Grace Olivia Foutz Boulter
Contributor: cbarnum Created: 7 months ago Updated: 7 months ago
GRACE OLIVIA FOUTZ BOULTER 1904 - 2000
This synopsis of Grace’s life was written by Grace’s niece, Lola Carson Taylor, for a Relief Society Honoring of Grace; with corrections made by Virginia Boulter Grundvig in 1999.
On a winter night in December 1904 a beautiful baby girl was born to Fred and Olivia Warnick Foutz in Pleasant Grove, Utah. She was the fourth child in a family of seven. She was given the name of Olivia Foutz, later baptized as Grace Foutz and confirmed as Grace Olivia Foutz. She has often talked about how happy her childhood was. She liked being a member of a large family and was thankful to have devoted, loving parents who early in life taught her about the gospel plan and the blessings that can come through honest hard work.
The goal her parents set for her (to live according to the teachings of Jesus Christ as taught by His prophets in this dispensation) was the same goal she set for her children. She wanted to lead them in the light of the gospel. The contributions made by her ancestors to the Church and the settling of Pleasant Grove, Utah have been many.
As a young girl she had blond hair and endless freckles. Before she was 8 years old she was working in the berry patches around town and thinning beets. She rose at 5 a.m. and worked all day for never more than $1.50. With the hard earned money she paid her tithing and bought her clothes. After a hard days work there was still plenty of energy left for fun and games: such as hide and seek, run sheep run, and crack the whip, often with her fun loving mother in the lead.
When she was 5 years old a family by the name of Boulter moved into their neighborhood. Don Boulter who was her age became a friend to her brother Roy and spent many hours in their home. From that time on her bond of friendship with Don grew.
After 2 years of high school she left the safety of her home, moved into Salt Lake City and enrolled at the L.D.S. Business College. Here she worked for her board and room besides carrying a heavy load of classes. When she finished she went to work for S.H.Kress Company as head cashier. The pay being poor her Mother suggested she come home and finish high school. This Grace did. It wasn’t long before the school, the community, and others knew of her secretarial skills. She was soon cutting stencils, running copies and doing bookkeeping for school, the city and Pleasant Grove cannery. As a result of spending so much time in the office she missed attendance of so many classes she wondered if she would graduate.
When she graduated her teenage sweetheart gave her a yellow gold Elgin watch and once again she moved back to Salt Lake City. Grace took a job at Armstrong Enberg Company. At this time she lived in the Beehive House with other girls. They were fun filled days with dances at Saltair, weekends to the M.I.A. Home at Brighton and the building of lasting friendships.
About this time Grace decided maybe it would be a good idea to broaden her relationship with the opposite ***. So while riding the interurban to Salt Lake with Don she decided to let him know of her decision. He became irate and informed her she was the one he wanted and he had spent too many years courting her to not be the winner.
On June 12, 1929, they were married in the Salt Lake Temple and left that evening for Chicago. Since they had little money, Grace took a job as a private eye. So successful was she in tailing her unsuspecting victim that she was offered full time employment. However, she found a position as secretary for the Morrow Company which manufactured vacuums which was more to her liking. Her husband, Don, was now enrolled at Coyne Electrical School. They were living in a one room apartment and life was taking on the appearance of a successful marriage.
They attended the Logan Square Meeting House, one of the first L.D.S. churches built east of the Mississippi after the saints were driven from Nauvoo. Here Grace served as Relief Society Secretary and more lasting friendships were made.
When the depression hit, work was cut to part time. They moved back to Utah and after a short stay went west to California in search of employment. There after seven years of marriage the Lord blessed them with a baby girl, and four years later with a son. After several moves they built (in 1939) what she thought would be her permanent dream home in South Gate, California. She worked in the Ward and Stake Primaries, in Mutual Presidencies and held many teaching positions. Truly life was good.
For Don however, wanderlust took over and he knew Alaska was the realization of his dreams for adventure. So he left to scout the Alaskan territory in 1945 and one year later Grace sold her dream home and joined him in Alaska with the children. When she stepped off the train in Eska, Alaska, in her high heels and city clothes, the coal miners and homesteaders gave her one week. But they did not know our Mother, Grace. Perseverance and determination has paid off for her more than once. She had the ability to accept and adjust to any situation life dealt her.
On their homestead in Sutton they lived in a two room Quonset Hut. To wash clothes Grace melted ice cycles and snow for water and then scrubbed them on the washboard. She cooked on a wood burning stove which also served to heat the house and to heat the stove irons for ironing the clothes. For light she pumped up the Coleman Lantern and prayed that it wouldn’t explode when she lit it. But she was determined they would not only survive but that they would make a success of living in this beautiful picturesque setting.
Hard work was again at hand. She helped clear the land for growing crops, bark the logs for their home, draw plans, drive nails, and paint walls. Eventually the day came when nestled among the birch and spruce trees she had another dream home with all the comfort of city living.
When they came to Alaska she brought all the primary material to teach her children the lessons. When they graduated the General Primary President told her they were the first to graduate in the territory of Alaska. They sent a full tithing to the Branch of the Church in Anchorage, but it was too far away to attend meetings. Upon meeting other homesteaders Grace found a couple of other women from Utah who had an L.D.S. background. A Home Sunday School of the L.D.S. Church was founded in Palmer (about 12 miles away) with Grace’s husband set apart as Presiding Elder with Grace to be Branch Clerk and take care of tithing and all records. Fourteen people were present at the first Sunday School Meeting held in a home. More L.D.S. families were found, or moved into the area until a branch was formed still with Grace as Branch Clerk.
She spearheaded fund raising activities with the goal of a chapel of their own to meet in. Two years from the time they first broke ground for their chapel (with 9 families being involved at first), it was finished. During the construction of the chapel she flew to Salt Lake City and met with the Church building committee to have some changes made in the building plan. The changes were made and it then better met their needs.
In order to get their mail delivered to Sutton, she took on the job of Post Master. This she did faithfully for sixteen years. She walked the mile from her home to the post office winter and summer. Seeing a need for getting the women out of bars and babies off the pool tables, with help from the University of Alaska Extension Service, she organized a successful Homesteader Homemakers Club.
In 1959 she attended the huge bonfire celebrating the signing of statehood papers for Alaska. She witnessed the devastating Alaskan earthquake in 1964. She enjoyed watching the Northern Lights, visiting Mt. McKinley Park (now Denali Park), visiting glaciers, catching and canning salmon from the Alaskan streams, picking and cooking with the wild raspberries, cranberries, currents and blueberries and marveled at the beauty of the mountains and forests in view of her home.
Her children both graduated from Palmer High School and went on to graduate from Brigham Young University . Her son Don fulfilled an L.D.S. mission to Hawaii.
After twenty years and three months of wilderness living, where bears, lynx, and moose roamed their back yard, Grace and Don made plans to leave their log house on their Alaskan Homestead and return to California where they purchased a lot in Victorville next to Grace’s sister Oral and her husband in 1965. They looked forward to a peaceful retirement and built another new home in a warmer climate.
Here Grace was called to the Relief Society Presidency. Later Grace and Don were called to do sealings in the Los Angeles Temple. When this assignment was finished they once more sold their home and moved back to Utah. This time to build a home in Alpine, where they were close to their early family roots and close to two of Grace’s sisters and a brother and their families.
In the fall of 1971 Grace and Don were called to be ordinance workers in the Provo Temple. In 1978 she and Don filled a mission to the Tennessee, Nashville Mission. Don passed away eight years later in 1986. Grace continued to live in her home in Alpine until 1998 when her health failed enough that she could no longer live alone.
For someone who never really cared to travel she has seen many of the beauties of this world. She traveled the Alcan Highway many times. She spent a summer in Samoa; cruised on a ship down to Matazalan; flew to Acupulco; toured the San Blas Islands, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia; and visited all but two of the United States.
She has always been frugal with herself and generous with the needy. Her humor has helped her to make the best out of a lot of not so humorous situations. She has been vocal on political issues and irked over government waste and spending.
Her life has been one of dedicated service to her church, to her family, and to all who knew her. She lived to see all six of her grandchildren serve successful missions for the church and to see all six of them marry in the temple.
As a mother and grandmother she has tried always to set a good example.
Grace Olivia Foutz Boulter has written her own personal history and testimony which has been bound in a hardcover book of 116 typewritten pages which I, Virginia, have. In 1983 she gave an oral history to Marsha C. Martin for the L.D.S. family life oral history project which is in the CHARLES REDD CENTER FOR WESTERN STUDIES, BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY.