Ezra Huffaker Tippets - Education
Contributor: Dieselbeetle Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Ezra started his school career at the age of six years, attending grades one through twelve in Cowley, Wyoming. My closest friends were also my cousins, Elloyd Marchant, Lionel, Lyman and Joe Tippets, and my brother, Dermont. I grew up learning the usual things and accepting the responsibilities of farm life. My sister, Lucile, tells me that I was a scrappy kid in grade school and often she would interfere to protect me but gave up after the third grade, because by that time the superior strength of the boys left her no choice. I do remember one outstanding teacher I had in Junior High School by the name of Virgie Marie Porter, who taught me respect, manners and discipline.
Cowley High School, among other things, rated sports very high and for all of my four years in school our coach, Wallace Rollins, did much to teach me the value of fair play in competitive sports. My father was on the school board, so I felt obligated to do well both in sports and academically. I was also interested in going to college, and I knew I had to keep my grade average up in order to enroll; so I really tried hard to make good grades. When I was a senior in high school I was awarded the lead in our senior class play. I learned to dance and found I could converse with girls, although the conversations were always short on my part.
As for church activities, my father was first counselor in the Big Horn Stake Presidency for more than twenty years; so, as a matter of course, we were active and involved in all the church activities. Although, I must admit, I looked on them more as an escape from the family farm rather than an effort to study things spiritual. I do remember being a Trailbuilder in Primary and becoming a Life Scout when I was fourteen years old, earning a week to a Scout Jamboree at Independence Rock near Casper, Wyoming. Independence Rock was on the trail that the Mormon Pioneers took on their way to Utah.
I was at the tender age of eight or nine years when my father allowed me to learn to drive our Model “T” milk truck with his tutelage. Of course, there were no driver’s licenses required in those days, and I got away with it.
After graduating second valedictorian in high school, I went to college at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. I obtained various part-time jobs to pay my way. One job paid 35 cents an hour, another 25 cents plus room. I was the custodian for the LDS Institute. I made cement walks and gutters and had employment at the Railway Express office for the Union Pacific Railroad. With this job I had a forty-five caliber gun to “fight off” the would-be robbers while watching valuables, gold shipments to the Denver mint and the payrolls. I never had to use the gun. This job paid the handsome sum of $1.00 per hour, four hours a day (3:30-7:30am). I also drove a truck for the New Method Laundry and Dry Cleaning establishment. The route took me to the sorority and fraternity houses, and I often had some attractive riders that were influential in bringing in business to the company.
In college I majored in Zoology and minored in Botony and Chemistry. These were pre-dental requirements that I needed, as I had made up my mind that I wanted to become a Dentist. I graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1940 and enrolled in the dental school at North Pacific College in Portland, Oregon. Here again I worked to pay my way, this time with the Kaiser Shipyards as a time check for the company supervisors’ swing shift.
During my high school and college years, I had singled out a dark-haired brunette from Byron, Wyoming. She was the daughter of Carrie Hatch and Leo J. NeVille; her name was Esther. She had chosen to become a nurse, receiving her training in Idaho Falls, Idaho. One windy day while purposely traveling through that city with a friend, Ed Teare, I stopped by and proposed marriage to her. I gave her a ring the following Christmas when I took her home to meet my folks who were living in Ogden, Utah. She became my bride 14 January 1941 in Portland, Oregon, where she just happened to be working as a registered nurse. Our first child, Pamela Anne Tippets, arrived 19 January 1942, five days after our first anniversary and forty days after the United States entered World War II.
When my schooling was finished, I entered the service as a commissioned officer in the Dental Corps of the United States Navy, Lieutenant J.G. I received my basic training at Camp Elliot, San Diego, and was stationed at Camp Pendleton and the U.S. Naval Hospital, and we have lived in California since then. I learned a valuable lesson from being in the service, and that is that one can adjust to enjoying anything by constantly striving to do better than one has done.