Fern and Douglas
Contributor: crex Created: 9 months ago Updated: 9 months ago
Taken from pages 93-94 of “Write Me a Poem” A Collage by May H. Marsh.
FERN AND DOUGLAS
written for their Wedding Party August 30, 1939
recited by MayRene
When Douglas came to our house first
About five years ago,
It was to see my brother, Ray,
And spend a night or so.
And Ray had lots of sisters, then
Each waiting for a date,
But Douglas didn’t notice them,
Fern didn’t even rate.
Ray went away for most four years--
Doug bade us all adieu;
But just as soon as Ray returned
Then here came Douglas, too.
Oh, yes, there were some sisters left,
But Douglas didn’t care.
He simply passed them up again
As if they weren’t there.
About the second time he came
To stay all night with Ray,
He asked if Fern would like to ride
Out home to spend the day.
To be polite, Fern said she would--
They chatted on together
About the mountains and the roads
And all about the weather.
This happened several times, and then
We noticed all one day
That Doug paid more attention far
To Fern than he did Ray.
From that time on, when they came out,
We heard this little tune--
“We’d better go, we have to work--
And morning comes SO soon!”
And then one night they came down home,
Excited s could be,
To speak to Mom and Dad alone--
They wouldn’t let us see!
But anyway, I heard Mom scream--
“To think of such a thing!
A few short weeks of courtship--
And NOW a diamond ring!”
We all are happy Doug chose Fern
To be his life-long partner.
We hope in City or in Town
She will make a first-class Gardner.
Personal History Of George Douglas “Doug” Gardner 12 March 1913 to 19 June 1966.
Contributor: crex Created: 9 months ago Updated: 9 months ago
Personal History Of
George Douglas “Doug” Gardner
12 March 1913 to 19 June 1966
Although this is October 17, 1964 and I am in my 51st year, I feel constrained to record certain events in my life that I feel may be useful or interesting to those who follow me. At this time, I may not record them in strict chronological order, because I fear that I may not so recall all that I might wish to record. I will try to date those events that I can tie down to some actual date, however.
At this time, I am recovering well from an operation from which there was serious question by some, of my chances of recovery. During the two month stay in the hospital an event occurred that resulted in a promise that I would record certain events in the near past that clearly showed the hand of the Lord in my life. Because of the importance to me of these events, I am recording them now in order although I plan to later include earlier events in life.
When we first moved to the mid-west in 1947, with our oldest sons David and Robert, we did it with some misgivings. Here we were going to the little river town of Louisiana, Missouri nearly forty-five miles from the nearest (and then very small) Branch of the LDS Church. After living all of our lives in wards of the LDS Church, except for my two years in the Western States Mission, this was to be quite a change. To make Fern feel better I promised in all seriousness that we would return to an area where the LDS Church was better represented in not less than five years. Seventeen years later, I have not yet kept that promise. However, she has given at least partial approval to our remaining in this area.
While living in Louisiana, Missouri where I worked for the United States Bureau of Mines, our second “pair” of sons was born. Richard came within a few weeks of our approval, on November 12, under conditions quite difficult for Fern – as she knew only one couple, Dr. Sternberg and his wife – and I was out of town (in Oklahoma). (I add my note to this; it was actually one week after our arrival that Richard was born) FMG
We had a number of rewarding experiences while in Missouri that certainly helped shape our lives. After traveling the 45 miles to Hannibal to Sunday school and church a few Sundays, with our small children, we decided that it was unwise. We therefore requested permission to start a Sunday school in our home. In time the DeMoin Harlow Family who lived in Bowling Green, Missouri, about 10 miles away decided to join us instead of going to Hannibal all day. I feel their decision was due to their desire to make Sunday school available to Sister Griffin and her three children and her parents, who lived between Bowling Green, Missouri and Louisiana, Missouri.
In any event, we started holding Sunday school alternately in our home, Sister Griffin’s home, her parents (the Carr’s) home and in Brother and Sister DeMoin Harlow’s home. Also attending in addition to our own families were two to four Curry Children whose father had joined the LDS Church a number of years before and he had died several years before we came to Missouri.
Although our Sunday school didn’t grow much in size, we did grow in strength and in our understanding of the gospel. The young people were taught the gospel and the older ones had to study to teach it. David and Robert were baptized during these years as were two of the Griffin Children, one of the Harlow’s, and one of the Curry’s. David and Doris Marie Harlow and two of the Griffin children were baptized in Noix Creek, mid-way between Bowing Green and Louisiana, near where the Griffin’s lived. Robert was baptized in the newly dedicated chapel at Hannibal. David also received the Priesthood while we were there as did Dale Griffin. We were also privileged to ordain Brother Carr after he gave up the use of tobacco, which he had used for most of his seventy years.
I feel the events leading to his ordination are worthy of mention, because I feel that the Lord guided us more than we realized at the time. Following Sunday school one Sunday morning when we held the meeting at Carr’s, Brother Harlow and I, after some preliminary discussion and prayer, asked Brother Carr to go into another room with us. There we discussed the Priesthood and its importance and asked him if he wouldn’t try to give up tobacco, so we could request permission to confer on him the Aaronic Priesthood and ordain him a Deacon. As I recall, during our talk I used arguments I had never thought of before and Brother Harlow spoke convincingly. However Brother Carr apparently accepted none of them and became quite angry – accusing us of trying to “run him out of the church” or holding “closed communion” against him. After our “Interview” with him we were quite discouraged, expecting to have him quit coming to church. Next Sunday, however we held Sunday school at their place again and they welcomed us with open arms. He hadn’t taken any tobacco since our talk with him and he was proud as he could be. We immediately requested permission to ordain him and a few weeks later he became the first (to my knowledge) Deacon ordained in the Louisiana Sunday school of the Hannibal Branch. It may be that his grandson, Dale Griffin was ordained before him however. As near as I can determine, Brother Carr did not again use tobacco in his lifetime.
Sometime after we started the Sunday school with me as Superintendant and Brother Harlow as assistant, I was asked to serve in the Hannibal Branch Presidency. At about that time we had Brother Harlow set apart as Sunday School Superintendent and had Dale Griffin as his assistant. I enjoyed my work with Brother Webb and Brother Price and feel that I added something to the Branch, even though I was 45 miles away. I know that these experiences strengthened me and our whole family – although it was very hard for Fern and the boys to to take that long trip to Hannibal each Sunday after our trip to Bowling Green each Sunday (after sometime alternating homes we had finally settled on holding Sunday school at the Harlow’s each Sunday).
After Conference in St. Louis, Missouri on Sunday, President Roy Oscarson, our Missouri District President, asked me to serve on the District Council and have charge of the Sunday Schools of the District. I was not able to refuse him, although I was to say the least, flabbergasted. This led to more traveling for our little family (growing however to five and then six during these years). It meant not only travel to St. Louis to conferences, but also travel all over Eastern Missouri to the various Sunday schools. With our little family we traveled up to the small town of Unionville, near the Iowa border where a faithful mother had been teaching Sunday school lessons to her three children, ever since the missionaries had left nearly a year before. We had the Sacrament with her for the first time they had partaken for a good many months. As I understand her son and younger daughter eventually served missions.
We also went south nearly to Cape Girardeau to a small town of Jackson where a few members wanted to start a Sunday school in their home. Other experiences included going to Fredricktown for breakfast after a long Sunday morning trip and having the cook come out into the front, turn on the radio to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and then go back into the kitchen. Yes, we enjoyed the visits to these small struggling Sunday Schools and others not quite so small, such as at Mexico, Kirksville, Rolla, Belleville, Columbia, and East St. Louis. Each had their problems. Each had an area where we could help and our own growth came when we really tried to help. I regret that I didn’t keep a diary during these years. Facts and figures that I can’t remember now including dates would make this record more meaningful I’m sure.
When the Demonstration Plant was closed down by the Government, just about five years from the time we arrived in Missouri, there came an opportunity for us to return west. Part of the last two or three months were spent by all of the employees in looking for new employment. Many industrialists sent recruiters to look over the available talent. We had several very promising prospects, but none in Salt Lake City that seemed worth following-up very much. The Bureau of Mines at Salt Lake had nothing. One or two tentative prospects did not appeal to me and so after much prayer, discussion with my Mission President, my District President, and Fern, we decided to say in the Mission Field, or at least east of the Rockies. We then selected National Petro-Chemicals Corp. at Tuscola, Illinois as the most promising. Some important part of the consideration was the nearness to the University of Illinois and its influence on schools. We also found an LDS Branch available 25 miles away (as compared to 45) and so we came to Illinois, the Northern Illinois District of the Northern States Mission.
Yes, we still traveled 25 miles to Sunday school and 25 miles to Sacrament Meeting. We did however, have one other family, the B.J. Anderson’s living in town and also employed at “Petro” who were members and eventually shared travel to Priesthood and Sunday school. So wives and children traveled later than the Priesthood members.
After getting acquainted in the Champaign Branch for awhile, President Ross Kelly asked Brother Anderson and I to serve on the District Council. Again I was assigned to the Sunday school and for some time I was District Sunday School Superintendent and District Councilman in charge of Sunday school. As our Council activities continued I enjoyed many interesting trips with Brother Byron Anderson to all of the Branches of the District. We visited Peoria, Joliet, Kankakee, Carbondale, West Frankfurt as well as Jacksonville, Danville, Springfield and all others in between. We learned much about human nature, about variations in faithfulness, imagination, dedication, as well as ability both in ourselves and in those working in the Branches.
After changes had occurred in the District Council and in the District Presidency, as men would leave for other positions there came a time when there was a vacancy in the Presidency. One night in my prayers I did something I don’t recall ever having done before or since and never expect to do again. Either in my prayers on my knees or in bed after, I do not recall, but I did ask the Lord if he could consider me for a position in the District Presidency, because I had so enjoyed working with President Kelly. It was only a few days later or it may have even been the next day, when President Kelly and I were helping at the Rummage Sale the Branch was holding to raise money for our proposed addition to the Chapel. He asked me if I would serve as his councilor. Was this an answer to my prayer or was the prayer really a message from the Lord telling me that I was to be called. Certainly I can see no reason why I should have been so presumptuous as to think that I should petition the Lord for such a calling. I, at this date, must conclude that it was a message alerting me to the pending call.
During the years, I served as counselor to President Kelly with Frank Johnson as the other counselor. I learned much in the matter of dedication from the lives of these two fine men. I also straightened out my personal life to a large extent. Problems that had been with me from childhood I finally seem to have completely overcome by talking with President Kelly.
Although my contribution in the work of the Presidency, are far less than I would like, the association with them have strengthened me beyond measure. As President Johnson left, I felt we had lost a most valuable aid, but President Mautz has been equally as good, contributing much from his experience as Branch President of Champaign and from his experience in his profession.
Because of my recognition of the comparative strength and ability of President Kelly and Mautz, I was somewhat surprised when I was called to join them in the Presidency of the new Illinois Stake when it was organized in February 1963. Here again, the experiences have been choice. It has been a rare privilege to serve in the Presidency during these difficult times of transition from a District to a Stake. I only regret that I have not done more to help the Stake grow more rapidly to its potential.
In addition to the spiritual blessings I have received, I owe my opportunity to continue with my family, to help support Robert on his mission in Peru and perhaps to see Richard and Mark through their missions, as I did David to his mission to Hong Kong, China, owing to the power of the Priesthood. Yes, I owe my presence here to the administration by President Kelly and others and the prayers of friends and loved ones. This I know.
In August of 1963, not long after quarterly conference, I had difficulty with my stomach. After careful diagnosis it was concluded on the basis of X-rays and my past medial history that I had damage to my stomach wall resulting from encroachment of enlarged lymph glands. The chief surgeon advised that only removal of part of my stomach would remit even partial recovery. Dr. Failor who knew of my other medical history so well concluded this was a very grave gamble. After the chief surgeon’s advice to operate was given, President Kelly and my son, David administered to me. The next day the symptoms which had caused so much concern were practically gone and in a very few days I was back to work as though nothing had happened. Intravenous injection which Dr. Failor had been giving were changed to pills taken orally and except for continued attention to blood condition, my health was very good for about a year. This year I owe fully to the Lord. It was time that I’m certain; I would not have had without the Power of the Priesthood.
Following conference in August 1964, I again had health problems. For two weeks I was in Carle Hospital while they were trying to clear-up problems in my bladder without operating, because of the risk in operating with my blood condition. When no progress could be made and the decision was made to operate, President Kelly, Brother Dayton Wittke, and my son David administered to me. Many people prayed for me and my name was placed on the Temple List.
Immediately after the operation, there were those who thought that I had no chance for a full recovery and a hint of this was given to Fern by the doctors involved. It was not until two or three days later that she knew that I didn’t have cancer with malignant tissue remaining in the bladder.
It was during this time that I was told to record the events of my recovery in 1963, and that I would have a second recovery due to the Priesthoods Power to record because the foundation for my recovery had been laid. Following this message from Heavenly Father, the pathologists who had pronounced the sample from my bladder as malignant found on more careful and further study that it was not. I can only conclude that this message to me is another indication of God’s goodness, of His willingness to answer the prayers of His worthy servants.
George Douglas “Doug” Gardner died on Father’s Day, 19 June 1966, of Hodgkinson’s Disease – a cancer of the lymph glands. Three months before his son, Robert returned from his LDS Church Mission to Peru.