Alta Lovina Garner
Contributor: Shirley Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
“IN MEMORY OF MY DEPARTED SISTER” by George Grover
This history was obtained from the Book of Remembrance kept by Evah Grover Brown and may not be used for financial gain.
In memory of my departed sister (Alta Lovina Grover) who was killed in an auto accident at Bancroft, Idaho on July 29, 1920 while enroute home from a Blackfoot Stake Beehive excursion to the Logan Temple. She was assistant Bee Keeper in the Thomas Ward. This account was written by my older brother, George, two years after her death. It is an extract from his diary.
Two years ago today, Alta was killed in Bancroft on a Thursday morning, about 8:30. Artie Van Orden received the first word and he and his mother broke the sad news to us. On account of Mother’s health, it was deemed best to phone someone other than at our home. Oh, I remember it as if it were but yesterday – what pain, what sorrow and grief spread over our happy home.
I remember that morning when we knelt down for family prayer, Father called on me to offer it, and as I prayed for the protection and safety of that dear sister, a lump came in my throat, my organs of speech failed me, and I tried several times to speak before I succeeded. Possibly at the very instant that I asked for her protection, she was drawing her last, fleeting breath!
As Artie and his mother drove up to our gate, a horrible feeling seized me; that feeling I shall never forget. He called to me to send Father out to the gate. Before Father reached it he said he knew the Beehive Girls had met with some disaster and Alta was hurt. Mother, who was washing dishes, saw through the window and was prepared for the horrible news when Father reached the house.
Mother was nearly frantic, and preparations were made to leave as soon as possible. Those in charge of the matter in Bancroft, knowing Mother’s condition, just said the car was turned over. Father got our Bishop by phone, and after much insisting and finally demanding, learned she was beyond our power to ever see her in this life again.
Just before leaving we knelt in prayer again. This time Father took lead and asked for our protection. On rising, Mother asked why he didn’t pray for her, and the reply was “I could not pray for her when I knew she was dead.” This was the first Mother knew she was on the other side.
As soon as Father knew Alta was dead, he called me aside and said something like this; “My boy, your sister is free from this life, we can meet her no more on this side. She passed away clean and unspotted from the sins of the world and has left her footsteps here for others to follow. This is a great shock to your dear mother, and we may have to lay them two down together. So cheer her all you can before she leaves for Bancroft and remember when you press her lips “goodbye” it may be for the last time. But we must bear it the very best we can, and acknowledge God’s hand in all things.”
Oh! If I could impress upon you the meaning of those words. They found a place in my heart and are there still.
Brother Artie Van Orden took Mother and Father down to that memorable place. And as I kissed Mother “goodbye” with my little brother in my arms, she told me to take good care of the children. I thought of those words “It may be the last time.” Little did I think I would ever press those lips again in this life, but I have, and I thank God that he preserved her.
That sorrow! That pain and agony I went through the rest of that day! Night came and no word from my parents. I walked around in that agonized state, but I dared not leave the children, although relatives friends and neighbors were here to help in any way they might and were taking care of them. I expected any minute to get word that mother had joined my sister.
Brother Elmer Williams came down and told me when he left Mother, she was feeling much better than he had thought she could. Then giving me words of comfort and cheer, he left for the night. I rested much better that night than I thought I could. Thousands of prayers ascended to Heaven in behalf of Mother.
Friday morning found me somewhat refreshed and some of the shock and excitement had left me. But still no word of any kind from my parents. Most of the day I walked up and down until evening. Then that same car that had taken my parents away, drove back with both of them in it. And my mother! Oh my mother! I pressed her lips again for she was still with us.
Mother handed me Alta’s crushed suitcase and said “Here are her clothes, but I couldn’t bring her.” And then came these words: “God bless our noble boy who has taken care of the children and stood up so bravely.” If ever I felt repaid for what I had gone through, it was then. Those are the kind of words that make tears of joy run down your cheeks and the kind of words our parents are pleased to say to us and that make tears of joy stream from their eyes.
The car Alta was riding in turned end over end three times and was facing the opposite direction from what it should have been. She, however, was killed instantly. The whole thing was caused by disobedience which led to speeding. Yet we hold no feelings toward anyone and say “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
The next day was spent in prayer and telling the whole story. It was Saturday and she was to be buried on the morrow, so she was dressed that evening. Don, our little brother who always ran out to meet Alta when she came home, seeing a cousin come in the gate, ran to meet her thinking it was his sister. Upon getting close he discovered his mistake, dropped his head and came slowly back, so great was his disappointment.
Next day was Sunday. We made Mother as cheerful as possible and prepared for the coming of Alta’s body. Just seven days before, our little home was so happy and bright and Alta had gone away, beaming with joy, on her way to the House of the Lord, and today she came back cold, silent, asleep, with all those bruises on her body. What a contrast! Just seven days before she left us in the prime of life and today I helped carry her back to the home where she left – in her coffin.
As I looked on that dear face I could see the past come out on a screen before me. Yes, there she was, walking beside me into the house of worship; into the ballroom; just leaving the door of our home with Mother’s last words “be good”; sitting beside me and enjoying her companionship! Oh, those are memories never to be forgotten. And now her body lies before me cold and silent! It is like a dream – it doesn’t seem real; oh it can’t be true.
Cars thronged here to take us and relatives to the funeral. The hall was full and as we entered many a prayer went up in behalf of Mother. I would that I had words to express my feelings.
The services were short as possible, on Mother’s account. It was the largest funeral ever held in the Ward. The Beehive girls sang a song and the most touching of all was Alta’s little Primary class marching up and placing flowers on their teacher’s casket. Yes, it was touching for she had been raised in the Primary and was teaching the kindergarten. Those little hands placing flowers on the one who had given them their last teachings.
There were between one and two hundred who couldn’t get in the hall. As we lowered her my heart sank with her’s, for I missed her loving companionship. Her grave was completely covered with flowers and on the head was placed a Beehive as a symbol of her work. Today that is a precious spot to me, and I never laurel her grave but it brings back memories both sad and sweet.
We gave Mother the best of care, and for weeks as we knelt around her bed and thanked God for his blessings, there was someone missing. It was a long time before Mother could sit up and eat with us. Father and I took turns praying and as we did we could not help thinking of Alta.
Today it is Mother’s greatest comfort and she sees wherein it was best. Now I have the companionship of another girl who has helped to keep me on the right road and who has brightened our home with her presence. I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for blessing me in this way and sincerely hope I might be found worthy of her.
Today, those memories come back into my mind and I thank God for the noble sister who set me a worthy example. And I look forth to the day when I can see her, take her in my arms and kiss those lips that once were cold, for I know I will meet her on the other side if I can just follow her footsteps.
Alta. Memory of his sister by Alma Justin Grover
Contributor: Shirley Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
I recall vividly when we received word that my oldest sister, Alta, was killed in a car wreck on a Temple excursion for baptisms. She was seventeen years old. The news was a terrible shock for Mother. But a year or so later, Mother went to the Temple and did Alta's temple work. At that time, Mother felt my sister's presence as the work was done. She was engaged to Ed Van Orden, the one who was driving the car and she was the only one killed. They were speeding he said, of course in that day, speeding at the rate they were going wouldn't be speeding now in our cars. But it was speeding for the cars they had then. If they got up to 60 it was really going back then, or 50, the roads were not too good, see. They went with a group to the Logan Temple for baptisms, and I think it was on the way back that the car lost control, tipped over, and she was killed immediately. I don't think anyone else was hurt. I can remember when Ed came and told us about it. I was 6 then, I can remember it as plain as day. Mother became hysterical when she was told that Alta was dead, but about a year later Alta appeared to Father and Mother and told them she wanted her Temple work done, that she was to be married to a boy by the name of Charles Van Orden and she told where his parents lived. She had been engaged to Ed Van Orden who was a widower and I don't know if he was related to Charles, but the one she was to be married to had died in youth. And he appeared to his parents and told them the same thing. It took a little while to get that straightened out, but the Stake president eventually felt that it was the thing to do and the Temple presidency approved it when they found out the circumstances.
Mother and Father went to the Temple and Mother was proxy for Alta. She said she felt her presence all through the temple. She was sure Alta was there with her and she stood in as proxy for her marriage at the temple when Alta was sealed to Charles Van Orden. It was probably a little more than a year after her death, approximately. Submitted by Marilyn Louise Grover Tiffany