things stolen so that it never did arrive.
That presented a real problem because we had come to Brazil right in the middle of winter but we had come from summer and all we had with us were summer clothes. We were counting on all our winter things being in the shipment, and so that really caused us a great deal of difficulty. We had bought Levis and clothes for the boys to pretty well last through our three years there and I had all of my church papers, notes, talks, etc. that I had accumulated over 25 or 26 years of church experience that were all lost. Janet had put some of her special jewelry in the shipment and that was gone. All in all it was a very traumatic situation, but we learned that when you have to you can live without a lot of things you think you can't do without.
We really did enjoy Elder and Sister Tuttle's visit, and it was great to get better acquainted with them. They seemed to be very kind and understanding relative to our unprepared situation. Needless to say, with our sick missionary, lost shipment, and a full week of conferences, we got a pretty rough initiation into missionary work.
I won't cover any more of the mission details at this point. I tried to keep a fairly complete missionary diary. Those who are interested in more detail can read the diary, which will pretty well document the day by day happenings of our mission.
I should make special mention, though, of two great events that took place in Brazil while we were there. First, the very first Area General Conference was held in Sao Paulo in March of 1975. This was the first area conference to be held in Brazil and President Kimball presided. Elder Faust came and President Tanner and many of the other General Authorities. All of the mission presidents from all over Brazil were invited, for which we were very grateful. We were able to take Gary and Wayne along with us. Our 19 native Brazilian missionaries were invited, but the American elders were not invited because of the travel costs and also the general feeling that they would have other opportunities after their return to the United States to see the prophet and meet with other General Authorities.
The conference was held in a very beautiful convention-type center with seating for about 8,000 people. It was a marvelous conference and there we heard a most electrifying announcement of the first temple in all of South America, which would be built in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We will never forget as we sat on the stand looking out into the congregation to see the reaction of the members and how overjoyed they were and how with tears streaming down their faces they hugged and kissed each other and were really extremely happy as they contemplated the possibility of having their own temple and being able to enjoy the blessings of the temple without the tremendous expense of traveling to the United States.
We were also invited by Elder Faust to participate in the temple groundbreaking that next year, 1976, a short time before we completed our mission. It was a very special experience to be present on that occasion, and I was pleased that I was given one of the ceremonial ground-breaking shovels as a remembrance of the occasion.
We were very saddened by the fact that we had to send two of our missionaries homeâ€”one an elder and one a sister for problems in their personal lives. One was disfellowshipped and the other excommunicated. Certainly these were two of the most difficult days of our mission time to have to do this. We had other trials such as getting word from Lloyd and Alice Hicken that their son, and the brother of our missionary, Robert Hicken, was accidentally electrocuted and died, and one of our native Brazilians, Elder Olivera, had a brother killed in a motorcycle accident and other missionaries that had one of their parents die, like Elder Duke. We had to travel all the way down to Rio Grande to break the news to him.
I also had about 2 1/2 years of trials and difficulties in trying to get a new mission office built to replace the horrible one that we inherited. It was an old home remodeled when the stake center was built. I was finally successful in getting that completed, but I was only able to enjoy the new mission office for about two months before it was time for us to be released and to go home.
In May 1976 Elder and Sister Hales, a relatively new General Authority, visited Porto Alegre on a stake conference assignment. He had requested the assignment particularly so he could come and get acquainted with me. He had been assigned to take Tom Fyans' place as Manager of Internal Communications, the area I left in my employment. After my interview with him, he indicated that I would have the job of International Distribution Center manager, working under him upon my return to the States. So I was very pleased and thrilled and excited with this.
We were replaced on July 1, 1976 by President Jason Sosa from Curitiba. He was the first native Brazilian to preside over the Porto Alegre Mission, and many of the members expressed considerable concern about the capabilities of a Brazilian to preside over the mission since they had been used to having strictly American mission presidents. However, he seems to be very capable and we felt he would do a good job, which he did. They had a farewell party for us and a reception for him on June 30 in the evening and then Janet, Wayne and I left on July 1.
We flew to Rio where we were delayed considerably by bad weather; however we were met by four of our ex-missionaries who lived in Rio and unbeknownst to us had gotten information from the office elders as to when we would arrive. They wanted to show us around Rio and they did the best they could, but it was a windy, cold, rainy day and it was difficult to see much. We went upon Sugar Loaf, but the top was in the clouds. It really was not a day for any sight seeing.
We left that evening on Pan Am and flew to Kennedy in New York. We made arrangements to take the helicopter from Kennedy over to Newark, New Jersey. We flew right over the tops of the key buildings and could almost reach right out and touch the Empire State Building. It was a particularly thrilling flight. What a tremendous view of New York City! Wayne particularly seemed to enjoy it a great deal.
We arrived in the Newark airport and had a couple of hour[s] layover before our plane left to take us to Marti's place in Boston. We were very much surprised to see Lynn and Janine and their young son Andrew come into the airport. They said they couldn't wait until we came to see them in New Jersey after our visit with Marti, so they had driven down to the airport hoping to have a chance to see and visit with us before we left to go to Boston. Since Lynn had married Janine the first Christmas we were in Brazil, we had not met her, so it was a very happy occasion for us to meet his bride, now of almost 2 1/2 years and to meet their little son Andrew, whom they had named Andrew Lynn after me.
We arrived in Boston on July 2, and then experienced one of the very greatest experiences in our whole lives. The year was 1976 and so this was the bicentennial yearâ€”the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. What a glorious time to return to the United States after having been away for three years! We were able to participate in many of the bicentennial activities with Marti and her family and it was truly a glorious experienceâ€”seeing Old Glory raised at Boston Common and a mock battle between the Revolutionaries and the British, taking the scenic walk tour through Boston, hearing the Declaration of Independence read from that balcony where it was read 200 years before, hearing a special patriotic program in Faneuil Hall, so famous from that time, and just seeing all of those wonderful historic places and reliving some of the most important events in our nation's history.
Later in the afternoon we went over on the Charles River Esplanade and found a place to spread our blanket along with 2 or 300,000 other people and had a picnic supper and then listened to a patriotic concert by the Boston Pops orchestra directed by Arthur Fiedler and then a spectacular fireworks display set off out in the Charles River. What a climax to our return to the United States and how grateful we are to be citizens of this great land of freedom and to have the national heritage that we have.
It was so great to be back in our own country and with our own people and having everyone speaking English and everyone so polite and considerate of each other in spite of the very heavy crowds along the Esplanade. It was just a very pleasant and wonderful experience.
One notable event that had occurred in the ward while we were gone was on September 2, 1973, Bob Warner was released as bishop of the Kenwood 2nd Ward and George Fudge was sustained as the new bishop with Warwick Palfreyman and John Dunn as counselors.
Now let me go back and highlight a few more of the special family events that took place during this period. Five grandchildren were born while we were in Brazil: David Lythgoe, Marti and Dennis' third, on September 1, 1973; Heather Newport, Cindy and Jim's second, on October29, 1974; Andrew Lynn, Lynn and Janine's first, on April 21, 1975; Stanford McConkie Jr., Stan and Kathy's first son on July 10,1975; and our 11th grandchild, Charlie Lythgoe on March 12, 1976.
Lynn married Janine Housley on the 27th of December, 1973. That was certainly a very traumatic and difficult time for us. It was not only our first Christmas away from home and the family, but having Lynn get married and not even know his bride and having to turn all of the arrangements over to my brother Dick, we really felt out of it and certainly had great pangs of homesickness at this particular time. We had to constantly remind ourselves that we were on the Lord's errand. It was very ironic afterwards, as we would hear from each member of the family, each one would assume that we had all the details of the wedding, when actually no one had sent us any of the details. It was actually some months after the wedding before we got a full account as well as pictures of the very special event.
In 1974 Kent and Scott completed their missions and were given permission by President Lee to visit us in Brazil. Kent came first, directly from his mission, and stayed about six weeks. We really enjoyed his stay and then he left to go back to start school at BYU. Scott was not released from his mission in Japan until August and he went to the United States and then down to visit us. He stayed for about four months. It was great to have him there and he did a lot of traveling with us throughout the mission. He brought me a used Japanese camera which I was very grateful to get. I am still using it.
Two very sad deaths occurred in the family during this time: Uncle Al died on January 26, 1974, and Uncle Art passed away on June 6, 1974. Uncle Al's passing was entirely unexpected. Uncle Art had had one or two serious heart attacks previous to this time, but it was felt that he was getting along well, so both of those situations were very trying for us, especially not being able to be with the family.
So, as you can see, there were a number of very significant family events that took place during this period, which we had to miss out on. But we were on the Lord's errand and we were glad to be serving our Heavenly Father in the mission field. That made the sacrifice worth while and reconciled us to missing out on all these special events.
Gary had difficulty in adjusting to life in Brazil. Actually, since he never wanted to come, he never really tried very hard to get himself adapted and really become a part of things. Wayne, on the other hand, did very much better. He became well adjusted and it was a very positive experience for him. Gary didn't like school and wouldn't study on his correspondence course. He broke his ankle playing basketball, which was the only thing he truly enjoyed doing down there. That was a shame. The whole family was there watching the game. It was just in the very last few seconds when he went up and came down on another fellow's foot and twisted and broke his ankle. That laid him up for some time and further dampened his spirits. I did send him out with office missionaries especially on audit trips, and we tried to keep him as involved as possible; however, he was not too careful with his eating habits and got amoebas and lost weight, had some real serious health problems in this regard.
Gary was so unhappy in Brazil that we finally arranged for him to go home and live with Dick and Mona the last year of our mission so he could go to school at Skyline for his senior year. It was a traumatic and sorry day for Janet and me as we put him on the airplane to send him home after two years in Brazil, but certainly it was the best decision for him.
Scott had a serious accident with the new mission car, which was not his fault at all, and that added to the trauma of the situation. Fortunately he wasn't hurt and it was possible to get the car repaired. I had an interesting and challenging experience in teaching Wayne to drive. He took his driver's education by correspondence and was anxious to drive on every occasion. So every Saturday or whenever I had any time off, he was always after me to take him driving and give him the practice of actually driving the car.
One of the family highlights was the Wright's visit to Porto Alegre. He was the Church attorney, based in Montevideo, and they had boys Gary and Wayne's age. They came up to Porto Alegre for a visit and stayed with us and the boys got acquainted with them. Later on, Gary and Wayne went down to Montevideo by bus and stayed with Ace and Ida Sorensen and had a great time with the Wright boys.
It was very special for our family to have General Authorities visit our home when we were in Porto Alegre. The stake president did not speak any English nor did he have facilities to host the brethren as they came for stake conferences, so he was always relieved when we would invite the General Authorities to stay with us. After the first visit with Elder Tuttle, Elder and Sister McConkie came in February and it happened to be the hottest weekend of our summer. Elder and Sister McConkie suffered, having come out of very cold winter weather in Salt Lake City. But they were great and gracious people, and what a wonderful experience to participate in stake conference and our missionary conferences with them and to have him teach our missionaries. How much I learned as a mission president and how much I was able to use later on in the mission the things that he taught us.
We were also blessed to have Elder Cullimore, Elder Stone, and Elder Hales come. Elder Faust also came a couple of times. Actually he was our Executive Administrator the last year and how that helped to have a General Authority that we could call on the telephone when we needed to! Elder Faust's son, Robert, was assigned to our mission. He came before he had actually turned 18, but turned out to he a very, very capable missionary and we were happy to have him.
The Sorrentinos (the stake president) who had a son that was about Gary and Wayne's age, tried their best to make our first Christmas in Brazil as agreeable as possible. They had us spend Christmas Eve at their home. The festivities and the dinner didn't start until after midnight, but it was a very interesting time. Each of the three Christmases we were in Porto Alegre we held an open house for all of the missionaries in and around Porto Alegre to come and play games and have treats and spend as much of the day as possible. That certainly helped us to not feel quite so strongly the separation from our family.
One other special event was that one of our Brazilian sister missionaries, Sonja Wosenjuk, developed severe health problems and was unable to continue her missionary work on a proselyting basis. We decided we needed to try to salvage her mission and not send her home, so we kept her in the mission home with us. Half of the day she helped Janet and Wayne with their language and the other half of the day I had her work with us in the mission office. So she was very productive and also made a fine contribution to the family.
Shortly before we came home, Janet, Wayne, Sonja and I took a bus trip to Uruguay and Argentina. We stayed a couple of nights with Ace and Ida Sorensen and saw the sights in the Montevideo area and then took the ferry from Uruguay over to Argentina and spent a full day sight seeing in Buenos Aires. That was a very enjoyable trip. Elder Faust was the Executive Administrator, living in Sao Paulo, and he not only gave us permission but encouraged us to go and see Argentina while we could. The storm clouds of revolution were forming over Argentina and it was just a very short time after we were there when the revolution broke out.
I have already mentioned our wonderful visit with Marti and our spending July 4 in the Boston area. Gary couldn't wait for us to come home, and so he called us and then got on a plane and met us at Marti's so he could be with us for the rest of the trip. After visiting Marti and Dennis we spent a week with Lynn and Janine in New Jersey. Lynn had completed his pilot training in Arizona and had been assigned to the transport command. He was flying the C-141 Transport planes out of McGuire Air force Base in New Jersey. So, we were very happy to stay with them in their home on the base and had a very good time seeing that part of the country. We drove to many of the historic sites, including one day in Philadelphia, which was really a very special occurrence for us.
In summary, before I leave the mission years, I would have to say that this was one of the most outstanding experiences of my life. I think the real highlight of our mission experience was being able to do almost everything together and share everything. I know of no other assignment in the Church where husband and wife have the opportunity to work as closely together as they do in the mission field. It was very, very special, and I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the opportunity of serving and having so many wonderful missionaries assigned to our care.
We did have a lot of problems in missionaries arriving because of the visa problems. Most of our missionaries had a year of their mission gone before they arrived in Brazil and so this presented special difficulties. But we loved each and every one of them. They presented many challenges, but also great personal satisfaction. One of the highlights of our mission was the opportunity to travel from zone to zone for conferences and met with all of our missionaries and heard their testimonies and tried to teach and encourage them in the Lord's great work.
They became like additions to our family. Over the years it has been a great and most satisfying experience for us to encounter them in every walk of life in key and responsible positions in the Church and to feel that perhaps we had a small part in the formulating of their goals and helping them to be better prepared to meet the challenges of life and make a significant contribution to the work of the Lord.
Well, as President Backman said, being a mission president is something you would not wish on your worst enemy, but wouldn't want your best friend to miss. And how true that is. It is an experience full of contrastsâ€”where you are on call 24 hours a day and have undue problems and challenges, but also uncountable blessings and great personal satisfaction. Words just can't express what the mission experience is, and hopefully I have captured more of it in detail in my diary. I do thank the Lord for the opportunity of being able to serve in this capacity in the south of Brazil.
The Post-Mission Years
August 1976-April 1982
Before leaving Brazil I had been named International Distribution Center Manager by Elder Hales. Upon my return I filled this position for three months, during which I had the opportunity to visit Mexico and Peru and Chili and Argentina and Brazil. It was interesting to return to Brazil so soon after leaving. The people couldn't get over that an ex-mission president was now a "just" a Sunday school teacher and a home teacher. They had a hard time visualizing that
Then the Church made a major reorganization and divided the old Internal Communications Department in two. I was put in the part then designated as the Materials Management Department under Kay Briggs, who was hired from the Exxon organization.
The reorganization came about as the Church began the establishment of the Area Office concept. Instead of each department managing their own department throughout the world, (such as my responsibility for distribution of materials throughout the entire world), they were now setting up individual Area Offices where the temporal affairs would be handled by a Director for Temporal Affairs for that particular area. Merrill Petty was the first DTA selected to serve in England, Cordon Christensen in Mexico, and Osiris Cabral in Brazil.
I was made Manager of Planning and Analysis in materials management, and I functioned in this capacity for a couple of years, not really enjoying what I was doing, as it was strictly a staff position and I was working almost entirely on my own doing various studies for the department. So in November of 1978 when the opening for International Purchasing Manager came up under Walt Cottle, I applied and was very, very happy to he accepted in this position
I basically had the responsibility for auditing and training in all of the purchasing offices throughout the world. I traveled to the South Pacificâ€”the various islands, to Australia and New Zealand. Then it was realized that the world was too big for one individual to handle, so the world was divided and all of the materials management functions were put under one manager. Nolan Leishman had the South Pacific and Asia and that part of the world and I was given all of Latin America. So I then became the International Materials Management Manager for Latin America and had the responsibility for training and auditing in the six area offices of Mexico, Central America, Andes-Chile, Argentina-Uruguay-Paraguay, Peru-Columbia-Venezuela-Ecuador, and Brazil.
I had to visit each of these areas about twice a year, which meant that I was on the road about a third of the time. Five of my areas were in Spanish speaking countries and only one was in Portuguese, so I had to learn Spanish. It came easier, of course, based on the Portuguese; however, I was never really able to completely eliminate all of the Portuguese or all of the Spanish out of my vocabulary. At least I was able to do my work and all my training without having to use an interpreter, which was a great help.
This was a marvelous experience and I got to know wonderful people all over Latin America. Although we didn't get to see many sights, it was interesting to get into the other Latin American countries and see how conditions were. Of all the places I visited, the ones I enjoyed most were Ecuador and Santiago, Chile. Guatemala in Central America was also very interesting; however there was great political unrest there and for a while the area office was moved from Guatemala City to Costa Rica and then moved back again. But Guatemala was a beautiful place and I had some lovely experiences there.
On one trip I was able to take Janet with me. We visited our regional office in Puerto Rico and then we managed a one-day trip out of Guatemala City up to Tical where we were able to see the ancient Indian ruins in the jungle. We had to take a small plane out of Guatemala City and flew up and spent the day and flew back in the evening. But that was a very marvelous and wonderful experience.
One of the things I will never forget in my work as Manager of Planning and Analysisâ€”I had purchased an orange colored corduroy suit, which I got the courage to wear to work only very occasionally. On this particular morning I had decided to wear it, and after I had arrived at work Kay Briggs advised me that the First Presidency had time on their schedule and that I would have to give a presentation to them that morning. I did not have time to go home and change clothes. I don't know how much they noticed; they couldn't have helped but notice, but, of course, nothing was said out of their kindness. But how embarrassed I was to have to go and make a presentation to the First Presidency in my orange corduroy suit
I was first given a general church assignment on the Long Range Curriculum Planning Committee under Elder Neal Maxwell from August 1976 to February 1977. Elder Maxwell was very complimentary and indicated that they had been waiting especially for me to return so that I could function on that committee. It was a short lived but interesting time.
Then from February of 1977 to April of 1982, I served as the Executive Secretary to the International Missionâ€”first with Elder Faust as president and then with Elder Carlos Asay as president with Elders de Jager and Bradford as counselors. This was really one of my very choice experiences in the Church, handling all of the administrative mattersâ€”financial, correspondence, etc., with our couples who were in the International Mission areas, which were all areas of the world not covered by organized missions or stakes of the Church.
Finn and Sara Paulsen were called to preside over the new Sao Paulo temple on February 19, 1978 and left in May or June to go down to get things ready. The Sao Paulo temple was dedicated in October 1978. I was unable to be present but I would certainly liked to have been. Very tragically Finn took ill that next year and had to come home for surgery and died in June of 1979. He was able to serve as the actual temple president for less than a year. I met with him once when I was visiting Sao Paulo and they thought at that time he had hepatitis since he had all of the classic symptoms, but it turned out that he had a cancerous growth on his pancreas. They did get him to Salt Lake for surgery but he was unable to survive the operation.
One of the very great experiences in our lives was the announcement on June 9, 1978 of the revelation on the priesthood when the First Presidency announced that the priesthood would now be extended to all worthy male members regardless of race or color. Oh how grateful and how happy we were because this now meant that missionary work could begin on an unrestricted basis in Brazil where there are so many mixed marriages. We had so many missionary heartaches because of people that were lost and not willing to be baptized when they learned of the restrictions on the priesthood. What a glorious day this was, and what problems it solved for President Paulsen, as he was really concerned as to how they would effectively administer the affairs of the temple and not have unauthorized people coming in and going through the temple for their endowments without holding the priesthood properly.
On April 9, 1978 we got another new bishopric in the Kenwood II Ward, with Darson Roper as bishop and Harold Rossberg and Joe Stobbe as counselors. Then on October 1, 1978 we lost part of our ward. The east side of Melbourne and 2960 South were given to Kenwood I Ward to even up the membership. We lost a lot of wonderful friends into the other wards, such as the Curtises, the Slaydens, and others who it was difficult to lose, but it was one of those things that happens and you have to take in stride.
In January of 1979 we had a special sacrament meeting and also an anniversary party commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Kenwood II Ward. Kenwood II Ward had really become an integral part of our lives and we can say that we have truly been blessed to live in that part of the valley.
We had nine additional grandchildren born during this period:
January 18, 1977â€”Jenny (Lynn and Janine)
March 18, 1978â€”Jordan (Scott and Suzy)
May 19, 1978â€”Marshall (Kathy and Stan)
May 29, 1979â€”Shaun (Scott and Suzy)
August 26, 1979â€”Aubrey (Kent and Nedra)
February 29, 1980â€”Spencer (Marti and Dennis)
October 18, 1980â€”Amy (Kent and Nedra)
March 16, 1981â€”Lisa Marie (Lynn and Janine)
September 21, 1981â€”Bonnie (Kathy and Stan)
Between our being out of the country and our children being out of the city, we certainly were not able to participate in very many of the blessings of our grandchildren. We hope that we can do better on the rest of the special events in their lives.
In June 1977 Gary graduated from Skyline High School. We had sent him home to live with Uncle Dick the last year of our mission to complete his senior year. But having missed so much of his education while in Brazil, the school suggested and he decided to go one more year. He was an outstanding player on Skyline's soccer team.
Wayne graduated from Olympus in 1978. He had two years of high school left after we returned from Brazil and had a very enjoyable time. I think one of the best activities for Wayne was Madrigals. We were able to attend a. number of their concerts and The Mikado, in which Wayne had a good part, and all in all it was a fine experience for him. He did well in his school work. His correspondence work in Brazil and tutoring by Mrs. Schill certainly helped him out.
The following year, 1979, he received his mission call to the Arkansas, Little Rock mission. We were all very surprised at the call because Wayne had learned Portuguese very well in Brazil and had a great desire to return to Brazil. We felt sure that would be where his call would be. It was a difficult mission for Wayne, but he did very well and finished up as Assistant to the Mission President and we were very proud of him.
In 1977 Kent graduated from BYU in accounting and computer sciences. We were very proud of Kent and his accomplishments at BYU.
On February 11, 1977, just one day off from Janet's and my anniversary, Scott married Suzy Dorius in the Los Angeles Temple. We were able to go to L.A. for the event. Merrill and Helen were there also and we had a very lovely time. Their marriage ceremony was one of the finest that we have ever attended. It was just one that was assigned by the templeâ€”a member of the temple presidency as I recall. The Doriuses held a wedding breakfast and a spectacular reception afterwards in their home in California. We held a reception for them later in Salt Lake. Everything was very lovely and we were most happy to have Suzy become part of our family.
It wasn't too much later, on November 10, 1978 that Kent married Nedra Virts in the Salt Lake Temple. Nedra is a very lovely girl, a convert to the Church. She decided she wanted to come to Salt Lake to live and so, with $100 in her pocket, she put all or her belongings in her old beat up car and drove to Salt Lake where she was able to find employment. She and Kent first met at a singles event and things worked out for them. And we are very happy to have Nedra as part of our family. We had a lovely ceremony in the Salt Lake Temple. However, it was a very wintry day. That night it snowed so hard we had a difficult time getting to the reception and home; in fact many people tried to get to the reception and just gave up and went back home because it was such a difficult driving situation. However, it was a very lovely evening and one which we will always remember
Also, in November of 1978, my uncle, Robert Sorensen died. He was the oldest of my father's four brothers, and we were sorry to see him go. Just a few months later on January 21, 1979, Aunt Mae died. She was the only daughter in Grandpa and Grandma Sorensen's family. She was a wonderful personâ€”so anxious to help everyone and was so kind to our family. However, she was disappointed in love in her early courtship years and then was unable to find a satisfactory companion so Aunt Mae never did marry. But she was certainly a wonderful part of our family and we appreciated very much our love and association with her.
In May of 1977, the class officers from South High School got together and decided that we really needed to have a class reunion. We had not had any up to this point, and so in May of '77 we held our 40th reunion. I, being class president, was generally in charge, but I had a great committee. We went back to good old South High School and had a wonderful program and catered dinner and dance. In fact, everyone had such a good time that when we announced our next one would be the 50th, many came up and said, "Noâ€”many of us will no be here at the 50th. Let's have another one five years from now for the 45th." And so we made plans and also had another outstanding and enjoyable reunion in May of 1982.
Another major event of this period of time was that Kathy and Stan decided to move back to Salt Lake City from Jonesboro, Arkansas where they had been living for a number of years. Stan had been teaching at Arkansas State University. When Dianna got to Junior High School and she was the only member of the Church in her whole school, Kathy and Stan decided that it was time to move hack. Although Stan had employment opportunities, nothing was definite, but they felt so strongly that they moved back anyway. They moved into Stan's grandmother's old house up on 3rd Avenue and C Street. And so we were very happy to have them back and to be able to see them and their family much more regularly.
And, the return to Zion continued. The following year, 1981, Lynn and Janine moved to Salt Like City from San Bernardino, California, and we were most happy to see them. This now gave us all of the family back in Salt Lake except Marti and Dennis and their family, and we had hopes that things wouldn't delay too long before Mart and Dennis would also be able to return.
In summary, this was a very interesting six years of our lives. We had returned from the mission and gotten reestablished with our family, had gotten into some very interesting work professionally, and although I had to travel a great deal, my responsibility as Area Materials Management Manager for Latin America was indeed a very challenging and interesting experience.
The DTA Years
April 1982 to April 1985
In April of 1982 I was selected to be the new Director for Temporal Affairs for the Brazil Area replacing Osiris Cabral, a native Brazilian who had been the very first DTA and had functioned in that area for approximately six years. He had been called to preside over our old missionâ€”the Porto Alegre mission. On the one hand I was reluctant to leave home again, especially since Kathy and Stan and Lynn and Janine had rather recently moved back to the Salt Lake area, but on the other hand I felt that this was a special challenge professionallyâ€”one for which my entire career had prepared me, and Janet and I both had a spiritual confirmation that it was an assignment or a job that I should accept.
And so I went down to Brazil right after April conference and spent a couple of weeks getting the lay of the land and then came back and helped Janet and we made our formal move the first part of June.
In my responsibility as DTA I was really the top representative of the Church from Salt Lake, although we had on the ecclesiastical side Elder Joseph Wirthlin, who was assigned to be the Executive Administrator. However, he was living in Salt Lake and only got to Brazil every six to eight weeks. When he wasn't there it meant that I was the key focal point for all contact and resolving of problems. Elder Wirthlin usually invited Janet and me to accompany him and his wife to his stake conferences to translate for them. This turned out to be a very special relationship, and we enjoyed working with Elder and Sister Wirthlin very much. They will always be special people in our hearts.
Jim Pinegar and John Loveland were my immediate supervisors out of the international office in Salt Lake. My last year we finally got an Area Presidency but they were not at that time designated to live within the country. Charles Didier was our president, Burton Howard was the first counselor and Robert Wells was the second counselor. We had a very fine relationship with Elder Didier and enjoyed him and his good wife very, very much. We only saw Elder Howard and Elder Wells just once during that year. All the rest of the time we worked directly with Elder Didier.
Upon my arrival in Brazil I jumped right into a number of problems. Alter having a native Brazilian as the Director for Temporal Affairs, the Brazilians initially had real difficulty accepting me in the position. Also, I found so many people misplaced in their responsibilities and not capable or prepared to do the jobs they were in. But the problem of most immediate concern was our visas.
We had been unable to get our regular visas by the time we left, but the legal department thought we would be able to renew our old permanent visas. So upon our arrival we began the lengthy application process and went through all the usual red tape and numerous visits to the police department. Everything proceeded normally until our old visas were sent to Porto Alegre for final clearance before they issued our new permanent ones. For some reason officials there determined that my old visa was illegal or contraband, even though it was obtained completely by legal means and following all of the processes necessary. This gave me real legal problems and it looked like we might have to return home. In fact, the lawyer and our exterior relations man Jason Sosa recommended that it would be best for the Church if I left. Of course, Brother Sosa really had his eye on my job and was very disappointed that he didn't get it. I think his personal desires overcame his objective thoughts on this issue as far as the Church was concerned.
But I was not going to quit! After talking to Elder Faust and other leaders, it was determined that it would be best for us to fight it and clear the situation up legally rather than leave Brazil and have a dark cloud over our heads. Brother Marcelino, the Church lawyer, did a great job in going through all of the processes for me. Finally we got everything cleared and then we had to begin the process for obtaining a regular religious visa.
When that visa was finally approved we had to go back to Los Angeles to get it. Fortunately we were able to time that trip to be in the United States for Christmas. We divided up our time between Scott and Suzy, who were living in Los Angeles, and Kent and Nedra, who were living up in Vancouver Washington. We stayed a couple of days with Scott and then went up to spend Christmas Eve, Christmas, and part of that next week with Kent and then we returned to Los Angeles and spent New Years Eve and New Years Day with Scott and Suzy. We had a marvelous time including our first attendance in person at a Rose Parade. Scott had managed to get tickets for us and so he and Jordan and Shaun and Janet and I all went to the Rose Parade on New Years morning and what a wonderful experience that was!
Another serious problem I faced also involved visas. Before my arrival Dan Fish had been hired to head up Physical Facilities for the area. Dan went home for a visit the first year and, due partly to some bad legal advice, his temporary visa expired while he was home. Although his application for renewal was in process at the time, it was automatically cancelled and he would have to start the process all over again. He had had such a bad time the first time, and they had lived so long out of suitcases in hotels that he decided it was just not worth it. So he resigned and did not return to Brazil.
I didn't have anyone in the office who was capable of being the Physical Facilities Manager and so I had to assume that responsibility myself. Then shortly afterwards, Robert Hallett, the controller, was having great difficulty. The job was much more difficult and challenging than he had anticipated and also his wife and children were having difficulty in adjusting to Brazil. So they finally decided it would be best if he returned. And so that was doneâ€”not without some feelingsâ€” but we were able to get Craig Schuller, who was finishing up as controller in Central America to come and finish out the rest of the time as controller while I was there. This turned out to be a great move.
I had the opportunity of traveling to all the major cities in Brazil with the chapel construction. Actually construction had been slowed down to a practical stop for the last two or three years of Osiris Cabral's administration. My first year we were able to get it back on track and got better than 30 chapels completed. And then our second full year we were able to get 90 built and had 100 on the board to be completed for the next year. So we felt good about what we were able to accomplish in construction. We were also able to get most of our chapels dedicated.
I was instrumental in setting up regional offices to help us in our construction expansion in Recife and Rio and Sao Paulo, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, and Brasilia. During my administration we were also able to attend some special seminarsâ€”some for construction, some for materials management to which the DTA was invited. We went to two in Lima, one in Chile, two in Argentina, and one in Guatemala. These were all very interesting and challenging experiences.
We also had some lovely experiences at special seminars at general conference time. In April we were able to take our wives with us and the seminars were held partly at the church office building and partly at BYU. We had two in October that were held at The Homestead, which were also very enjoyable.
All in all, professionally this was a very, very challenging time. The brethren, especially Elder Packer who was our first contact with the Council of the Twelve, were very concerned about how things were going and so we were given some very special challenges to get on top of. I think one of the nicest compliments that we got was in one of our conference report meetings Elder Packer got up and said, "We can say now that as far as Brazil and South America are concerned, that the Tylenol is off the shelf," or in other words that the major problems had been resolved and we were going along in the right direction. He also said, "I don't want anyone to suggest any changes in any of the Directors for Temporal Affairs in South America." So working together under the leadership of Kay Briggs, who was the International Office Manager in Salt Lake, we did make very significant progress in getting the Area Offices in Latin America on a much more efficient basis.
And so I felt that this was really the climax to my professional career. Although it was one of the most difficult times I had ever had, it was certainly one of the most satisfying professionally. And as I look back I can see that the Litton Years, the very difficult times at the Deseret Press, and each and every one of my other employment experiences all played a part in preparing me for this very difficult assignment. Without those previous experiences I certainly would not have been able to survive all the pressures and problems and challenges that came about.
After our three years we were released with honor and were paid many fine and kind tributes. I really felt that it had been a wise decision to accept the position, that the Lord was with us, and that it was a great way to finish up professionally. Also, with the increase in salary and our reduced living expenses, we had been able to get some unexpected savings in the bank to supplement our minimum retirement and make it so that we could at least have a fairly comfortable retirement time. So when I returned from my assignment in Brazil at April conference in 1985, I had made the decision to retire from active employment effective May 1.
The Church and the department gave us a very special dinner party at the Lion House. It was sort of an emotional time because to make that kind of a major change in your I life was not without sorrow and some regrets in not continuing in that line. However, after having been away for another three years, Janet and I were ready to have some time on our own to be able to spend more time with our family and get acquainted with our grandchildren that we hardly even knew. So this was a good period, but we finished up on a positive note, looking forward to the retirement years.
During this period I was called to be the gospel doctrine teacher in the Feriera Ward and I enjoyed that very much. It was difficult to teach in a foreign language and especially to express myself all the time exactly as I would like to, but it was a very interesting experience. Then I was also assigned to be a home teacher and we had a good experience with that. I also had the opportunity of dedicating a number of chapels in Brazil, the highlight being the two I did in Fortaleza on the last weekend I was in the country.
As I mentioned previously, we attended a number of stake conferences with Elder Wirthlin and also a few with Elder Didier that last year. I found it particularly challenging to he with Elder Wirthlin when meeting with the stake presidencies. On those occasions I had to translate in both directionsâ€”that is, from English to Portuguese when he talked and from Portuguese back to English when the president or member of the stake presidency responded. But it was a very interesting experience.
I guess one of the most challenging translating experiences I had was during the April 1983 conference when the brethren had a meeting with all of the stake presidencies and regional representatives from Brazil. We had arranged to have someone from the translation department translate for Elder Packer. However, as I walked into the meeting room on the 22nd floor that morning at 8 o'clock, Elder Packer got a hold of me and just said without asking or without question, "I want you to translate for me as I make my presentation." Well, Elder Packer talked for about 45 minutes and I had to translate from English into Portuguese and certainly that was one of the most challenging translating assignments that I had. But I guess that we did it OK. There were just a couple of places where I had to ask for help on words, but knowing Elder Packer's depth of experience and his broad vocabulary, this was truly a challenge of the first order.
We had a great association with Roy and Alice Ruth Drechsel, as he was Regional Representative in the south and then with Dallas and Linda Archibald, who lived in Portal. He was a Regional Representative in the northeast and we really enjoyed them and being their friends and associating with them both on a church basis as well as on a social basis.
We also had a very special and wonderful association with the two Sao Paulo mission presidents during our first two years. President Christensen, who was in charge of the Sao Paulo North Mission and President Hawkins from California in the Sao Paulo South Mission. They were just great and we had wonderful times socially and ecclesiastically with them. They went home after we had been there for two years and they were replaced by President Stoyer and President Call. We didn't get a chance to spend as much time with these two and we didn't seem to quite hit it off as well with them as we had with the others, but they were wonderful dedicated men and families and we enjoyed getting to know them.
We were very excited when our old friends Norton and Julie Nixon accepted a full time church service mission to Brazil. We had requested that they come because we were very bogged down, particularly in our membership and statistical department. Norton and Julie spent a year and a half doing yeoman's service in helping out in that area. And what a joy it was to have them in Sao Paulo with us and to be able to get together with them periodically. I guess the highlight of our association with them was in November of 1984 when we combined business and pleasure and took them on a car trip to the south of Brazil. We went down through historic Ipomeia and then to Porto Alegre where we enjoyed Thanksgiving with Roy and Alice Ruth Drechsel. The six of us traveled one day up to Granada and Canella and had a lovely time. Then we drove back up the coastal route through Florianopolis and stayed at the Ipanema Palaceâ€”our favorite hotel just north of Florianopolis right on the ocean, and then came back up through Joinvilie and Curitiba and back home. It was a marvelous trip and we enjoyed being with them.
The Sorrentinos, our old friends from Porto Alegre, insisted that we stay with them a couple of nights out at the beach. Unfortunately the place they wanted to have us stay was not available and so we stayed in a rather run down, very humble hotel, but we did have a very enjoyable time there.
We had two more grandchildren born during this period: Scott was born to Kent
and Nedra on June 1, 1983, and then little Nicholas was born to Scott and Suzy on December 11, 1983. We were able to return to the States for April conference and came through Los Angeles so that we were able to see Nicholas when he was only about four months old. We also had two marriages during this time; however, we were able to work it out in conjunction with home leave and October conference so we were able to be there for both of them. On August 11, 1983 Craig married Nancy Stewart. Nancy is just a lovely girl who we are happy to have as a member of our family. She is originally from Iowa, a convert to the Church who moved out to Utah to accept employment. She bought a house and was living in the same area where Craig had bought a house and they got together at various stake activities, particularly through plays and musicals, There were a number of people who were helping to promote the marriage. It has worked out and has been just a very great thing for Craig. We are so happy for him and for Nancyâ€”both of them being 35 years of age at the time of the marriage. It certainly seemed to be a marriage born in heaven even though it took them a while to be able to find each other and get together.
On September 19, 1983 Wayne was married to Janet Brown. I had to return to Brazil after Craig's wedding, but Janet stayed in Salt Lake to help with the preparations. Then I came back a week early for the DTA seminar at October conference so we were able to be there for Wayne and Janet's wedding. Janet is also a very, very lovely girl and we didn't get much chance to get acquainted with her, but certainly we were real impressed with her and think that Wayne made a very excellent choice.
One of the highlights of our stay was a visit from my sister Virginia and her husband Neal. We were really surprised that they would come visit us in Brazil but how thrilled we were to have them come. We had to go to Rio on a stake conference with Jim and Ruth Faust and so we met Neal and Virginia at the airport in Rio, showed them the sights in Rio, and then took the coastal route back to Sao Paulo. We certainly enjoyed their visit. We had a great time and they seemed to enjoy themselves. Certainly it stood out as one of the highlights of our stay.
They came just as we were getting ready to move out of our house in [word missing?]. When we first arrived in Brazil we moved into a large home on a street which was conveniently located just two or three blocks from the Area office and the temple. It was a big lovely home but poorly designed. The wide eaves and high walls on both sides made it very dark inside and difficult to keep the mold under control.
Janet had some rather severe health problems and we were afraid that she was coming down with pneumonia, but when we went to the doctor we found out that she was allergic to the mold and the extremely high pollution on the street where we lived because of the heavy truck traffic. That was what was causing her problem. And so we had to move. We had wanted to move over into Portal where the mission presidents and the Archibalds were and so we had the apartment picked out but we hadn't finished moving in. We were still able to take Neal and Virginia over and show them our new place to live.
Gary and Wayne came down to visit. Gary brought some of his friends from Eastern Airlines and we had a great visit with them. Jim and Ruth came once, Jim Pinegar made a number of visits while he was my immediate boss, and Kay Briggs came once or twice and stayed with us in our home.
I will just comment here that Kay Briggs was a wonderful boss and I surely enjoyed my association with him and particularly the wonderful parties that he threw at his place each April for all of the DTAs and their wives as we came in from all over the world to attend April conference and our special training.
The Christmas of 1984 was also a very special time. The Drechsels had come up from Porto Alegre to stay with us[,] and with the Nixons there we had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We exchanged presents and it made it so that it wasn't quite so hard to be away from home at this important time of the year.
Well, those are the major events. I will just say again here in summary that this was another very special time in our lives. It meant six years now that Janet had spent in Brazil and almost nine for me. So Brazil has really come to be a good part of us, and it has been exciting and thrilling to see the changes that have come about in the people, in the Church, and in the country during these years.
The Retirement Years
May 1985-April 1987
I officially retired from Church employment on May 1, 1985. Actually I didn't have anything specific to do after April conference, but was officially on the payroll until then. We also started on May 1 to receive social security, my DMBA church retirement, and a small amount from the TIAA-CREP I had from the University of Utah. We carefully documented our expenses to see how were going to be able to make it, but except for one or two months we were well under what I was receiving from social security and DMBA and so we were real pleased that we were able to go along with our regular living expenses and a fair amount of traveling without drawing down our savings.
We had heard that many people had difficulty making the adjustment from being so busy and involved in daily work to retirement, but we did not find it difficult at all. Of course, one thing that helped was, having been in Brazil for the previous three years, we had a great deal of work to be done at home in fixing up the house, getting the garden and the orchard in shape, putting in a new drive strip for the S-10 Chevy truck that I bought, and in building our deck on the back of the house. We got a new mantle, had some additional tile put on the living room fireplace and got a gas fireplace log that I had wanted for so many years but never felt that we were able to afford. We also bought some new sofas and changed our living room arrangement completely, which was quite a switch for us. We gave our old 10-foot couch that we got when we decorated our living room for the first time while I was at the Deseret Press to Kathy since it was still very usable and had been so good.
I was called to be the gospel doctrine teacher and a home teacher in the Kenwood II Ward, which I enjoyed very much. I had some fine families that we developed a very special relationship withâ€”Bill Qualls and his wife, Tom and Beth Smith, and Eleanor Sandberg. The major event in this period was in December of 1986 at our semi-annual Wilford Stake conference, I was sustained and ordained as the Wilford Stake Patriarch. Once again this was a tremendous surprise for me. I had never even thought or anticipated that I would be called as stake patriarch. But even though I was able to serve for only four months and performed 34 or 35 blessings, it was a very, very special experience.
I'll never forget my very first patriarchal blessing, wondering what would happenâ€”if I would be able to say anything or what. I prepared myself the best I could spiritually in fasting, prayer, and scripture study and it went well. I tried to prepare myself each time I had blessings scheduled. One time I thought I wouldn't worry quite so much about my spiritual preparation and surely that was the time I had my most difficulty. And so it really became a testimony to me how important it is to be in tune spiritually with the Lord in order to receive His guidance and inspiration.
I had many wonderful young people come. I had one older couple from Kenwood Ward who were in their sixties but had never gotten their blessings. Since they knew me as the patriarch they decided it was time, and so that was also a special blessing. One that was particularly special was being able to give a patriarchal blessing to Marti's second oldest son, David.
Shortly after returning from Brazil Janet and I accepted a call to be guides on Temple Square. For almost two years we went down to Temple Square every Wednesday morning and it was really a marvelous experience. We were able to learn the presentation without too much trouble so that it wasn't long after we had started that we were taking guided tours rather than just being greeters at the various locations. We had some very special and interesting experiences and developed some very good friends while we were there. I played racquetball occasionally with Leo Eggett, one of the supervisors. The general supervisor on Wednesdays was Brother Ormand Weight, a former Granite District music teacher and orchestra leader. He was a great man and we thoroughly enjoyed our association with him. There were so many others as well. We were truly blessed and appreciated the opportunity for this assignment.
This was really a time for us to get better acquainted with our family. We were able to spend much more time with them than we had at any other time in our lives. There were four more grandchildren born:
June 5, 1985â€”Elizabeth to Kent and Nedra
December 6, 1985â€”Jennifer to Craig and Nancy (their first)
July 3, 1986â€”Jessica to Wayne and Janet (their first)
January 9, 1987â€”Teressa to Lynn and Janine
It was really great to be able to be home and available and to participate in all of these blessings. Being a grandparent is indeed a very special and wonderful blessing and we have been so blessed with our children and their spouses and now their children.
Our last son, Gary, was married on May 7, 1986 to Lori Christensen. Lori is just a delightful person and we are so happy to have her as a daughter-in-law. What a great experience it was with our last one being married to have all of us in the temple, except for Cindy, for the marriage ceremony and sealing. As we were there in the temple we contemplated on the eternal nature of the family and how blessed we were to have such wonderful children.
Darrin, Marti and Dennis' oldest boy and our first grandson to go on a mission, was called to go to South Africa in the spring of 1986. We were able to work it out to be there to speak at his farewell. He performed a very fine mission. Bishop J. Richard Clarke, who I had known very well from the DTA years, was his mission president and spoke very highly of Darrin and his accomplishments as a missionary.
In June of 1986 Wayne graduated from the University or Utah. He had gone to work for American Express and was able to go to school part time and get his degree. We were very proud of his accomplishment and pleased that we were able to attend the graduation exercises.
While we had throughout our married life made a number of trips to the beach house and to Merrill and Helen's in California, we usually had never been able to stay more than a week. We dreamed of the time when we could stay until we were ready to come home. Well, we finally had that dream come true. In the latter part of June and July we went and stayed with Merrill and Helen for almost three weeks. It was a wonderful time. We went and did a lot of things, spent a time on the beach and did a lot of reading and resting arid enjoyed them and their hospitality. But finally after three weeks we were ready to leave and go back home. We went back through Arizona and stopped to see Neal and Virginia on the way back.
In the fallâ€”September and Octoberâ€” we had another one of our major dreams realized in that we took a one month trip in our new S-10 Chevy truck with a shell on the back. We traveled to the Northeast to see the sights on the way and to see the New England foliage in the fall and to spend some time with Marti. We took about a week going back to the East coast and about another week on our return, and we spent almost two weeks with Marti and Dennis. It was a wonderful trip. We went the northern route up through South Dakota and over across Wisconsin and Minnesota and down through Michigan into Ohio and upstate New York up into Vermont to the birthplace of the prophet. We hit it just right on what the paper said was the most colorful weekend of the fall. And although the colors were not any more vivid or bright than what they are in our own mountains in the Salt Lake valley, there is just so much more of them. Seeing the sheer expanse and the whole mountainsides covered was really a very thrilling experience.
We had one negative experience while we were staying at Marti's. They had had quite a history of vandalism at their place and one night the vandals came along and slashed the two brand new tires on the truck on the street side. Fortunately I was able to buy two new tires and we got that set up, but what a disappointment. How do people get any joy and kick out of doing something like that?
After we left Marti's place we traveled down through Washington D.C. into Virginia. We stopped and visited in Williamsburg and came back across North Carolina, Kentucky, and Missouri. We were very interested in seeing all the Church points of interest at Independence and going to Liberty Jail. Also on the way we had a very special stay in Ohio. We stopped to visit the Kirtland Temple and then in the afternoon we went to the John Johnson farm out in Hiram, 30-some-odd miles outside of Kirtland. This is where the prophet was pulled out of his bed in the middle of the night in the cold winter, stripped of his clothing, and tarred and feathered in the field across the street. But perhaps the most special experience was in the upper room in that farm house where the Savior appeared to the prophet Joseph and Oliver Cowdery and where 15 revelations of the Doctrine and Covenants were received. And as the guide testified to us that this was the room where the Savior had appeared, we had such an overwhelming feeling of the Spirit and a personal witness and testimony ourselves that that was truly the room where the Savior had appeared and that Joseph Smith was truly a prophet of the Lord. What a moving and special experience that was for us!
Well, all in all it was a great trip for us in our truck. We camped out an awful lot, and when we felt like it we would stop and spend the night in a motel. But it was a marvelous month and one that we enjoyed very, very much.
It was during this period that Kent and Nedra moved back to Salt Lake from Vancouver. They lived in our basement for some weeks while they were getting situated in their own place. Also Scott and Suzy moved back from California and we had them living with us for a while until they were able to get into their own home. That gave us all of the family back in Salt Lake except for Marti and her family.
It was during this period that Scott and Kent organized their own business called Information Access Technology. We were happy that we were financially able to invest some money in it to help get them the capital they needed to get started.
We had two wonderful Christmases at homeâ€”the Christmas of 1985 and 1986. How great it was to be with family after having been away! September and October of 1986 we had another wonderful car trip. We went up through the Northwest, to Vancouver, Canada where we visited Expo 86 and spent three days. Then we came back down along the coast of the Pacific Northwest and back home. That was a wonderful trip. However, I guess our vacation of a lifetime was our Caribbean cruiseâ€”something else that we had always dreamt about. We belonged to a study group that met once a month, mostly comprised of members of our ward. We got talking one night and decided that we all would like to go on a Caribbean cruise together. Because of Gary's airline connections we were able to get a very excellent discount and so we arranged a nine-day cruise on the Sea Princess starting with San Juan, Puerto Rico, and going to many of the Caribbean islands and then returning to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There were sixteen of us. We had invited Merrill and Helen to go with us, and the Dunns invited Sister Dunn's sister and her friend, and all of the others were from our study group: John and Bertha Dunn, Howard and Verda Kelly, and Berger and Leona Kleven, Marguerite and Larry Huber, and Doris and Bob Warner. We were able to switch around at our tables for meals so that we had a chance to associate with everyone and we were all just a very compatible group and so it worked out to be just an excellent situation.
We were able to get reduced rates through my relationship to Gary and the airlines and then we booked early so we got an additional discount. Janet and I used Gary's passes to get to Puerto Rico and back from Florida so that we didn't have to have our airfare included in our price. We had to leave a day earlier than the rest of the group because the planes were pretty loaded and we didn't want to take the chance of being bumped at the last minute and not having time to get there but we didn't have any problem. We stayed over one night in Puerto Rico and spent a day sightseeing until the others arrived. The ship left later that evening. The meals were wonderful, the entertainment was great, the accommodations were excellent, the waiters and the service were marvelous. The points of interest where we stopped were great; however when we do it the next time, we will probably spend more time on the ship when it is in port than out seeing around, but it was just a very outstanding trip from start to finish and I don't know how it could have worked out any better.
One of the other outstanding events during these two yearsâ€”John and Bertha Dunn talked us into joining the University Dance Club that they and the Kellys and the Hubers had belonged to for a number of years. They put on about a dance a month during the winter season and we thoroughly enjoyed going up to the university in the student union ballroom for these dances. Generally the music was very good and the company was excellent.
We expected to go on and enjoy pretty much the rest of our lives as long as the Lord would see fit to leave us here in this retirement state which we were enjoying very, very much. However, these happy retirement years were brought to an abrupt stop when one day in March I had just eaten lunch and had gone into the front den for a quick nap in the recliner. I had just barely drifted off to sleep when the telephone at my side rang and woke me up. As soon as I heard who it was on the phone I was really awake. It was the secretary to President Thomas S. Monson of the First Presidency indicating that President Monson would like to see Janet and me in his office at two o'clock the next afternoon.
Needless to say we spent the rest of that day and a good part of the night wondering what in the world it was that President Monson wanted to see us about. We thought possibly we might be called to preside over another mission. I thought it was really more likely that I was going to be called to be a Regional Representative, but when we went into his office we received the surprise of surprises. I was called to be a member of the First Quorum of Seventy, to be a General Authority for a period of five years, with three years to be spent in the international area and then a two year assignment in Salt Lake City. President Monson indicated that in all probability I would spend those three years of my international assignment in Brazil serving in the Brazil Area Presidency.
Words cannot express how overcome Janet and I felt to receive this humbling callâ€”a call that I never dreamed of ever receiving. With all our association with Elder Faust and Elder Bangerter and others and seeing the demands on the time of these great men and the great responsibilities that they carried, I just had no desire to fill this responsibility. But, what do you do when you are called? We had made our covenants in the temple many years before and we agreed that we would do whatever the Lord wanted us to do and so, of course, we accepted the call. I was sustained at April conference in 1987 as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and a General Authority of the Church with a special assignment to serve as second counselor of the Brazil Area Presidency with Francis Gibbons as president and Helio Camargo, the Brazilian General Authority, as first counselor.
The General Authority Years
Words cannot express how Janet and I felt when we went to General Conference in the Saturday afternoon session and heard my name called out by President Monson as the new General Authorities were called. We were given special passes to sit on the second row in the center section. Actually there were eight of us called at this time: George Hill, John Lassiter, Douglas Martin, Alexander Morrison, Alden Porter, Glen Rudd, Douglas Smith, and myself. It was a little bit unusual that two new General Authorities would be called at the same time from the same ward and stake. Both Glen Rudd and I were members of the Kenwood II Ward and had been associated in Church work and in the ward and socially and athletically for many years. Douglas Smith, I knew, not that well, and George Hill I had been associated with when I was on the MIA General Board.
Needles to say I was completely humbled by the calling and there just aren't words to express how it felt to be sitting in the big red seats on the stand in the Tabernacle. I had attended so many general conferences in the past and looked up and admired those wonderful brethren who were the General Authorities of the Church and never once had the thought cross my mind that maybe someday I might he able to be there. I guess one regret I would have is that both Mother and Dad had passed on. This is one of those times when you really wonder how thin the veil might be between the other life and this.
We were notified just at the start of the morning session on Sunday that we would be set apart Sunday afternoon over in the Church administration building. We were able to get a quick call off to Scott and Suzy to invite the rest of the children to come and witness the setting apart. What a thrill it was when Janet and I walked into that general board room after the afternoon session of conference and saw all of our sons and daughters in law all lined up sitting together in the room to observe my setting apart. Only Marti, Kathy, Cindy, and Suzy were unable to be there. President Monson and President Hinckley did the setting apart. President Benson did not feel up to it, and so President Monson was mouth in setting me apart and gave me a wonderful blessing at the time. I feel that it was primarily President Monson who was responsible for my call. We have had a somewhat close association over the years and he has always been very considerate and very kind to me. Of course you have to he approved by the entire First Presidency and Council of the Twelve. So I really don't know just where the call originatedâ€”that is who initiated it or who recommended me, but, of course, we know that the call came directly from the Lord through the inspiration given to His leaders.
One thing I want to mention here was that Craig felt that he saw Grandma Sorensen over in the corner during the setting apart. Now perhaps I was too excited and not sensitive enough that I did not sense her presence there but Craig did and he felt of a surety that she was there and was witnessing the goings on. Oh how grateful I am for that! And how proud I am of my parents and the wonderful heritage they gave to me and it was really through their influence and their training that I accomplished all that I did.