Alonzo Smith Pond biography
Contributor: davlanders Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Alonzo Smith Pond was born April 6, 1905, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was the oldest child of Moses Alonzo Pond and Sarah Ann Smith. His mother was proud of her Smith heritage and called him by his middle name, Smith, by which he was known throughout his life. Smith spent his early childhood in Salt Lake City, but moved with his family to Pocatello, Idaho, where he graduated from high school.
Smith was a peaceful, kind young man. He would go out of his way to avoid a scuffle or fight, but learned to not back away from doing right. When he was about 13 years old, he delivered the Pocatello Tribune. Because his father had a good job, some of the other paper boys resented Smith and made life quite miserable for him. Finally one evening his father told Smith he wanted no more of this feeling, and it was up to Smith to correct it. The next day he faced up to the challenge and forcefully took on Frank Paul, the biggest kid in the crowd, giving him a sound whipping. He never again had trouble with the other paper boys. In fact, he and Frank Paul became good friends.
When Calvin and Dick were in high school and wanted to play football, their mother was not in favor of permitting it. Smith had not played while in high school because she didn’t want him to, for fear of him being hurt. He said to his mother, “I wanted to play football more than almost anything else, please let them play.” She hadn’t realized this because of his submission to her desires without any fuss, so she gave her permission to Calvin and Dick to play, and she was one of the most loyal supporters the school had.
A prominent attorney in Pocatello encouraged Smith to study law, which he did for a few quarters. The summer following his junior year, however, he changed his mind. When he told his mother that he wanted to teach, she said, “Son, teachers don’t earn much money.” He replied, “But Mother, see the opportunity for me to serve and help others.” From that moment on all of his efforts were directed toward education.
He earned his BA degree from the University of Utah in June 1926 where he was selected for membership in Phi Kappa Phi, the national scholastic honor society. While attending the University of Utah, Smith earned his way by doing janitorial work on the campus during the school year and working as a clerk in one of the Pocatello banks during the summertime. At Christmastime he served as Santa Claus at one of the major department stores.
Immediately after graduating from the U of U, he left to serve two and one half years in the German-Austrian Mission of the Church. Elder James E. Talmage appointed him to act as his secretary during Brother Talmage’s service as President of the European Missions. His love for the German people remained throughout his lifetime.
While he was on his mission, his family moved back to Salt Lake City and into the Wilford Ward. After he returned, he courted and married the bishop’s daughter, Afton Bernice Fagg. They were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on August 17, 1933. They left shortly afterward for Chicago to work on his doctorate in economics, which he received in 1937. Smith and Bernice were completely devoted to each other.
He joined the faculty of Brigham Young University in 1937. He is rightly considered to be the Father of the Economics Department at BYU. He served as chairman of the Department of Economics from 1952 to 1955. He also served as chairman of the Agricultural Economics Department from 1938 to 1955. From 1955 to 1957 he was the acting Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He established the Utah Economics Education Workshop to help public school teachers, and served as president of the Utah Conference of Higher Education in 1955-56. At the time of his death, April 1, 1959, he was serving as the Dean of the Graduate School. He was the author of many technical articles and a textbook, Essential Economics.
During World War II, Smith was assigned to work in the Office of Price Administration in Denver, Colorado. He held many responsible positions including Assistant to the Regional Administrator. While he was there, Smith and Bernice were finally able to adopt a child, Douglas William Pond. After nine years of marriage, they were grateful for a new member of the family. They both felt that it was a witness from Heavenly Father that Douglas belonged to them, because he was born on Bernice’s birthday. While in Denver, Smith suffered a physical breakdown caused by overwork. Bernice moved him back to Provo where he resumed his responsibilities at Brigham Young University as quickly as he could. Virginia was born shortly after the move, and Donna Rae was born two years later.
Smith served in many church capacities. He was an excellent teacher and taught many years in Sunday School, MIA, and Priesthood quorums. He also held administrative positions in these organizations. He served in two bishoprics and as a member of two high councils. BYU students used to go to his ward by the BYU campus to listen to him teach the Gospel Doctrine lesson.
Smith died suddenly of a heart attack on April 1, 1959. He had just returned from a conference of the Western Association of Graduate Schools where he had been a participant in a panel discussion. He died quickly and quietly in the BYU office of a close friend. Speakers at his funeral included Ben E. Lewis, President of the East Sharon Stake; Ernest L. Wilkinson, President of BYU; and Gordon Hinckley, newly called general authority.
Dick and Calvin paid him this tribute, “He was always our ‘big brother,’ and we looked up to him even when we looked down at him during his later years. He was a true example to us; honest, clean in all ways, sincere, industrious, and humble. He always strived for improvement and counseled us, his younger brothers and sister, to do our best in all things. His example of honoring our parents had a good effect on us. We are better people for having lived with Dr. A. Smith Pond, our oldest brother.”
Smith’s life was one of devotion to our Savior and to the gospel. He was always helping others and set a wonderful example for all who knew him. His favorite scripture, 2 Nephi 2:25, expresses his philosophy of life. “Adam fell that men might be, and men are, that they might have joy.” Smith lived a joyful life and brought joy to many others.
Afton Bernice Pond Biography
Contributor: davlanders Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Afton Bernice Fagg Pond was born September 12, 1908, in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was the oldest child to survive birth of Charles William and Martha Sophia Price Fagg. As the oldest, with seven younger brothers and sisters, Bernice was a second mother to her siblings. She spent many hours helping her parents, including acting as a secretary for her father in the many years he served as bishop and stake president. When she was older and had a job, she helped the family by buying shoes and other things for her younger brothers and sisters.
She attended the University of Utah with a major in journalism. She loved writing and published short stories in magazines. Her father promised her if she would attend her home ward, instead of ward hopping as many young women did, she would be blessed. The Moses Alonzo Pond family moved into the ward, with a recently returned missionary son. All the young women in the ward went after Alonzo Smith (known as Smith) Pond, but he only had eyes for Bernice. After a three-year courtship, they were married August 17, 1933, in the Salt Lake Temple.
Shortly after their marriage, Smith and Bernice headed to Chicago where Smith worked on his doctorate in Economics. Their years in Chicago were happy ones filled with church service. After Smith received his PhD, he was hired by Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
One of the sorrows Bernice had was her inability to have children when they were first married. After nine years of marriage, they were able to adopt Douglas William, while they were living in Denver, where Smith was working for the Department of Wage and Price Control during and after World War II. Bernice felt that the fact that Douglas was born on her birthday was a sign from Heavenly Father that he belonged to them. Five years later, Virginia was born, and then two years after that, Donna Rae joined the family. In 1947, when Smith was able to return to Utah, he taught at Brigham Young University in Provo. Bernice stayed at home and took care of their children, and half of neighborhood, as well. She always wanted to know what her children were doing and provided many fun activities for them that involved everyone around. She served in many church callings including Ward and Stake Primary President.
In 1958, Smith and Bernice built their dream home on Apple Avenue, just east of campus. That summer Smith led a tour to Europe and Bernice accompanied him as his assistant. They celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary while on the tour.
On April 1, 1959, the cruelest April Fool’s joke occurred, only it wasn’t a joke. After returning from a business trip and spending a few short minutes with his family, Smith died of a heart attack in his best friend’s office on the BYU campus.
Bernice, who had suffered much ill health during the past few years, had depended heavily on Smith for providing the living, managing the finances, driving, for help with the children, and emotional support. She was left with three children and very little money. She decided to attend BYU and get a teaching certificate so that she could support her family. She graduated and was the Media Center Coordinator at Grandview Elementary School in Provo for seven years. She did an outstanding job of providing quality literature and music experiences for all of the students in the school. This was a job that she was well suited for because of her writing background. Virginia and Donna loved helping her after school and during the summers.
Ill health caused Bernice to retire early, and further ill health put her in the care of her children. First, Virginia Wheeler, whose husband, Richard, had returned to BYU for his doctorate in Electrical Engineering, and then Bill and Donna Mayfield. She moved with the Mayfields to San Diego, CA; Sherman, Texas; and Colorado Springs, CO. The lower elevation in California and Texas helped restore some of her heath temporally. She was much loved by her grandchildren and did many things with them until her death. She died quietly in the Mayfield home in Colorado Springs on May 31, 1981, of a stroke.
Bernice valiantly fought diabetes and heart problems for many years. She was an example of great patience, love, and service to others. She had a deep abiding love for our Savior and a total dedication to Smith. She was a widow for 22 years but she had no doubt that she would be reunited with Smith for eternity. She endured valiantly until the end of her life.
Bernice’s posterity is greatly blessed for having her as their mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and now great, great-grandmother. The example she set of loving others unconditionally and her strong testimony of the gospel stand as a beacon for them to follow.