August 21, 1928 -- February 27, 2008
Compiled by Richard and formatted online
Childhood Elementary School Chores Middle School Holidays Jobs High School The University
My Mother My Father My Grandparents My In-laws Obituary
THE WIND BENEATH MY WINGS (click to listen)
It must have been cold there in my shadow,
So I was the one with all the glory,
It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
Fly, fly, fly away,
Childhood Memories top
The earliest memory from my childhood is the house and yard where we lived, because all of the things that happened thereafter are in that memory background. The first house I remember living in was located at 1456 Logan Avenue in Salt Lake City, Utah. At the time it was near the outskirts, but now it’s buried in the center of the city. We lived in a typical house for that era which was brick with a raised first floor about three feet above the ground. There were windows in the basement that you could see out of without a window well. The front porch was also raised with stairs and a low brick wall on either side. We often stood outside on the porch during rain storms and watched the lightning.In front of our house there were two sycamore trees. Now when I drive by the home, the diameter of the tree trunks is huge. Then it was only six inches or so across. When I was a boy, it seemed to me that we had a pretty large yard. I realize now that it was a tiny little yard in the front and just a little bigger in the back. One of our favorite childhood activities was to play Andy-I-Over. We would throw a ball over the top of the garage and see if the person on the other side could catch it. Another favorite game was Run Sheepie Run which we played just as it was getting dark. We would all hide and then run to try and touch the central goal without getting caught by the person defending the goal. The Hinckley family lived across the street from us. Their daughter, Colleen, was my age and went to grade school when I did. Many years later, I learned that Neal A. Maxwell, who is a member of the Twelve had married Colleen Hinckley. One day we saw a team of horses coming down the street and heard their hooves on the asphalt. They turned into the lot next to our neighbor’s house across the street, and began to excavate a basement for a new house. The horses seemed so big to me when I was a small boy. They were beautifully muscled horses, and they really impressed me. There was a big scoop, shaped something like a snow shovel. The driver directed it in such a way that it dug down in the dirt as the horses pulled. It would scoop the dirt and then the horses walked up an earthen ramp. The driver would tip the scoop and dump out the earth. After a time, they got a big hole dug. When that was done, carpenters came and framed up forms in the big hole, where they could pour walls for a cement basement. The forms were built with 1 x 6’s and 2 x 4’s. It was framed so it would hold the cement in place until it set up and then the forms would be removed. To me, they had just built the most magnificent castle to play on, I could imagine. My little sister, Bonnie, and I began to play on the forms after they were finished. Mother said to me, “You’re not to go over there. You mustn’t play on that. You could really get hurt.” I told her, “Mother, they have those 2 x 4’s sticking up, and if I had a problem, I’d just grab onto them.” So I knew Mother didn’t want us there, but it wasn’t long before we went back to playing there again. One of those 2 x 4’s that was supposed to save me, tripped me, and I went head over heels. I can still see myself spinning, until—WHAM!—I landed on the bottom. There was a cross bracing of 2 x 4’s and apparently my head hit on that. To this day, I still have a knot on the back of my head from my fall. When I woke up, Mother was standing at the top with my little sister who had run home to get her. I hurt very badly when I tried to get up. I had broken my collar bone. I learned a lesson that Mother knew more than I thought she did, and I knew less. I learned that I ought to pay attention to her advice. That was my thought when I was young. I remember a little swimming pool Daddy formed of cement in our backyard. It had a wall about eight or ten inches high, and was about six feet square. We would fill it up with water and when the sun warmed the water and we could play in it. A little drain could be opened to let the water out. We enjoyed playing there. In our backyard was a grape arbor that gave us shade as we played in the summer. Under the arbor was a sand pile. Now this was something that got used a lot! I found that if I turned the hose on it just a little in a fine spray, I could form the sand into castles, roads and whatever I wanted. It would stay the way I built it until it dried out. So I had a lot of fun making every kind of imaginable thing; roads for my cars, castles, and so on. This sand pile was one of my favorite things. I had quite an experience with my tricycle when a very young boy. I loved riding my tricycle, but I got tired of pumping. I found that where our road sloped a little bit, it was easy to coast down without having to pedal. Of course, I had to pedal back up, but it was worth it just to coast down. As I looked around the neighborhood, I noticed there was a really steep slope on the street a block below our house. I thought that looked like a lot of fun. So I started down the hill on my tricycle. At first I was pedaling, then the wheels were going faster and faster. I couldn’t keep my feet on the pedals they were turning so fast. So I took them off, and away I went—lickety cut down the hill with no control. The worst part of it was that at the bottom was a cross street with curb and gutter. I went sailing across the street as cars buzzed by. I barely missed getting hit by one of them. I hit the curb and landed in a heap on the parking next to the curb. Fortunately, I didn’t get hurt seriously although I could have been killed. That was on 13th East in Salt Lake City, a very busy street. I never tried that one again! As a child, I seemed to have fragile bones and experienced quite a few breaks. The first broken bone was when a sister lifted me up to look out our kitchen window and dropped me. I fell on the floor and broke my collar bone. I had other broken bones during the time my family lived on Logan Avenue. My sister Margaret came down with scarlet fever. That was a very serious illness then and very contagious. Everyone in the family had to move out except Mother, who took care of Margaret. I went to my Grandma Sorenson’s house with my dad. My other two sisters stayed somewhere else. We had to stay away until Margaret got better again. When someone got sick like that in those days, a quarantine sign was put on the house to avoid the spread of the disease. While staying at Grandma’s house, I was on my hands and knees on the lawn one day playing with some of the neighbor boys. One of the boys jumped on my back cracking my left elbow. So that was another broken bone. I broke my right wrist another time, although I can’t remember what I was doing. People worried about me quite a bit at school, and what might happen because of all the broken bones. Fortunately at some point, my bones got stronger. I’ve not had any broken bones since, which I’m glad about. I had three sisters and no brothers. Each of us children was about two years apart. My two sisters, Barbara and Margaret were older and quite interested in older things. My younger sister, Bonnie was my best friend. She was my best friend until I got into high school, and I thought I was getting too old for her. Then as she caught up to me, we continued to have a very close friendship, and it exists still to this day. There was a playhouse that Daddy made especially for the girls. I didn’t play in it much. One day, my little sister and I noticed on the hollyhocks, with their pretty big blossoms, the bees were busy getting pollen. We discovered if we hurried and pulled the leaves together over the bees, it was a trap from which they couldn’t escape. So we had fun throwing about a hundred bees and leaves into the playhouse and hurriedly closing the door. When Daddy came home, we didn’t get a spanking, but he said, “Do you know how much trouble I had getting those bees out? You won’t do that again will you?” That was one of the mistakes I thoughtlessly made when I was a little boy. A very early memory is how my two older sisters found me to be quite a bother. When Mother would go to town and take my younger sister, she would say to the older girls, “Now you take good care of Richard.” Then she would tell me, “Don’t you bother your older sisters.” After Mother left, they would go into the front room, close the door, and have a lot of fun. They told me to stay out, so there I was all alone. I would open the door and want to come in. They would say, “You get out! Momma said you can’t come in!” I wanted to play too, and I got to be a nuisance, I’m sure. At least one time I can remember (although it probably happened more than once), they put me in the closet in the bedroom and closed the door. They told me I would have to stay there until I behaved. As you can imagine, I made quite a fuss. When Mother came home, she would ask, “How was Richard?” My sisters would reply, “He was naughty today!” So Mother would give me a scolding. I thought, “Me naughty? I was locked in the closet! They wouldn’t play with me. They’re the naughty ones!” After that went on for a while, things suddenly changed. I don’t know who gets the credit, but my older sisters started treating me nice. I believe my sisters just decided they were going to be kind to me. From then on, we were best of friends. I’ve thought since that when somebody makes up their mind to do something good, like the Savior would want them to do, it changes circumstances and makes other people’s lives happier. It has a greater influence than we often realize. As we got older, Barbara, who was four years older than me was into older things. Margaret preceded me into high school and college. When I got into the University of Utah, Margaret was there and she was a lot of help. She told me all kinds of things I needed to know at the university. She was a good friend. As a boy, I really liked to play with modeling clay. It was quite pliable, and you could make almost anything out of it. I would roll it out into fairly long ropes and make walls for magnificent houses and castles. Then I would make people to inhabit the buildings, but my “people” were little ducks. They had a little duck head, a rounded body, and a duck’s tail. I’d make all kinds; soldiers, a king and queen, and others. One time, I made a little block store with all of the fruits and vegetables out of clay. When I got a little older, I was fascinated with vending machines. I marveled at how you could put money in and something would come out. I decided I was going to make one, and so I did with cardboard, tape, and glue. I figured out how to put candy on one side with a little slanted shoot, and drop a penny in. The weight of the penny would lift up the door to the shoot. I could actually get candy to fall out. The bigger the coin and the more it weighed, the better it worked. I had a lot of fun inventing this. I liked dogs, and one day Daddy told me he had a dog for me. Somebody he knew at Southeast Furniture, where he worked, had a German police dog in need of a home. He was gentle and friendly, not like those ferocious watch dogs. I got to like him very much. My dog would follow me to school every day. When I got out of school, he’d be there waiting to follow me home. (I went to Garfield School at that time). One day, he wasn’t waiting for me outside the school. I never saw him again. I looked everywhere I went to see if I could find him. Once in a while, I would see a German shepherd and I’d hurry over to see if it could possibly be my dog. Later the word got out that the dog tore up Daddy’s gardens and flowers. I overheard Mother tell someone that they had to get rid of him. I guessed they gave him away to someone. I forgave them though, because they were wonderful parents in spite of having to get rid of my dog. When I had my dog, I would ride my bike to the grocery store a few blocks from our house, and ask the butcher for a dog bone. He would give me one, and I would lay it across my handlebars as I pedaled my bike home. One day as I was riding home, a young man came along. He was one of the nicest looking men I had ever seen. He impressed me because he had a suit on, and because he smiled and stopped to talk to me. I was surprised. No one paid much attention to me—I was just a dumb little kid. He asked my name, and I told him what I was doing. I told him about my dog and he was interested. He thought it was so neat that I would get bones for my dog. We had a nice conversation and then he went on his way. Later, I learned that he was the big brother of a friend of mine. He had just returned from a mission. That’s the way a lot of missionary’s are, out in the mission field, and hopefully when they get back home. He really made that day for me because of the interest he showed. I had never had anyone do that before. I thought about that experience, and felt it would be great in life to try and give a lift when I could to people that are blue, feel unimportant, or are lonesome, the way he lifted me that day. I’ve tried to do that, ever since that experience. Early in my life, we didn’t have television. I remember a little record player we listened to. We would crank a handle as the record went around and it would make screeching music. Eventually we got a radio and could get a few stations. After school, we would listen to our favorite children’s programs. We had Little Orphan Annie, which was pretty good. I remember sending for the decoder from Little Orphan Annie. When you sent in box tops, you would receive a decoder for secret messages. Another program we listened to was Old Ma Perkins. Jack Armstrong The All-American Boy which was sponsored by Wheaties, “The Breakfast of Champions,” was exciting. We also listened to The Lone Ranger with his faithful pal, Tonto. He was always doing good and getting people out of trouble. I liked that program. But the program that intrigued me most was about the mounted police in Canada, Renfrew of the Mounted Police. He was up in the frozen North area and always going after escaped convicts, poachers and such. One day, Bonnie and I were playing Renfrew of the Mounted Police. We were pretending there were murderers that were after us, and we were trying to get away. I was on the porch and I said to Bonnie, “I’ll throw you a gun—catch it!” I threw her a gun, but she didn’t catch it. It hit her right in the middle of the forehead. It left a bump and a scar on her head. Mother would say to Bonnie and I when she would hear us start to quarrel, “If I hear you quarrel, you’ll have to go to separate rooms and play. If you stop it now, you can stay together.” So we rarely quarreled, because we wanted to stay together. Something we liked to do was to make root beer. We stored the bottles in the basement fruit room where we stored bottled fruit. Mother knew how to make it with root beer extract and sugar. It would build up carbon dioxide inside the bottles and once in a while a lid would pop off and squirt all over. I had pneumonia twice, and I had asthma and tonsillitis. In that day, people felt like tonsils were responsible for a lot of health problems. Mother and Dad felt that if Bonnie and I got our tonsils out, it would help with all of our throat infections. They made arrangements and the doctor came to our house. A sheet was laid on the kitchen table where we laid. A little thing with ether on it was placed over or mouth and nose until we went to sleep. When we woke up, our tonsils were out. That’s not the way it’s done today. After Margaret had scarlet fever and had gotten over it, the doctor told Mother to burn every book, toy, or doll that Margaret had. The only things spared, were those that could be put in the oven, and heated to a high temperature to kill the germs. So that’s what they did. Years later there were new antibiotics and sulfa drugs for treating such diseases. Later in my adult life, I contracted scarlet fever. This time I only required an antibiotic and a couple days of bed rest. It makes me realize what a blessing it is to live in the fullness of times, when God has given knowledge of so many ways to help ourselves with health problems. People had a great fear of polio back then. Many people died from it and others had to go into an iron lung. An iron lung was something like a coffin with windows in it, and it breathed for them. I had a friend whom I met in college. When he was a boy, he had contracted polio and it had paralyzed him. His legs were useless and he wore braces on them. I went on a couple double dates with him. He would sit on the couch while various friends would dance with his date. He was a pretty remarkable person that I admired a lot. His name was Reid Page. Eventually a vaccination was developed for polio and the fear of it went away. Hardly anyone gets it today. When we lived on Logan Avenue, I had a bedroom in the basement all by myself. The rest of the family had rooms upstairs. At night when it was dark, I would imagine monsters coming out from behind the furnace. It was real to me, and I was scared to death. I would lay there in such fear every night, that I finally wondered what I was to do. I remembered stories from Primary and Sunday School that I had heard about angels watching over us. I told myself that I would try, every time those horrible thoughts of monsters came into my mind, to put my mind so firmly on the thought of guardian angels standing round about me, that I wouldn’t have any more fearful thoughts. So that’s what I did, and it worked. Years later, Boyd K. Packer spoke about this very thing. He said, when you get bad thoughts in your mind, or temptations or impure thoughts, you can push them out by replacing them with good thoughts. You can have your patriarchal blessing handy to read, or a favorite song to sing. You can have something you’ve written about yourself and the kind of person you are and want to be; a child of God. You can replace every evil, fearful, or incorrect kind of thought with something positive and good. Many people, who have learned to do that, have found they were able to get over some pretty bad habits and problems by following Boyd K. Packer’s advice. I learned it early as a little boy sleeping in the dark basement. My parents were frugal and thrifty. They avoided debt. They had experienced the work required to pay ones bills and to succeed financially. It wasn’t handed to them. Whatever they got came from very hard work. We had prayer together at every meal, and otherwise, as a family. One by one my sisters got married, and finally I was the last one home. I had good relations with Mother and Dad because they always demonstrated caring and helpfulness; qualities that tie people together. Mother and Dad went to a study group once a month where they would study church history. They also went with a group to the temple once a month. I don’t remember very many lectures from Mother and Dad, but I do remember the many things they did which were examples to me. Consequently, I developed strong feelings about some things. One of them was that I was absolutely going on a mission. Another was that I was absolutely going to be married in the temple. Those goals saved me from some mistakes later on.
Elementary School topI attended Garfield Elementary School on 15th East and a few blocks from 21st South. When I would get out of school and head for home, there were two boys, one about my age and one older, who would wait so they could twist my arm and bully me. I got so tired of that. I was lucky once in a while and had a big sister heading home at the same time. They would put a stop to it fast, but many times I was on my own. I told myself, I had to solve this problem. I realized that if I went the opposite direction from home, went down a block and then headed back, I could miss the trouble. It took me more time to get home though. I started doing that and it ended the problem. However, having been bullied as I was, I decided I was going to be the person that stood by to help anybody who was being put down, bullied or made fun of. I would be there for them if I ever had an opportunity. So I think the experience did me good. It’s made me want to help the “underdog,” ever since. In the winter, we were supposed to wear long, brown stockings. We sure hated them. When we got to school, we felt strange and old-fashioned because not many of the other kids wore them. I didn’t like feeling like an odd ball. We all like to be accepted by the crowd. With my long, brown stockings, I gained my first experience with those kinds of feelings. One day, the school custodian helped me get home after I had broken my arm on the playgrounds. Some time later, he came and said that since he had helped me, I owed a debt to him. He asked me to help him empty all of the wastebaskets in the classrooms every day. I thought that was fine, I liked to help people. Then one day a friend said to me, she hadn’t thought I was the kind of person to be doing janitor work. Well, custodial work is honorable, but at the time my friend’s comment turned me off. So I told the custodian I was through and wouldn’t be helping him anymore. I was not athletic in school. When they chose teams, I wasn’t chosen until about the last. I did play certain kinds of ball though. One time I got hit in the eye with a bat. It didn’t hurt the eye, but it sure gave me a sore head for a while. I did excel in “milk caps” though. Back then, we used to get our milk in glass bottles. They were narrow at the top, and came with a cardboard cap about 1¼ inches in diameter on the top. When you wanted to get the milk out, you could pull a little tab and get the cap off. Boys would save and collect the milk caps. I got milk caps from many different dairies, and some very interesting ones. To play, someone would throw down a cap. Then another boy would throw one down and try to land on the other boy’s cap. Pretty soon there would be a lot of milk caps on the ground and one cap could land on three or four at once. That boy would get all the caps his cap landed on. I had a lot of fun playing with milk caps. We played marbles too, on the school grounds at lunchtime and recess. There were stone marbles made from agate we used to shoot with. If you hit other boys’ marbles out of the ring, you got to keep them. I liked playing marbles. I was sick quite a bit in grade school. I had pneumonia twice, broken bones and other ailments that kept me home from school. So, I got behind a bit. The principal told my mother she thought perhaps they ought to hold me back. But Mother refused, and I guess in the end it was the right choice. The big problem was that I had no motivation to study or do anything in my classes. I was just putting in my time. I loved to be home. If you had been sick and then came back to school, you always had to go see the school nurse. You would sit on a bench until it was your turn, then the nurse would put a stick in your mouth and you’d say, “aaaaaaaah.” If your throat was still sore, she would send you home. Well, if you sat on the bench and coughed a bit, when the nurse saw you she would ask, “Are you the one that’s been coughing?” “Yes.” “Well, I guess you better go home.” My attitude about school finally changed and I learned something about the importance and power of motivation. It’s a difficult thing to get people motivated. Sometimes it happens by chance. This is how it happened for me. When in the sixth grade, if you were one of the chosen ones, you got to be a traffic police. That meant you wore a white belt or band around your waist, with a strap over your shoulder, and a badge. You carried a red flag. Whenever kids were going or coming from school, the traffic police would go out to the road and stand, one on each side. When it was time for kids to cross the street, you would step into the street holding the flag out to stop cars. I wanted to be one of those traffic police—that was prestige! When they announced who the traffic police would be for the next year, my name wasn’t on the list. I felt so bad. But I had the gumption to go to the principal and tell her I wanted to be a traffic police. She said to me, “Now Richard, I’m looking here at your record. How are you doing in school?” Well, I wasn’t doing very well. Back then you didn’t get an A, B, or C, for grades. You got S for satisfactory and NS for not satisfactory, and I had a lot of NS’s. The principal said, “We can’t let someone who doesn’t apply himself in school have a leadership position. But if you will settle down and get to work, I’ll find something for you to do.” So I settled down and got to work. Some time later, the principal called me in and said, “You’re doing a lot better in school. I want you to head the color guard, and put the flag up and take it down every day before and after school.” She chose two others boys to help me. The three of us would go out every day with the drum and bugle corps as the flag was put up or taken down. We were the ones who folded and retired the flag. Everyone in school would stand, put their hand over their heart, or appropriately salute the flag. I felt really good about that assignment. I began to like school and liked being a good student. I continued to try harder each year thereafter, until in high school, I reached straight A grades during my junior year. I learned what motivation can do. That principal in grade school, bless her heart, started me on the right path.
Middle School Years topBy the time I began junior high school, we had moved to a new house on 22nd East. It was a two story house with white painted horizontal wood siding. There was a nice front porch and entry. As you entered the house, to the right was the front room, and to the left was the dining room. Beyond that was a kitchen, the back door, and a half bath. Upstairs were four bedrooms and a bathroom. In the basement was a game room, an auxiliary kitchen for canning, a small sewing room for Mother, and another bathroom. We had a nice yard at our new home. At the property line of our backyard, there was a rock barbecue and patio surrounded by lawn and gardens. We often had supper there together and sometimes invited friends over. We had a double garage next to the house. The car was parked on one side, and on the other Dad had tools and things. I had a little shop set up there. I added more tools as time went on. I did projects there, and that’s where I built my rabbit pens. As I related earlier, I had gotten motivated to do well in my classes. I recall a couple noteworthy experiences during this time. In one class we were given the assignment to make a Utah notebook. I spent considerable time in finding picture postcards and other information to make a pretty good historical Utah notebook. I worked hard and got a good grade on it. So, even though I might not have been able to remember all the questions on a test, I found I had a talent for this type of assignment. Another class I had was Latin. I decided I might like to be a doctor when I grew up, and many medical terms come from Latin. So I chose to study Latin. I couldn’t always remember the language well, but we also got some assignments. One assignment was to do a Latin class project duplicating something that might be found in old Italy. I decided to make a beeswax tablet like they used to write on. They would etch words in the beeswax, and then it could be smoothed out in order to be written on again. In that way messages were sent to other people. I made wood styluses to write with. I got a board, fixed the edges, melted beeswax and poured it on. I had quite an impressive project. I got a good grade on that also. I remember a lesson I learned from my art teacher in middle school. She was quite a talented artist, although I didn’t realize it at the time. She did some beautiful artwork that was hung in one of the chapels, and later put in a temple. One day, I was whistling or humming a tune from one of the popular songs of the day as I worked. It wasn’t really an appropriate type of song. The teacher didn’t like it and she said to me, “Richard, you’re too good to be whistling that kind of a tune.” I learned a lesson from her that I’ve thought about often since. I realized I needed to think more carefully about some of the things I did. I had the opportunity once, to give a talk in an assembly at school. It was a patriotic program. That was a notable event in my middle school years. We also had school elections and school officers. One of my friends ran for office and I got involved in helping with the campaign. During my middle school years, I heard many boys using bad language. It seemed like I was awfully different from them. At one point, I decided I wanted to be like the rest of the boys. I started using some of the same inappropriate language in my conversation. It went on for about a month, until I got so disgusted with myself and so disliked the person I sounded like. I told myself I didn’t want this any more. I cut it out and never used language like that again. About my last year in junior high school, a Dr. Archibald taught a couple special classes. It was rumored that the students who were assigned to his homeroom were the talented students. I was assigned to be in his homeroom. I don’t know if the rumor was correct, but it gave me the feeling that if I just tried, I could excel. So I continued to try my best in school, and the more I tried, the better I did. One time, I got an inexpensive baby Brownie camera that I took photographs with. I learned how to develop the film in our downstairs basement bathroom, where I set up a photo lab. I didn’t do a professional job, but I learned quite a bit. I enjoyed taking pictures and developing them myself. A few of my friends and I liked making sling shots. We would find a branch with a fork it, cut it, and attach a big rubber band cut from an old inner tube. We got pretty good at shooting rocks with our sling shots. I also enjoyed bow and arrow and target practice with my BB gun. I liked bike riding, too. If I remember correctly, my folks paid for half of a new bike and I paid for the other half. I got it for Christmas one year. I learned to take the whole bike apart, paint it, and reassemble it. When I began working for Grandpa at Southeast Furniture, I would ride my bike down 21st South to Sugar House to work. On the way home, I would often find a bus going the same direction and try to race it. If the bus had enough stops, I could keep ahead of it. An experience that touched me for good during this time in my life was when a group of us children were invited to the tabernacle to sing in a pageant. I didn’t really have a good singing voice, but somebody thought they’d like to have me go sing. So I went with some children from our ward. When there, we sat to the side of the stage behind a curtain. I never saw what was going on the stage. I just sat in my seat and sang. One of the songs we sang was “I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, over mountain or plain or sea. I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord. I’ll be what you want me to be.” As I sung this, a wonderful thing happened in my mind and heart. That pledge became a part of me for the rest of my life; “I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord.” It was amazing that although I couldn’t see the speakers or what was going on, I was greatly impacted by the song we sang. As a boy, I had assignments from time to time to give talks in church. I had terrible fear of doing that. Daddy would write the talks and try to help me memorize them. Finally, I decided I’d like to try writing my own, and eventually I gave talks without writing them out, but by using outlines. Later in my life, I have experienced joy in giving talks and teaching the gospel rather than fear. The things that we learn, and the progress we make in our lives through opportunities the Church gives us, are a wonderful blessing. It makes me think of the promise that if we follow the Savior, the things which are weaknesses in us will instead become strengths. I still remember some of the things Dad had me memorize, after all these years. The things I learned as a boy are of remarkable value to me, because they have touched my thinking for all of these years. Two of the poems I memorized as a boy are as follows: To every man there openeth a highway and a low. And every man decideth which way his soul shall go. The high man climbs the highway, and the low man gropes the low. And in between on the misty flats, the rest drift to and fro. But, to every man there openeth a highway and a low. Every man decideth which way his soul shall go. Isn’t it strange that princes and kings, and clowns that caper in sawdust rings, And just plain folks like you and me are builders for eternity. To each is given a bag of tools, a shapeless mass, and a book of rules, And each must build ere life has flown, a stumbling block or a stepping stone. During this period of my life, I became a deacon and eventually a teacher and a priest. I was president of the deacons’ and teachers’ quorums. I had experiences in church meetings that greatly inspired me. We had a good ward choir, and some excellent singers would sing duets and such from time to time. I was also touched by the talks, especially once when a returned missionary told in a very effective way, the story of Joseph Smith’s first vision. I gained a testimony that it was true as I sat there and listened to him. Then the next time I heard it told, I was moved in the same way. I had very little knowledge then, and I could hardly tell you how I knew it was true. As the years went by and I gained more knowledge, I found that the witness of the Holy Ghost could be trusted. Many people join the Church simply because of the wonderful testimony that comes through the Holy Ghost when being taught the gospel. There was a family in our ward named the Neeleys. The husband got sick and in time passed away. About that time, Sister Neeley had a baby boy. One day when I was at church she said, “Richard, we have watched you and we want to name our little boy, Richard, after you. I hope you won’t ever do anything that would make us feel otherwise.” I was glad they wanted him to be like me. I’m afraid sometimes I let them down, which gives me grief. However, this event made me try harder, so they wouldn’t feel sorry for their choice. About this time, Hitler came to power and World War II had began with bombings in England. One Sunday morning as we came out of church, word came that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. The United States was then in the war. There was a family named the Bernsteins living on 21st East. They had a son and daughter a few years older than me. They were both outstanding students at East High and very much admired by those of us who were younger. The son got into the Air Force, and one day we learned that he had been shot down. Everyone was very sad, and especially we could see sorrow in the face of his dear mother. She seemed to never smile after that. I was active in Boy Scouts. I was especially interested in first aid, and I studied it quite a bit. In our patrol, I was the person who carried the first aid kit. I progressed from time to time with merit badges and rank advancements. I would go to the scoutmaster’s home after school. His wife was there, and she would let us boys go into the basement, one at a time, and do weight lifting. Of course, as you exercise you get a little stronger and you increase the size of the weights. I wasn’t really a muscular kid. But the amazing thing is when I did weight lifting everyday, I had such vitality. I just felt so good. It was helping me be healthier and I could recognize that in the way I felt. My best friend during my middle school years, was Oliver Richards Jr. When we got into high school we continued to be friends. Oliver and his father, and my dad and I went deer hunting together a few times.
Chores topIn our house on 22nd East, there was a furnace which burned little, fine pieces of coal. The coal was dumped into a cement bin with sloping walls, located under the driveway, against the house. Then, a special mechanism picked up the coal and put it into the furnace automatically. At the end of the day we had to take the clinkers out of the furnace. I helped Dad with that. Sometimes we had to open up a manhole cover, and push down the coal that was stuck on the sides, so it would go into the furnace. One time as I was doing that, I dropped the cover on my toe. Boy, did I have a sore toe! I got some advice to put my sore toe in cool water. I got mixed up, and put it in warm water instead. That helped swell the toenail right up and off. To this day, I still have a problem with that toenail. Galvanized ducts went from the furnace to all the rooms of our house. It was very well heated. One day, I had some very wet shoes, I thought if I put them on the main heat duct coming out of the furnace, it would dry them. When I came back to get them, they had turned crisp through the sole area. They had gotten too hot, and I ruined my shoes instead of drying them. We had as modern a washing set up as you could get at the time. There was a washing machine that would agitate the laundry similar to machines today. But when it was through, you had to put the laundry through a wringer. The wringer consisted of two rubber rollers that fit tightly together. You would take the wet laundry, one piece at a time, and put it through the wringer. This squeezed the water out and then the item would fall into a rinse tub. You would stir everything around a bit. Then everything was put through the wringer again, and this time the laundry fell into a basket. Finally everything was hung on the clothesline outside to dry. As I got older, I would wash my own clothes. I got pretty good at using the wringer washer. We also used a mangle iron. This was a machine with a padded roller that turned and pressed down against a hot metal plate. You could iron sheets, shirts and just about anything. I would sometimes iron the family’s washed and dried clothing. I got pretty good at that, too. I tried my best to never leave my room in a mess. I was anxious to have things in order. I made my bed and kept my clothes put away. Dad did the gardening, but it was my job to mow the lawns and edge them. It was also my job to keep the hoses coiled and neatly arranged.
Holidays topOne year while living on Garfield Avenue, I wanted some skis for Christmas, and I told my parents so. I had a room in the basement, and one day I found a pair of old wooden skis behind the furnace. It turned out, that was my Christmas present, the polished up old skis. The skis were abandoned ones that had once belonged to my uncle. They were the old type of skis with a slot where a strap would go through. Your foot went through the strap. I found it difficult to ski with these old style skis. Years later I got new skis and ski boots and they worked much better. My parents didn’t have a lot of money early on, but they did the best they could. Mother told me I could go skiing if I was careful where I went. I told her I knew the best place. There was a little creek that went through a ravine with slopes on either side. I told my Mother where I wanted to go to ski. I had tried sledding in this same location before. Mother said, “Don’t you go skiing over there—you could get hurt!” I thought to myself, “What does Mother know about that?” Kids were all over there, sledding and skiing, so I decided I was going over there anyhow. I skied down one side, walked across the creek, and started up the other side. Suddenly I slipped, and as I fell, I slid down towards the creek. The worst pain hit the upper part of my leg. There was a broken bottle or can lid under the snow. I got a cut of about two inches or more right through my pants and skin, and there was blood on my leg. I turned around and went straight home. When Mother saw me, she asked what happened. I told her, “I didn’t do what you told me. I went skiing and I got hurt.” She called our family doctor, and he came over to our home. He laid me on the bed and without anything to deaden the pain, he took something like a bent needle and sewed me up. Afterwards he put a bandage on my leg. I got over it, but I still have a scar on my leg. I learned I ought to pay a lot more attention to what my mother and father tell me. Christmas time was quite notable. We always had a tree with lots of lights on it. We would open presents on Christmas morning. One Christmas I had told Mother and Dad that I wanted a flashlight. My heart was set on getting one. When Christmas morning came, I got some warm winter boots, gloves, and such, but no flashlight. I began to bawl and Mother suggested that I look in the toe of the new boots. I reached in and there was the flashlight! So that stopped those tears on Christmas morning. On Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving Day, we would always go to Grandma and Grandpa Sorenson’s home. It was a wonderful event where all the relatives meet. There was plenty of room to set up tables for a scrumptious dinner. I especially looked forward to these events, because Grandpa and Grandma had more blocks than I had at home. Wow! Could I build things with them! The more blocks I had, the more imagination I had for building things. They also had about three times as many little metal soldiers as I had. I loved playing with the soldiers and building blocks there.
Jobs topI would sometimes tend children for families in my ward. There was one little boy in particular that I often tended. I was able to earn some money this way. Our next door neighbor had a relative who lived in Bountiful. Back then Bountiful was just farms, orchards, and a few scattered farmhouses. He needed young people to come and help pick the fruit in his orchard. He would come very early in the morning and pick us up at my neighbor’s house. We picked fruit all day, and then he would haul us back. I was usually one of the ones who picked the most, because I spent less time talking and messing around. I remember there was a reservoir where we would swim at lunchtime, and there were salamanders in the reservoir. About the time I had completed requirements for a star scout, something else came along. School let out for the year, and I was looking forward to summer scout camp and all of the other activities, which I really enjoyed. My folks told me that Grandpa wanted me to come and work for him at Southeast Furniture. I understood it was something I was going to do, whether I wanted to or not. I began working in what was called the “will call” department. Whenever somebody bought an item that they wanted to take with them, they would ring a bell and I would find the ticket. Then I would look through the warehouses to find the lamp, stool, night stand, or even mattresses that were purchased. I tied large items on people’s cars for them. Often it was busy, and other times I had time on my hands. In addition, I unpacked and polished furniture. Frequently I worked next to a man who refinished any damaged furniture that came in. I would whistle church songs while I worked, and he would tease me a little about it. I didn’t know, at the time, whether he was in the Church of not. Later on, when I was older and working at La Rie’s, one day that man came into the store and asked where I was. I hadn’t seen him for a long time. He told me, “I came in to tell you, I’ve got a son going on a mission.” I was glad I hadn’t disappointed him by something I did or said, when working with him at Southeast Furniture. One spring before school let out, my next door neighbor hired me to work for him. His name was Jay Eldridge and he owned a furniture store. So I worked for him that summer. During the war, business at Southeast Furniture dropped. With all of Grandpa’s sons working at the store, there wasn’t enough money for everybody. He bought dairy farms for his two younger sons. In the summer, on a couple occasions, I went out to help my Uncle Gordon with the dairy cows. That was an interesting experience. Another summer when the war was on, I got a job with a defense company. They built sturdy, waterproof boxes to ship equipment to the troops overseas. I was part of a box crew that handled the boxes. The next summer, I had a job with Fulton’s Market which was a wholesale fish and chicken market. They brought in chickens from farms, butchered them, and got them ready to send to grocery stores and restaurants. I was the one that drove the truck and made deliveries. They also did some retail business. A man and his grown son got orders ready and also did selling at the front counter. I found in that experience what one often finds in the work-a-day world, men with very vulgar language and minds. I found it really obnoxious to have to listen to the things that went on when I was around them. I was working for Fulton’s Market doing deliveries on the day the war ended. When the announcement came that there had been an armistice, businesses closed all over Salt Lake City. Everyone went home and there was a day of rejoicing.
High School Years topLiving where we did, we had the choice of which high school to go to. My two sisters who were older chose to go to East High. When it came my turn, I thought East High had too many rich people attending, and I preferred the more common people. So I chose to go to South High. My younger sister chose to do the same. It’s a building still standing on State Street in Salt Lake City, although for many years it hasn’t been used as a high school. We rode the city bus to get to school. In that day there were hardly any students that drove cars to high school. You could see a few old rattle traps outside the back where the auto shop was. My junior year in high school, I decided I wanted to get straight A’s. I tried different things until I found out what helped me get the best grades and was most effective towards my goal. In most classes we had a text book. Usually the teacher would lecture on a subject then assign us to go home and read the text book chapter on the subject. We knew day by day what that reading assignment was going to be. I started reading the assigned chapter the day ahead; picked up what I could and wrote down the questions I had. Then when I went through the lecture if that didn’t answer my questions, I went up to see the teacher right after class. When I was through, I had all of the answers that I needed. I also decided that when I went home form school, before I played basketball, did chores, or anything else, I was going to do my lessons first. They weren’t that big or long usually. A lot of students would put their assignments off and come back without them done. Having it done and done well made a big difference in my grades. Consequently, I reached my goal of getting straight A’s in my junior year. Because of the war going on, there was a very prominent reserve officer training corps program in every high school. Then it was referred to as R.O.T.C. Every boy could choose whether to take R.O.T.C. or athletics. About half chose R.O.T.C. The man who was in charge of the program was a regular sergeant in the army named Sergeant Redmond. He was rather stern, and I was always afraid of him. I hardly ever remember a smile on his face. Discipline was very evident, and we were all expected to be completely obedient and dedicated to what we were learning. I suppose, because I had gotten good grades in my junior year, when I came to check out my uniform at the beginning of my senior year, Sergeant Redmond asked me to go to the end of the line after I got my uniform. That made me nervous. I had no idea what he was going to say. After the other students had gone, He said, “Richard, if you want to, you could become the commander of the officer’s saber drill team during your senior year. That meant becoming the commanding officer as far as the R.O.T.C. student organization was concerned. That was quite an eye opener for me. I think he must have talked to a few others in a similar way. Each day we became more anxious to find out what was going to happen. Finally, on the bulletin board was posted a list of sixteen cadets who had received the rank of 2nd lieutenant. I was on that list. A week or two later, on the board was another list of eight 2nd lieutenants being advanced to 1st lieutenant. Soon another list was on the board naming four 1st lieutenants being advanced to captain. My name was on those lists, too. We knew that the next announcement was going to be who would receive the rank of lieutenant colonel which commanded all of the R.O.T.C., and major, which was second in command. We continued on with drills, testing, and so on. The day came for the expected announcement, and it was posted on the bulletin board. Another fellow in the group of four captains became lieutenant colonel and commanded the drill team. I became major and second in command. So the choice of officers for the year had been completed. One thing that happened almost immediately is the principal, vice-principal, and Sergeant Redmond arranged that the lieutenant colonel and major be freed from whatever class was necessary, in order to be free for the two periods of R.O.T.C. We were given full credit for the missed classes. Years later, after I had completed high school and college, and was married with little children, a man came into Southeast Furniture one day when my dad was working. It was Sergeant Redmond. Dad happened to be his salesman and they got talking about the fact that I had been one of his students. He said, “Tell Richard that since he was there at South High School, I investigated and joined the Church.” That was quite interesting to me and I was happy about that. At the beginning of my senior year in high school, I met a girl that lived in the Sugar House area. I got to like her a lot, and she liked me. We would go to dances and places together. She had the lead in the school play which was a special thing for her. My friend was a Baptist and we would often get on the subject of religion. She told me that I, being a Mormon, had been terribly deceived. She said there were many things Mormon’s believed that weren’t in the Bible and weren’t correct. Some of those things she outlined. This was very challenging to all the things that I had been taught. So, I became most interested in reading the scriptures. I had done very little reading of them before. I was especially interested in studying the New Testament to find answers to the question of what the original church did believe, in contrast to what she was telling me and what I had been taught. I went with her often to her church, and took her to our church sometimes. I began an intense investigation of all different churches. I was somewhat limited by time and the transportation I could muster. I visited several different churches in Salt Lake including the Catholic Church masses. I got the anti-Mormon literature and began to study intently. I got very familiar with all the anti-Mormon claims. When I went with my friend to her services, there was always a talk centered on Christ that ended with an altar call. Everyone who had not accepted Christ as their personal Savior was invited to come up to the altar. If they did, those in attendance believed that they had been saved. I wondered why it was that a person like myself who had gone to church often, had been baptized, and had completely accepted Christ as the Savior, why that wouldn’t do. It had to be there at the Baptist Church, or almost any other Protestant Church to count, but not if it was in the Mormon Church. That was something that rather amazed me. Having my faith challenged, and having heard all the criticisms of our doctrine, I was highly motivated to begin a quest to find the answers for myself. It began there and then. All the rest of my life, I have had a great interest in doing what is best described by Peter (1 Peter 3:15) where he said, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” So I hungered and thirsted for the answers, and I found all of them. I examined every one of their claims against what the Bible said. To name a few: They claimed that God had no body, and that he was something indescribable as a spirit. My friend and her group believed that the Savior and Father were all one and the same, some kind of essence which manifested itself as the Savior on Earth at one time. I marveled that when she would offer a blessing at a meal, she would pray to the Father and then she would talk to the Son as if they were one and the same. But I found that in the Bible, God the Eternal Father and his beloved Son were separate. The Father had a glorified body, and the Son after he had resurrected and finished his earthly mission had a body like unto his father. There was much said in their meetings about being saved by grace. One scripture was quoted in particular, “by grace are ye saved through faith. And that”—meaning that faith—”is not of yourself, but is a gift of God.” I didn’t understand this very well at first. I asked my good bishop, but he couldn’t explain it. I asked my father, and he couldn’t explain it. This was the only doctrine that I didn’t find an answer for immediately. But I have since found the answer. I found that the Book of Mormon teaches that through the grace of Christ, we are given salvation, something that we have no ability to do for ourselves. We can’t forgive ourselves. We can’t bring about our own resurrection, to name a few gifts. The Savior will not give the gracious gift of salvation to those who do not repent and follow him. That became very clear to me as I read the New Testament. There was much said about what a blasphemous doctrine it was that we could become like God. Yet as I studied, I found that it was taught in the New Testament. When I studied the first century church, I learned they taught and believed the same things the Mormon Church does on this doctrine, and on many other doctrines unique to our church. I found that the Greek Orthodox Church, the early Catholic Church, and today even the eastern Catholic Church, all still believe that man’s ultimate destiny is to become like the Father. I was also told that Joseph Smith was quite a scoundrel. In my quest, I have found well over a hundred different firsthand statements by people who knew Joseph Smith very intimately. All of them verify that he was prophetic in his ability to foresee the future, and that he was a virtuous and good man, and indeed a prophet of God. My friend said that if there was to be another book of scripture, the Bible would have said something about it. If there was to be an apostasy as we claimed, and a restoration in the latter days, the Bible would say something about it. Well, I found out, contrary to what they were claiming, the Bible said a lot about it. There are a number of scriptures that speak about an apostasy, the restoration in the latter days, and the coming forth of additional scriptures. There’s much more, but I’ll leave it with that. In consequence of this quest and my study, I became so converted that when it came time to go on a mission, I was really anxious to go. When I invited my friend to go to a church meeting with me, particularly a sacrament meeting, I was anxious that it had some really inspiring talks given. I hoped for talks that would center around Christ and his mission, which would appeal to her. Unfortunately, the speakers often got sidetracked on other subjects. Not that they aren’t important. Certainly the pioneers, the prophet Joseph Smith, and Brigham Young were important, and so on. But when the main talk left out the Savior, it did not impress her. I began to be taught by the Holy Spirit to under-stand what was right and what was wrong in many circumstances. At that time, I realized that something major had to be done in order to not get sidetracked with all of the side issues, but keep Christ in the forefront of our talks and lessons. It’s easy to do, no matter what the subject. I’ve noticed over the years how the brethren have emphasized that. They added to the cover of the Book of Mormon the words, “Another Witness of Jesus Christ.” They’ve directed that every sacrament meeting should have its focal point in the talks as well as the sacrament, the Savior and his mission. Through the example of my parents and teachings I had received, I had a determination that nothing would stand in my way of going on a mission and a temple marriage. Because of that, I decided I was going to stop going with this friend. I could see that she was never going to join the Church. I made a couple other resolves because of my own experiences and that of many friends. I realized we should have listened more to the wisdom of our church leaders who counseled young people to postpone dating to a later age. They also counseled us against steady dating, which was a prominent practice back then. The brethren spoke against doing so until we were of such an age that we were ready to marry, could support a wife and children, and so on. I determined that hereafter, I wouldn’t spend time dating someone who I would never be able to marry in the temple, and have the kind of life I wanted. I decided that until I had gone through college and returned from a mission, I would take out a different person on each date. When it came time for high school graduation, I was called in with a few others to see Miss Dyer, the assistant principal. She wanted us to all sit down in a classroom and write a patriotic talk, and then they would chose some of us to give the valedictorian speeches at graduation. After we turned in our essays, and waited a while, the answer came and ten were chosen. I was one of the ten. These were to be short talks as you might imagine. Speaking at graduation was an interesting experience. About this time, the officers of the R.O.T.C. decided to have a year end party. I was to organize it. We set the date and time, and made assignments. The officers were responsible for all the food, and were to bring a date. It was planned for a particular evening at Fairmont Park in Sugar House. When the day came for the party, we got there early to set up tables, put the paper plates out, the drinks on ice, etc. We had different kinds of soda pop, and there was never any thought of serving beer or anything else of like nature. Just as the cadets and their dates started arriving, to my great amazement, the assistant principle and the dean of women came walking briskly down the lane. They walked immediately to the tables and looked to see what our drinks were. As soon as they saw it was all soda pop and not any beer, they turned around and walked over to a couple of us. The assistant principal said, “Richard, I should have known that with you in charge, we didn’t have anything to worry about. Have a good time, and good night,” and away they went. It pleased me that she would think of me in that way. My sister, Bonnie, was a year behind me in high school. She had a great interest and talent in literature and poetry. She and a friend were editors of a South High periodical. Towards the end of her senior year, there was a big dance planned. She came to me and said her friend never got asked out, and hadn’t been invited to this dance. She asked if I would take her. I tried to talk her out of it. I was in college then and I didn’t know her friend. I told her I really didn’t want to do it. Well, Bonnie prevailed. She wanted her friend to have one happy dating experience during her high school days. I finally told her I would do it. Bonnie and her date, and Bonnie’s friend and I went to the dance. I honestly did the best I could to show her a good time. To me, it wasn’t really an exciting evening, but I did my best to be kind to her and see that she traded some dances, and so on. I’ve thought since, that of all the times I’d thought of myself when I made a date or went to a dance, that this was probably the only unselfish thing I had ever done in this regard. The best event of my high school experience actually occurred after I had left and went back to help my sister, Bonnie, make her friend happy. Doing something unselfish for someone else brought continuing joy into my life. I learned that a lot of things which eventually bring us joy, at the time require sacrifice. On the other hand, things that give us quick gratification often leave us empty and with regret later on.
The University topWhen I attended the University of Utah, we were still living on 22nd East. I would take a bus down 21st South and transfer to a city bus that ran past the university. At that time, most of the buildings were in the old horseshoe shaped campus. In time the university grew rapidly and expanded into the buildings and property that used to be Fort Douglas. I believe the most important things I learned at the university were learned going every day to one or more classes at the LDS Institute of Religion. At that time, there were only two teachers and we met in the old university chapel. One teacher was Brother Lowell Bennion who I took a special liking to. He was the one who started the first university Institute in the Church, under the direction of the brethren. Now it’s grown to more than 2000 university campuses over the country. Brother Bennion was a very pleasant person with a happy attitude, and a constant smile. When I left for my mission, he was a speaker at my farewell. The reason these Institute classes were so important is that they gave me an adult level of understanding of our religion, and answers to challenges which came hot and furious from some of the U. of U. professors. There were professors who delighted in trying to break the faith of Christians and Mormon students in particular. I majored in biology and took classes to fill premed requirements, and other classes required for graduation. I had special interest in sociology and philosophy, and so I took a number of those classes as electives. I encountered some especially bad professors in those fields who tried to shake the faith of students. In contrast, I had a great experience when I took a class called the Philosophy of Democracy from a professor named O. C. Tanner. I didn’t know too much about him at the time except that he operated a jewelry business. Years later his business became a huge and prosperous operation. O. C. Tanner was a doctor of philosophy, and he taught because he had great interest in helping students get through the maze instead of getting lost in it. I admired him for the fact that he left his growing business in order to teach “truth.” Later, I learned that he was an active LDS man, and the one who paid for many beautiful water fountains throughout the country, including the huge fountain in front of the Church Office Building in Salt Lake. The Philosophy of Democracy class went into the good and bad aspects of communism and socialism, and explored their differences. We also studied our American form of government, which is not a democracy as claimed today, but is better than that. It was established as a republic where God has given us certain unalienable rights that cannot be taken away from us by popular vote. Every principle that Dr. Tanner taught in relation to the various systems of government, I saw manifest through the many years of war and Cold War since then. I didn’t have any interest in the regular fraternities at the university, but I did join Lambda Delta Sigma. This was the name back then for the Church fraternity for men, and the Church sorority for women. We had weekly meetings in the Institute building. There were several socials throughout the year. We were able to associate with a lot of different people who had the same standards. It was at one of these socials where I met Marjorie, the most important event in my university experience. I also joined a service fraternity called the Intercollegiate Knights. The college women had a similar organization called the Spurs. Members wore white sweaters with red U. of U. emblems on them. We ushered for various activities including plays and other events held at the university. At the end of my college days, prior to graduating, the Intercollegiate Knights had their final party of the year. There was a social and dinner arranged for just the fellows. At each place setting there was a big cigar and a bottle of beer. It was very different from the socials we had at Lambda Delta Sigma. I enjoyed the socials and the company of the latter a lot more. Halfway through my university studies, I went on my mission. When I returned to the U. following my mission, I learned that a new, large facility had been built for the Institute of Religion. There were more teachers and classes and more room for social activities. The new building was very impressive. Today, Lambda Delta Sigma and the Institute has grown beyond anything we could have imagined. Back then, there were seven or eight girls’ chapters and three of four boys’ chapters. Over all of these was an inter chapter presidency. Our senior year I ran against my friend, DuWayne Schmidt, for interchapter president. He won. After another contest, I was elected president of the Beta men’s chapter. The friends I made at the university through Lambda Delta Sigma are as fine a people as I have ever known. With friends like them, one could never go wrong. I plead with you, my dear grandchildren, to choose such friends, and to be such a friend.
My Father, William Theophil Stucki topWhen Dad was growing up, the children had to take turns each year, half of them going to school and the other half working on the farm. Next year they would reverse places. So, when my father went away to college, he was much older than most of the students. Once registered, Dad went looking for work as he had to pay his own way to college. Everywhere he went, he got the same answer, “We don’t need any help.” It was discouraging. However, at one place, a bakery, he could see behind the counters how much cleaning up was needed. So he said to the owner, “Let me work three days for free, and see what I can do to help. If you don’t think you need me after that, I’ll go on my way.” The man agreed, and after the three days the place was so clean and orderly, he said, “I need you here permanently.” So Dad had a job. Occasionally, Dad found coins on the counter or on the floor. He always turned them in to the owner. One day the owner said, “I’ve been testing you by leaving money around to see how honest you are. You passed, and I want you to help me make sales and take the cash from now on.” Dad’s job lasted until he was through with college and planning to go to Salt Lake. His employer said, “I have a friend in business in Salt Lake, and I’m going to take you to meet him. I’m going to tell my friend he’s got to hire you.” His employer did as he said and the friend hired him. During college, Dad noticed how many young men wasted their money buying cigarettes. Dad said to himself, “If they can find money for cigarettes, I can find an equal amount of money to save, poor as I am.” So he did this for a long time, and called his savings his cigarette fund. He continued the savings after he married. In time it added up. I was told that during the depression, he used this money to pay off the balance due on their house. Significant in my early memory is that I adored my father. He played with me, paid attention to me, and made me feel like someone worthwhile. In fact, he was so glad he had a son who could carry on his family name. It seemed really important to him. As I got older and more serious things were a part of my thinking, I never wanted to let my father down. I wanted to pass on my posterity a good example and help him achieve his goal of having a righteous posterity. So that was on my mind at crossroads in my later years. When I was very young, Daddy went off to work when I was still in bed. Mother would usually call me and I would run to the front door and give him a hug and a kiss. If, as sometimes happened, she thought, “Richard is tired, I won’t call him this morning,” and Daddy got away before I woke up, she had a crying boy on her hands until noon. When Daddy would come home, I would rush to the door to greet him, and often he would play horse with me around the dining room table. I would be the rider and he was the horse. One time I got bucked off the “horse,” landed on my shoulder, and broke my collar bone. I had great respect for my father. I sometimes marvel at how close I felt to my father when he had no interest in sports—he had never played sports. All he had done as a boy was to work on a farm. We didn’t go to ball games together, although we did watch major boxing matches as I got older. At that time all of the men and their sons seemed to have great interest in that. I remember the “unbeatable” Joe Lewis. Mother and Dad wanted me to learn things about electrical wiring so I could do things like change a light switch, and carpentry, so I could build things. When my father was a boy he only learned about farming. He never had a chance to learn any of these types of things. He didn’t know how to change the car oil, but he could get on a horse and ride it up in the hills and herd cattle. He could irrigate, pick fruit, and prune the trees. He knew all about that. Dad often did special things, showing he cared about me. In my teens, when I was working summers, I used some of the money to start a rabbit business. I got booklets on rabbit raising. I built pens, bought does and bucks, and feed. I raised young rabbits just the right size for marketing, dressed them, and sold them to a Sugar House grocery store for their meat market. In time, I had expanded to twelve pens put together in duplex fashion, with free choice hay and grain feeders. They were located under Dad’s fruit trees behind the garage. I needed two more large pens to house the rabbits being grown for market. There wasn’t a place for any more pens unless I took out two of Dad’s cherished fruit trees. Dad graciously consented. I think I appreciated this much more as a man raising my own fruit trees. Another time I came home from work, with too little time to wash Dad’s car which was very dirty, and get ready for an important date. When I was ready and went for the car, Dad had washed it for me. As the children were getting older and to college and mission age, there was need for more money than we had in the family. Dad decided he was going to have to take a second job. He spent the whole day working for South East Furniture. At first it was six days a week. Then he finally got a day off and got some vacation time. He went to a bakery in Sugar House and got a job after hours. He worked late into the night cleaning baking pans and getting everything ready for the bakers when they arrived early the next morning. Well, his intention was good, but it was too much for him. He couldn’t handle that many long hours of hard work, and working that many days of the week. Mother realized that she needed to find a job too, and that’s when she started working. I learned a lesson during that time. I had worked and I saved quite a bit of money that I used for my rabbits and pens. When I finally got into high school and started dating, I’d buy corsages and spend whatever I needed for dating. One day Dad talked to me about that. He was not a critical person and he was always gentle and considerate. He said, “It seems to be a mistake you’re making to spend so much on these girls when you should be saving more of your money for the girl that someday is going to really count. You’re going to have to go to college, and you’re going to have to buy her a ring. You’re going to have to be able to make a down payment someday on a house. You ought to think a little more carefully at how freely you spend your money.” Then he told me, “I won’t even buy myself a package of gum because it’s so hard to try and pay the bills.” I remember that, and it was during the time when he was working at two jobs. I began to think more about the consequences of some of the things I was doing. I learned to appreciate more what Dad was sacrificing to help the family. When I was about to end my mission and return home, I got a letter from Dad. He wrote, “You’re coming home now. Your dear mother has worked her heart out” (at the time she was working) “to send you money for your mission. She loves you very much and I don’t want her to feel overlooked. So when you get off the train, I want you to run to her first, and give her a hug because she deserves it.” Dad was constantly thinking about the welfare of mother and he showed it. Dad’s main hobby was gardening. His whole life, he loved to garden . He planted a beautiful yard and flowers. Unfortunately, he liked it so well that when Mother got out there, she found it was hard to do any creative gardening. She determined she had better not interfere. She just left the gardening to him, and found expression with her other talents, which were many. One Sunday, I remember Dad helping some hitchhikers. We were on our way home from church at Parley’s ward on the corner of 21st South and 21st East. We started up 21st south, which was a main road then. It went down through Sugar House in one direction and clear up into Parley’s Canyon in the other, so quite a few hitchhikers could be seen along the road back then. There were a couple men standing there as we walked up the street. Dad stopped and asked them, “Have you men had something to eat yet today?” They said, “No, we haven’t.” He said, “Well, c’mon home and we’ll have some dinner for you.” Mother had been home fixing dinner and doing things. When we got home, she really didn’t mind helping them, but she was scared to death of strangers. She was afraid to have them come in the house. However, she agreed if they would just sit and eat on the porch. They didn’t mind doing that for a good meal. They ate, and dad talked to them and treated them well. They appreciated it very much. In fact, one of the men chose to write back a time or two and express his appreciation to Dad. Dad had a health problem I didn’t know anything about until sometime after his death, when Mother told me. Early in his life, he had some type of illness that left him with a rheumatic heart. He went to the doctor and the doctor told him that he was going to be limited in what he could do. But he wasn’t limited. He gardened, worked, and lived a full life. Later in his life, after he had retired from work, he went to see the doctor. The doctor told him, “Bill, you are remarkable because you had a full and normal life with a bad, rheumatic heart. We felt like that couldn’t happen with your condition.” He then asked, “Would you mind if I take your story when I go back to a medical conference, and refer to you as we discuss rheumatic heart problems?” Dad didn’t mind. I believe Dad felt he lived as well and as strong as he did, because he was dedicated to following the Word of Wisdom. He ate very healthy all of his life. This was a fulfillment, in my opinion, of the promises in the Word of Wisdom. Dad wished that he might have continued in school and gone into the field of preventive medicine. In that day, there were very few people who talked about maintaining good health with diet and exercise. There really wasn’t a medical school that taught it, but there were a few health lecturers who did. Along with those interests, Dad joined the Anti-Cigarette League. They sent him an apparatus to be used in lectures. A tape was put into a projector, and turned by hand from slide to slide. It showed how a person who used cigarettes tied himself up in a very difficult habit to break. It illustrated the various poisons besides nicotine found in tobacco. It showed the difference between a healthy kidney and one from a habitual smoker; the difference between a plum and a prune. It showed the difference in the lungs and heart of a smoker versus a nonsmoker. I used to go with Dad when he gave the lectures to youth. The highlight of the lecture was a demonstration with a white mouse. Dad would use the apparatus by putting a cigarette in the tube and lighting it. The smoke would go through the tube, and he would collect the nicotine. The nicotine would then be put it in an eye dropper and given to the unwilling mouse. By the end of the lecture, the mouse was dead. The desire to smoke is one thing I never had a problem with. I was cured of that by just watching those films and listening to the lectures. It was very convincing to me. One of the reasons I felt so close to Dad, and he had such an influence on me was because of my respect and love for him, for the kind of person he was and what he stood for. I never heard him once profane the name of God or the Savior. I never heard him swear. He never used vile language. He never cheated on his wife. He never told a dirty story. I never heard him tell a poor joke. He never brought any worldly magazines to the house. He was a man of solid goodness. He cared about others, and I saw that in him. He cared about his family. He was a dedicated, kind and faithful husband and father. I think about the great sacrifices my parents and fore bearers made for me, and the great example they set of complete faithfulness to the Savior and His teachings in their lives. Now it’s my turn. I would surely feel amiss to pass on to my posterity something less.
My Mother, Lucy Marie Sorenson Stucki topAs a young woman, Mother was a vivacious and talented person, and interested in all kinds of homemaking skills. She was a good cook and she did a lot of canning. She sewed, and knew a lot about fabric. She learned what she could in school, and she learned a lot from a good mother. She went to college, and that is where she met Dad. Mother’s knowledge was enhanced by having gone to college. When mother and Dad decided that they wanted to get married, they were from quite different family backgrounds. Mother’s parents didn’t really approve of her marrying my dad. Mother saw a lot of good in him, and wasn’t going to be told she couldn’t marry him. So they got married in spite of some objections. Well, I don’t think it was a mistake, though sometimes mistakes happen when we go against the advice of parents. Their first home was on the avenues in Salt Lake City, and that’s where they lived when their children were born. Mother also knew something about nutrition. Since I was often sick as a boy, she did everything she could to change my health for the better. She’d give me the best school lunch imaginable. She’d put in carrot and celery sticks, nuts, and some dried fruit or raisins. She would make whole wheat bread sandwiches, although they sort of crumbled and fell apart at times. The sandwiches would be made with nutritious things like cheese, lettuce leaves, and other good things. On occasion I’d have a cottage cheese sandwich. She just wanted to put the best things in my lunch. It would seem like too much to eat at times. I noticed some of the other boys would open their sacks and take out a stack of about six white bread sandwiches, each with jam on it, and that was their lunch. I came to appreciate my mother and all the extra things she did for me. Some threw the leftover part of their lunches in the garbage, but I could never do that. Mother had little sayings that she would quote on certain occasions. One I remember is “If you get a lemon, make lemonade.” She was such a positive thinker; she believed everything could be turned to our advantage. My, I’ve used that bit of advice often and it’s helped a lot. Around the time I got into junior high school, we moved from Garfield Avenue to a house in a better neighborhood, with bigger homes and larger yards. At that time, Mother and Dad began had an economic crunch because of the demands for clothes, school costs, college, and so on. Mother talked to Dad about it and said, “We’re going to have to do something. Why don’t we get out and start our own business?” “What kind of business would you think of?” Dad wondered. She said, “Why don’t we start a carpet store. That’s something there is great demand for. You could do well—you’re an excellent salesman and I’d help you. I could help with the books and advertising and things.” She encouraged him, and they talked and thought about a number of different options. But, Dad never felt like he was quite ready to do it. It seemed too risky to him. He worried about not having money to pay the bills. He was working at Southeast Furniture at the time, and he had a steady income. He could count on it, and he knew it would be there. His background was farming, so there were some things he didn’t feel comfortable with. Mother came from a business family, and it was second nature for her to think about doing this kind of thing. Although, in that era, women didn’t very often venture out as she had proposed for her and Dad. Since Dad just didn’t feel like he wanted to take that step, Mother decided she’d better look for a job. She applied at the ZCMI store in downtown Salt Lake City, which was the big store of that era. They were happy for someone with her background and offered her a job in the fabric department. She was to start work the next day, as I remember. She was told what the pay would be, and she weighed things out in her mind. When she got home, Mother said, “If I can’t earn more on my own than what I’m going to get paid working in a fabric department, then there’s something the matter with me!” So, she decided she was going to start her own business. But of course, this would take a bit of financing. From the time Southeast Furniture had opened, to this point in our family’s history, the furniture company had grown and prospered. Grandpa Sorenson, who was the owner (his sons had become involved in the business, too) had enough money to give each of his daughters a duplex or something similar. In my mother’s case, it was a duplex with a little house adjacent. It took too much time and care, and eventually they sold the duplex. With the money from the sale, Mother had enough to start her business. She opened a dress and gift shop called La Rie’s in Sugar House. The name was a blend of Mother’s name, Lucy Marie. Sugar House was the first suburban Salt Lake City shopping area. This was where Southeast Furniture was also located, and their slogan was, “Drive out and save!” La Rie’s was one of the very first, if not the first ladies dress shop started in suburban Salt Lake City. Actually, it didn’t start as a dress shop, but sold handmade gifts and infants things. In a matter of a few months, Mother realized there was a lot more to be made buying, stocking, and selling a complete line of things for women rather than just handmade items. The handmade things were nice, but she realized she couldn’t derive the income needed from them. She took a plunge, and began going to the merchandise market and buying goods. She had a couple of kind friends who gave her help and advice. She had courage enough to do it, and Dad supported her all the way. After the first store in Sugar House was prospering and she was able to save some money, Mother opened another little store in Murray. A third store opened in Rose Park, and finally another in Midvale. Dad would deliver the new merchandise. He’d put things in his car, carefully laid out, and drive them to the different shops. That’s what happened for a number of years until the business got bigger and they bought a delivery truck. There was a price though, to Mother’s business venture, and that was her time. She had a lion by the tail, and she was trying to do it alone. It took much more time and energy than a person had, and she needed more help. At times, Dad would be home alone, and lonesome in the evenings when mother had to stay and write orders or take care of business matters. She did get an accountant and hired an office girl. Then she hired a second office girl, and she had several sales girls. It still required her involvement in many ways including buying the right merchandise. There were rewards too. Eventually, Dad and Mother had the chance to take some wonderful trips to different parts of the world. They wouldn’t have been able to except for the extra financing that Mother was able to contribute. Mother could also do things to help her children. If we knew all the things she had done for children and grandchildren, with her ability to help finance things, it would be quite a story to tell. She kept it very quiet when she helped a sister’s husband, struggling to get through college and about ready to quit. She helped with some finances. Then there was a granddaughter who wanted so badly to be an artist, but never had a brush or paints. One day, Mother took her to an art store and told the clerk, “I want you to give her everything she needs for studying, practicing and working at oil painting.” She bought her everything she needed. This granddaughter later became a very famous artist. Mother did things for every one of us, but she never talked about it. Some of these things I’ve come to know about. I appreciate how she utilized her success to assist members of the family and many others. Mother’s sister, Faye needed a job when her husband passed away. So Mother hired her and put her in charge of the children, infants and maternity department at La Rie’s. She worked there with Mother for years. A lady I met on my mission; someone I knew very well and admired, Sister Bigney, was leaving Nova Scotia and moving to Utah with her husband and family. She needed a job. I asked Mother if, when Sister Bigney got here, she would give her a job, and Mother did. I was impressed with how Mother dealt with another situation. A young woman applied for a bookkeeping job at La Rie’s. She looked like just the type of person Mother would like to handle the books, so she hired her. After a little while, it became obvious that this young woman, who was not married, was expecting a baby. In those days, even when a woman was married and in the best of circumstances, when she got pregnant and started showing, her job ended. Back then, that’s the way it was. Mother sat down with the girl one day, and said, “I think there’s something you need to talk to me about.” The girl admitted that she was pregnant. She pled with Mother to not fire her and she didn’t. Mother told her that if she did her work, she had a job. The girl’s family had disowned her. When it came time for the baby to arrive, the girl needed some help with the bill. She had saved some money, but when the hospital found out she was an unwed mother, they told her she had to have someone to guarantee the bill in case she couldn’t pay it. Mother told the hospital to take care of the girl, and she would pay the bill if the girl couldn’t. As I recall, Mother was at the hospital with the girl when the baby arrived. The girl’s own mother wasn’t there. Some time later, the girl made some improvements in her circumstances, moved to a different job, and married a nice young man. One day, this young man came into the shop and wanted to see Mrs. Stucki. He told her, “I just wanted to come in and tell you how much I appreciated what you did to help my wife when she was in desperate need. Thank you for being her friend.” When Mother was actively working in her business and opening the various branch stores, she would hire good people. It didn’t concern her if they didn’t have training for the particular job, if she saw potential in them. She would work with them for a month or more, teaching them the job and how to serve customers. Some people that you might think would never be able to pick it up, became good, capable salespeople and store managers. Mother saw the best in people, unpolished though they were. I see a parallel with the way the Savior sees people. The development we gain from church service, assignments, and many other ways, helps us to become something we have potential for but wouldn’t otherwise achieve. One of the most notable of those circumstances was a lady in Rose Park. She became one of the most successful and capable store managers. Eventually she gained all of the skills that she was lacking when she started out. It has impressed me over the years since then, how the Lord does this with our lives. If we follow him, read about him, and utilize his teachings and example, then when our life has ended, we will have become trained and skilled in heavenly qualities. On occasion, when an employee would get irritated with Mother about something, and tell her off, Mother would just listen, and when it was over she wouldn’t say anything. She didn’t retaliate or fire the employee. Others who were present and noticed her kindness, were impressed and came to admire her for this. After many years, when the business was going to close and the employees heard of it, most of them said they would stay to the last day. She had some very dedicated people working for her because she had earned their respect. Mother had a special attachment to her grandchildren. There isn’t anyone I know who loved their grandchildren more. If she was working with a salesman and a daughter or daughter-in-law came in with some of her children, Mother would drop everything and ask the salesman to wait. She always gave the children a hug and talked to them. It was an amazing thing to see salesmen stand and wait, while she spent time with her grandchildren. She would find either a little treat or something the grandchild needed in the way of clothing, and give them special attention. The grandchildren always came first. It was a unique thing, in my mother’s day, for a woman to get into the merchandise markets. Mother was always a lady. Also, the salesmen knew she wouldn’t take a drink. Later on I became part of the company, as did my brother-in-law, Lynn Christensen. When we would go to the market, the salesmen wouldn’t even ask us. They knew from Mother’s standards, the standards we had. Mother had shown by her example, what we all stood for. Dad would often go with Mother to the markets, especially if it appeared she might be walking into a situation that may not be a wholesome one. Sometimes, when she left for an appointment, she would arrange to call Dad if she found she needed him with her. One time she went to the merchandise market at the Hotel Utah. As she was about to enter the salesman’s room where the merchandise was, she noticed the lights dimmed, a candle lit, and a bottle of champagne or wine on the table. She slipped back to the elevator, went to a phone and called my dad. She asked him if he could get there quickly. As soon as he got there, they both went up to the room. When the salesman saw she had brought her husband with her, he had a whole change of attitude. The lights went on, the candle went out, and the champagne went in the back room. Mother never violated the fidelity and goodness that would be expected of a Latter-day Saint woman. As Mother was engaged in this growing business, with most of the responsibility on her shoulders alone, one day she became so weary and tired from staying up late to get orders done that she just collapsed there in her office. Through this, we were alerted to the fact that the burden on her was more than we had realized. I was still in school then, but in due time when Lynn and I came to help, we were able to take much of the responsibility to lighten her load. There was an experience I had with Mother when I was seventeen. It was when she was working and would go to the merchandise markets in California, Chicago, or New York. The first time I went with her was when I was still in high school. I was out of school, so she invited me to go with her. She made a reservation for us at the LaSalle Hotel in Chicago. A check was sent and she got back a confirmation. She always had to make reservations early because so many people attended the markets that the hotels would fill up. We flew to Chicago and drove to the hotel by taxi. We went to the front desk, Mother gave her name and told them we had a reservation and wanted to check in. They told us they couldn’t find it. Mother told them, “That can’t be, because I sent my check and you sent me back a confirmation for a room with two beds.” They looked again but couldn’t find her reservation. In all the years, that never happened to her before or after. This time it was lost. Mother felt like they just had to make a place for us. But they told us they were completely filled up and didn’t have one room left. The sympathetic desk clerk told us she had a friend who owned some furnished apartments, and that she would probably have an empty one. She called her friend and made arrangements for us to stay there, so we did. In the middle of the night, we were awakened by lots of fire engines. They came across a bridge over a river and headed down the same street as we were on. We marveled at how many fire engines came one after the other. We wondered where the fire was. The next morning, the bold newspaper headlines told about how the LaSalle Hotel, where we were supposed to have stayed, had burned. Fifty-two people had died and two hundred were injured. This was one of quite a few times in my life, when the Lord spared me, and I am most grateful. When mother was in business with her first dress shop, she needed some stock room shelves. She bought me a saw and asked if I would come help her. I went out and helped her put the shelves up. I still have that saw and it’s my favorite one. I’ve had it all these years. I always think of my mother and our experiences together when I use that saw. My respect for Mother grew as I got older and appreciated all she did for people, and her gentle, kind and loving nature. One of the last years of her life was spent with Margie and me in Castle Valley. In all of the time that she was there, I can’t remember once when she complained. Sometimes, I’d cook dinner (I’m not very good at that), but it didn’t matter how poor it was or how late it came, she never had a word of complaint. I was busy working and wasn’t home all of the time. But, when I came home, I found if I spent 20 minutes or so with her, talking about my day and other things, she loved to sit there and listen. I enjoyed being able to talk to her and express myself without lectures or comments, just listening. I learned a lesson about being a good listener from her example.
My Grandparents topI never really knew my Grandma Stucki because she had passed away. Grandpa Stucki lived down in the Santa Clara area of Utah. He came up to Salt Lake City on rare occasions. I was very young and barely remember seeing him before he passed away. I have a photograph that shows he apparently went on a trip with my family once when I was young. I know my Grandpa Stucki very well though, because he wrote a journal that told much of his life’s experiences. I am so grateful for that. If I were to lose everything I had, and could only save a couple things, I’d grab my scriptures and John S. Stucki’s Journal. It means that much to me. I’m sorry that my grandmother hadn’t written anything. She would have had much of interest to tell from her perspective. My great grandparents left their families in Switzerland and eventually came across the plains with handcarts to Utah. I wish I had something from them, too. I remember more about my mother’s parents, my Grandpa and Grandma Sorenson. My first recollection of them is when we would go to their home for Thanksgiving and for Christmas Eve. They had wonderful dinners, and I had fun playing with the toys they had in a large basement room. They seemed to have quite a bit of money, because I remember they had a very nice, spacious house, and a big yard with a fish pond. It was on about 13th East, below the university. They started out their marriage quite humbly. Grandma told us that early on, when they had a young family, they lived above a store in an apartment. She would carry their water from ground level up all those the stairs, for washing, cooking, and laundry. Grandma also told about Grandpa wanting to get started in business, and selling Monarch ranges. These were the old-fashioned wood or coal cook stoves with a water tank on one end where you could heat water. He was very successful at it and sold stoves all over the state of Utah. As he traveled about in his car selling stoves, he would often come home with his car sold. Sometimes he would come home in someone’s old jalopy that he had sold his car to. Then he would buy himself a new car, and on the next trip he would sell it. He was quite a salesman. Grandma told about when he once drove home in a car that he had traded his for, and the car was in such a condition that he couldn’t figure out how to stop it. When he arrived home, he plowed into the garden before he got the car stopped. My Grandma Sorenson was a good cook and she always made the most delicious things. She was famous with her grandchildren for her sugar cookies. She used a special rolling pin and rolled them quite thin. The rolling pin made little ridges running the length of the cookie. We always looked forward to a visit to Grandma and a treat, often those sugar cookies. Grandpa seemed to have a special liking for a little rounded, flat, butterscotch candy. I hardly ever saw them anywhere else, but he always had a box of them on the top shelf of his closet. So when we went to visit, we got one of Grandpa’s special butterscotch candies. When Grandpa started Southeast Furniture, he had his son Horace, my dad, and my Uncle Harvey (Mother’s sister, Faye’s husband) who were all involved in the business. They did all the selling, the unpacking of furniture in the evenings after the store had closed, the deliveries, the cleaning of the store, etc. Little by little, it grew until it was a very large and successful establishment with many salesmen, delivery trucks and delivery men. My dad worked from the very beginning of Southeast Furniture until his retirement. Grandpa’s sons became part owners of the business and one time, early on, Grandpa offered my father and Uncle Harvey a chance to become part owners. For some reason, which I don’t know, they declined. They received commissions for their furniture sales as salesmen, but the sons got considerably more money as part owners. This made a difference between the income levels of the daughters’ families and the sons’ families. My uncles were charismatic and involved in the community affairs. Some of them used their extra income for other investments besides the furniture store, which proved to be a very wise thing in later years. In some cases, the money they earned was not for their best interests, from what I know. Grandpa was on the high council at one time in his stake. He did much, as did some of his sons, for the community and other people. Grandpa was always helping family members. Sometimes, my mother would be at the point where she was so pressed, she didn’t know how she was going to pay the bills. Grandpa would come and quietly say, “I just wanted to bring you a little money.” He did much to help my mother and father in that way as they tried to advance toward their goals. Many years later, Grandma Sorenson came to stay for a period of time in our home with me, Margie and our family. We had Grandma stay in our master bedroom where she had a fireplace, a view out the front window, and her own bathroom. Her room was just off the front entry, so company could easily visit. She paid us something for the help we were giving her, which we were grateful for and needed at the time. She was a delightful person to be around. She would eat dinner with the family, and we enjoyed the stories she would tell about her life. I tried to make a point of visiting with her every day after work.
My in-laws topI’d like to say a couple things about Margie’s mother and dad. When her mother took sick, her father faithfully cared for her, and loved her the rest her life. I know of some similar situations, where the husband left his wife when she contracted a serious disease. One of the most admirable things I’ve seen in my life, is how Arnold, Christ-like, gave himself for his wife. He made many sacrifices to give her what joy, comfort and help he could. I admire him so much for that. I also admire Myrtle, because even though she must have had blue and discouraging moments, she was always a lovely, happy and pleasant person. I never heard complaints from her. She stayed faithful to her principles, faithful to the Lord, and pleasant in her attitude, in spite of the devastating illness she faced. I love them both, as I love my own parents.
Castle Valley topAn Era of Sweeping Changes
Dad's journal of days in Castle Valley top
Some school bus driving experiencesThe other bus drivers and the man who was head of transportation were very congenial people and pleasant to be around and to work with. During the cold winter time I would have considerable trouble some mornings, when the temperatures had dropped low at night, getting the bus to start. There were some tricks I learned from the head of transportation, but finally after enough troubles, he got some kind of an engine heater put in the bus that I could plug in at night, which solved the problem. However, one morning I was having real trouble getting it started. I was about 15 min late on my run by the time I got the bus moving. I was instructed to always go up to the end of the valley and not to pick anybody up until I turned around and came down, so that I only stopped once at each of the stops after more of the kids had showed up at the bus stop. So as I proceeded along, I saw a little girl coming down the road. She wasn’t to the stop yet but I just continued on. When I got to the top and turned around and came back, the little girl was at the stop with her daddy, and was he mad. He really told me off for having left his little girl standing in that bitter cold with no gloves on her hands—her hands freezing. I just listened and realized there wasn’t much I could say at the moment, but how this all turned out would probably have more to do with what I did now than what he had said. He was a brother in the branch, and I didn’t want any bad feelings in the branch, so when I got to town and got thinking about it, some teachings of the Savior came to mind like “Bless them that curse you and do good to them...” I thought “I’m going to go buy her a pair of warm gloves, and I’m going to write a little note to her dad and explain the policy and tell him that “if I had known she was so cold, I would have stopped for her anyhow. I made a mistake. Please forgive me for that.” So when she got off the bus after school, she went home with gloves on her hands and my little note. It was the end of the problem permanently, and his friendship and mine continued to grow in the years ahead. When he suddenly passed away in the valley, the family wanted me to speak at his funeral, so sometimes such little things the Savior taught us can stop big problems, and it was pleasing to see how this all tuned out well. Every driver has had difficult students that would not follow the rules, wouldn’t keep in their seats, who throw things around the bus, and who hollered profanities and vile words back and forth. Mostly the kids were well behaved on the bus. It just took a couple of those other kind to create a problem. Well some of those kids didn’t like my effort to try and calm them down, and one day their parents showed at the superintendent’s office and said they wanted to get a new bus driver and get rid of me. He called me in a little later and told me I’m on probation. Well the next morning, a whole lot of parents from different families from the valley whose children rode the bus showed up at the superintendent’s office and said to him “What do we hear about you changing Richard. We don’t want our kids subject to vile talk on the bus. And we are very concerned about our kids going in a bus down that treacherous river road, especially in the winter time. Richard is very careful, very conscientious, and we trust him to get them to school safely. If you put somebody else in as driver that we don’t have confidence in, you’ll not have our kids riding the school bus to school any more.” Well, I got reinstated, and that was the end of that problem, but it was interesting. A while later after I continued to have trouble with a particular boy, I thought perhaps his parents don’t know what’s going on—perhaps if they did they would give me some support and expect him to behave himself on the bus. So I called his mother and began to explain. She said “Don’t you call me every time my boy does something wrong on the bus. That’s your problem, not mine.” Well, I could see good reason why that boy was hard to control. His parents didn’t care how he acted, and I didn’t get any support from them. Not everything was a problem.
One special little experience occurred. I started doing a school bus run down in Moab where I drove way out to the outskirts of town to pickup students and take them home after school. One day a little girl that had been getting on the bus, and seemed to have a sweet disposition, stopped a moment by me and said “Mr. Stucki, would you be my grandpa?” I said “Well sure. I would be delighted to be your grandpa.” And so every day when she got on the bus, she would take a moment and say “Good morning grandpa. I hope your day is going well” or something like that. And when she’d get off, she would reach over and give me a little hug and say “Goodbye grandpa. I hope you have a good afternoon.” That continued on as long as I was doing that run, and she rode my bus.
Ernie FaustWhen we first got to the valley, one of the earliest (people) that we found living there was a man by the name of Ernie Faust. He lived up the valley a ways, and we heard that he had tomatoes to sell, so we went up to buy tomatoes. He was in a wheelchair out in his garden trying to plant and harvest rows of tomatoes. He only had one leg, and as we got to know him better, we found out that he had been a rather famous cowboy riding steers and bucking horses in the rodeos. But one day, as he was going out the chute, the horse lunged against the side wall and smashed his leg so badly they could never get it to heal and eventually they amputated his leg. So under that condition, he was trying to make a go of it all on his own there in Castle Valley. He lived in a little root cellar with 6 or 8 steps down into very small cinder block room which had a roof on top covered with earth. As time went on we got to know him better. He was a member of the church. He got somebody to haul some poles and logs down from the mountains for him, and he started to build his house. He could get those poles up about three feet is all, and then from his wheelchair he couldn’t go any higher. So some of the branch men and young men had work projects to help him. They carried the poles and kept the log walls going up. Finally they did a roof, the roofing, and chinking in the cracks of the logs to keep the weather out. So before long he had a better place to stay; his own house made of logs from our mountains. In the Fall, we’d get loads of firewood, bring it to his place, and get the logs cut to length, split and stacked by his door. He had a big barrel stove that he could feed and keep warm in the winter time. Ernie began to have trouble with his lungs, emphysema. He had started smoking years before, and he just couldn’t seem to give it up, yet it was destroying his lungs. One day as I was sitting there talking to Ernie, he said “I had friends, if you can call them friends, who talked me into smoking. Look what they have done to me!” And he put his hands in a circle and said “If I could get a hold of those guys, I would choke them to death. Look what they have done to me.” He was constantly on oxygen, his lungs getting worse, largely from the effects of a long time of smoking. In time, he passed away and left his property to the church.
Mathew’s accidentIt was 1980 and a feeling of tranquility had settled around us on the farm. Mathew was in high school on the football team and working on the side at City Market. He made good pay checks, bought himself a car, and was able to drive it to football practices. Margie and I decided that we could leave for education week up in Provo. We arrived there and stayed over night. The next morning, August 20th, we went to the auditorium where there was going to be a keynote speaker. Just before the speaker began, one of those announcements we hear came over the loud speaker, but this time it said “Richard and Marjorie Stucki, if you are in the audience, please go to the telephone at the receptionist desk.” Our hearts were filled with a bit of horror as to what had happened. We took the phone and found out that Mathew on his way to football practice that very morning had a terrible accident. There was fresh asphalt that had been poured the day before, or so, at the bridge that went over a creek by the Tommy White ranch. With the proper moisture and temperature conditions, fresh asphalt can be slick, and it was. Mathew’s car slipped on it. His car went right against a big cement railing of the bridge, which cut his car in two and dropped Mathew on the pavement below. We learned that they had taken him to Saint Mary’s hospital in Grand Junction by ambulance. We left education week immediately, stopping a time or two on our way to phone and check on his condition, but nobody was willing to tell us much about it. To learn more, we had hours of driving until we got to the hospital. When we went into his room and saw him laying unconscious on a bed rotating from left-to-right, right-to-left, with pins in his head and weights hanging down to stretch his neck (where he had some broken vertebras). It was a terrible sight for us to see. He stayed unconscious for a number of days, slowly coming out, and going through the different stages that people with head injuries go through. The first night we got a motel and used the last money we had on hand anywhere to pay for a night’s lodging. We could see that we were going to be there with him for months to see that everything went well for him. There was no way that we could afford to rent a motel that long. I thought who could give us a little help in a strange location in a large place, where we don’t know any of the people? It came to mind to call the bishop of area right around the hospital. I did and explained our situation. I suggested there may be a widow who had a room to let out, a place where we could sleep, have a change of clothes, a shower, and fix a little something to eat. He said “I’ll check.” He called back pretty soon and said I found a place for you. There is only one condition. The lady of the place where you stay will NOT take any money for helping you. We found that this was a very lovely lady whose husband had quite a bit of property and was a sheep man. He loved to stay up on the sheep ranch. He would come down very seldom just to pay some bills and say hello. She had wished that he might have considered that this time of life she and he could have done some things together and taken some trips. They had grown children. Things weren’t going well with some of them. Again evidence that too much money is worse on children than a little too little. But she was trying to keep happy by giving service to others. She gave us a key, and we could come and go as we needed to. This couple had donated considerable land to the hospital to help build and expand the hospital facilities. Their house was right on the edge of the hospital parking, so we could walk from the house to the hospital very easily. Every morning, noon, and evening, she had a meal on the table for us. This very good lady had done the same thing for a number of other people through the years who found themselves in similar circumstances to us. Margie would be with Mathew through the week, when I had to carry on my bus driving, and then I would go over on the weekend. Sometimes we would both be together, or she would try to go back home for a few days. I would have to leave in time to get to my bus run Monday morning. We tried to stay with Mathew day and night for a while. We had car problems at times and couldn’t even drive back and forth, except Robyn let us use her car, which saved the day for us. Mathew had a tracheotomy so he couldn’t talk when he regained consciousness. He slowly learned to write on a little black board what he wanted to tell us. In time he got pretty capable of writing his messages. For a period of time, when he was going through those difficult stages, he would ask me every day to give him a blessing, and I did. We sometimes think that having one blessing is sufficient but we never turn down a request by someone who is comforted and sustained by additional blessings. Mathew was comforted very much by each blessing. We sometimes got interrupted when nurses would open the door to step in, but they would wait for the blessing to end. We were so long at the hospital that we got known by everybody, and they referred to us as the family that prayed together. There was a wonderful staff of doctors and nurses, including some very dedicated nuns. Our own doctor was a specialist in head injuries and very capable. We were very grateful we had someone of his background helping Mathew. Eventually the doctor removed Mathew’s trachea tube and closed the hole in his throat, enabling him to talk again. In time they wanted him to go to a rehabilitation facility. They felt that it was essential for him to make progress. He went, but he was unhappy from the beginning of that experience to the end. He wanted to get back to the farm. Consequently, we soon told the rehab staff “We know another month or so here seems like it would be helpful, and you feel it is necessary, but we would like him to come home.” Well, as soon as he got home, a miracle occurred in his progress. Just being with us in the farm setting where he was comfortable and able to get up and go and do things, he turned from almost a scarecrow to a very filled out happy and well person, where his faculties had all returned just about to normal. Our doctor was so pleased that he had one patient, Mathew, who had been left without handicap as so many with head injuries have to deal with handicaps all the rest of their lives. Mathew was very richly blessed. This experience reinforced our understanding that we are not spared trials. The rain descends on the just and the unjust as well as the sunshine, but Father in Heaven in his mercy, when we have been serving in the Saviors cause, brings about some remarkable things to see us through our trials. We had been blessed and Mathew had been blessed, very richly, by Father in Heaven as we endured this experience. When we finally got all the bills, the expense for Mathew’s accident was humungous, but because he working at City Market and was on their insurance plan, nearly every dollar was paid by the insurance leaving just a few dollars we had to pay. What a blessing! If that hadn’t been the case, we would have had to sell the farm to pay the bills, and we still wouldn’t have been able to pay all of that bill.
A terrible tragedyIt was September 21, 1979. Between bus runs, I had gone over to the orchards owned by our friends in Moab, where we had picked apples for them, and they had let us take all of the fallen apples we wanted. I had loaded boxes of fallen apples and put them in the pickup truck. Guy, Robyn’s husband, had gone to Moab to pay on a treadle sewing machine he was buying for Robyn. They didn’t have electric power yet, and so Robyn couldn’t sew with a regular electric machine and she wanted this treadle machine very badly. Guy wanted to surprise her with it. The plan was that Guy would drive the pickup truck home, as I would be drving the school bus home when it was time to take the student’s home from school. Then the next day which was Saturday, we would all get together and using our juice press would wash, cut, and juice all of the apples into gallons of delicious fresh apple juice. I got home and was working in the garden when a neighbor came by and told me that Guy, on the way home had been hit head-on by a large truck with a huge engine on a flat bed behind the truck and had been killed. Robyn had come down to our house to shower because she and Guy didn’t have plumbing yet. She was sitting with her month-old baby Levi in our front room. I told Robyn the terrible news. We were all in tears. She said “Dad, I need a blessing,” which I gave her. I built a coffin for Guy out of redwood and cedar boards which I tongue and grooved. We wrapped (Guy’s body) in a beautiful quilt that had been made by the sisters in our Salt Lake City ward and given to Margie when we left there.
We didn’t have our LDS chapel yet in Castle Valley and the Seventh Day academy there said that we could use their chapel and that their choir would sing for us at the funeral. They did. While we were preparing for the funeral, Marjorie said tearfully that she had been fasting and praying to have a confirmation that everything we believed in about eternal life and the resurrection was all true. I was impressed that I needed to fast and pray also that she might have a confirmation of the truth of those things. I was branch president and conducting the funeral, and I gave a talk. Looking down at Robyn and Marjorie, I could see great peace on their faces, and I knew that the confirmation that had been asked for and the peace that Marjorie sought had come to both of them. The chapel was filled with people from the branch and the seventh day academy. It was a long awaited opportunity for me to bear testimony to our Seventh Day friends of a restoration and more. Guy was buried in the little old cemetery that had been used years ago and was now in the center of the Castle Valley development.
Another trial for RobynRobyn and Guy had almost finished building their modest house up the valley from us. After Guy’s death, I went up with Robyn, and she showed me some things that still needed to be finished up, which I did for her. She came down with the baby, Levi, and stayed with us at our place. Their house had a lot of her things stored in it and all of the Guy’s things, including some valuable antiques and other (items) that meant a lot to Robyn were stored there.
One day we heard shouts of a fire, and we found out that the men who were putting in a well in the center of the valley were welding, and sparks had flown into the dry weeds starting a (brush) fire that spread rapidly up the valley. Everyone that was living in the valley and home at the time could see the seriousness of (the situation). The fire could burn a lot of homes if (it) spread. So with tractors, bulldozers, and other equipment, they tried to widen the roads to make barriers to contain the fire. However, the fire went on up the valley, and threatened Robyn’s house. In spite of our efforts to try and knock the flames out with shovels, it got to her house and burned it down. Robyn lost all of the things that she had stored in the house. This happened on August 5, 1980. Another tragedy to try us all. The most faithful often have serious trials, we have observed. Those who aren’t bitter but stand fast as disciples of Christ no matter their trials “are they unto whose hands the Father has given all things” we are told in D&C 76:50-70.
The bakery businessTime went by and we found we needed to increase our income to cover our needs. Marge had become known among family and friends for her excellent baking. She did breads and rolls of various kinds, cookies and muffins that I don’t think could be surpassed. She got the idea that if she baked more, and we packaged it at the farm, we could sell it in Moab. So I would leave early for my afternoon bus run (when I would go down to town to get the bus and the students), and I would take with me the baked goods that she had done that same morning and packaged and delivered them to small grocery stores and corner markets that were very happy to get them. Everyday they would sell what she had baked. It became very much in demand among those who knew that she was baking and knew where to buy her baking. She taught me how to do muffins and in time I did literally thousands of muffins as she baked the bread and the rolls. Because of the success we were having, we decided to open a small retail bake shop on the Main street in Moab, which we did, and business grew, and soon we expanded the operation both space wise, and we added sandwiches made on our own homemade buns, salads and desserts, and other things. We put in tables and chairs so customers could not only buy things but sit down and eat right there in our shop. We moved all of our bakery equipment from the farm to the new bakery on the main street in Moab. I would help Marjorie between my bus runs. She would be doing all of the baking in the back of the bake shop. We would open the doors for customers in time for lunch. About the time I would leave to take students home on the bus, we would close the shop. So we were open largely for lunches. We hired some good help—ladies that we knew—and our children when not in school earned money by helping us at the bakery. Considering our expenses Margie and I were only getting a modest income for all of our hard work. We tired of the bakery and asked ourselves if there wasn’t something that we could do that would be more lucrative with the same amount of time and hard work. Marjorie with her creative mind came up with an idea that seemed more promising: A bed & breakfast.
The Bed & BreakfastRobyn had purchased a two-story large old house a few blocks off the main street in Moab. She was renting it as apartments but it proved to have a number of problems for her. People would damage things, and it was hard to keep it rented during the winter season. Margie and I talked to Robyn and said “how about if we open a bed and breakfast in that house?” She said that’s just fine. If you would just pay me the money I would normally be getting for rent on those apartments, you can go ahead and do what you like. And so we began remodeling. We closed the business on Main Street and gave all of our time to preparing that large house for rental as a bed and breakfast. Before long we had a room ready and soon another room and pretty soon the whole house was finished and the rooms ready for rent. The income was much better than the income we had from the bakery on Main Street. Behind the house there was a fair-sized building that we converted into a large kitchen with a very adequate baking area and used that in connection with the bed and breakfast. The large house had a very nice and spacious front room where we served breakfast.
Next to Robyn’s house was a vacant lot, and then next to it was a small house with a basement, which had been purchased by one of our children. Soon that little house and the lot between it and Robyn’s larger house was incorporated into the bed and breakfast. Things were going well, so we borrowed money to enlarge that small house to a very large and attractive addition to the bed and breakfast, containing additional bedrooms and a large front room for guest use. Behind both of the houses was a spacious parking area that we developed. And working together with other family members we beautified all of the grounds, added a swimming pool, and other nice improvements. It was really the most attractive place in Moab. When all was finished we had 8 rooms and 2 two-room units for guests, plus an apartment for the innkeepers—all had private baths. In time, Marjorie and I withdrew as innkeepers. After that some of our married children along with their spouses took a turn at being innkeeper. However, as I write this in 2007, Gregg and his wife Terri and their family have been the innkeepers for a number of years. When all was finished we had ten rooms and two room units for guests plus an apartment for the innkeepers.
Guests liked their accommodations a lot and would often stay in the bed and breakfast again when they returned to Moab. We named both the bakery, and then the bed and breakfast “Sunflower Hill” using the sunflower as our symbol.
Temple ServiceI was released as branch president ,and soon after on February 25, 1992, I was set apart as a high (councilor) in the Moab Utah stake, a calling I had for about six years. My special assignment was working with the sisters of the Relief Society. Over the years Marjorie and I went to the temple as often as we could arrange it. The nearest temple was some distance from Moab until the Church built the first of the smaller temples in Monticello Utah. Temple workers were called from nearby stakes and on July 20, 1998 Marjorie and I were set apart as ordinance workers. President and Sister Hinckley and other general authorities came for the dedication of the Monticello temple. At that time on July 27th, Margie and I served in our temple callings for a little more than two years. This service fulfilled fully the part of my patriarchal blessing that said I would serve in the temple many years for both the living and the dead. On occasions, we as well as other temple workers felt , 1998 I was set apart by President James E Faust as a temple sealer. Marjorie the presence very strongly of visitors from the spirit world while we were performing the ordinances.
Perhaps of interest is the fact that we spent approximately 214 days in temple service, about 600 hours of driving time, and we drove a total of approximately 32,000 miles going back and forth from our home to the temple during this time of service.
Senior Missionary ServiceMargie and I thought we were past the age for senior missions. That is until we were sitting in the front room of our Castle Valley home listening to a church conference. One of the general authorities made a plea for senior missionaries no matter how old they were. Marjorie and I looked at each other and one of us asked “Are we going?” The answer was “Yes.” We began making the necessary preparations, and on September 8, 2001, we found in our mailbox a call to the Mississippi Jackson Mission. We arranged for our son Brent and his wife Debbie to live at our farm and take care of it while we were gone. We spent nine days at the Provo Missionary Training Center as part of a much larger group of senior missionaries than they usually had. Others had heard the call for senior missionaries and responded as we did—some at considerable sacrifice we learned.
We drove our car to our assigned area, Winnsboro, Louisiana. We worked with a small branch there of about 30 very dedicated active members. They had a small, nice chapel. Two younger elders also worked in our area. It was difficult for any of us to get teaching appointments. This was discouraging to both Sr. and younger missionaries in our mission. However, Sister Stucki and I resolved to not let this stop us. We found other ways to actually carry on the Savior’s work. Senior missionaries have more latitude as to what they can do, so we spent considerable time developing good will between the church and the people in Winnsboro. We drew on the big supply of used clothing from the Desert Industries available to our mission and held several very successful free clothing events for the poorer people in Winnsboro. Each Monday morning, the two elders, Sister Stucki, and I had a devotional for residents of a rest home. We’d sing, say a prayer, and each of us would give a ten minute talk. About 60 would be in attendance. At the end of the devotional, we went around the room and shook hands with those in attendance. One was a likeable very deaf retired minister. On a couple occasions he said to me “I can’t hear a word you say, but I feel the Spirit and know you are teaching truths.” Sis. Stucki helped the branch have several nice dinners, and she showed them how to organize their library properly. Few branch members had a year supply on hand, and they didn’t know how to get started. We printed up sheets listing the basics on which each family could list the amount they wanted. Then a black brother with a trailer and I went to the church store house some miles away and brought back to each family what they had ordered. Nearly every family gratefully participated.
Now for the last event I will mention. Out in the country side there was an elderly black lady named Mary who lived in a singlewide trailer house three feet above the ground. She used stairs to go in and out of the house. Her adult daughter, whose husband had died, was an inactive member living with Mary. At first when we would visit the daughter, Mary would not come out. She had heard bad things about the Mormons. However, in time she did. Mary was a dedicated Christian, and she liked to talk about her faith in the Savior. I would tell her about mine, and we became friends. I gave Mary a Book of Mormon with a message written in the front. Mary didn’t have a working lawn mower, so the branch president came with his mower and mowed (her) lawns. Bugs under the house found their way into the house so we also sprayed for them. Mary had a knee operation and trouble with her knee after that, so she needed a wheel chair. She got a price from a few carpenters to build a long wheel chair ramp to help her get in and out of her house. Mary and her daughter could only scrape enough money together to buy the materials but not enough to pay a carpenter. When I heard that I said “Mary I will build the ramp, and I won’t take any pay.” The project began. Men in the branch and the two elders in the area also gave some help. Soon the project was done. Mary’s black neighbors would wave as they drove by and saw us working on the ramp. I was glad they knew that Mormons really cared about blacks.
For Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mary had her children and their families—a big group—all blacks came for a special dinner. She invited Sister Stucki and I, too. We went, and all treated us kindly. Many were smokers, but not one lit a cigarette while we were there. When it was time to leave the mission field and head for home we visited Mary and her daughter to say goodbye. We were about to take their picture when Mary said wait. She got the Book of Mormon that I had given her and held it to her chest for the picture. I was touched.
While I was busy on the ramp project, Sister Stucki made a very nice lap quilt for the mission president’s wife and gave it to her at the next missionary conference. The timing was just right as the mission president’s wife was suffering from being in a chapel that was kept too cold.
Before a missionary whose time is up leaves for home, the mission president has an interview with him. At my interview, the mission president said “Elder Stucki if the Savior were sitting here with us, I sincerely believe he would say ‘Elder Stucki you have magnified your calling.’” I think this simple compliment means more to me than any other complement I have ever received.
On April 3, 2003 our mission ended in Winnsboro, and we were soon back on the farm. We expected to spend the rest of our lives there and continued making repairs and improvements.
A serious upset to our plansJust two years after returning home, I had a back injury that required big changes in our plans. Our son, Mathew, came to Castle Valley to help us. We had a roll of fence that we needed to move into the best position to fence the yard behind the house. He lifted one side and I the other. I felt a pain hit my spine about half way up my back. I expected it would go away, but it didn’t. So I soon went to see a doctor friend in Moab about my back. After xrays and some special blood tests, he said it looked like I (sustained) a crushed vertebra because of a serious cancer condition that had weakened my bones. He urged me to see a good specialist in the Salt Lake area. Following the advice, we made an appointment with Dr. Martha Glen at the Huntsman cancer center in Salt Lake. After numerous tests and x-rays of various kinds it was verified that I did indeed have a cancer called multiple myeloma, which among other things deteriorates the bones. Because of my age and condition, an operation to try to fix the vertebras was ill advised. Dr Glenn and associates began the best known treatments at that time to slow down or stop the progress of the disease. A cure wasn’t known. I began taking numerous medications, mostly in pill form, some by injections, and some by IVs. Frequent appointments were necessary for monitoring my progress and dealing with side effects. The hard work I had done on the farm and any kind of lifting were no longer possible. Also driving to and from Castle Valley to the frequent appointments and treatments in Salt Lake was out of the question. We had to move closer. We had five of our children’s families living from American Fork to Payson. A residence about central to them seemed wise. The many tasks ahead of us seemed insurmountable in my condition. They included selling the farm and farm equipment, finding the proper residence for Margie and me in a new area, moving all of our belongings from the farmhouse to our new home, and all the legal work involved. Our children’s families gave us wonderful help, and a merciful Father in Heaven opened the way for us to quickly and smoothly accomplish all of these tasks.
Special Features of the Stucki Farm in Castle Valley (compiled in preparation for farm sale)
Water Sources and Equipment:
Excellent 100 ft. deep well (Surface of water is 28 ft. from ground level)Trees & Gardens:
Six freeze-free hydrants in various areas of the property
Irrigation water (available only to a few lots in the valley)
Two cement head gates at top of large fields for distribution of water. Numerous 6-inch
diameter gated pipes from head gates along top of fields and orchard
Underground irrigation system (includes riser and valves) to deliver well water to fields
(Some repairs needed)
Tillable, almost rock-free soil in all cultivated areasSpecial Features of the House:
Many mature trees including:
60 fruit trees of various kinds
4 nut trees (2 walnut, 2 almond)
7 Evergreen trees
2 Other shade trees
Numerous large cottonwood trees grow at rear of property in a natural, wooded area
10 mature grape vines of different varieties
Castle Creek and “Green Belt” run along back of property
Established lawns and flower gardens surround the house
Vegetable garden consisting of 12 large, raised planter boxes full of rich, composted soil.
Two boxes planted with excellent raspberries
Log constructionPartially finished barn:
High ceilings with large beams and two sleeping lofts in family room area
Galvanized metal roof (with sheeting and insulation)
Large casement windows of natural wood with screens
Four bedrooms, study, full bath, 3/4 bath, family room, kitchen/dining room, laundry, two wood heat stoves in family room. Chimney for 2nd
One large and two smaller covered patios with posts and railings. Additional open paver patio and antique brick walks in garden areas
Attached green house, 8x12 ft. (South side of house)
Evaporative cooler (roof mount)
Root cellar (below house on North side)
Propane tank supplies 2 propane wall heaters, clothes drier, one water heater. (2nd heater is electric)
Wood stove in kitchen/dining room
Playhouse with fenced yard
Sauna with built in seating and wood stove
Garden shed with arbor (approx. 7x18 ft.)
Chicken coop with center feed storage room (approx. 7x20 ft.)
Four-section storage shed for fire wood, yard & garden equipment, tools, etc. (approx. 8x32 ft.)
Right side has finished roof, five 8x12 ft. bays (three have cement floors), some walls completed.
Left side has upright posts for more 8x12 ft. bays.
Center portion is uncompleted.
Graveled driveway and turn-around
Septic tank with double-size drain field
Large pasture and three smaller pastures completely enclosed with pole fences. Wide metal farm gates
High deer fence surrounding the acre of garden area
Our new homeThe new home is located at 558 W 50 S in Springville with a double garage, a spacious yard an established lawn, and some trees, and shrubbery. Houses in our area looked newer, had well kept yards, and we had good neighbors and a great ward. Medications and my back injury affected my ability to drive safely, so the driving fell upon my dear wife’s shoulders. Freeway driving longer distances like trips to Dr. appointments at the Huntsman Center, fell upon our kind children’s shoulders. Fortunately, we had smaller to super-sized stores of various kinds in Springville and Provo close to us.
Marjorie is a talented decorator, and fortunately we had money enough from the sale of the farm for her to make our home lovely inside and outside. We paid a landscaper to plant and stake sixteen evergreens of various kinds and sizes and eight tall deciduous trees, four flowering, which Margie selected from many choices. We were blessed to have mostly rainy and cloudy days following the planting, giving the trees a good start. Marjorie planted with help from our family, a lot of beautiful flowers, rose bushes, and flowering (shrubs). My back trouble substantially limited what I could do to help. We were blessed with a more spacious yard than many newer homes have today. With the loveliness of the yard, I look out our windows and think we have helped create a little garden of eden. Our landscaper placed a dozen boulders at random between the trees, which added much to the attractiveness of the yard, as did a good looking block wall at the back and wood slat fences on each side of the yard.
Obituary topDeseret News Times Independent
|Former Castle Valley resident, William Richard Stucki died Wednesday February 27, 2008, in Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of 79.|
Richard was born August 21, 1928 in Salt Lake City to William T. and Lucy Marie (Sorenson) Stucki. As a boy, he learned the value of work by accepting various jobs, including tending children, picking fruit in an orchard, repairing and polishing furniture, and making deliveries to various grocery stores and restaurants. These early jobs sparked an interest in developing these skills in later years.
He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nova Scotia, Canada, from 1947-1949 and graduated in 1951 from the University of Utah in Biology. He married Marjorie Curtis on July 30, 1951, in the Salt Lake Temple. They reared a family of eight children. After spending many years in the retail clothing industry, Richard and Margie decided their family needed a change. They filled a truck with goats, chickens, a pig, and all their belongings and moved to Castle Valley at the foot of the LaSal mountains. Richard and Margie fulfilled a life-long dream of living in the country and building a family farm. Though some thought this a rash decision, Richard and Margie always said this was the best decision they ever made for their family. Their farm and the experiences they shared there tied their family together in an unbreakable bond. They lived on the farm for 29 years planting, pruning, gardening, and raising various animals. Richard and Margie owned a restaurant and bakery in Moab well-known for its delicious and nutritious breads. He further developed his carpentry and wood-working skills, which helped him establish a bed & breakfast in Moab, Utah. And through many years, while in Castle Valley, Richard drove a school bus between Castle Valley and Moab. He and his wife served in the Monticello Temple where he worked as a sealer. Later, they filled another mission together for the Church in Winnsboro, Louisiana in 2001-2003. Following their mission, due to complications caused by cancer, they left their beloved home in the country and moved to the rural Springville, Utah in 2005. Richard continued gardening at his home with his wife Margie.
Eulogy topWe have several directives from Dad concerning his funeral and burial:
Gregg topWilliam Richard Stucki – March 1st, 2008
Brent topAnyone who knew Dad, knows that his religion was more important to him than the worldly aspects of life. Dad didn’t just believe the Restored Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints was true, Dad absolutely KNEW IT WAS TRUE. He had proven it through an extensive and exhaustive lifetime study of the Holy Scriptures and many other great books. Dad lived a righteous life, and because he was worthy, he had divine truths constantly confirmed within his heart by a powerful spiritual witness.
Randy topDedication of Grave
I rejoice that I am born to live, to die, and to live again. I thank God for this intelligence. It gives me joy and peace that the world cannot give, neither can the world take it away. … I have no reason to mourn, not even at death. It is true, I am weak enough to weep at the death of my friends and kindred. … But I have no cause to mourn, nor to be sad because death comes into the world. … All fear of this [temporal] death has been removed from the Latter-day Saints” -- Joseph F. Smith
True to the End topWilliam Richard Stucki – April 29, 1989
My Beloved Family topWilliam Richard Stucki – July 30th, 1998
The Burden topWilliam Richard Stucki – September 2005
The Foundation topWilliam Richard Stucki – October 24, 1999 Sunday
Testimony topWilliam Richard Stucki – compiled from various writings