Contributor: DdraigGoch Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Ilene Archibald Pearson was born Dec. 30, 1924 to David and Lillie Archibald, in the old farm house in Salem, Idaho. Her mother was very surprised to have a baby girl, after six black haired boys. Grandma Lillie said, "It's a good thing she was born at home because with all that blond hair and her being a girl, I would have surely thought I had brought home the wrong baby." Grandmother Archibald instilled a great love of music in all her children. In order to give Ilene piano lessons she killed, plucked and cleaned a chicken and had it ready to give to the piano teacher after each lesson. The family farmed 80 acres with a horse and plow. They raised a few sheep, pigs, chickens and horses and had a huge garden and raspberry patch. Everyone worked hard. It was a good life. Mother said that as a child she didn't realize there was a depression going on. One of our favorite memories as children was when we went to Grandma's and Grandpa's and ate fresh raspberries. In the winter, the snow was so deep it covered the roads and fences. Mother's older brothers were in charge of picking all the kids up in their area for school in a horse-drawn covered sleigh. They all wore snow pants, warm coats, and boots. They built a fire in the stove inside the sleigh and headed out to school each morning. Mother had one warm wool dress she wore every day to school, and when she came home she would change into her work dress.
As Mother got into high school her older brothers had already set the Archibald reputation. They played in the band, were in all the school plays, and sang at all the church programs. Their bishop was once asked, "Why do the Archibald's get to be on every program?" And he said, "Because whenever I ask them they are always ready."
Mother's brother Keith had a beautiful singing voice. Mother accompanied him on the piano at many church firesides and dances. She sang in a trio with friends and played the clarinet in band. The 2 years she attended Ricks College she practiced the piano 3 hours a day and the organ 1 hour a day.
She met Father at a church dance. She had come to play for her brother Keith. Father had his own band and they were playing the music for the dance. It was love at first sight. They were married on Oct 23rd, 1944.
Father was in the navy so they moved to San Francisco (Long Beach Naval Station?). Their first baby, Carl, born 3 months early when mother had to have her appendix removed. He only lived a few hours. Father had to leave Mother in the hospital and bring the baby's body back to Rexburg to be buried.
After the war was over in 1945, Father and Mother returned to Rexburg to live.
Mother said, "I loved having my babies. Each one so sweet and dear." They had 6 children when they moved to Monteview, where Father ran a thousand acre farm. He built canals, drilled wells while Mother cooked and help with the farm. Every night after work Father and Mother would line us up and teach us to sing. We could sing 3 part harmony by the time we were 6 and practiced so much we could sing each others parts. In the fall of 1960, the family moved to Ogden, Utah, where Father helped run an oil refinery. We couldn't find a house to rent so we live in the office that had a small kitchen and one bedroom attached to the oil refinery. Mother said Lee and Roger were almost black every night from playing in the dirty yard. She would stand them in the tub and scrub them clean. The older kids slept in blankets on the top of boxes that were used to put the cans of oil in to be shipped out. Soon after school started Roger came home all excited. He was in second grade. He had found us a house to live in. He was so insistent about it that mother contacted the people and we were able to rent that house, a large beautiful red brick home for the next 3 years. Lots of fun memories in that house. Mother was the center of our lives, our anchor, our rock.
In 1964, the family moved to Colorado City, Arizona. It was a fun, peaceful place to grow up. We sang at the Arizona State Fair talent show and won first place so we got to sing on the Ted Mack Amateur hour show on TV. Mother was the band director at the Colorado City High school. She loved sharing her musical talents and the whole community enjoyed the band concerts. Mother would dress in her finest dress and stand before that little ragtag band and then everyone waited to see what one woman could do to change the lives of those around her for the better. We were all so very proud that she was our mother and those were some of her happiest days.
We built a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house. The Kitchen and dining area were one big room which alway buzzed with activity. Each night Mother would sit in the hallway close to our bedroom doors and read bible stories and adventure stories to us. We would wake in the morning and ask, "Dang, I fell asleep! What did I miss?" Each morning we woke up to mother playing the piano. 5:30 a.m. didn't seem so bad when you got to wake up to her beautiful music. To bring in a little income she taught piano lessons, and trumpet lessons and sold extra milk and cream. After school we hurried home to hot fresh loaves of bread sitting on the counter. Our mouths watered as we spread a warm piece with butter and honey.
In November, 1971 we left Colorado City and moved to the ranch. It was so cold that first winter. We had to break the ice on the creek and haul water to the house. No indoor plumbing or electricity. That first cold winter at the Ranch, Mother read "The Hue and Cry" to us by lantern light. By February, we had the new addition added on, with electric plugs and Father bought a generator. The brothers worked hard in construction jobs to pay for the ranch and the girls become the ranch hands. They saddled their horses and brought the cattle down off the hills in the fall and took them back up in the Spring. We raised a big garden with lots of corn, pumpkins, squash, potatoes and flowers. Mother taught the young girls school at home. Nevada reinstated her as a teacher. They supplied us with the books and supplies throughout the school years. In 1980, the girls started to leave home so mother decided to move to Las Vegas, where Lilly and Donna finished school.
Mother got a job as a Band Assistant at the Junior High where Donna attended school. She really enjoyed working with the Band Director and being around music again. After 10 years in Las Vegas the girls were all married and mother and Janice moved back to the ranch. Someone in Panaca gave Mother a goat and Roger brought out a goat. Those two goats eventually turned into 130 goats. Mother enjoyed watching, feeding and tending them.
Mother devoted her next 20 years to her grandson Jeremy. She exercised him everyday on the programmer. Jeremy's teacher, Mrs. Hill in Pioche, encouraged mother to bring him into school at least 4 days a week. Mother said she would come in, if she had a piano to practice on. You could hear her beautiful music through the halls of the school for the next 4 years. She drove 100 miles everyday so Jeremy could go to school. The highlight of her last years was teaching Lee's and Ellen's girls to play the piano and sing harmony together. Mother loved her home on the ranch. We all enjoyed those summer trips out to the ranch to hike the hills, wade in the creeks, and chase the goats. It won't be the same without her.
In September of this year, she began to have trouble breathing at nights. Helen went to the ranch and brought her to St. George, to Linton's and Jelene's, where she spent the last month with her family by her side. She died of congestive heart failure on Wed. Oct. 12th, at 4:00 p.m. She was 86 years old. She is survived by her loving brother, Ronald Archibald, 13 wonderful children, 99 talented grandchildren, and 150 (177?) delightful great-grandchildren.