Spiritual Experiences in the Life of Drucilla Fenn Walker
Contributor: Anne Ryan Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Drucilla Fenn Walker was born 3 November 1922 in Pomerene, Cochise, Arizona to Walter Leroy Fenn and Emma Leona Morris, the fourth child of this union. I was blessed 7 January 1923, baptized 3 November 1930, and confirmed 7 December 1930 by my father. He was determined to baptize all of his 10 children on the day they turned 8 years old. All but the last child was thus baptized on his 8th birthday. I was even baptized by the light of the moon in order to meet this goal. Having received permission from the bishop, my father took one of my older brothers as a witness and baptized me after dark in a pond on our own farm.
I attended grammar school up through the 7th grade in Pomerene, Arizona. During the first years of my schooling, I acquired some poor reading habits. My 6th grade teacher, Mr. Brimhall, being a wise teacher in some ways, attempted to help me break my poor reading habits. He had me stand by his desk in front of all his students of the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and read aloud for quite some time. Every time I came to a word which I did not know, I would go back a line or two and repeat it until I came to the strange word again. Whenever I began to go back and repeat, Mr. Brimhall would hit me with his yardstick. From the very first day Mr. Brimhall tried this method I began to improve in my reading habits. By the time I reached the 8th grade, we had moved into the Benson School District. Here I had access to a good library and was able to read well enough to enjoy quite a number of good books which I was required to make written reports on in order to pass.
My high school years were from 1937 to 1941.
By studying very seriously I was able to maintain a “B” average. One of my high school mathematics teachers one made the remark: “If I were to give an award to the student who tried the hardest, I would give it to Drucilla Fenn”. My junior and senior years were made more enjoyable by the close friendship of Marion Vance.
I attended Sunday School, Primary, Sacrament Meeting and M.I.A. nearly 100% of the time. Often I was asked to give 2 ½ minute talks. This I was glad to do. Once I memorized the beatitudes and gave them for one of these talks. My father was so surprised and pleased that he gave me 50 cents. In those days that was a lot of money. One of my most pleasant duties as a child was when I went to the bishop’s office to pay my tithing. The bishop’s wife, Christina McCall, always bragged us to high heaven for being such good little “Cracker Jacks,” so that we could hardly wait to get a few pennies with which to pay tithing. Ever since I can remember I have tried to pay a full tithing. Another thing which brought much joy to my childhood was when I was allowed to walk home from church with my girlfriend, Barbara Haupt, and partake of the unity, love and cleanliness of her home for a whole night. I loved her mother with all my heart.
I would like to share with you a few spiritual experiences which have proven to me without a doubt that Heavenly Father does live and love us to the extent that He will take time out to hear and answer our prayers according to our faith in Him.
When I was about ten years old, I began to know what Alma the younger meant when he said, “I was racked with the pains of a damned soul…” I was doing something which was wrong, very wrong. My older sister, Kathleen, took me aside one day and helped me to see the seriousness of my mistakes. I was so influenced by her counsel that I thought, “What’s the use of going on living if I have done something that bad? I might as well give up right now. Then almost immediately the thought came to me that I could pray to Heavenly Father and ask Him for forgiveness. I obeyed this urge and went to my “sacred grove” where I literally talked to my Heavenly Father. I felt so close to Him. I “knew” He was listening to my prayer and covenanting with me that I was forgiven if I never participated in these same activities again. Many times after this experience with praying for forgiveness, I remember thinking, “I must try to hold no grudges or hard feelings towards those other young people who had drawn me into this activity if I want Heavenly Father to forgive me.” At this young age I did try to have a forgiving attitude, because more than anything else in this world I did want forgiveness for myself. I can not remember anyone else in this world I did want forgiveness for myself. I can not remember anyone ever teaching me the steps in repenting, but I knew them well. This experience, I feel was my Spiritual Baptism into the Kingdom of God. I did try from this time on to live a better life.
Ten years went by before I received my patriarchal blessing. Until this time I had lived in the California Mission, where there was no patriarch. At this time I went to live with my Grandpa and Grandma Morris at Thatcher, Arizona, where I attended the Gila Jr. College for two years. After making an appointment with the patriarch, I prayed often that Heavenly Father would guide him to say those things which would be best for me. I know that my prayers were heard and that the patriarch was inspired to know what I needed. He said, “The Lord has heard your prayers. Yours mistakes in life so far are forgiven. Be cheerful you have a bright future before you.” This was an additional testimony to me that Heavenly Father had heard and answered my prayer for forgiveness.
At Gila Jr. College I graduated from a two year course in secretarial work. Why, I don’t know. I had never been outstanding in this field or even desired to be a secretary. Soon after graduation from Gila, I was called on a mission to the Northern States Mission (1943-1945). The only girls who were being called at this time (due to World War II) were those with secretarial training. I thrilled with my mission. The first experience I had in the mission was that of tracting with two other lady missionaries. They insisted that I take my turn being spokesman at every third door. At the very first door I knocked on I remember the Lord gave me added power of testimony and influence that I had never experienced before. He actually took away my fear. The occupant of this first home I knocked on was a Presbyterian Minister. I would shake in my shoes if I were confronted with one now. He said, “I am a minister. Of course, you wouldn’t want to talk to me.” I told him we wanted to talk to everyone. I “knew” we had more truth and knowledge than he had of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We told him the Joseph Smith Story of the First Vision. When we were ready to leave his home, he commented, “Well, I will have to say that you girls are really sincere in what you believe.” We left him with a good feeling. He did not invite us back and we never saw him again. I think I gained more from this experience than he did.
In May 1945 I was released from my mission. I had to report my mission first to the General Authorities in Salt Lake City. After reporting my mission to Elder Ezra Taft Benson, he said, “We need a girl secretary in my office. Would you be interested in the job?” I told him I would. He suggested I go home and report my mission in my home stake, visit a couple of weeks with my family and report for work June first. My father did all he could to try to talk me out of going so far away to work. Nevertheless, I did go to Salt Lake City to work for Brother Benson’s office. I had the rare privilege of living at the Beehive House for six months while working at the church office.
One day while living at this home, I was informed that there were two gentlemen downstairs who wanted to see me. I went down stairs, looked around, but could see no one I was acquainted with so thought someone had been mistaken about the whole matter. As Al and Read watched me walk down the stairs, Read commented to Al, “There’s a girl I’d never care to go with. She thinks too much of herself.” I was about to return to my room when a boy came up to me and said, “Are you Drucilla Fenn?” I said, “Yes.” “Well, I am Al Davis and this is my friend, Read Walker.” I had been writing to Al Davis but had never met him or even seen a picture of him. He asked me to get a date for Read and the four of us would go out and have a fun evening. I asked my roommate to go with us. I was not very impressed with Al’s personality, though he was a good person. On this first date I spent the whole time visiting and getting acquainted with his friend, Read. I felt we were not strangers and never seemed to want for something to talk about. Al came to see me every day for about two weeks. He made the remark to Read, “I just can’t understand that girl.” Al now had to return to his home in California. Read had just been released from the service and rented an apartment in Salt Lake City. He began where Al left off, dating me. After only a few dates Read commented to me, “Each date tastes a little more-ish”. Soon serious thoughts of marriage were between us. For just a short while I was undecided as to whether Read had all the necessary qualities of leadership which seemed important to the head of a family. Because of my indecision I applied and secured a job as a cashier at the McCune School of Music. When Brother Tracy Y. Cannon hired me he said, “I’m ‘kind a’ leery of people who are straddle of the fence.”
Read met me at the office each night after work. I was always glad to see him. It seemed so natural and right for us to be together. One night we went for a ride along the foot hills of Salt Lake City. This was the fatal moment. Read grew a little impatient waiting for me to make up my mind. This night he suddenly stopped the car and in a rather authoritative, self-confident tone of voice said, “Listen, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Marriage is a commandment of God.” From that moment on I felt that he could take the bull by the horns if need be and be the authority in the home. We were married one month later in the temple in Mesa, Arizona. He has loved me with all his heart and has always treated me with great respect, as though I were a queen.
Our children owe a great deal to their father. He has been a good example for them. As much as he loves the great out-of-doors, he was always in priesthood meeting and church every Sunday. His father inspired him to do this.
We made our first home in Union, Salt Lake, Utah. Read “fell heir” to this home at the death of his parents. This was the same home in which Read was born and lived until he joined the army in 1943. Here (literally) our first born child, Weber Andrew, was born 14 Jan 1947. Our four other children also blessed this same home. They were: Perry Leon, born 1 Nov 1949; Loa born 30 Jan 1953; Laurel, born 3 May 1956; Walter Ray, born 20 Nov 1958. They are all choice spirits of our Heavenly Father. Each of them has a desire to please our Heavenly Father and their parents. We love them with all our hearts. They are constantly making us proud of them.
While living at Union I was always busy in the church. I served in the primary organization for about twenty years, holding such positions as organist, historian, trekker and guide patrol teacher, top pilot and lark teacher, counselor, and president. It was a choice experience for me to teach the Spiritual Living Class in Relief Society. While teaching the lark girls I had two outstanding experiences. Our second daughter, Laurel, was only about a month old and was a feeding problem. With three other young children of my own plus a garden to harvest (peas) and freeze etc., I felt overwhelmed. Many times I felt I had more than I could do to keep up with my primary class. Finally I prayed with much faith and sincerity to know if I should give up this class for the summer. After seventeen years I can still see the spot where I was standing when Heavenly Father spoke to me, “Go on teaching that class”. After this my attitude towards this calling was so improved that I found the job much easier. The other experience was with the same class. It was Easter season. For our Easter lesson I carefully chose the particular scriptures I felt best portrayed the Easter message. The Spirit of the Holy Ghost was felt by each girl so strongly. It seemed each girl almost re-lived the occasion of the death and resurrection of our Savior. They didn’t want the class period to end. This was a choice experience.
Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Mat. 11:28) At one time during my early married life, I became seriously concerned about my health. One Sabbath Day I fasted and prayed with much faith that Heavenly Father would bless me to the extent that my health would be improved. I realize now that I expected too much of the Lord but I prayed with the same type of expectancy as did Joseph Smith. I looked with confidence for immediate results. All day long I kept watching for some indication of improved wee-being. Night time came and I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t received an answer. Time slipped by—bedtime came. My family were all asleep. I was still trying to figure things out while getting ready for bed. Just before I turned the light out to climb into bed, the Spirit spoke to me these words (just as clearly as I would speak to you): “you are going to be all right.” I was satisfied, my prayers had been answered, but in a way I had not expected. I had to help do the healing myself by the way I lived and ate. Jesus did come unto me and give me rest. I had the faith now that if I did my part, things would be all right. Heavenly Father is as close to us as we will let Him be.
During 1968 we decided to sell our old home in Union and buy 6.58 acres of farm land in Orem, Utah. Here we built a nice, new brick home and planted over 100 fruit trees, pasture for a cow, berries, grapes and always a big garden. In three years we had the farm and home completely paid for with the money we received from the sale of our property in Union. Many have felt Heavenly Father guided this move.
We hadn’t lived in Orem 34th ward long before I was again called into the primary to serve as teacher of the guide patrol. I worked hard at this and learned to love these boys. A five mile hike with these boys was fun, not a burden. I feel well paid for my efforts when I see them honoring and being advanced in the Priesthood. I shall always have a special feeling for these boys. Because of my health, Read thought it best I resign from teaching primary for a while. I was released December 1973.
After one month’s rest I began to feel that I should be helping again in the church. One Sunday in the fist part of February 1974 Bishop Larry Kirk asked me how I was feeling. “Fine,” I said, “I’m ready to go to work.” I immediately began to pray morning and night that the Lord would guide the bishopric so that they would know when and to that position where the Lord wanted me to serve. I have the faith that the Lord did guide the Relief Society leaders and the bishop in calling me to teach in the Relief Society as the Family Health Teacher. The Lord knew I needed to associate more with these sisters.
The experience of being married, giving birth to and caring for a family of my own have been a thrilling experience. I can remember having a drawer full of cute little baby clothes and just waiting anxiously for our first baby to arrive. He was so anxious to get here that he couldn’t be bothered with waiting for a little thing like a Doctor to receive him. He arrived at 2 o’clock A.M. 14 January 1947. Weber Andrew was the carefully chosen name we blessed him with, “Weber after his father, “And-drew after his mother. When he was born he looked like a miniature Grandpa Walker. Our neighbors and close relatives seemed to welcome Weber with open arms. Nearly every day someone “dropped” in to enjoy him. I can still hear them say, “Where’s Weber”? When he was only about eighteen months old he demanded the privilege of being taken next door to play with a set of building blocks even though it was then already dark and past his bedtime. Soon after this he was given a set of tinker toys for Christmas. He seemed to be able to build almost anything pictured on the outside of the box of tinker toys. When Weber was six years old he built a play house up against an old picket fence between us and Aunt Edith’s. This was big enough for him and his pals to stand erect in. Kate Henson was so proud of his accomplishment that she gave him some paint and a brush with which to paint it. Our yard was always the gathering place for the neighborhood children. One time Weber engineered the digging of a swimming pool in the place of the sand pile and filled it with irrigation water. He was always making boats or play guns for himself and all the gang to play with. Life was a challenge to him. He engendered enthusiasm everywhere he went. One time the neighborhood children had gathered on our front lawn to play. Weber was away. These children couldn’t get interested in anything and were about to disband when Weber arrived. In minutes he had a “peppy” football game going. They played until dark.
When Weber was about ten, he built the finest doghouse I have ever seen…shingled roof and all. Joe Oborn was so amazed that one so young could do so well. Always our trees were full of cabins, the building of which Weber supervised. Bishop Leo Vet Anderson would come across the street from the old white chapel, look up into the tree cabins and say: “He’s going to fall and kill himself someday”. Neither Weber nor any of his friends ever fell or broke any bones. All was heaven. We had a fifty foot rope tied way up in one of our shade trees in our back yard. This was a very popular spot. Many are the fishing trips and campouts Read and his boys enjoyed together in the Uintah or Boulder Mountains.
When our second baby, Perry Leon, arrived 1 November 1949 our capacity to love knew no bounds. My joy was so obvious that I remember wishing I could hide it just a little. I felt “a hug or a kiss doesn’t begin to do justice to the way I feel”. Leon seemed to have been born with an inclination to tease someone. I have a picture of him standing in his high chair trying to keep something from me. His capacity to love and be loved was apparent soon after he started to school. He had friends he loved more than a brother. Always these close friends were suddenly snatched away from him by moving out of town. I shall never forget one day when one of Leon’s closest boy friends in the fourth grade came into the class room to turn in his books, check out of the school and tell the teacher good-bye. Leon sat there almost in tears, feeling so cheated. He later commented to me, “I thought I should have been allowed to tell him good-bye.”
Leon learned, from his father, to enjoy making a garden. He once had a hobby of raising rabbits and quail. He studied scout merit badge pamphlets to learn the habits and care of these pets. He sold a few rabbits, the rest he butchered for our table. The livers were always reserved for Mother. The common breed of rabbits was not large enough for Leon. He ordered some Flemish Giants from Wisconsin by airmail.
Then 30 January 1955 can you imagine our pride and joy at the arrival of our first daughter, Loa? This called for real celebration. My Mother came up from Arizona and stayed three weeks with us. My how we were blessed, a new baby and my Mother to enjoy. When Aunt Bet got her first look at Loa she said, “There will never be a prettier baby”. When Loa was a few weeks old the primary officers and teachers came to our home and helped us celebrate her arrival, in the form of a baby shower. Sister Wealthy Wood (an angel of a neighbor who had been coming to our home every day for nearly seven months to clean and visit me) came the day of this party and scrubbed my living room. Weber was six years old by now. At this party for Loa, Weber came up and sat by me and insisted on helping me unwrap the gifts to show them to the other primary sisters. The sisters seemed annoyed and felt that I should demand he keep his hands off. I wanted him to enjoy the party also. I saw no harm in letting him help me. Weber and Loa always had a strong tendency to demand what they felt was right. One afternoon Weber and Leon and their cousin, Barry Lund, were gathered in our living room trying to blow up an air mattress to see if it were in condition to take on a camping trip. Loa wanted to be in on everything so she insisted that the boys let he help blow up the mattress. They felt this was none of her business. She grabbed the mattress and drug it out side trying to blow on it with every step. They chased her all around the outside of the house before they repossessed the mattress and put her in her place.
Loa always seemed so grown up and was so capable of doing things to help me in the home. She grew up feeling that with effort she could do most anything. When she was in Jr. High she made me dresses that were my favorites for years latter. Help wise, she has been almost like another grown woman in the home. I was quite a demanding mother, too strict, Laurel says. I made a rule that when each of our children became 10 years old they had to start doing their own ironing, except Sunday clothes. Weber and Leon fit right into my schedule perfectly and became quite efficient. When Loa was eight she demanded she be allowed to help me iron. She was given the chance and soon did all her own ironing.
During my last four months of pregnancy with our fourth child I had the habit of kneeling down by my bedside every afternoon and humbly thanking my Heavenly Father for strength and health to do my regular work and still carry this baby another day. My sense of gratitude for this was partly developed through having lost two babies at 5 ½ -6 months pregnancy. On a clear, sunny morning 3 May 1956, Read felt nervous about leaving me alone (my baby was due) while he went to Sugarhouse to work. He decided to take me to the Doctor first to see if he dared leave me all day alone. The Doctor examined me and said, “You are all ready to deliver. Go down to the hospital. On my lunch hour I will come down and deliver your baby.” I hadn’t had any labor at all. A nice three hour rest at the hospital was appreciated. About 12:45 PM Doctor Boggess arrived at the hospital, gave me a shot which started my labor. In about twenty minutes Laurel made a safe and peaceful entry into mortality, not even waiting for Daddy to arrive. While still on the delivery table I was handed the telephone to answer a call from a neighbor, Etta Whittaker, who was just interested in how her neighbor was doing. I remember lying in the hospital feeling so disturbed that the Dr. didn’t want me to breast feed this baby. “She’ll do just as well on the bottle.” He said. For seven months she was a feeding problem. I spent many hours rocking her and singing lullabies and primary songs to comfort her cramping stomach.
Laurel was such a sympathetic, accommodating child. I always thought she was about perfect (she tells me now that she wasn’t). Mrs. Wolsey thought she had a sweet disposition. She tended my children when I was sent to the hospital for our fourth child. She told me Laurel was not demanding. She was happy and contented (and patient) with what life gave her. All during Laurel’s early childhood it seems I unconsciously compared her work with Loa’s. When I needed help in the kitchen, Laurel’s help was not encouraged, I preferred Loa’s. I was not patient or wise enough to let her learn by making mistakes and messes. I was too anxious to get things done and had too many schedules to meet. I am thankful that Laurel grew up feeling that her mother loved her in spite of my human weaknesses. When she was only six years old someone inspired her to start writing her life history. She began two accounts. One began, “I started when I was a baby. My Mother loved me very much.” The other stated, “I, Laurel, having been born of goodly parents—“
Empathy is defined as “the imaginative projection of one’s own consciousness into another being”. Laurel once had a real or touching experience with the power of empathy. Loa was attending Orem High School, which was having of its annual proms. Loa wanted a date to go to this dance badly. When the night of the prom arrived and Loa had not been asked to go, Laurel said the power of empathy so completely filled her soul that for a moment or two it seemed almost as if she were actually Loa. Laurel felt such a desire to do something for Loa to help ease her disappointment! She came to me privately and said, “We ought to play some games and sing some songs as a family tonight to help Loa feel better”. After supper the family (Loa, Laurel, Ray, Daddy and Mother) did enjoy a fun evening playing together. Many years before this I was made aware of Laurel’s sympathetic nature. One night (when Laurel was still in elementary school) I was still working in the kitchen after the rest of the family were in bed, asleep I thought, much to my surprise, in walked Laurel. She had lain in bed listening to me work while the rest of the family were resting. She wanted to help me so I could go to rest also. Who could help loving such a child? I’ve thrilled other times with her sympathetic nature. In the summer of 1964 or 65 Laurel and I took a trip to Arizona together. She couldn’t be happier in heaven than she was while playing with Aunt Lavine’s children for four weeks. While on this trip, I went to the hospital to have a physical check-up. Grandpa and Grandma Fenn brought Laurel to the hospital to see me. When I told her that I had to stay in the hospital for an operation, she felt like crying yet she didn’t want to appear to be a baby. She tried to smile and appear grown-up even though we could see she felt like crying inside. She was sweet, lovable Laurel. Last summer (1973) she felt badly about Mother having to work so hard, with little help. She wondered if she should give up going to work to earn money to go to school so she could be home to help me. I shall miss her companionship when she gets married. If you could read her patriarchal blessing you would see shat Heavenly Father thinks her potential is!
Early in the afternoon of 20 November 1958 Faye Wolsey drove me to the Cottonwood Maternity Hospital to prepare for the arrival of our fifth baby. Dr. Boggess gave me a shot in the arm to start my labor. He checked the time, sat down and gave me twenty minutes (according to past history) for the baby to come. After twenty minutes and nothing had happened, Dr. Boggess said, “Maybe it’s not going to work this time.” Walter Ray wanted just ten more minutes to think or rest before starting to work on his second estate. Heavenly Father knew we serious minded Walkers needed such a cheerful, accommodating spirit as Walter Ray has always been. His easy smile seemed to spread from ear to ear. Mrs. Rosa Greer commented several times, “You surely picked a dandy for the caboose”. When Ray was Jr. Sunday School age he loved to sing and give 2 ½ minute talks. Then one Sunday when he was scheduled for a talk in Jr. Sunday school, he said to me (on the way to the chapel), “I don’t know my talk well enough”. Always before he had memorized his talks. This time I wanted him to try giving it in his own words instead. He didn’t feel well prepared. In the middle of his talk the Sunday School Coordinator stopped him and told him to start over and talk louder. He became so frightened he sat down and never did finish that talk. This ended his desire to give another talk.
Ray has been a “pal” to each one in the family. First he was Laurel’s playmate, and then he was Loa’s companion in salvaging dress patterns from the garbage can etc. By now he was old enough to ride Leon’s bike or to hike with him in the woods or fish the mountain streams or camp out. When Weber wanted his shoes shined or his car washed and waxed, it was Ray or Laurel (or both) he would turn to. Now his parents turn to him to back the car or tractor out of the driveway, pack the vegetables or fruit from the garden, fix daddy’s flat bike tire, repair the storm door or the T.V. or make a good batch of pancakes. We love him and are so proud of him. For our bishop to call him to be president of his deacons and teachers quorums says much for his character.
Each one of our children have begun to earn nearly all their own spending money from the time of their tenth or twelfth birthday. They then helped buy most of their own school clothes. Very little did they spend for junk or treats. We let them manage their own money completely. It was a great satisfaction to see them manage so wisely. Read has never made a big wage so the children earned for themselves just a little. Kate Henson saw a great blessing in this. She said, “You and Read couldn’t have been wise enough to teach them what they have learned by having to work themselves.” One day Weber said, “It’s more fun this way”. Many times Heavenly Father has sent friends our way to help us make ends meet. He has also blessed us with a desire and ability to always have a good garden and fruit trees. In Union people would say, “Oh, you’re the ones who always have a good garden.” We raised enough vegetables and fruit to store enough in a pit to last us all winter. Read and I have always paid a full tithing and tried to help with other ward finances. Since we have become members of the Orem34th and 47th ward our tithing and other ward assessments have come out of our check first, before any other bills. I wish the other principles of the gospel were as easy to live. My patriarchal blessing promised me “The Lord will bless and prosper you and you shall be blessed with means to accomplish that which you desire to do.” I desired to go on a mission. The way was provided. After we were married, we were blessed with means to buy an excellent piano and to give all five of our children piano lessons. With Weber and Leon’s own savings, our own earnings and a little help from friends and relatives, we were able to keep our sons on full time missions in Canada and Switzerland.
I know Jesus Christ is the Savior of this world and that He and His Father appeared to Joseph Smith and called him to be a prophet. I know that heavenly messengers came to earth and restored the Gospel and all the keys of the Priesthood. I know the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is always a prophet of God and that we must obey their teaching if we want to get into the Celestial Kingdom. I know the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the words of our living prophets are truly the words of God. Reading these scriptures to my children has been one of the most thrilling and satisfying experiences of my married life. Each day I looked forward to this time with my family. This was the highlight of my day.
I want to pay tribute to my good husband. He has contributed a very great and important ingredient to our home, “LOVE” for his wife and children. When we were married President Payne counseled us to not let one day go by without telling each other of our love. Read has obeyed this counsel 100%. He has taught me much about real, unselfish love. I wish I were as ready to meet my maker as he.
I feel thankful tour Heavenly Father for His many blessings. He has constantly watched over us and given us many of the most precious blessings a couple could have. Two of these blessings were a choice ancestry and five of His choicest spirit children to love and to guide back into His kingdom.
Written by Drucilla Fenn Walker
On Read and Dru’s 50th wedding anniversary held February 1, 1996, each of their children wrote a letter of tribute to their parents. The following are these letters which tell of their children’s love and appreciation to wonderful parents.
A tribute to my mother by Weber Andrew Walker:
As she may listen or read this, I had better be careful and tell nothing but the truth. I don’t have the ability to do justice with words so that the reader will know what kind of a mother I’ve had in my life. The Lord really has a noble and great one on His side in Drucilla Fenn Walker. She is what the Celestial Kingdom will be made of. I don’t just say this in case she listens to or reads these words. I say it because it is true. Momma, each of your family loves you very much. We thank you for all you have done for us. Now to the nitty-gritty, enough of this mushy stuff. My mother made me work for a living. I remember cleaning the mud out of the irrigation ditch at five cents an hour. I also remember washing outside windows to earn enough money to buy a cap gun for the 24th of July. I remember weeding the garden, picking and shelling peas, picking green beans and snapping them. I remember picking apples, pears, cherries, plums, blackberries, grapes, milking the cow and feeding the chickens. I felt all the time I was working for hard task masters for parents. But, I owe my ability to do an honest day’s work no matter what the job is to this early training.
My mother believed in Family Home Evening years before the church officially started this program. We had fun activities, but mostly we had real home evenings complete with opening and closing prayers and songs, piano solos, a rather long lesson usually from Momma, some wisdom from Daddy, assignments to do during the week and special treats afterwards. Our family knew the gospel better than most LDS families largely due to mother.
My mother’s favorite thing to do was to read stories to us. We have enjoyed these stories over the years. Even now, whenever she can find a grandchild or a child who will listen, and that isn’t hard to find, you’ll find Grandma Walker reading to the children. Momma was a good reader. She put the proper emphasis and meaning to just the right words. She would become involved with the story herself. Sometimes she would be so caught up in the story that she wouldn’t notice that her audience was all fast asleep. When I was very young, Momma decided that I was old enough to understand the Book of Mormon. Just about every night for a long time she would read to us at bedtime. Leon, Loa and I would find a pillow and for about 20 minutes, sometimes longer depending on the story, Momma would make the stories from the Book of Mormon come to life for us. We didn’t just read a few stories, we read the entire Book of Mormon from cover to cover many times. The prophets became my heroes. There was Nephi and his rebellious brothers, King Mosiah and the tower where he gave his great sermon before his death, wicked King Noah and the prophet Abinidi, Alma and his son and the four sons of Mosiah and their fourteen year mission to the Lamanites, General Moroni and the war stories which I especially enjoyed. Another favorite part of the Book as a boy was the 2000 sons of Helaman. Third Nephi was very special as the Savior visited the people of America. The ending stories of Mormon and Moroni and the final battles were a little sad. The teachings of the Book of Mormon and the spirit bearing witness of its truth have been one of the main foundation stones of my testimony. My life has been built upon it. I gained a testimony early of its truth thanks to a mother who read to me. I felt of her testimony of its truthfulness as she would read. My testimony of the Book of Mormon has been a great strength to me throughout my life. I have read the Book of Mormon many times since, but there is a special love in my heart for my mother as I remember curling up with my pillow in my bed and picturing vividly in my mind the stories of the Book of Mormon as my mother would read them to me.
Mother worked in the primary for many years. I was even in my mother’s primary class. Everyone was quiet and listened in her class. She had good discipline. She had well prepared lessons and everyone got the whole lesson before they left. I remember we had to memorize the Articles of Faith word perfect in primary before graduating. I think my mother finally met her match in Doug McClerry. He couldn’t memorize very well. Momma spent hours working with him individually before admitting that Doug had a little harder time than most memorizing things. She got him to pass off the thirteen Articles of Faith before he left primary. Momma later served as primary president.
I learned early that when Momma spoke, I obeyed. She spoke with authority and you could tell it. Even the kids in the neighborhood recognized this. When she told them it was time to go home, it was! She only had to say it once. If mother caught me talking too much in church, I was in trouble. I can’t remember what it was she would do, but I know I would have got it whatever it was! So I was usually pretty good. I remember she would peek over the folding curtains in Junior Sunday school and check on me now and then so I really didn’t have a chance to get away with anything.
It is impossible to express how you feel towards your own mother. I fell like Abraham Lincoln when he said of his mother, “Whatever I am or whatever I hope to be I owe to my angel mother.” Mine was a happy childhood. David O. McKay used to say that it is possible to make our homes a bit of heaven on earth. Indeed I know this to be true because I had a home that was a bit of heaven. My father and mother loved each other. My father told my mother he loved her nearly every day. I can never remember my father and mother raising their voices at each other or having a big argument in front of us. The only criticism I can ever remember was when my mother told my Dad one time that he spent too much time fishing. But we all knew that.
I was raised in a home where I felt loved. My mother was my personal cheerleader. I was her hero, I felt. She praised my for every little thing I did in school. She praised me for the first home run I hit and the first dog house I built. She praised me through letters on my mission. She praises me now just like I’m still her son and I always will have my own one special cheerleader in my life. I wouldn’t disappoint her for anything.
A Tribute to my Mother by Perry Leon Walker:
1st Nephi 1:1, “I Perry Leon Walker having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father…” This surely applies to me. No one could have had better parents who tried to teach and live the gospel and provide a good home environment for their children. You have dedicated much time and money to genealogy. You have faithfully paid your tithing. We were taught to be honest. You were faithful, wonderful church members. Thank you both for spending time with us on vacations and camping trips.
I was slower in learning to read and memorize my math facts. Mother helped me to learn the read better by having me read out loud to her. She also had me practice writing my math facts over and over until I had them mastered.
Mother is a shining example of one who studies the gospel and reads the scriptures faithfully. She took basic fresh garden food and made nutritious, good meals. We didn’t have fancy food, but our food was very good, none-the-less. I now appreciate basic foods and simpler things I life.
I used to run home for my school lunches. One of Momma’s creations was the “squash sandwich supreme”. It was practically an entire meal—bread, butter, honey, cinnamon, grated carrots, squash, lettuce, raisons. It was one dandy sandwich and a treat to eat. Mother, I regret that you have had so many health problems in your life. What a shame and a trial to have to eat so little and to pass up food you would like to eat. Then, the osteoporosis and not being able to be as spry and mobile as you would like to be.
Thank you for reading to us from the Book of Mormon when we were younger. You have been a wonderful mother and a great example to me. For all you have done, for your love and service to me, and your great example, I express my love and appreciation to you.
Remembrances of Mother by her daughter Loa Walker Taylor
Momma was a gifted disciplinarian. She taught by precept and example. We were not yelled at, scolded or lectured. She believed “spare the rod and spoil the child.” But, she didn’t punish in anger. We were taught correct principals and were expected to govern ourselves or suffer the consequences. I remember two incidences that illustrate these points. As a young child I wanted to go play at our neighbor’s house, the Wolseys. Momma had said no. I decided to go anyway. After I had been there for awhile, Momma came after me. In the backyard of the Wolseys yard grew a great big willow tree. I was instructed to go get a willow from the tree. Even though I was a young child, I knew I had done wrong. I was switched with the willow. Momma didn’t yell at me or yank me home. It was done calmly and respectfully with the willow I picked. I learned to respect what mother asked of me and to respect her. I learned self control. When I was about twelve I once spoke disrespectfully to my mother. She slapped me across the face and sent me to my room. After words mother said she felt terrible. She had punished me in anger even though I deserved it. She knelt down and asked Heavenly Father to forgive her, then she came to my room and asked my forgiveness. Any resentment I had felt melted away as I saw the true greatness of her character. I knew I had done wrong and was inspired to try harder by her respect for me in wanting to do what she felt her Father in Heaven wanted her to do and treat me as I would be treated by my Father in Heaven. Momma always showed respect for Daddy. I never heard an unkind word pass between them. Daddy was never criticized in our presence for not being a rich man. Momma made due with what she had and didn’t complain. We learned to never waste anything. Every plate was cleaned off and bowls scraped or licked clean. Clothes were mended and handed down or gladly accepted from others. We learned the value of money and to spend it wisely. Mother was always completely thorough with every task that she did, be it a church calling or a mundane household job. It was always done to the very best of her ability, without preaching but by example. She passed this to her posterity. I too gained a love of the Book of Mormon from sitting on her knee and listening to her read and feeling her testimony that came through. We knew that our mother knew that the Book of Mormon was true and that her testimony was that the Church of Jesus Christ was true and that we should follow of Savior. This she tried with all her heart to pass off to her posterity. Momma, I love you.
A Tribute to my mother by Laurel Walker Huff
For some reason, I have never had the ability to remember events from my past for very long as Ray, Loa and Weber have always seemed to have been able to do. I think I must have been half asleep as a child. I know I was there in the family, but events from my past are foggy. But, I do know that I was born to goodly parents. I love my parents very much and want to honor them by becoming the type of person they hoped I would be. I marvel now, as I raise my own children, how much my mother was able to do with her family that I haven’t seemed to be able to do in my own family.
My earliest memories seem to be of always trying to please Momma. (Of course, I didn’t always do that). I developed a very guilty conscience when I didn’t please her. I remember enjoying her reading to me, even though I fell asleep quite quickly. Even today, having someone read to me lulls me to sleep. The Book of Mormon stories I enjoyed as much as if they were fairy tales. We never turned our nose up at scripture reading. Momma had the ability to make the scriptures exciting to us even though she read straight from the scriptures themselves. I have learned to love and appreciate the Book of Mormon very much. Daddy supported Momma in all she wanted to do for her children.
I always thrilled to come home and tell Momma the latest things I was learning in school. She always had time to hear what I was doing in school. Doing well in school was very important to Momma. It became important to me as well. She instilled in me a love of school and learning.
Because of my mother encouraging me in school, and encouraging me to learn to read, and praising me for reading, I became an avid reader. Reading for me was better that TV. I visualized everything I read. I was watching my own movies through books and my imagination. I never missed having a TV when we didn’t have one in our home.
Momma gave her all to see to it that her children knew the principles of the gospel. She did this by scripture reading, taking the time for teaching moments as they came up. She also saw to it that we had fun, well planned Family Home Evenings every week. We looked forward to these nights. We knew it meant a lot to her as a means to teach us the gospel. We remembered the things that were taught during the week by fun little activities that would be reported on the next week. She was very organized in the home. The house seemed to me to always be clean, our clothes were always clean and mended and dinners were always prepared on time no matter what was going on. We always had delicious homemade brown bread for meals and snacks. Her meals were very well balanced and tasty. (I didn’t appreciate the peas, turnips, parsnips, stringed beans, three minute eggs, fish, chicken or rabbit too much, but I am sure they tasted just fine.) I don’t think anyone but me ever complained about the food. She had a gift for making vegetables taste great, and she could make a tasty main dish based entirely on vegetables.
We all knew that we had to work before we played. We helped with the wash by getting the clothes out of the washer and putting them into the wringer. I was always afraid of it taking my finger or hand or arm. I was glad when wash day was over. We took turns washing the dishes, and though we might have complained and dreaded it , we did it. We helped mop and wax the floors. We thought this was fun. From the time we were eight, we did our own ironing. We helped weed the garden or pick the produce. We helped do the canning. We knew that these things were expected of us, and we obeyed. We seldom argued with Momma. What she said was clear and fair. The consequence of disobedience was also clear and fair. Momma was very consistent. If we disobeyed her the consequences were sure.
We knew the gospel meant everything to Momma. We saw her give everything she had to her church callings. No one can ever say Momma didn’t give her very best to any task she needed to do. Momma is one of those mothers who will be a member of a group of honored women in the Celestial Kingdom who gave their all to motherhood and were true and faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I love my parents very much and know that they will be greatly honored in the days of the final judgment. They have been successful in their labors on earth and have been good examples of Christianity.
A tribute to my Mother by Walter Ray Walker
How do I go about writing a proper tribute to my mother? I suppose the best tribute is the righteous posterity she is responsible for. We have truly been blessed with goodly parents and we have been taught with an abundance of love and the gospel. Mother’s life could be described as one dedicated to service—service to husband, children, mother, grandchildren, deceased ancestors and ward members. I am truly grateful to the large portion of her life she devoted to me, the caboose in her family.
In my early childhood I remember with fondness my mother reading to me; not just a good night story, mind you, but the whole Book of Mormon, cover to cover several times, the Bible stories from the fat yellow hard covered book, fables from the Books of Knowledge and other books. How I loved and how I miss the sound of my mother’s voice reading to me. What a priceless heritage she bestowed upon me through this labor of love. Mother taught me the gospel form a very early age. One of my primary teachers commented how frustrated, but in awe she was that I knew every story in her lesson book almost better than she did. I learned to love the gospel through this reading and my testimony began from the early feelings that I felt. One time when my mother was reading to me I stopped her and asked how come I felt so good when she read the Book of Mormon. I don’t remember this now, but it is clear that I felt the spirit at an early age. The same is true of each of her children. Mother subscribes to the admonition, “Seek ye learning out of the best books”, and can always be found reading a new book—more often than not a religious book, but not always. Mother instilled the love of learning in my soul and a very real thirst for knowledge.
Mother also taught me the value of hard work. I learned from an early age that whatever was worth doing, was worth doing well, and that I should always be proud of any effort. She taught me not to squander the precious commodity of time. I learned to look for the value added of any activity that I became involved in. I remember how disgusted she was when I spent any amount of time watching television, something she almost categorically refused to do. She must have been horrified when I remedied the situation of no television in the house by announcing it as my intention to buy my own. But, she let me do it, confident that she had taught me well and that I should be allowed my free agency. Daddy taught me that when balanced, even pure enjoyment has its place. Mother has her sources of pure enjoyment too—just in other ways. Mother taught me to keep hard work in perspective, though. It is simply a means to an end—that end being industriousness.
I learned from her that we do not derive our happiness from our temporal possessions. Rather, pure joy comes from service to others. Mother let me have my own head to learn the lesions of what to do with your possessions. When I got my first job, that is, my first job after turning sixteen, at the local McDonalds restaurant, I found that I needed a car to get to and from work. I announced it as my intention to buy one. Mother discouraged it. However, when the single family car didn’t work out and I got to work late several times in the same week, she finally removed her opposition. But, like any parent was concerned, I’m sure she thought that I would lose focus in school and about going on a mission, etc. I didn’t however, because of how I was taught. In fact, I became something of a legend at the store in that I saved nearly every penny I earned. It was later, after returning from my mission that I used it to buy a new camero sports car while I was dating Dana. But, even then, I continued to learn the lesson I learned that the possessions don’t bring happiness. How you live and how you serve others is shat truly brings happiness.
Mother cheerfully accepted and managed our sometimes scant resources such that we never went hungry nor focused upon what we did not have. Instead, we focused on the things that mattered most—family activities, gospel study, church service, etc. I did not grow up feeling judged by how much money or how little money our family had, even though at times we did have very little. We had each other, we were loved, we enjoyed family activities together and we were happy. Mother worked hard with what was provided through home storage, sewing and other tasks. I often wore clothing given to us by others. We sometimes got our Christmas trees from the local elementary school after it let out for the holidays. But, I don’t begrudge or wish that it were any different. Thanks to my mother our focus was elsewhere, where it belonged. I think my mother would have been happy and managed very nicely whatever level of income was provided. This is a lesson we can all learn from.
Mother drew a clear line after teaching us correct principles. She allowed us our free agency as quickly as we were capable of using it. For example, I remember her telling me that I was free to choose whether or not to attend church. This was when I was about twelve or thirteen. I wondered more than once if she really meant it. But, regardless, I sincerely wanted to please her because of the love I felt for her and because after she had done for me I didn’t want to let her down. The advice I received from her and Daddy whenever I left home was always the same, “remember who you are and act accordingly.”
Mother encouraged me to develop my own individual interests. She found value in whatever I found value. My interests were her interests. For a time, sports were very important to me. Mother never missed one of my games, at least, none that I can remember. She would always compliment me on my play and she would keep track of my statistics, win or lose. I always had a good experience and was proud that my parents were in the stands. When I became enchanted with the amateur radio hobby she learned about my hobby and encouraged me in it. I was perfectly free to manage the money I earned and saved for and purchased my own radio equipment. More than once my adult sponsors marveled and commented on how fortunate I was to have such supportive parents.
Mother helped me develop a love for scouting through her involvement in cub scouts and blazer scouts. Of course, my father’s love for the outdoors was huge in this regard as well. Mother wasn’t one to push me to achieve her goals, however, she simply urged me to do my best in those areas that I set as my priorities. It wasn’t her goal for example that I earned my Eagle Scout award. But when I set it as my goal, she did everything she could to facilitate it.
Mother accepted each of us for who we were, rather than to measure us up wanting against her expectations. Mother was a real trooper when it came to hiking and camping. I say this because I don’t think she ever really enjoyed it. However, because it was such a big part of our family structure, she grew to tolerate it and even accept it—all except that is, the getting ready to go part.
Mother has always been a good listener, despite the fact that she does have strong opinions on certain subjects. I have always found her able to respect another point of view. She always provided me with objective feed back and advice in such a way that I didn’t feel like my own point of view was under attack or unacceptable.
Mother has always magnified her church callings. I remember with respect the passion and energy she invested in each new calling—always doing her best to serve others. I only hope that I can follow this example. Mother has had several special labors of love. One of these has been genealogy work together with Daddy. They are an awesome team in this work. As long as I can remember they have been pushing their lines further and further always willing to give as much effort and money to research as they could possibly afford.
I love mother with all my heart. No one could have had a better mother. I’m sure many children feel this way. And, maybe in each case it is true. I am confident, however, that I selected my parents in the pre existence because of their integrity, love, virtue, honor, honesty, devotion and willingness to serve others. I pray that my mother’s last years on this earth will be productive and free from undo pain and illness. I look forward to the eternities to come and hope that I live my life worthily to inherit eternal life together with my parents in the Celestial Kingdom. May God be with them and bless them.
Memories of my mother by Weber Walker Jan 29, 2003
(Given at the funeral services of Drucilla Fenn Walker) Orem, Utah
I can remember when I was a small boy getting up very early one morning and going in to the kitchen in our home in Union. I found my mother already up. She was sitting in a chair in front of our kitchen stove with the oven door open, the oven on, and her feet propped comfortably inside the warm oven. In this cozy position she was reading her scriptures enjoying the few moments before a busy day. This wasn’t the only time I observed this unusual cooking style. Momma felt a little guilty because of the electricity it was using but occasionally she enjoyed a few moments before everyone was up with her feet in the warm oven reading her scriptures. She loved the scriptures and she loved to read them to all of her family.
Once for my birthday just a few years ago my mother bought me a church book. She was very sheepish and apologetic when she gave it to me. She had read it first and even underlined some parts. She just couldn’t resist it. It just made the book all the better to know that my mother had liked it and had marked up the good parts for me.
“You may have tangible wealth untold
Caskets of Jewels and coffers of gold.
But richer than I you can never be
For I had a mother who read to me.”
The furnace room
In our small home in Union their wasn’t a lot of privacy. We shared bedrooms and took turns in the bathroom. One room scared me when I was a little boy. It was called the furnace room. It was dark and didn’t have a light. When the furnace came on it would roar like a wild beast. You could see the flames of fire like a dragon was coming to get you. I often noticed my mother sneak in that awful place morning and night and shut the door behind her. It was where she went to say her prayers. I prayed too when I went in that room but not for the same reasons. I knew my mother said her personal prayers. She taught by her example. It was like a bit of heaven to hear her pray. You could feel her deep testimony when she prayed. She prayed for her children when they needed it. We were taught to pray.
A cap gun
One summer when I was a very young boy, I wanted a cap gun for the 4th of July. They sold them at Burgons Market for 75 cents. My friends all had one and it seemed to be what one needed to be a real success in life. I had to have one. I asked my mom if I could earn some money and she hired me on the spot. My first real job. The benefits were real good but the pay was low. I contracted for 5 cents an hour. I still remember what the jobs were; washing windows and cleaning out the mud in our cement irrigation ditches. I earned my cap gun, but more importantly I learned to work. Momma was a hard worker and wanted us to be too. To not be busy was not in momma’s nature. If she couldn’t be doing something she would read the scriptures or an Ensign magazine or a church book. That was her relaxation. I learned to be a good worker largely because of the example of my mother.
A letter home
At one time on my mission I was having a hard time. My mother could tell between the lines of one of my letters home. She felt responsible as my mother that she hadn’t been a good enough mother in preparing me to be a good missionary so she wrote me a letter, which I will always remember. Among other things she said, “ I did the best thing I could think of in raising you and that was to instill in you a testimony of the Gospel and of the Book of Mormon and of Jesus Christ.” With tears in my eyes and a grateful heart I said a prayer of thanks and realized more what a great mother I had. My problem was quickly solved. It has been a great source of strength to me to have met trials and hardships in my life with a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ largely instilled by a mother who had a strong testimony and made sure her children and grand children did too. At times like these a testimony is a very nice thing to have.
Bits and pieces
When I was in Junior Primary in the sunbeams we held our class in the cultural hall in little rooms made from cloth portable dividers with hinges. My mother was just tall enough to peak over the top and spy on me. Several times each week she would check on me unannounced. I didn’t have a chance. I had to be good or I would get caught for sure. I learned to behave properly and to be respectful to my teachers. Later as an 11 year old in the guide patrol class my mother was asked to be the teacher of this group of 11-year-old boys who were especially mischievous. We were soon made to toe the line. We had met our match. We were almost 100% quiet and we had to look our teacher in the eye while she was talking. There was no fooling around. I remember I started to misbehave only once. We had well prepared interesting lessons and we were good for our teacher and gave her the respect she expected of us. I learned a lot about being a good teacher. One thing we were to do was to memorize the 13 articles of faith. One boy was a slow learner in school. Momma worked and worked individually with him. She even went to his home to help him. She finally got him to repeat his articles of faith. Everyone else thought it couldn’t be done. Momma was a good letter writer. She wrote to many missionaries not just her own family. She even wrote to one of the boys in her guide patrol class who came from a difficult home situation and hadn’t gone on a mission but had joined the army instead. She wrote to relatives who weren’t members of the church and bore her testimony to them. She wrote to family members who were starting to date and gave them special council that they may or may not have needed but they got it anyway. Momma liked to hold hands with grandpa while taking walks together, which they did almost every day when they were well enough. Grandpa treated her like she was a queen and was still courting her. He often told her he loved her. They were an ideal couple and will have been married for 57 years this coming Saturday.
When I was a young boy I played baseball and marbles and took piano lessons and brought home report cards but I had an advantage. I had a cheerleader who praised everything I did. My mother shared my life. She was my cheerleader. She praised me for everything I did. I knew she loved me and I wanted to please her by doing my very best. She came to all my games. Not just baseball as a young boy but in my piano lessons and my schoolwork and my mission and my marriage and my children and in the game of scripture reading and in the game of family prayers and the game of home evening. Long after I ceased being a young boy my cheerleader still came to my games. She would somehow look into my soul and she would praise me and often do some coaching as well when needed. I have always wanted to play well for my coach and cheerleader. I will miss that praise. When I meet her again I want to have a good report. I know she will want to know the score of the games in each of her children and grandchildren. We had better do well or we will be in trouble.