Jim & Ko Tateoka

Jim & Ko Tateoka

Scanning photos for a friend, I stumbled upon this photo in a set of pictures that seem to be an Emerson Ward party likely in the early 1980s.  Since I recognized these two, I thought I would share.  Rather than write a history of them, I will share their detailed obituaries.  Jim & Ko lived not too far from me when growing up.  I remember meeting Ko on several occasions at Brucia Crane’s home as a young kid.  Jim sometimes would help move water for the Werners who lived near us.  A couple of times while we swam in canals, he would pull up and visit with us and tell us to be careful.  Later, I come to know their children, and Ted has become a very good friend of mine.  Interesting who comes in and out of our lives.

Jim Suyetaka Tateoka Hazelton, Idaho Jim Suyetaka Tateoka of Hazelton, Idaho was called back to his heavenly home on November 1, 2006, at the age of 83. He died of complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. Jim was born on February 20, 1923, in Garfield, Utah to Tokizo and Natsuko Tateoka. When he was a young child, the family moved to Ogden, Utah. He was fourth in a family of five children. Jim grew up and acquired his love of farming on the small truck farming operation the family ran. Jim graduated from Ogden High School in 1941. He excelled in his studies maintaining excellent marks throughout his formal school years. Jim served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He saw action in Italy. Jim was a member of the highly decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Many of his army buddies were Japanese Americans from Hawaii. They taught him to speak “Pigeon English” and to play the ukulele. He would sing Hawaiian songs to his family. Some of the songs included, “Don’t Say Aloha When I Go,” “Sweet Leilani” and “Hula Oni Oni E.” This provided many hours of enjoyment to his children. Jim was a quiet person and yet he had a quick wit and a “fun” side. After he was discharged from the Army, he and his brother Matt purchased a farm in South Jordan, Utah. On Febrary 11, 1956, Jim married Ko Takeuchi in Salt Lake City, Utah. They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with all their family in attendance. He continued to farm in South Jordon and with Ko began to raise a family of four sons and one daughter. In 1969, Jim took a “leap of faith” and moved his family to farm in Hazelton, Idaho. The family has received many blessings from this move. He was a member of the LDS Church and served as a home teacher and membership clerk to four bishoprics. Jim and his family were sealed and his marriage solemnized in the Ogden Temple May 25, 1976. He is survived by his wife Ko, and children, Mark (Itsuko), Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, Paul (Nadine), Hazelton, ID, Penny, Portland, OR, Ted (Rebecca), Hazelton, Idaho, Tom (Jami), Waukesha, Wis.; grandchildren, Luke, Charlotte, Joseph, Elise, Benjamin, Claire, Olivia, Sophia, Amelia, Julia, Grace, Mae and Tak; his brother; Tom of Riverton; and sister, Momoko of Salt Lake City. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers, Sam and Matt. The funeral will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, 2006, at the Emerson LDS 1st Ward Church, 127 S. 950 W. in Paul, ID, with Bishop Ted Tateoka officiating. A viewing will be held Friday, November 3, 2006 from 7-9 p.m. at the Hansen Mortuary Burley Chapel, 321 E. Main St. and one hour prior to the service from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at the church. Interment will be at the Paul Cemetery with military rites. The family would like to express their gratitude and heartfelt thanks to Dr. Richard Sandison for his faithful and tireless service, and to the staff of the Cassia Regional Medical Center and Hospice for the loving care that was extended to Jim and his family during his stay. The family would especially like to thank Barbara West his attending nurse for her kindness and excellent care she gave to Jim.

Ko Takeuchi Tateoka died peacefully in her home on April 14, 2013. Her loving family surrounded her, as did the soft light of the late afternoon sun, fresh flowers in colorful bunches, and Luna, the new family cat. Ko was 80 years old.
The Tateoka family will receive friends on Friday, April 19, 2013 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the viewing room at the Morrison Payne Funeral Home on 321 E Main St. Burley, Idaho. Funeral services for Ko will be held on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at the Emerson 1st Ward LDS Church located at 127 South 950 West, Paul, Idaho. (Bishop Burt Belliston officiating). Prior to the funeral, a viewing will take place in the Relief Society room of the Emerson LDS Church from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Burial services will be held immediately following the funeral at the Paul Cemetery on 550 W 100 N Paul, Idaho.
Ko was born in the Sugar House area of Salt Lake City, Utah on May 25, 1932. Her parents, Seiichi and Tsune Takeuchi had immigrated to the U.S. from the coastal city of Mikawa, Ishikawa, Japan 14 years earlier in 1918. Ko was the third and last of three daughters born to the Takeuchis. Older sisters, Kimi and Fumi were ages 12 and seven at the time of Ko’s birth.
In 1935, Ko’s family moved from the Sugar House area to a home and small truck farm on 2213 South 4th East in Salt Lake City. Ko entered first grade at Madison School on State Street and 24th South and continued attending the school through the ninth grade. She then attended Granite High School on 3303 South 500 East and graduated in 1949. Ko earned her teaching degree in Business Education in 1954 from the University of Utah. She took a teaching position at Olympus High School where she taught typing and shorthand from 1954-1956. Throughout her life, Ko gave much credit to her father Seiichi who had always stressed the importance of education. Despite the many hardships and barriers of those times and as a result of his influence, Ko and her two sisters received their college educations.
In February of 1956, Ko married Jim Tateoka, a farmer from Garfield, Utah and moved to South Jordan Utah. Jim and his brothers farmed ground on 10000 South 2700. It was there that four sons and a daughter where born to Ko and Jim. In 1969, they moved their young family to a farm in Southern Idaho’s Magic Valley off of Kasota Road in the Emerson area. Ko was a fulltime homemaker and mom until 1980 when she re entered the teaching ranks. She taught 3rd grade at Eden Elementary School in Eden, Idaho and later took a teaching position in the business department at Minidoka County High School in Rupert, Idaho. Ko retired from teaching in 1993. She found teaching to be a very rewarding and fun profession.
Ko enjoyed membership in various community organizations including the Kasota Sagehens, the Delta Kappa Gamma Society, The Mini Cassia Retired Teachers Association and the area “Nisei” Club. She was a strong member of the LDS Church, serving in many positions in the Emerson 1st Ward and Paul Stake. Ko enjoyed gardening, traveling, movie going, watching football and visiting with her kids, grandkids, and many friends. She loved the holiday season and the cheer, lights, gifts and joy it always brings.
In her later years, Ko cared faithfully for husband Jim who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. He passed away in the fall of 2006. In October of 2010, Ko began her extended stay at Parke View Rehabilitation and Care Center in Burley, Idaho. She resided there until returning to her own home on Kasota Rd. in recent weeks.
Ko is survived by her five children, 13 grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. They are: son Mark and his wife Itsuko of Miliani Hawaii and their two children, Luke, also of Miliani, and Charlotte of Salt Lake City, son Paul and his wife Nadine of Hazelton, Idaho and their three children, Joseph of Chicago, Illinois (wife Alison, son, Parker), Elise Mongillo, from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, (husband, Anthony, sons, Oliver, and Nikolas) and Benjamin of Provo, Utah (wife, Alexa), daughter Penny from Portland, Oregon, and her daughter, Claire from Brooklyn, New York, son Ted and his wife Becca from the Emerson Area, and their four daughters, Olivia Brown of Provo, Utah, (husband, Braeden Brown), Sister Sophia Tateoka ( currently serving in the Honolulu, Hawaii Mission) and Emi and Ju Ju (Emerson Area) and son Tom and his wife Jamie of Waukesha, Wisconsin and their three children, Grace, Mae and Takeuchi. (Ko’s parents and sisters, Kimi and Fumi are deceased.)
Many many sincere thanks are due the following individuals and groups: The wonderful staff at Parke View Rehabilitation and Care Center, Dr. Glen Page, Deanna, Pam and Amanda of Horizon Hospice, Bishop Burt Belliston, Dustin McCurdy and family, Loa Maxwell and Margaret Merrill, The Emerson 1st Ward Relief Society, Jan Allen, Mildred Whitesides, and Ralph, Ben and Kristie. Thanks also to the many friends who called, stopped by, and brought in meals, sweet eats, cheer, and support during Ko’s time at home. We appreciate you!
Services are under the direction of Morrison Payne Funeral Home, in Burley.

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te Groen family

Johanna and Pieter to Groen

Johanna and Pieter te Groen

I have been corresponding with a distant cousin of mine, Carol Mann, in California.  She provided a couple of pictures, one of which is of my great, great, great grandparents.  It is very washed out so I hope she has the original or knows where she can get a better copy of the picture.

Among the other photos she provided is the one above.  This is of her grandparents Pieter Willem te Groen and Johanna van Leeuwen.  I have written of Johanna’s parents, Gerrit and Elsebina (Weenig) van Leeuwen, my great, great, great grandparents.  Johanna is the sister to my Gerhardus Hendrik van Leeuwen.

Pieter Willem to Groen was born 4 September 1865 in Arnhem, Gelderland, Netherlands and died 27 August 1942 in Long Beach, Los Angeles, California.  His parents are Derk Meindert to Groen and Jannetje Maria (Duverni) te Groen.

He married Johanna van Leeuwen 5 March 1890 in Arnhem in the Lutheran Church.

Johanna was born 1 September 1867 in Oldenzaal, Overijssel, Netherlands and died 24 February 1963 in Long Beach.

Together Pieter and Johanna had 10 children that I am aware.

Johanna Maria te Groen born 7 December 1890 supposedly in Transvaal, although that did not exist until 1902, so it was likely the South African Republic.  She died 2 January 1891 in Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa.

Johanna Maria to Groen born 3 December 1891 in Transvaal, again likely South African Republic.  She died 10 January 1899 in Pretoria.

Gerhardus Hendrick te Groen born 19 February 1894 in Pretoria and died 5 May 1955 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.

Willem Pieter te Groen born 14 September 1895 in Pretoria and died 4 May 1967 in Santa Ana, Orange, California.

Dirk Meindert te Groen born 27 January 1898 in Pretoria and died 20 July 1988 in Laguna Hills, Orange, California.

Paul Johannes Stofanas te Groen born 1 June 1900 in Pretoria and died January 1987 in Crescent City, Del Norte, California.

Elsebinia Maria te Groen born 17 October 1902 in Pretoria and died 5 February 1904 in Pretoria.

Jan Hendrick te Groen born 7 December 1904 in Pretoria and died 10 September 1999 in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.

Leendert te Groen born 14 October 1908 in Annapolis, Anne Arundel, Maryland and died 3 July 2003 in Laguna Hills.

Emil Fredrick te Groen born 27 November 1911 in Annapolis and died 27 November 2000 in Palo Alto, Santa Clara, California.

I have no idea what took te Groens to South Africa.  It was a time of change and turmoil in South Africa and the Dutch were active in Southe Africa.  It would be interesting to know if it was military or some other purpose for which they went there.  Maybe they left as the Dutch were losing influence and British were gaining more and more influence.  Hopefully someone can shed more light on the moves.

Baby Milo Paul Ross

Since I am on the baby kick lately, I thought I might post some other baby pictures.  (This is a repost from 2010, but due to Grandpa’s passing, I am reposting it)  With the latest posts of myself and little Aliza as a baby, I thought I would add the two oldest pictures I have of my father (showing him at his youngest recorded images).

Milo Paul Ross born on Independence Day in 1943 in Ogden, Utah.  He weighed in at a flat 8 pounds, 22 inches.  He was discharged at 7 pounds, 10.5 ounces.  His parents were Milo James Ross and Gladys Donaldson Ross.  They resided at 829 8th Street in Ogden, Utah.  Well, Grandma did.

Grandpa had just landed in Hawaii with the Army.  A biography at the University of Utah said, “Ross soon shipped out to the Hawaiian Islands, leaving behind his young pregnant wife. As his unit landed on the big island of Hawaii on July 4, 1943, a voice on the loud speaker said, “Sergeant Ross, congratulations. Your wife and son are doing well, and, one more thing, before you get off the ship you and your men have guard duty for the next four hours. Welcome to Hawaii.”

Grandma told the story how every night before going to bed Grandma showed Dad a picture of Grandpa and told him to kiss it goodnight.  When Grandpa stepped off the train years later, Dad knew who is father was at sight.  I doubt Dad remembers much at such an early age.  It would be interesting to know his recollections.

Grandpa told me that when he left Grandma they made an agreement that no matter where they were, both would kneel and pray at 9:00 PM at night for family prayer.  Even though they were miles apart, this was a way of maintaining their relationship despite distance and not knowing whether letters would arrive at the other end.  Grandpa said there were nights he felt his family very close, especially in a lonely foxhole with people dying around him.

Anyhow, more about the photos of the little boy above.  The top photo was taken in July 1943, which means it was within 3-4 weeks of his birth.  He is held in the photo by his grandmother, my Great Grandmother, Berendena Van Leeuwen Donaldson.  She went by Dena her whole life.  I cropped the photo down just to show Dad.  My first impression of this picture is how much he looks like my Aunt Caroline in this photo.  If it wasn’t for the written date on the photo, I would think it was her.

The second photo is also cropped.  This will probably be the closest I get to nudity on this little blog.  This photograph indicates it was taken at 8 weeks, putting us at the end of August or beginning of September 1943.  Perhaps he needed a little help with Bilirubin, hence sitting out in the sun with all exposed.  Either way, he does not look entirely pleased with the situation.

Looking at the two photographs, I can see a slight expression from the second photo in little Aliza.  Amanda and I see quite a bit of me in little Aliza, and we see more of the Jonas/Coley brow and facial features, at least at this stage.  We all know how children move through different looks as they grow up.  We shall keep a keen eye out for intimations of Dad.  But here are two photos of him.

Milo James Ross Obituary

University of Utah Veterans Commemoration in 2009

University of Utah Veterans Commemoration in 2009

Milo James Ross, 93, peacefully slipped out of mortality in the comfort of his own bed in Plain City on 17 July 2014.

Milo was born 4 February 1921 in a log cabin north of Plain City to John “Jack” William Ross and Ethel (Sharp) Ross. His mother tragically died from childbirth in 1925. Milo and his siblings lived with his Ross grandparents until the costs proved too great and his Uncle Edward Sharp raised Milo in Plain City until adulthood.

He grew up tending to his Grandmother Sharp and spending most of his time farming with his many Sharp cousins and his siblings. He attended schools in Plain City and graduated from Weber High in 1939.

Milo met Gladys Maxine Donaldson at a Plain City celebration in 1940. They would meet from time to time for dancing at the Berthana in Ogden. Milo and Gladys married 4 April 1942 in her parent’s home on 8th Street in Ogden.

Milo enlisted in the Army in October 1942. He served in the 33rd Infantry Division, 130th Regiment, Company C. He trained in weapons and earned his expert ranking. He arrived in Hawaii in July 1943 and received the announcement that his son, Milo Paul, had been born. He served as part of the Philippine invasion force and they fought through the jungles and liberated Baguio City. He was injured five times, one while tending to other soldiers awaiting medical attention.

He was present at the Japanese surrender at Luzon as a Technical Sergeant in June 1945. He received two purple hearts and the Silver Star for his service at the end of World War II. His Company received a Presidential Citation for outstanding performance during armed conflict with the enemy in efforts to seize Hill X in Bilbil Mountain Province. At the time of Milo’s death, the military was preparing to award him another Purple Heart, another Silver Star, Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal & Bronze Star, World War II Victory Medal, Combat Infantry Badge 1st Award, Philippine Liberation Ribbon and Bronze Star, Honorable Service Button for World War II. He was also to be awarded the Philippine Liberation Medal and Republic of the Philippines Presidential Unit Citation Badge from the Philippine Government.

He returned home in 1945 and began working with his father-in-law. He eventually began building or remodeling homes. He estimated he had built over 120 homes and remodeled another 50 homes or buildings in his lifetime. Two more children joined Milo and Gladys in 1946 and 1948, Judy Ethel and Caroline. Milo and Gladys dedicated their lives to raising their three children and tenderly caring for Judy’s needs until she passed away in 1998.

Milo and Gladys solemnized their marriage 2 July 1976 in the Ogden LDS Temple with their daughter Judy by their side. Milo served in various callings as a humble servant favoring their time as temple workers in the Ogden Temple for almost a decade. Milo and Gladys also relished their time in raising their garden and providing its fruits to friends, family, the temple, and local hospitals.

Milo is survived by his son Milo (Janice) Ross of Hazelton, Idaho and daughter Caroline (Abram) Gallegos of Plain City. Eight grandchildren, Scott (Robyn) Ross of Kimberly, Idaho; Jeffrey (Holly) Ross of Jerome, Idaho; Becky (Joseph) Patterson of Portland, Oregon; Paul (Amanda) Ross of Burley, Idaho; Andra Ross of Heyburn, Idaho; Christy (Sterling) Neilson of Rupert, Idaho; Cindy (Steve) Pease of Albion, Idaho; and Lonny (Amy) Taylor of Declo, Idaho; seventeen great grandchildren; and eleven great great grandchildren.

Milo was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Gladys; all five siblings Hobart Day, June Stout, Paul Ross, Harold Ross, and Earnest Ross; daughter Judy Ross; grandson-in-law Bret Adams, and two great grandchildren.

The funeral will be held Tuesday 22 July 2014 at the Plain City 7th Ward Building, 2952 N 4200 W, a building he helped organize its construction, at 11:00 AM with Bishop Tom Matthews officiating.

Friends may call at Lindquist Mortuary in North Ogden at 2140 N 400 E (Washington Blvd) from 6 until 8 PM on Monday 21 July 2014. Friends may also call from 10:00 until 10:45 AM prior to the service at the church. Burial will be in the Plain City Cemetery beside his beloved Gladys and Judy.

Milo J Ross in army uniform squat

Ross-Donaldson Wedding

David and Dena Donaldson are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Gladys Maxine to Milo James Ross, son of Jack Ross and the late Ethel Ross.  They were married in the Donaldson home on 8th Street in Ogden, Utah on 4 April 1942.  (This post originally appeared in 2010 and is reposed due to Grandpa’s death)

Gladys is a 1940 graduate of Ogden High School.

Milo is a 1939 graduate of Weber High School.  He is currently employed with American Packing and Provisioning Company as a supervisor in Ogden.

The couple will make their home in Plain City.

While short and sweet, there is much more of a story behind those words.  Milo and Gladys met  in 1940 when Gladys and her sisters rode their bikes all the way to a celebration in Plain City.  Later they would meet at the Berthana, which included a dance hall on the second floor (built in Ogden about 1914).  The Berthana later converted to a roller skating rink before closing in the 1970’s.  The building is still there although I do not know what the use for the building is currently.

David Delos Donaldson and Berendena Van Leeuwen are Gladys’ parents.  Read more of her parents at this link: Donaldson-Van Leeuwen Family.  David was a plumber by trade who had lung problems from being gassed in the Argonne of France in World War I.  He suffered from lung ailments the rest of his life.  He mostly worked in the Ogden area but worked prior to marriage in Phoenix, Arizona and Twin Falls, Idaho.  He also sought work in Boulder City, Nevada during the depression and as a steam and pipe fitter during World War II in Napa, California.  Apparently during World War II he worked almost exclusively in submarines.  You can read more of their marriage and family at the link above.  She went by the name of Dena her entire life.

Gladys and Maxine Donaldson ages 5 and 3.

Dena grew up LDS and David did not.  David’s parents were not active LDS and most of David’s siblings joined the LDS church between the ages of 10 and 22.  David and one brother 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 (he picked up smoking after being gassed because he said it soothed his lungs).  When the time would come for Milo and Gladys to marry, they wished to be married in the temple.   For whatever reason, the Bishop determined that he was not going to allow them to be sealed without David being a member.  I do not know which Bishop, but I have a suspicion it was Gladys’ Bishop and that he knew the Donaldson family.  He probably hoped to bring errant David around so his daughter could get married.  The plan backfired.  It would not have worked anyhow because David was pretty set on Gladys marrying a wealthy man and would not have minded if the wedding had not gone through.  Milo said they wanted to get married and were not interested in waiting around for a Bishop to figure out what he was doing.  A week before they were actually married, they decided to elope.  They packed up and drove to Evanston, Wyoming on snow covered roads.  They arrived and decided they better do it proper with family around.  They enjoyed a meal and drove back to Ogden on a very snowy set of roads.  Leading them to get married in the Donaldson home the next week or so.  It would take them another 34 years before they finally made it to the temple to get sealed.  Perhaps the Bishop was inspired.

They married in April and World War II was in full swing.  They rented a place in Ogden for a few weeks until moving to Plain City and rented there (on 4700?) until they built a home after the war.  Milo and a group of buddies then went off to Fort Douglas to enlist in October 1942 rather than wait until they were drafted.  They anticipated at least a few more days or weeks in Utah before being shipped off.  However, Milo was put on a train that same day to Camp Lewis in Washington.  He spent the next two to four months there, he cannot remember for sure.  Gladys would move to Camp Lewis to be with him through basic training.  By this point the two knew they were expecting a baby.

Milo shipped out for Needles, California to Camp Ibis.  Due to his experience with building, he was one of the men asked to lay out some of the buildings for the latrines and then helped in starting the construction of those buildings.  Their division stayed there a few months before heading off to San Francisco from which he was put on a boat and headed to Hawaii.  He landed in Hawaii on the 4th of July 1943 with the loudspeaker welcoming the men to Hawaii and announcing the birth of a son to Sergeant Ross.  I have written of that baby at this link: Baby Milo Ross.

Gladys would live with her parents in Ogden until Milo returned from the rigors of war.  Her parents moved from their address on 8th Street down to Washington Boulevard during this time.

Milo worked for American Packing and Provisioning Company some in high school and on afterward until he went into the service.  American Pack would be sold to Swift & Company in 1949.  This packing plant would remain in use until the 1970’s when it was closed.

I have written previously about Milo’s loss of his mother in 1925 and her family keeping him from having contact with his father, John William Ross.  Here is the link: Ross-Sharp Wedding.  He was raised by his Uncle Edward William Sharp in Plain City.

Anyhow, the family would go on to have 2 more children in 1946 and 1948.  Milo received a homestead in Washington State in the late 1940’s, early 1950’s, but I do not know more about it.  The homestead is believed to have been abandoned because of medical needs of Judy and the family returned to a newly built home in Plain City around 1948 or 1949.  The family then built the current home at 2532 N. 4100 W. in 1955 and have resided there since.

Nipper

Another couple of photos I found with some names on it.  They are not related to me in any way that I can tell.

Dewey & Josephine Nipper with their son, 4 July 1943

Dewey & Josephine Nipper with their son, 4 July 1943

Introducing Sterling Dewey Nipper and his wife Josephine Gurwell Nipper.  He was born 12 March 1910 in Benton, Polk, Tennessee and died 1 April 1982 in Buhl, Twin Falls, Idaho.  He is buried in Filer, Twin Falls, Idaho.  She was born 7 January 1926 in Martinsburg, Audrain, Missouri and died 24 May 2004 in Buhl.  She is also buried in Filer.  Since this photo was in the collection of a family from Buhl, I assume I have the right Dewey and Josephine Nipper.  The photo did not have the Gurwell name on it.  I have no idea who the boy is, as far as I can tell the Nipper children are all still alive, however many there were.

Interesting my father was born the same day this photo was taken and Grandpa was preparing for war in Hawaii.

I don’t know that these children are related, but the photos have Nipper names on them.  Therefore, I assume there is some relationship.

Ivan & Ivell Nipper

Ivan & Ivell Nipper

This following photo reads, “Jess Nipper’s children”.  I don’t know if that is Josephine’s nickname or if Jess is short for Jesse or something else.

"Jess Nipper's children"

“Jess Nipper’s children”

However, this photo reads, “Jess Nipper’s Kids, he was married to Grandma Williams’ sister Pearl” and from that I conclude Jess is someone else.  There is a Jesse Franklin Nipper, born 10 October 1887 in Cleveland, Bradley, Tennessee and died 8 January 1967 in Twin Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho.  He is the uncle to Sterling Dewey Nipper.  He married Pearl Lulu Ownbey, born 20 November 1887 in Custer County, Idaho and died 9 March 1930 in Buhl.

Jess Nipper's kids

Jess Nipper’s kids

With the information on that photo, I found a sister to Pearl Lulu Ownbey named Ethel Gertrude Ownbey born 15 August 1886 in Green Forest, Carroll, Arkansas, and died 1 May 1967.  She was married to Solomon Walker Williams born 27 October 1879 in Sevierville, Sevier, Tennessee, and died 22 April 1958.  Therefore, all the names and references seem to add up so I am confident I have the right people.  Unfortunately, none of the children are named and the records I am looking at do not show any deceased children.  They could all very well still be alive out there in the world somewhere.

 

Apostolic Brush

Ruby and David Haight, Paul Ross, Rose and John Byrom

Ruby and David Haight, Paul Ross, Rosie and John Byrom

I stumbled upon this picture the other day and thought maybe it was time to share it.  This picture has an interesting story behind it.

On the far right are John and Rosie Byrom.  Rosie is mostly in the shadow so it is difficult to make her out.  I served in the Runcord Ward from around December 1999 to around August 2000.  John served as Ward Mission Leader and Rosie as a Ward Missionary.  (The Byroms have since separated and divorced).  I served in the ward for a long time and they remained in their callings for the entire time, so we built a friendship which, I feign to believe, still exists to this day.

I returned home from my mission in December 2000.  It was not long into 2001 that I learned the Byroms were planning on visiting Utah.  Of course, I invited them to spend some time in Idaho.

During the majority of time I served in Runcorn I had a companion by the name of Brad Hales.  Also in our district was a senior sister companionship of Meriel Peterson and Patricia Kleinkopf.  We were all native Idahoans and were in close proximity of each other.  It was natural that the Byroms also wanted to visit each of them while they were in Idaho.

This particular day we drove to Oakley, Idaho to visit Sister Peterson.  We had an enjoyable breakfast and conversation.  Sister Peterson decided she wanted to give us the tour of Oakley because there were some architectural gems that she thought the Byroms would enjoy.  I grew up near Oakley so I was familiar with many of these local landmarks.

We all piled into my little Camry and away we drove.  We had not made it very far driving down some of the streets of Oakley when Sister Peterson announced, “Wait, David is home, he will want to meet you!”  She had me turn around and we pulled into a little home in Oakley.

I had no clue who David was and I was not familiar with the home we were now pulling into the driveway.  We all exited the car.  In the yard there was a man trimming his hedges with a large straw hat and a large set of sunglasses that you only see old people wear.

Since Sister Peterson indicated that David would want to meet the Byroms because they were from England, I remained at the front of my car in the driveway and leaned back against it in the hot, summer, morning sun.

I have to give a little bit of background on the month prior.  We are in the latter half of July 2001 at the point of this picture (I recollect it was the 21st, but may be wrong).  I had just spent considerable time in Hawaii with family at the beginning of the month.  During that time I picked myself up a shirt and a shell necklace among other items.  As you can see in the picture, I am wearing my red shirt (not the blatant Hawaiian design you regularly see).  For years I thought I was in a pair of board shorts too, but this picture corrects my memory on that tidbit.  But I had continuously wore my new puka shell necklace since the trip to Hawaii.

Back to the story, I am leaning on the front of my car watching the Byroms enter the back yard through the hedge and approach this old man in a large straw hat and holding an electric hedge trimmer.  The man stopped trimming and turned to greet his trespassers.  Curiously, after what was a short couple of moments, probably no more than 20 seconds of conversation, this man leaves the Byroms and Sister Peterson and headed my direction.

My first reaction was that I was doing something wrong so I looked around to see my misstep.  Alas, not seeing I had done anything wrong I approached the man and met him near his hedge.  He had set down his trimmer before arriving to me and he pulled his hand out of his glove to shake my hand.  I shook hands with him and he with his free hand reached up and took of his hat and glasses and asked me my name.

My first thought was something along these lines, “Boy, this David fellow sure looks familiar.”  He asked my name and I gave it.  He asked about my Ross name and whether or not it was Scottish.  I informed him it was my name but not the name of which my ancestors carried.  He then informed me that Ross was a common name in Scotland where he had served as a Mission President.

He then grew quiet and he sidled up closer to me and put the hand with the hat and glasses in the small of my back while still holding my other hand in a handshake.  He was now close enough that his face was in my shadow (and he was considerably shorter than me).  He then broke the handshake and with that hand reached up and touched my puka shell necklace.

“What is this?”

“My necklace?”

“I am disappointed that you have fallen from the principles of the gospel that we teach as missionaries.  We teach than men and women have separate and distinct roles and this is confusing the two.”

My first impression was, “How did you know I served a mission?”

This man then turned to walk away back to the Byroms and Sister Peterson.  As he walked away, the thought occurred, “You have just been rebuked by an Apostle.”

Then it dawned.  David was David B Haight, one of the twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This was an individual I recognized as a Priesthood Leader and on my first meeting with him, I had been rebuked.

I stood there reeling from what had just happened.  It stung.  David went to the back door of his house and summoned his wife Ruby.  Ruby appeared and they all stood 25 feet away from me chit chatting about England, Scotland, and whatever else they were talking about.

What seemed like an eternity was likely only a minute or so, if that.  I remember reaching up and taking the puka shell necklace off and holding it in my hand.  I dwelt on what was really an unintended and probably unwanted visit that was a bother to me and this old man.  Sister Peterson just commented he was home and a few lines of dialogue just ended up potentially effected my eternities.  According to him I was already on the path, so I guess it did not matter what he said except to correct my backsliding ways.

Next thing I knew, the distant conversation between the Haights and Byroms had stopped and this Apostle was returning to me.  He again held out his hand as if to invite another handshake. I held out my hand with the necklace in it and he cupped his hand to receive whatever I was offering.  I dropped the necklace into his hand and once he realized what it was he let it drop to the ground.

He held out his hand again inviting mine in a handshake and I clasped his.  He sidled up close to me again, put his other hand in the small of my back, and was close enough to be in my shadow and that I could smell the salt in his old man sweat, and he continued…

“Where did you serve your mission?”  (I remember thinking that was an ironic question since the Byroms were from England, Sister Peterson served in England, and he asked where the fourth member of the party served his mission?)

“England Manchester Mission”

“How long have you been home?”

(After a quick mental tally) “Nine months”

“Elder, you hold the Priesthood.  You have a duty to uphold that Priesthood.  You should have been married by now.”

He released my hand, pulled his hand from the small of my back, turned, and walked away.  Maybe 4 steps later he turned around and said, “When it happens, I want to know about it.”

He returned to a conversation with Ruby, Sister Peterson, and the Byroms.

I stood there while they chatted for a few more minutes.  I do not recall hearing anything of the conversation between them, even if I was close enough to have heard.

Rosie had a picture taken of the occasion.  Sister Peterson sacrificed herself in the moment to take the photo that now memorializes this occasion.

I shook hands again with Elder David Haight and Sister Ruby Haight and we headed on down the road to see some other homes.  I ended up driving many more hours that day to Boise, Idaho City, Stanley, and elsewhere chauffeuring the Byroms through some of the sights of Idaho.  Rosie Byrom teased me about the moment the rest of the time I was with them.  After all, it is not every day that you get rebuked by an Apostle.  I cannot recall if they overheard the conversation or if I told them about it.  I cannot imagine that they overheard the conversation due to the close proximity in which David and I spoke that day.

Oddly enough, it weighed on me for a long time.  It became the butt of jokes as time went on, especially as David continued to age.  He was already over 95 at the time of my meeting him.  Roommates and friends would indicate that I better hurry or else I would not fulfill the rest of my duty to let David know when it happened.  I will not lie, it became a great story to tell people.  People loved to hear about my rebuke by an Apostle.

I regularly tell the story to individuals I am close to and that wear a necklace.  Missionaries I worked with I regularly told the story, especially if they wore a necklace.  I admit, I never wore a necklace or bracelet of any type since that date.  I know a number of missionaries who have “fallen from the principles we teach as missionaries” and forsaken their evil ways.  Honestly, I do not know that the story is one that should be heeded by others.  But for the deep effect it had upon me at the time and the power in which he spoke to me, I recognize it was for me.  Others should be careful about applying revelation of others to themselves.  But I do believe there is a principle here that we can learn, I just don’t know that I can very clearly articulate it.  I know the principle clearly for me, but don’t know how narrow or general to make it in application to others.

I remember Rosie reminding me that if I properly repent, I would be married within another 9 months.  Boy if that did not apply a little pressure!

As a side, I did pick up my little puka shell necklace and ended up giving it to a friend when I returned to Missouri later in August.  I don’t believe she has any clue what that little necklace meant to me.

There is more to the story.

On the following Monday, I believe 23 July 2001, I was in Salt Lake City with the Byroms.  After an endowment session, Rosie announced we were to go to the Church Administration Building.  She did not tell us why and I thought she just wanted to see the sights from the Church Office Building.  We walked in the Church Office Building and after Rosie talked to the man at the desk, she said we were in the wrong building and we needed to go to the Church Administration Building.  I informed her that the Church Administration Building was not really open to the public.  Rosie announced that we had an appointment.

In light of my experience a few days before, I was not really thrilled about our appointment in the Church Administration Building.  We walked around to the front door of the Church Administration Building and walked in.  As we approached the man at the security desk he asked,

“Are you the Byroms?”

Rosie responded, “Yes.”

“We have been waiting for you.”  (Never a very heartwarming phrase, whether the morgue, jail, CIA, bank, or Church Administration Building)

The man then responded, “You will need to leave your bags here, take the elevator to the fourth floor, take a right, and it is the last door on the left.  I will let them know you are coming up.”

We entered the elevator and headed to the fourth floor.  Rosie then turned and commented to me, “John helped provide security and drive for Elder Ballard while he (Elder Ballard) was in England for the Preston Temple Dedication.  He told us that if we were ever in Utah to stop and pay him a visit.”

Suddenly the realization came to me that I was going to visit with my second Apostle in less than a week.  I am a fairly laid back guy but felt some apprehension after the experience just days before.  We turned the corner and there stood M Russell Ballard in the doorway.  He invited us in to his office, introduced us to his secretary, and then ushered us into his office.  Across from his desk, I think, there were two nice wing-backed chairs.  Another chair was already there for me, or we pulled up a chair.  Elder Ballard left the office for a moment and then reappeared pushing a little chair toward me.  We were already all seated and he asked,

“Where is your wife?”

“I am not married.”

“Oh, that is something you will have to fix.”

He turned to push the little chair back out the door.  I heard Rosie chuckle and comment, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses…”

Elder Ballard returned and took his seat and we had a nice conversation that probably did not take more than 15 minutes.  Once again, Rosie had a picture taken.

Paul Ross, Rosie and John Byrom, Elder Ballard

Paul Ross, Rosie and John Byrom, M Russell Ballard

That was the extent of the interaction and I felt some sting from the second witness of my duty to uphold the Priesthood.  But it was a pleasant experience.  Rosie reminded me often after that, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”

Well, time passed and eventually Elder David B Haight did pass from this veil of tears at the end of July 2004, three years after our encounter.  Fortunately, Elder Haight and I did have an opportunity to talk again regarding our first interaction that lessened the blow of the occasion.  Nevertheless, roommates and many friends called after Elder Haight’s passing to let me know how dire my situation was now that the revelator had passed and I had not fulfilled my duty.

Rosie commented to me that I could fulfill my duty by reporting my marriage to Elder Ballard when the time came.

Well, forward a few more years and I became enamored with a little red-headed girl from Kaysville, Utah.  She came to enjoy her time with me and after a while we would end our walks with a little dancing on the porch of the Alumni House at Utah State University.  It became a regular thing to end our walks and evenings out with a dance and closing conversation on the porch of the Alumni House.  I dare say we danced on the porch of that building more than 60 times.  It was on the porch of this little Alumni House that I made an unofficial proposal to Ms. Hemsley.  It just seemed like the right place.

Months later, Amanda and I returned to Logan under the guise of visiting some friends.  While on the campus I took her to that little porch of the Alumni House and there after midnight, now on 4 July 2005, I fell to my knee and proposed to her.  Of course she said yes and we danced and kissed there on the porch of the Alumni House.  Interestingly, before we left that night, I caught sight of a huge portrait hanging inside the doors that open to the porch that had become an important part of our courtship.  As I looked closer, I could see the familiar sight of a man whose face I knew.  As I got a little closer to see in the dark the portrait lit only by fire escape signs it dawned on me it was a portrait of David B Haight.

If that was not a little coincidental, and perhaps a little creepy, I do not know what is.  Elder Haight’s portrait had actually witnessed some of the most personal moments of my courtship.  The building I had only known as the Alumni House is properly named the David B Haight Alumni Center.  Somehow it seemed the whole experience had just came full circle.

We sent a wedding invitation to Elder M Russell Ballard with a short note explaining that due to Elder Haight’s passing I was sending the note and invitation to him to fulfill my duty.  He responded with a card thanking me for my note and invitation and suggested I consider my duty fulfilled.  He also apologized for not being able to attend our reception (which I am glad about, surely some further duty might have been laid upon me if he had!)

There is my story for the above photo with the Haights and Byroms.  Maybe some day I can tell my story about Elder Hales (the Apostle, not my missionary companion)…