Memorial / Obituary / Personal History
Contributor: SouthPawPhilly Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Wilmirth Hortense Brown was the youngest child of William Henry Brown and Louisa Jane Howe. Her father died seven months before she was born on February 2, 1893 in Provo, Utah. Wilmirth was raised as the baby in a large family by a widowed mother in the family home on Fifth West. Her brother Bert called her Babe to her dying days. She was especially close to her sister Sadie (Sarah) , who was eight years older.
It is apparent that her father was doing well at the time of his death, and had he lived longer she would have been reared in comparative luxury. As it turned out his estate had little income producing capability and Louisa had a hard task making do for her family.
Wilmirth attended the old Timpanogas School only a block north of her home, in the same school building that eight of her nine children attended. (A new Timp school had been constructed in 1938 by the time Gerry entered school.) She had many friends as is evident from two small autograph books she saved which were filled with witty and sentimental writings from her classmates and associates. One such inscription accompanied by a neat little water colored sketch dated February 18, 1908 was signed by her fourth grade teacher, S. R. Brown. This is the same Samuel Richard Brown, an older brother of Cleve, who later became her brother-in-law.
Wilmirth loved nice clothes and "dressing up". One of the most precious photographs of her, taken at about the age of seventeen or eighteen, shows her in a large brimmed hat and a long dress posed for the camera. The interest in clothes and appearance was inherited from her mother who always made a point of looking her best. Mother tells the story of walking up Center Street one day with Sadie and her mother, who was walking between them, when one of two young men approaching from behind was heard to say "I'll take the one in the middle".
As a young girl, Wilmirth was employed by the Startup Candy Company. This great opportunity to get all the sweets one desired, which would have been so welcomed by some of her children, was totally wasted on Wilmirth. She never liked sweets. It was the job at Startup's that enabled her to buy the clothes worn in the photograph mentioned earlier.
In the spring of 1912 she met Cleve in Alpine and they were married the following December.