John Nelson Jonas

I thought I would write on my Great Grandfather’s brother in anticipation of his birthday, he would be 125 this year.  Growing up, I never knew of Uncle John Nelson Jonas likely because nobody in my family ever knew him.  He passed away at the ripe age of 30 in 1918, a victim of Influenza.  The family knew of his widow as she lived on Main Street in Richmond, Cache, Utah and associated with their children.  Since I have some pictures of his family, I thought I would make them available.  My Great Grandfather Joseph Nelson Jonas did not live to be much older and so personal memories of him were lost many decades ago as well.

John Nelson Jonas was the fourth of seven children born in the marriage of Annetta Josephine Nelson and Joseph Jonas 14 August 1888 in or near Ellensburg, Kittitas, Washington.  He was christened 10 September 1888 at St. Andrews in Ellensburg.  About 1896, John’s mother, Annie, went to the Eastern Washington Hospital for the Insane in Fancher, Spokane, Washington (she is listed as Ann J Jonas).  She was in and out of hospitals throughout her life but as John was one of the older children, he would have known his mother a little better.

Annie got out of the Eastern Washington Hospital 31 October 1899 and went home to Ellensburg and continued to be a handful for the family.  The family on the 1900 Census was in Cle Elum, Kittitias, Washington.  Although that census does not include Annie and the census that year has Joseph Sr in both Cle Elum and Spokane about two weeks apart in June 1900.  Annie must have been back in Fancher.  Annie’s sister, Charlotte, visited in 1901.  Due to Annie’s mental and emotional state, and with Joseph’s approval, the Jonas family went to Utah to stay temporarily with Annie’s brother, Nels August Nelson.  Uncle August lived in Crescent, Salt Lake, Utah and the Jonas party arrived 3 July 1901 from Washington.

John, Joseph, and William Jonas probably right before moving to Utah in 1901.  The photo is stamped with Ellensburg on the matting.

John, Joseph, and William Jonas probably right before moving to Utah in 1901. The photo is stamped with Ellensburg on the matting.

Joseph for one reason or another went back to Washington with the oldest child Margaret.  Nels suggested it was legal issues; it might have just been the farm that needed attention.  Annie’s issues were such that Nels and his wife, Fidelia, signed an affidavit of insanity and had her admitted to the Utah State Hospital 1 November 1901.

Joseph had been raised as a Catholic and Annie Nelson had been raised LDS.  Annie decided she did not like LDS men and wanted to marry a Gentile and did so.  The children were raised Catholic in Washington.  Now in Utah, Uncle August made sure the children learned about the LDS faith.  The three boys, John, William, and Joseph, elected to be baptized LDS on 10 January 1902 in Crescent by their Uncle August in an ice-covered Jordan River.  All three were confirmed 12 January 1902 by Jaime P Jensen.  Rosa joined 6 February 1902, also in Crescent under the hand of Uncle August in a hole chipped in the Jordan River.  Margaret did not join as she stayed near her father in Washington.

In 1904, Rosa married a boy, Christian Andersen, from Richmond.  They married in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  They moved to 137 E 100 S in Richmond.  John and his brothers resided with Uncle August until after their mother passed in 1907, then they would regularly and for prolonged periods stay with Rosa in Richmond.  William and John were both ordained Elders 6 January 1908 in Crescent.  In Richmond, both were again ordained Seventies 19 September 1909 by Charles Hart (1866 – 1934, 1st Council of Seventy).  John was endowed in the Logan LDS Temple 1 October 1909 and left to serve in the Southern States Mission.  He left 10 October 1909, arrived at Chattanooga, Hamilton, Tennessee 18 Oct, Montgomery, Montgomery, Alabama 21 Oct, and formally starting 25 October 1909.  The 1910 Census lists John at home in Crescent.

I understand John attended Brigham Young College in Logan but I don’t know any of the details of when or if he graduated.  Nellie told her nephew, Ellis Jonas, that John was the only one of the brothers who could keep a level head.  Just remember the source of that compliment – his wife.

John met Nellie Armina Andersen, a cousin of Rosa’s husband Christian, while staying in Richmond.  Nellie and John fell in love and were married 5 June 1912 in the Logan, Cache, Utah at the LDS Temple.

John and Nellie (Andersen) Jonas

John and Nellie (Andersen) Jonas

The above photo indicates it was taken in Salt Lake City at Cusworth’s Studio.  We don’t know the occasion, but it must have been something to dress up for, or just a sitting for a portrait.  Either way, the photo was shared with my Great Grandmother.

The wedding announcement in the Logan Republican on 25 June 1925, “On June 5th Mr. John Jonas and Miss Nellie Anderson of this place were married in the Logan Temple.  Mr. Jonas is managing his Uncle’s farm at Murray, Utah.  After a family reception at the home of the bride’s mother, Mrs. Armina Anderson, the couple departed for Murray where they will make their future home.”

John and Nellie had three children.

Calvin Andersen Jonas born 6 August 1913 and died 17 June 1991 both in Richmond.  He married Viola Florence Chapman (1921 – 2006) on 30 March 1957 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.  Calvin lived in his mother’s home until he passed away and then Viola remained in the same home until her passing.  It was Calvin who took the land and created a trailer park on the rest of the property to the welcome or chagrin of Richmond.  Calvin and Viola did not have any children, although Viola brought children to the marriage from her previous marriage.  I last visited Viola about 2005 and Viola had her daughter Dixie living with her to take care of her, the trailer park, and their ceramic store.

Melvin Andersen Jonas born 13 March 1917 in Richmond and drowned 16 Jul 1944 in San Marcos, Hays, Texas while he was in training at San Marcos Army Air Field.  Apparently he had just married Doris Everts on 17 March 1944 somewhere in Texas.  It is not believed they had any children.  Melvin was a lieutenant in the Army.

Melvin Portrait

Melvin’s Portrait before leaving for the war

John and Nellie purchased a home 3 April 1917 on the corner of Main and 200 E in Richmond (now 195 E Main).  The entire lot one, block 25 of Richmond City came with the home for $1,200.00.  They moved in when Melvin was only a few days old.  When John registered for the World War I Draft, he indicated he was a laborer at Utah Condensed Milk Company in Richmond.

WWI Draft Registration

I have included a copy of the full Draft Registration.  It is interesting to note John’s signature on the first page.

Nellie became pregnant and while with their third children tragedy struck.  John caught the spreading Influenza virus in the epidemic of 1918 and passed away shortly before Christmas on 19 December 1918 at home in Richmond.  Nellie gave birth to their last child months later.

Our cousin, Carvel Jonas wrote of John’s death, “‘Prior to 1974, 38 major flu outbreaks had been recorded, including the disastrous pandemic in 1918 which attached an estimated 500 million people, leaving 20 million dead,’ according to Science Digest March 1975.  The severity of the 1918 pandemic was due to the fact that it lasted for more than 14 months; ordinary epidemics in the average community last no more than six weeks before running their course,’ quoted from ‘The Encyclopedia of Common Diseases, p 722; by the Staff of Prevention Magazine, co 1976′.  Unfortunately John was one of the estimated 20 million who died.”

Carvel also writes, “Before John died he would play hide and seek with his two boys.  After John died the boys thought that their father was still playing the game and would try to find him when Nellie would come home.”

His obituary in the Deseret News stated, “Funeral of John Jonas.  Richmond, Dec 30 – Funeral services were held Sunday for John Jonas who died of Pneumonia, following influenza.  Mrs. A. A. Thomas and W.J. Thomas of Salt Lake furnished music.  The speakers were Bishop P.N. Nelson, Bishop J.L. McCarrey, and A.S. Schow.  The deceased is survived by a wife and two small children and several brothers and sisters.  The flu conditions have so well improved that the local health board has permitted the opening of places of amusement.”

Armina Andersen Jonas was born 5 March 1919 in Richmond and died 30 March 2011 in St. George, Washington, Utah.  She married Don Farnes (1916 – 1978) 10 March 1937 in Logan.  Don was gone by the time I was born, but I remember stopping to visit Armina at her home in Kimberly, Twin Falls, Idaho with my Grandma in the late 1980′s.  I stopped the last time in Kimberly about 2008 shortly before she moved to live with her daughter in Southern Utah.

Calvin, Armina, Nellie, and Melvin Jonas about 1925

Calvin, Armina, Nellie, and Melvin Jonas about 1925

Nellie remarried to Arnold Thornley (1893 – 1969) on 14 April 1926 in Logan.  It must not have been a very long marriage as very few seemed to remember him.

Nellie continued to live in their home until she passed away 11 December 1953 in Salt Lake City of myocarditis.

Her obituary stated, “Nellie A. Jonas – Richmond, Cache County – Mrs. Nellie Andersen Jonas, 64, died Friday night in a Salt Lake hospital after an operation.  Born July 26, 1889 at Richmond, daughter of George and Armina Carson Andersen.  Resident in Richmond entire life.  Married to John N. Jonas in 1912, in Logan L.D.S. Temple.  He died in 1918.  Active in L.D.S. Church…”  I need to get a copy of the full obituary to share it.

John and Nellie are buried together in the Richmond Cemetery.  All three children are buried within a stone’s throw.  John’s father and Nellie’s parents are also a stone’s throw away.

Sons of Joseph and Isabella Carlisle

Standing(l-r): Harve Carlisle, Frank Carlisle. Sitting: Fred Carlisle, Joe Carlisle, Jim Carlisle.

I thought I would share this photo because I have it and do not know how many others do.  This is the five sons of Isabella Sharp and Joseph Carlisle.  Isabella is the sister to my William Sharp, who I have written about previously at this link: Sharp-Bailey Wedding.  Here are some of the details of the family, but I do not really know much more.  They have a pretty large family with plenty of family historians so I will let them write the Carlisle history (which I know they have probably already done)

Joseph Carlisle was born 21 July 1826 in Sherwood on the Hill, Nottinghamshire, England and died 17 March 1912 in Millcreek, Salt Lake, Utah.

Isabella Sharp was born 22 December 1831 in Misson, Nottinghamshire, England and died 29 March 1904 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.  If you search her brother, mentioned above, you can read more about her parents and family.

Joseph and Isabella were married 18 May 1853 in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri.

Joseph Richard Carlisle was born 19 December 1854 in Millcreek and died 2 April 1935 in Salt Lake City.  He married Lily Naomi Titcomb 29 November 1853 in Salt Lake City in the Endowment House.

Isabella Jane Carlisle was born 12 April 1857 in Salt Lake City and died 1 April 1928 in Salt Lake City.  She married Joseph William Walters 3 January 1875 in the Endowment House.

Thomas Matthew Carlisle was born 12 April 1857 in Salt Lake City and died 10 March 1869 in Millcreek.

James Sharp Carlisle was born 4 September 1859 in Millcreek and died 2 December 1938 in Millcreek.  He married Keturah White 11 February 1885 in Logan, Cache, Utah in the Logan Temple.

Ezra Taylor Carlisle was born 14 August 1861 in Millcreek and died 12 February 1862 in Millcreek.

Elizabeth Ann Carlisle was born 24 November 1862 in Millcreek and died 6 November 1881 in Millcreek.  She was engaged to married John Calder Mackay and obviously died before that marriage could take place.  On 21 December 1881 in St. George, Washington, Utah Isabella performed Elizabeth’s eternal ordinances in the St. George Temple.  Isabella also stood in as proxy as Elizabeth was sealed to John Mackay, who accompanied Isabella to St. George.

William Frederick Carlisle was born 14 November 1864 in Millcreek and died 5 January 1922 in Millcreek.  He married Sarah Ann Rogers 23 December 1897 in the Salt Lake Temple.

Harvey Cartwright Carlisle was born 22 September 1866 in Millcreek and died 3 July 1935 in Holladay, Salt Lake, Utah.  He married Lucy Carline Cahoon 21 January 1891 in the Logan Temple.  After her death he married Amelia Annie Towler 16 January 1901 in the Salt Lake Temple.  After her death he married Emily Steven McDonald 19 July 1923 in the Salt Lake Temple.

Herbert Towle Carlisle was born 23 August 1868 in Millcreek and died 25 October 1870 in Millcreek.

Orman Carlisle was born 8 May 1871 in Millcreek and died 9 May 1871 in Millcreek.

Carrie Brown Carlisle was born 18 November 1872 in Millcreek and died 15 July 1873 in Millcreek.

Ether Franklin Carlisle was born 11 September 1873 in Millcreek and died 4 May 1915 in Salt Lake City.  He married Maude Miller Harman 10 November 1897 in the Salt Lake Temple.

Rosamond Pearl Carlisle was born 29 July 1875 in Millcreek and died 13 June 1921 in Murray, Salt Lake, Utah.  She married Uriah George Miller 19 February 1902 in the Salt Lake Temple.

The family certainly lost quite a few children.  But all those who lived to marry did so in a LDS temple, or its equivalent at the time.

Donaldson-Van Leeuwen Wedding

George Henry and Minnie Van Leeuwen are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Dena to David Delos Donaldson, son of Mary Elizabeth Donaldson and the late William Scott Donaldson. David and Dena  were married in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah on 16 July 1919.

David is currently an independent plumber in Ogden, Weber, Utah.

The couple will return to make their home at 2310 Grant Avenue in Ogden, Utah.

David Delos Donaldson (he went by Dave, his son also went by Dave or Davie, so to keep them clear, I will refer to father as David and son as Dave) was born 26 March 1894 in Evanston, Uinta, Wyoming.  He was the second of seven children born to William Scott Donaldson and Mary Elizabeth Williams.  I have previously written of David’s parents at this link: Donaldson-Williams.  David grew up in Evanston, Uinta, Wyoming and Park City, Summit, Utah before moving to 2270 Moffits Avenue, now 2270 Ogden Avenue, in Ogden, by the time he was six.  He lived at this address until he moved to Twin Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho to work for Ballantyne Plumbing Company as a Sham Filler.  When he registered for the World War I draft on 5 June 1917, he was living on Shoshone Street North in Twin Falls and listed that his mother and two siblings were dependent on him.  He may have listed this in hopes of not being drafted.

Ballantyne Plumbing & Heating Company was newly incorporated (about 1916) by Varsell Ballantyne who had just moved from Ogden.  Varsell had been one of the incorporators of The Ogden Plumbing, Gas & Steam Fitting Company in 1904 or 05.  He had worked in the same spheres as David’s father and probably felt some desire to help the Donaldson family and invited David to Twin Falls.  He may also have been the master to which David was an apprentice, or another plumber worked with in the Ogden PG&S Company.  While David worked for Ballantyne Plumbing Company, it was located at 145 Second Avenue East in Twin Falls.  David lived on Shoshone Street North, probably not far from his employment.

The draft card indicates that he had gray eyes, black hair, and stood tall and stout.  David served in the U.S. Army during World War I.  When he was finally drafted, he went to Utah to report with his two brothers who were also drafted (another brother would also serve in World War I).  Unfortunately, the government cannot find his service paperwork and very little is known of his time served.  His obituary indicates he served in the 91st Division of the Army.  We do not know his dates, but this division fought in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel in 1918 and went on to fight in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive through the rest of the year.  It was in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive that David would receive his life lasting injuries to his lungs from the dreaded gasses of World War I.  One lung collapsed and never worked again, the other lost a large percentage of its capacity.  He would receive weekly treatment for the rest of his life (over 30 years) for these injuries at the Veterans Hospital in Salt Lake.  He became a member of the Disabled American Veterans, Ogden Chapter 4.

l-r: Ed, David, and George Donaldson

Berendena Van Leeuwen, who went by Dena, was born 28 December 1898 in Ogden.  She was the 10th of 12 children born to Gerhardus Hendrik and Hermina  Janzen Van Leeuwen.  I have written of George and Minnie’s marriage here: Van Leeuwen – Janzen Wedding.

Nine of these children would live to adulthood and marry.  Both parents joined the LDS church in 1887 and immediately sought to immigrate to Zion.  The family immigrated to Utah in 1888.  Gerhardus waited until the next year to immigrate.  Gerhardus had fallen from a ladder at work giving him head injuries that lead to epileptic seizures and bouts of insanity.  These considerations were perceived as mental illness at the time and could have kept the family from being admitted had they all come together.  The Van Leeuwen’s immigrated from Arnhem, Gelderland, Netherlands.  In the United States, Dena’s parents were known as George Henry and Minnie Van Leeuwen.  The Van Leeuwen family lived at various places in Ogden, mostly near Wall Avenue and 33rd Street.  Her father worked as a carpenter, more on the finishing side, for employment.  George may have even known of the Donaldson family.  Dena was baptized in the LDS church 7 November 1907 in Ogden. The family was extremely tight knit and was known for their large and very tasty family meals.  If company came over, a meal was put on.

George’s head and mental injuries continued to worsen as the years passed.  The family either had to keep him safe or calm him down before.  By the time 1911 rolled around, his fits were becoming uncontrollable.  Dena referred to her “Daddy” as tender and sweet and then at the switch he would become angry and threatening.  He had made enough threats and raised enough raucous that neighbors called the police.  George was committed to the Utah State Mental Hospital in Provo, Utah, Utah in 1911 when Dena was 13.  The family tried to get him out and succeeded.  Unfortunately, he lost control again and ended up spending the rest of his life in the mental hospital.  The family would drive down nearly every weekend to pick up “Daddy” and keep him for the weekend before taking him back.  By the mid 1920′s, they could not even take him home on the weekends his condition was that poor and uncontrollable.  “Momma Minnie,” as she was known to friends, died in 1921 in Ogden.  George died in 1932 in Provo.

Dena as one of the youngest children of the family was known among siblings as telling slight variations of stories to other siblings such that it would cause some contention within the ranks.  While the siblings were never distant from each other, a feud of one sort or another was always brewing or being fought.  It would always pass, but Dena often started many of the feuds and received a bit of flak for it.

David returned from the war and met Dena Van Leeuwen.  We do not know about the courtship or how they met.  We do not know why they chose to be married in Salt Lake.  David and Dena took a honeymoon to California.

David resumed work as a plumber in the 1920′s in the Ogden area.  Between 1920 and 1928, 5 children were born to David and Dena, all in Ogden.  Twins named Dena Dorothy and Dora Mary were born 28 May 1920.

Gladys Maxine arrived 20 September 1921.  Here is a picture of the three kids with Gladys against the wheel of the car.

Maxine appeared 3 August 1924.  Lastly a boy, David William came 25 November 1928.

A shot of all 5 children on the front porch of the home that David built at 629 8th Street in Ogden.

Here is a picture of the home from the side.  You can see from this point that the home is probably older than 1920′s and that Dave probably added the addition onto the back rather than building the entire home.

In 1930, the family lived at 753 Browning Avenue in Salt Lake.  We do not know how long they were there, but they moved back pretty quickly to Ogden living on 8th Street.  Times were hard during the 1930′s so David went to Boulder City, Clark, Nevada to work on the building of the new Boulder Dam (later named Hoover).  He also headed to Napa, Napa, California to work in the shipyards as a pipe fitter, primarily on submarines. Jennie Bremer, a niece to David and Dena, told of a funny story when David was replacing the plumbing in their home after a serious earthquake in Los Angeles.  David was deathly afraid of earthquakes and while he was working in the basement or under a cupboard if an aftershock hit he would rise up and run from the house.  He told Jennie at one point that he did not want to be caught in the basement if the house should fall.  Well, being little kids, they played with this some.  They would sneak to the window of the room he was working in and shake the screen and windows in a way that sounded like an earthquake.  She said it was funny to see a man as big as “Uncle Dave” to hop up and run out of a room like that.  They would laugh and laugh over it.  They made sure not to do it too often so he would not suspect anything and she does not believe he ever knew of the joke they would pull on him at least once every time he visited.  She did comment it was a bit sad to see him winded for a while after he hopped and ran, but the guilt from it would only come later in life as she realized what she had done to him.

David would often visit family to help with their homes or other needs.  He also come home to Ogden fairly regularly on the weekends to visit the family. He finally found employment in Ogden at the Ogden Depot in 1937 as Supervisor of Maintenance.  In 1939, the family returned to visit the area David had worked, Donaldson extended family in the bay area, and the 1939 San Francisco World Fair.

After World War II, the family moved to 639 Wall Avenue.

Life in the 1940′s treated the Donaldson family much better, even despite the war.  David still had his penny-pinching ways.  Dave would refer to David as the “King of the Tight Wads.”  Dave started working about 12 years old as a shoe polisher at a barber shop on Washington Ave.  David had told Dave that now he was 12, he was expected to be a man and take care of himself, that the Donaldson household would no longer be carrying him.  When he brought his paycheck home, David would take half of it for the family.  This incensed Dave over the years and he quit reporting his full pay to his father, who took half of it.  David even went on to require Dave to pay rent for his space upstairs in the Wall Ave home. Sometime between 1942 and 1945, David’s mother’s husband had passed away and she wanted to move in with the Donaldson family.  David tried to get Dave to move his bed to the back porch so his mother could take the upstairs.  Dave made it very clear he would move his bed, but it would be out of the house and he would never come back.  David’s mother did not move in and Dave kept his “apartment” even after he married.

David insisted that Dena only needed two dresses and no more.  The family would often buy her dresses, shoes, or other things for her birthday and Christmas, so she did not ultimately go without.  But he refused to buy for himself or for her.  Dave and Betty Donaldson got a pretty serious scolding one time for buying Dena a crystal berry bowl indicating that it was going to spoil Dena and the family.

Dena grew up LDS and David did not.  Dena saw that all her children were raised LDS with little difficulty from David.  Apparently smoking is what kept him from being baptized.  When the time would come for Gladys to marry, the Bishop determined that he was not going to allow them to be married in the temple without David being a member.  David had made it known he did not want any of his girls to marry a poor boy and would not submit. All four of the girls married in the next two years, and then Dave in 1953.  Interestingly, David never joined the LDS church, but the family put it into the obituary that he was a member.  Gladys ended up being married in the Donaldson home on 8th Street, but David refused to allow the Donaldson Bishop to do the honors, so the Plain City Bishop of Glady’s husband, Milo Ross, performed the wedding.

Gladys married Milo James Ross 4 April 1942.

Dena married Chauncey De Orr Michaelson 7 December 1943.

Maxine married Sterlin Delaino Telford 24 December 1943.

Dora married Malcolm Claire Birch 11 September 1943.

Dave married Betty May Oram 12 April 1953.

Maxine, Gladys, Dena and Dora Donaldson (don't know which is which of the twins)

David retired in 1949 from the Ogden Defense Depot due to his physical condition and inability to breathe.  About this time, the family took a trek to visit family and friends throughout the west and to see some national and church historical sites.  Included was Hoover Dam, St. George Utah Temple, Mesa Arizona Temple, Cove Fort, Lake Mead, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The family, not caring about the thoughts of others, loaded the car and set off.  Dena, who loved and raised canaries, insisted they come with her.  So the canaries rode in cages that were wired to the outside of the car (and the canaries lived through the entire trek).  Dave joked that driving around they looked like the Beverly Hillbillies in their early 40′s sedan with bird cages wired to the back of the car.

David would claim that the only relief he could receive for his lungs was through smoking cigarettes which would calm his breathing and ease the pain.  Remembering also, this was also a slogan for some cigarette companies!  He picked up smoking while still in the military, but he would become a chain smoker very early on. The smoking would later aid in his death from emphysema.  It was not uncommon at all for David to light one cigarette from the one he was finishing.  He was also known as a dirty smoker among the family in that he would allow the ashes to fall anywhere and would even throw his butts on the floor in the house, in the toilet, or even leave them in the drain of the bathtub after he finished bathing.

David’s lung issues would come back to haunt him more and more as the years passed.  The cigarettes were no longer delaying the pain or inevitable loss.  His emphysema would come in fits to such a degree that he would be confined to bed and the family would have to place newspaper on the floor around the bed to catch the black phlegm (sometimes bloody) he would cough up.  His emphysema would become more and more restraining on his life in the last 5 years of his life.  It was the reason he had to take such an early retirement.  In the end, he had a couple of days where he was coughing and could not breathe and went to the Veteran’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.  After a two day stay, the chronic lung disease caused a cor pulmonale that took his life on 24 September 1953.  Four days later, he was buried in Ogden City Cemetery.

Dena moved on with her life and kept busy visiting and spending time with family.  Dave, who had recently married and was living in an apartment upstairs, decided it was time for a major cleaning of the house.  They completely and thoroughly cleaned the home, wall-papered and replaced wall-paper, and replaced the carpets and furniture to remove all the cigarette smoke grease and filth.

Betty told me that as long as she knew the family that she really loved Dena.  She said everyone loved Dena.  She said that when she remembers the home in Ogden on Wall, that every time she drove into the driveway that the curtains would part and a Dena’s curly white hair, bright blue eyes, and big smile poke through with a little wave.  Apparently she had an infectious laugh which was both giddy and happy.

Four of her siblings were still alive and she had 11 grandchildren by the time 1955 rolled around.  Then one day she was visiting at the home of Jane (Jantjen in the Dutch) Bremer, her sister.  Dena needed to hurry off and Jane warned her that she should not go.  Jane was known in the family for having the gift of foretelling the future.  Jane told Dena that if she left at that time she would be in a terrible accident.  Dena gave no heed and left to go on her way.  Dena was known by all to speed, and she was doing so this day.  Sure enough, as she drove north on Wall Avenue in Ogden and at reaching 2nd street, a truck made a left hand turn from the right lane and hit the rear passenger side of the 1955 Oldsmobile.  Her vehicle was sent careening and slammed broadside into a telephone pole on the north east corner of the intersection (133 feet from the point of impact).  The initial hit threw her into the passenger side of the front seat with the passenger door open, her leg partially out of the opened door.  Then the impact collapsed the dashboard in on her and slammed the open passenger door on her leg.  She broke her hip, leg, and back with a number of other injuries.  The door had closed and latched on her leg and had to be cut open.  She was taken to the hospital where the family did not expect her to live.  She underwent a pretty major hip and back operation.

Dena was put into a full body cast for the next six months that reached all the way up to her armpits. Dave created this bar with a rope/cloth over the bed by which she could lift herself up so they could place a bedpan under her to do her business.  Betty would help her do the business, clean her up, and make sure her needs were tended.  The cast was eventually removed but she could not properly walk or get around very well.  She was pretty much confined to her home for the rest of her days.  At times a little heat came into a relationship and she would go spend some time with one of her other children, but she came back.  She had a terribly heavy hospital bed she used these last few years.  Dave made it clear early on that once he moved that bed out of the house again, he was not ever moving it back in so her stays elsewhere were of short duration.

Dave and Betty would take Dena around to visit places and get out of the house.  Betty joked that Dena loved to go fishing and that she could catch fish in the gutter if she tried.  She had a gift for catching fish. Dave and Betty set up a little camp chair so she could fish on camping trips.  They would leave her be for a while and she would giggle at the birds and once and a while one would fly to her.  She giggled openly and happily at everything.  Her grandson, Milo Ross, remembers her in the full body cast but yet she would smile and the whole world would smile with her.  He thought she was a funny lady with tongue twisters, slight Dutch accent, and catchy little jingles.

Dena had problems with her body that come from inactivity, like regular kidney stones and other painful problems.  But she always had a twinkle in her eye and a contagious laugh.  She never, if ever, complained about the lot cast to her in life.

On the 5th of March, 1959, Betty Donaldson, Dena’s daughter-in-law had finished work and was headed to the theater to catch a matinee.  She felt a distinct impression that she should go home.  Dave was at work and she had the whole afternoon free, so she did not see the need to go home.  As she waited in line at the theater, she knew she needed to go home so she caught the bus.  She made it home and all was well.  She changed her clothes and then Dena called up to her.  Dena had this sinking feeling in her chest, was not feeling very well, and was asking Betty for help.  Betty called the Dr. and for an ambulance.  Dave, who never called home from work, had felt impressed to call home.  Betty was just headed up to the hospital.  Dave met her there.  Dena had suffered kidney failure which lead to a heart attack and she passed away that evening around 10:30 PM.  She was buried four days later next to David in the Ogden City Cemetery.

Great Uncle and Aunts

Who would believe the 25th of February is almost here?  I cannot believe how fast the months fly when you have your head in books.  The odd part is that I don’t feel like I am doing a very good job of keeping up with the reading.  I cannot tell you how excited I am for the next semester where they add one more substantive class and remove the writing class.  What will I do with life then?  I need to start working on being more diligent and proactive.

In visiting with a couple of the 2L’s I feel somewhat comforted with the notion of what is called mental fatigue.  I think my eyes finally just accepted the fact they are going to be tired and quit twitching.  Who knows. the twitch probably just moved to my neck or shoulder with a slight noise from the mouth when I do it.  At any rate, this is not a new phenomenon.  I thought perhaps I was going prematurely old or something wrong with the synapses in my brain where I would think one thing and completely say another.  Just today in visiting, rather than saying doctor, I said dentist.  To correct myself, I went to say doctor but somehow defendant come out.  After a short pause, doctor finally came out.  I laughed, Andrew laughed, and the conversation went on.

This weekend was a delightsome weekend.  My Great Uncle Donald and Aunt Lolane Andra came to visit.  They arrived on Friday and left this morning.  They finished their mission around the 6th of February and have been working their way through the country back home.  They stopped for a week in Nauvoo, then a week in Branson, and a weekend in Oklahoma City.  They are next headed to Tucson.  They will spend a few days there and up to St. George for a month or so before up to Chubbuck/Pocatello.  Don and Lolane are sure a lot of fun.  We went to the Western Heritage Museum here in Oklahoma City.  I enjoyed it.  Like most museums though, my feet and knees grew tired of the walking around endless hours on hard floors.  I will need to go back to truly appreciate much of what was there.  We went out to Pops Soda Shop in Arcadia and enjoyed a meal.  Don and Lolane particularly enjoyed it.  We all did.

Sunday we ventured to church.  They thought the ward was very open and friendly.  I am pleased the ward was so open and friendly to them.  It wasn’t quite so much when we got here.  But it certainly has improved.  Afterward we ran out to the Oklahoma City Temple and walked around the grounds and took some pictures.  After serving in the Washington DC Temple for the past 18 months they were quick to notice how tiny the temple is here.  That most certainly is true!  I assured them it was well used and loved.

We wandered off to the Oklahoma City Memorial.  The weather turned out to be beautiful.  It could have been a little warmer, but it was sure a nice day.  They really enjoyed that as well.  It really is a well-done memorial.  We returned to our little home to enjoy a full meal and many hours of games.  We filled much of our time on Saturday with games as well.  We sang some old songs together, chatted about old times, visited about family, and genuinely had fun.

On a sad note, I also received news that my Great Aunt Lillian Jonas Talbot passed away on Friday.  She was born in 1930 and lived in Layton, Utah.  She was the sister of my Grandpa I knew the least growing up.  She was the one who let me borrow my Great Grandma’s journals to type them up which are available here on the blog.  She was also the one who had my Great Grandma’s photo albums and let me borrow them to pick out the photos and scan them.  So I came to know her considerably more in the past 10 years.  Apparently she had been to the temple on Friday and she came home and sat down in the chair in the living room and was playing with the dog a little.  When my cousin came back from a run to Walmart, she thought she was taking a nap.  But when she came in, she was gone.  How is that for peaceful and quick?  I hope I am as fortunate.  The funeral will be on Wednesday.  I wish I could go but the cost and time from school are too much for the moment.  I wish the family all the best.

Amanda will surely post some photos from the weekend on our joint blog.  It was an eventful and productive weekend.  Now time to start making up what studying I did not get done!