Life Sketch of Heber Chase "Roy" Priestley
Contributor: BarbaraLeishman Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Life Sketch of Heber Chase "Roy" Priestley 1900-1977
Written by Roy's daughter, Ida Beth Priestley Taylor Mendenhall
Haden, Idaho is a small community in a beautiful valley nestled at the base of the Grand Teton Mountain Range. It was in Haden on September 5, 1900 that Heber Chase was born to William Washington and Engerline Marie Petersen Priestley. He was the fifth child. Older siblings were William Carl, Erastus Peter, Jacob Alonzo and Engerline Sophia all born in Heber City, Utah. Heber City is also a small community which is surrounded by the Wasatch Mountains of Utah and is also a very beautiful place.
This young family was moved to Haden shortly before the birth of Heber. Their home was a one room log cabin at the top of a big hill.
Life was very difficult for Engerline Marie as she struggled to provide for her children, while William Washington spent very little time with the family. Heber talked very little of his Father when he grew up. One memory of which he spoke was when he was very small his Father came to see them and brought him a sack of candy and he remembered he sat on his lap.
Carl was eight years old when Heber was born and by the time he was old enough to help the older brothers were gone from home, leaving Heber to help their Mother. Water was carried from the creek at the bottom of the hill which was used for laundry, cooking, bathing, watering the garden, the cattle and the chickens. Most of each day and every day water was carried to the top of the hill. Young children would not have been able to carry much water at a time and so many, many trips were made up and down the hill to help provide some of the needs of the family.
When Heber was ten months old, his sister Engerline Sophia, who was just two years old, died after suffering from a sun stroke on June 18, 1901. She was buried in the Haden cemetery not far from her home. Linny was a nickname given to her by her family. She was a darling little girl with curls and big eyes in a round chubby little face.
On January 20, 1904, another sweet sister was born to this family and given the name Ruth Mary Sophia. It wasn’t long until Heber and Ruth grew to be “best pals.”
Engerline was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and attending her meetings was very important to her. She insisted her children attend also. The boys rebelled, as force was used to make them go, and as a result none of the boys remained active in the church.
As Heber grew he developed a great love for animals, horses and dogs seemed to be his favorites. One of his chores was to milk the cows. Grandma had done this and the animals were used to her and gave Heber some problems until he decided to wear his Mothers dress while doing the milking. The cow seemed to think he was doing a good job as long as he wore a dress and the milk bucket was not kicked over and the cow did not run from him. Another job that fell to Heber was gathering the eggs, a job he did not like because there was a rooster that always chased him.
He enjoyed rodeos, he attended and participated in many. He had his share of falls and broken bones but continued to go whenever he could. One 4th of July he participated in a rodeo. The cars were put in a circle to form an arena, there were no chutes so the guys blindfolded and held the horse until the rider got on, the bucking started when they turned him lose. Heber who was riding a saddle bronc, got bucked off and flew straight in the air, on the way down his pant leg caught on the saddle horn ripping it from the bottom clear to his crotch, everyone was laughing so hard and Heber didn’t know why until he started to walk away and felt the rip in his pants. A bunch of the guys would get together often on weekends to do rodeo with lots of horses and practice saddle bronc and bare back riding. On one occasion Heber was riding a horse and the horse jumped over the top of a convertible car. An older couple was sitting in the car and started to scream, their eyes were as big as saucers, when the horse and rider sailed over the top of them, landed the jump and the rodeo continued.
He liked Jackson Hole, Wyoming and went there occasionally, his mode of travel was by horseback. This took more than a little time to get there as he rode over the Teton Mountains. On the other side crossed the Snake River on a ferry with still quite a distance to ride before getting to Jackson Hole. He talked of Jackson Hole often throughout his life, and of the beautiful place it is. He enjoyed nature and being a part of it.
In early spring Heber helped cut great blocks of ice for the icehouse. Sawdust was used to slow down the melting of the ice while it cooled meats and other food items through the summer months. This was a hard and very cold job.
Heber was able to spend precious time with his sister Ruth, and when she married he was a frequent visitor at their home. Ruth was married on April 29, 1922 to Laurel Hudson Butler. Laurel owned and operated a shoe repair shop in St. Anthony, Idaho. Laurel and Ruth are the parents of two children, Betty June and Everett. The children grew to love their Uncle Heber and always looked forward to his visits. Betty tells of times when he came to their home what a handsome man he was. He always wore a good looking hat and dressed well, she said he always looked “spiffy.” They loved it when he came to spend time at their home. Betty recalls the kindness and gentleness shown by Heber to those he knew. He worked at many jobs and was well liked and respected on every job. As he moved from job to job he was always wanted back by those who he had worked for. Betty also remembers, as anyone who knew him remembers his infectious laugh. How he enjoyed life and found humor in many things.
Heber loved to dance and was so good at it. He girlfriends and always had a date when there was a dance.
Sometime in Heber’s young life an older brother Erastus Peter, about fourteen years of age, went to get the cows or help with sheep, the story is not very clear. Erastus did not return home. Many days passed and many, many people were involved in searching for Erastus. He was gone without a trace and was never found.
When Heber was about seventeen years old there came word to his Mother of a young man in the Grace, Idaho area that could possibly be Erastus. This Mother waited anxiously for word of her son. Heber left his home and changing his name came to Lago, Idaho in hopes of finding his brother. Heber would now be known as “ Roy Cardon,” and the man thought to be Erastus was not his brother. Erastus was never found.
This trip was life changing for Heber, as he took back the name Priestley, and made this area his home. Roy was easy to know and it wasn’t long until he was acquainted with a lot of people and had many new friends. He worked in Lago for the Mickelson brothers on their farm and in their sawmill. He was a good worker and they thought a lot of him
Roy worked on the Alexander Dam when it was being built near Soda Springs, Idaho. It was on this job that he met Roy Hulse. A friendship grew between these two Roys that lasted the rest of their lives. From this job Roy went further south and in the Preston area was hired as a sheepherder that took him to the Utah desert.
Letters written to Roy by his sister Ruth makes us know how much he was missed. Roy must have been lonely also. Ruth writes of their Mother, her children, her husband, his car and old friends and how much she was looking forward to him coming for a visit.
By the early 1930s the job with the sheep brought Roy to the Beers' farm in Linrose. Here he spent the winters feeding sheep and helping with the many new lambs.
This winter was different, as he had an invitation to a Thanksgiving dinner. Alice Davis was told of a fellow at the Beers' place that was alone and far from family so she sent someone to ask if he could join some of her family for dinner. He arrived at the Davis home, was introduced and then seated at the table next to Ida Florence, the pretty daughter of Alice. It wasn’t long before Roy and Ida began dating and we like to think it was love at first sight.
Ida had polio as a young girl that left her with one foot that no longer did all the normal things it was supposed to do. Walking was more difficult and steps were taken very carefully. As Roy continued with the courtship he found that this pretty lady was not able to dance with him. Ida did know however that if there was a movie in town that had Will Rogers acting in it she was sure to have a date with Roy. How he liked to watch Will Rogers in the movies.
Roy and Ida traveled to Idaho Falls, Idaho and were married on September 26, 1934. They remained on the Davis family farm for a time.
Roy and Ida's Marriage Certificate 1
Soon after the birth of their first son, Roy and Ida moved to Garland, Utah. Blaine William was born February 8, 1936 in his Grandmother's house.
Roy and Ida now change to Dad and Mom for the remainder of this history. You cannot speak of Dad's life now without including Mom, for she was half of the team.
Blaine seemed to be a sickly baby and was not doing as well as he should. He was brought back to Grandma's for her special doctoring and home remedies, which worked like magic. It wasn’t long until he was a healthy little baby boy.
Blaine got a baby sister just before his first birthday. Ida Beth was born on January 27 1937 in Preston, Idaho at the home of Aunt Sarah, who is a sister to Mom.
About this time Dad and Mom were buying their own farm not far from Grandma's place. Mom’s brother Louis was running Grandma's farm. Dad and Uncle Lou were able to work together on the farms sharing horses and equipment and the harvest to provide for their growing families.
Dad had 80 acres of land with more than half of it being under irrigation. Dad spent many hours day and night with a shovel in his hands digging and putting dams in the ditches so the water could be routed to the fields to be flooded. Irrigating was a long, hard, tiring and sometimes lonely job.
Our house had four small rooms. There was no running water and all that was used was carried in used and carried back out. There was no electricity or a phone until a few years later.
The well was away from the house and down a small hill. The garden was planted nearby, water was pumped by hand to water the garden and carried to the house where it was used for cooking, laundry and many baths in a round tin tub in front of the stove.
On February 27, 1938 another son was born and given the name Leon Dee. We continued to be surrounded by family and Dad delighted in being around the nieces and nephews but most especially his own children. There were three more boys to complete our family.
John Marvin September 4, 1939
Wayne Davis October 17, 1943
Frank Steven May 2, 1948
Dad and Mom's lives now were much the same day after day. So many things had to be done every day leaving little time for leisure. In the early 1940s Dad was able to buy a tractor which helped to lighten his load. There were still cows to milk morning and night, chickens to be fed, eggs to be gathered and cleaned, hay to haul, sugar beets to thin and hoe, peas to cut and haul and the irrigating continued, to keep all these things growing. The cows were milked by hand night and morning. After electricity was put in our house Dad bought milking machines and what a change there was at milking time. Much less time was needed to do the milking but the milking machines had to be washed every day. This became Mom’s job along with the many other things she had to accomplish each day.
The farm and animals took most of Dad's time, but he managed to help with his little ones. He fed us and put on shoes and socks, coats and hats but didn’t do so well with diapers. We were put into Moms arms if there was any crying. Each one of us remember Dad rocking us and singing, "Go to Sleep My Little Buckaroo" and "You Are My Sunshine".
Dad drove the school bus for a few years. We lived at the far north end of the route. When the weather was cold Dad started the bus when he came from doing chores to wash up and eat breakfast in this way the bus was warm for us as well as all the others he picked up. There was a little girl that lived at the south end of the route that had been sick for some time and had a real struggle walking down the lane to the school bus. Dad often walked to meet her and would then carry her to the bus.
Dad was very ticklish and all the kids knew it. Getting on the bus or getting off the bus someone would poke Dad in the ribs just to see him jump. It got so bad that just the motion of a hand made him jump, he didn’t need to be touched. One of the older boys was put off the bus because he wouldn’t stop jabbing at Dads ribs.
There was a scar on the side of Dads face that happened in a farming accident. Blaine was driving the tractor, as it was pulling a land leveler on which Dad was riding. A lever was lifted up or lowered down to move the dirt where it was needed. The lever flipped out of Dad’s hand and hit him in the face making an awful cut on his cheek. Again Mom was called on to be doctor and nurse, cleaning and bandaging the wound. It seemed like there was always something happening on the farm. The scar was a part of Dad’s face for the rest of his life.
For a long, long time Dad had problems with a hernia. It was a worry to Mom when he was in the field and she couldn’t see him from the house. She watched him very closely often making a trip to the field to make sure he was okay. It got to be such a problem and a worry that he finally consented to have the surgery, which turned out to be very serious. Dad’s half sister, Aunt Winnie came from Brigham City, Utah to be with the kids so Mom could spend the time she needed to at the hospital. We loved Aunt Winnie and were glad to have her be with us. She was so good to us and was a lot of fun. She told us stories and made us laugh a lot. It seemed that part of her job was to spoil us.
When Dad came home from the hospital Wayne didn’t understand why he couldn’t hold him and cried to be lifted onto Dad's lap. When he was feeling a bit better he got nervous and restless knowing there were so many things that needed to be done. He wanted to be doing some of the chores, he thought he could water the chickens with a gallon bucket and that would take most of his time but the doctor told him he was not to lift anything for quite some time. It was at this time that Dad again went herding sheep with a man that was to do all the lifting. A brother-in-law and his boys were going to run the place while Dad was gone but turned out to be an arrangement that Dad couldn’t deal with. By this time he was healed enough to be able to do his own farm work. We were so happy to have him home with us again.
Dad’s older brother Jacob, his second wife Alta and their son Tommy had come to Idaho from Butte, Montana. They had moved to Preston and he worked at the sugar beet factory in Whitney. One day Jake drove Mom and us kids to the mountains to see Dad. Some of us rode in the rumble seat of his car and by the time we got to the camp no one recognized us. We were so dirty and dusty from the ride on the dirt road. Dad was so unhappy to see his kids looking like this. I’m sure the ride was fun while it was happening but the wash job in the creek was a different story.
Dad's oldest brother, Carl bought a piece of land that joined some of Dad's land. In about 1945 Carl built a small house near our home. Their Mother, Engerline was moved from Tetonia to live with him. We went over to Uncle Carl's house and often when Mom prepared our meals she made enough to share with Grandma and Uncle Carl. They had a lot of disagreements and it seemed a lot of times when we were there we were greeted only with silence. If Grandma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy. They pouted and didn’t talk to each other sometimes for days. It was not always a happy place to be.
Grandma did beautiful handwork. I remember watching her knit, how very fast she could make the knitting needles go. A pair of mittens or stocking or a hat was made in a very short time. This is what she gave us for Christmas, sometimes with an orange or a bag of candy and peanuts.
It was a time of excitement and happy times when Aunt Ruth and Uncle Laurel came to visit. They had moved to Salt Lake City. We didn’t see them very often and it was always fun having them at our house. Even as kids we knew how much Aunt Ruth and Dad loved each other.
Dads half brother, Frank Louis Priestley and his wife Aunt Maude lived in Rodeo, California. The summer of 1947 they drove to Idaho to see Grandpa William Washingtons “other family.” We all loved them right away. While they were with us a family get together was arranged and we all went to Willow Flat up Cub River Canyon. Aunt Ruth, Aunt Winnie, Dad's brothers and Grandma Priestley were all together. Tommy and us were the only kids to go so we invited some cousins on Moms side of the family to go with us, we thought we needed others to play with. We talked Uncle Frank into going with us to wade in Cub River. He agreed and soon stepped into the river but very quickly jumped back out saying “I did not know water could get so cold.” He made everyone laugh. It was a great day.
The next summer we were all excited because Uncle Frank and Aunt Maude were coming to see us. A phone call changed everything. Uncle Frank became very ill and before they could get him to a hospital he had died of a strangulated hernia. We had just found a wonderful Uncle and had lost him in such a short time. We were all very sad. This was July 6, 1948 and Uncle Frank was just 63 years old.
There was very little money at our house but Dad and Mom seemed to get along with very little. Mom grew a big garden and used everything she planted. Nothing went to waste. She did a lot of canning for use through the winter. The milk was separated after each milking and the cream was saved. The eggs and the cream were taken to Preston to be sold and provided money needed for groceries and now there was an electricity bill and a phone bill.
At one time there was no money in the possession of our parents and there were three items needed for the kitchen for use in preparing meals with no way to buy them. Dad was carrying water to the chickens one day and saw a shiny object in the dirt, he moved it with his toe to find it was a 50 cent coin, just enough to purchase the needed items for the kitchen. They were so thankful and felt it was an answer to prayers. As kids, we were unaware of what little we had. We always had something to wear and shoes for our feet and there was never a time when we went hungry. Our parents were good providers and we knew they loved us.
In March of 1949 our parents sold the farm and we moved to Lewiston, Utah where another farm had been bought. Dad had taken a job to work with Delbert Bodily feeding livestock, milking cows and numerous other things around the place. We lived in a home Bodily owned and for the first time we had a bathroom. What a wonderful change it was for all of us, but it was also the first time we were not surrounded by family. We all adjusted and soon had friends at church and school.
Frank continued to have the attention of all of us and we spoiled him rotten. A near tragedy happened when he was almost two years old. He was with Dad and Delbert while they were feeding beet pulp in the manger for the cows. Frank had gotten out of the truck and fell behind the back wheel and the truck was moved further down the manger. Delbert jumped out and shouted “Roy I’ve run over your boy.” Some days in the hospital and staying in bed for many more days, having so many to answer to his every want, he made a complete recovery. How thankful we were for the snow that helped to soften what could have been so much more serious. We knew many prayers had been answered.
Many good things came about while we lived in Lewiston but the farm didn’t have a house on it so it was decided that it be sold. So in September 1952 our belongings were again moved, a farm had been bought and we now lived in Franklin, Idaho. This seemed to be an okay move for everyone, grade school across the street and the high school in Preston.
It wasn’t long before Dad again went to herd sheep to help with the family income. The older boys, under Mom's guidance, were able to take care of the things that had to be done at home. We went most weekends to the mountains to spend the day with Dad. The meal was prepared at home and dishes and food always went with us when we went to see Dad. He was always so happy to see us, he was lonesome all week and looked forward to us coming. Blaine did all the driving on those trips and Mom really struggled with the ride on the canyon roads. She was always glad when we were home safe. We couldn’t have gone so often if Blaine had not been a good driver, Mom would never have driven on those roads.
One time as we were eating at the sheep camp with Dad he took off his hat and we all gasped when we saw that he had shaved his head, he liked it but none of the rest of us did then he told us “it will grow back.”
He was not seeing as well as he had in the past so on one of our trips to his camp he tried on my glasses and was very surprised at how much better and further he could see. We were then asked to go to Dr. Merrill and have him make a pair of glasses for him just like Beth’s. Of course this couldn’t be done. As soon as he could, he had his eyes checked and got the needed glasses. He struggled with them, it seemed he couldn’t see with them and he couldn’t see without them. They could be found lying on the ground when he was doing some repair work on the big lawnmowers on the park or on the tractor tire when a repair was needed there. Many other places the glasses were taken off and laid down, needless to say they were replaced every now and again, and time was spent looking for Dad’s glasses.
When Marvin was 15 years old, he went to the sheep camp in the mountains to spend the summer with Dad and turned out to be the other hired hand. This summer made Marvin know that being a sheep herder was not something he wanted to do. The creek was dammed to form a small pool then a fire was built, rocks put in, when the rocks were hot, they were rolled into the water making the water warmer for much needed baths. Marvin did a lot of cooking that summer, that being part of his responsibility. Sleeping bags and air mattresses were often taken higher up on the mountain where the sheep were and they spent nights under the stars. Marvin got a bit careless with his air mattress one time and snagged it on a tree branch, of course this caused a hole and a loss of the air. He was the one who had to sleep on the rough and rocky ground. In the early hours of the morning on the 4th of July there was a terrible thunder and lightning storm, it was during this storm that two of the horses were hit by lightning and killed. Marvin was sent down the mountain for help, he and two more horses were returned to camp in the afternoon, Marvin being a little upset because he wanted to celebrate the holiday for a little while. This job had no days off that summer.
Soon the kids were graduating from high school and in 1955, Beth married and moved to Marion, Ohio, Blaine went on a mission to Louisville, Kentucky and Dad broke his ankle, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As the ankle was healing and he was enjoying being at home again, a job offer to be Town Marshall for the City of Franklin was given to him, which he took, and the days of being a sheepherder were over.
It was wonderful to have Dad home all the time. He liked his work and soon knew everyone, and many things were done that were above and beyond his call as Marshall. Snow was plowed from streets and sidewalks, the elderly and the widows knew their walks and driveways would be plowed every time. An ice skating rink was made available for the kids of the community. Dad spent a great deal of time, when it was very cold holding the hose and spraying water on the ice rink so the ice would be smooth and thick for all those who wanted to use it.
There were a lot of stray dogs that caused problems and it was the duty of the Marshall to take care of the problem and was necessary sometimes to get rid of the dog. This was something his son-in-law Blaine Taylor helped with, as Dad didn’t have the heart to take care of the situation.
Dad received a letter from a couple in the east, they had been driving through Franklin and were stopped for a funeral procession. Dad was holding back the traffic on the highway and was holding his hat over his heart as the procession passed by. The couple was so impressed by the respect shown that they wrote to let him know how they felt at what they saw.
New sidewalks and water meters were installed and Dad worked many hours on the end of a shovel while this was being done. The lawn in the city park was mowed every week by a big mower pulled behind the jeep, the jeep that often took Dad to the head of the city water works and plowed all the snow. Many trees were planted in the north end of the City Park.
Each day there was something new that needed to be attended to which kept Dad busy. There was always someone honking or calling a greeting to him. I was with him one time when someone honked and he just waved, I said “Dad you didn’t even look. How do you know who you were waving to?” His reply “if I looked up each time someone honked or called to me I would not get finished with what I have to do” but he always took the tiny minute necessary to wave.
Dad did like good music and could be found on Saturday night watching the Lawrence Welk Show on TV. He especially liked watching the young couple dance. I’m sure it brought good memories of when he danced. He didn’t go to the movies but was talked into going to see "The Sound of Music". He loved the movie and the music and talked of it for a long time afterwards.
Dad always had animals. He took ownership of many good dogs that were faithful companions during his sheep herding days. He liked to watch them work around the sheep and also with cattle. He often said how much easier the job was with a good dog. He had numerous horses in his lifetime. Wayne learned the love of horses from Dad as they spent time together with their horses. We all remember the horses that pulled a hay mower, a hay rake, a plow or harrows, a grain drill or the hay wagon or the sugar beet digger. Farming would have been impossible without the horses. We rode the horse on the derrick when the hay was put into a huge stack. There was always a horse we could ride just for the fun of it, Old Nell being one of the favorites. We could ALL, plus half the neighbor kids, ride her at the same time.
Old Nell went with us to Lewiston and there gave us a cute little pinto colt born on the second day of May and was given the name Daisy May. We loved to ask Frank, "When is your birthday?" His answer was always “Maisy Second.” He liked his birthday the same as Daisy May.
Another thing Dad had a love and appreciation for, were trees. Maybe the memory of the barren hill where his childhood home was or maybe sheepherding days on the desert of Utah where the lack of trees sparked this appreciation. It made him very sad to see a tree cut down and removed for he knew it had taken many years for the tree to have grown to its size. He liked to see things grow, the green lawn and Moms flower garden brought pleasure to him every day.
Blaine and his family drove Dad and Mom to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and came home in the evening. What a surprise it was to him to go that distance and back in one day when it had taken so long to go by horseback. This day was enjoyed and talked about over and over again, the difference was unbelievable to him.
Among the many foods Dad enjoyed was rice and raisins, raisin filled cookies, cinnamon rolls with raisins and mince meat pie-- use LOTS of raisins if you would, please. He used to ask daughter-in-law Peggy “isn’t it about time you made cinnamon rolls?” She always tried to please and very soon he was eating cinnamon rolls. With each glass of milk he drank it was always filled half way with cream. He often asked Mom to put just a little bit more sugar in the fruit when she was canning. A dish of fruit always had cream poured over it. He used to tell us “you could eat sawdust if you put cream and sugar on it.” Don’t we wonder why he never ever gained weight? He stayed the same size as when he got married.
We ate lots of popcorn at our house. It was Dad that taught us to like it with lots of butter on it. The old wire popcorn popper that was used on top of the kitchen stove made wonderful smells throughout the house. Beth, Marvin and Wayne carried on with eating popcorn often but not with the fun of popping it on top of the stove.
His children and grandchildren each had many turns sitting on his lap and combing his hair. Curlers, bobby pins and barrettes were used to make curls, waves and braids. He sat and sometimes napped as we “Fixed” his hair time and time again. He often said, “If I had known grandkids would be so much fun I would have done this first.”
Dad saw a lot of changes in his life. From horse and buggy to cars that could get you to Jackson Hole in one day. Trains and planes could take you to all parts of our world in a short time. Radio and television came into being and you could hear world news almost as it was happening. Farm equipment that made farming unbelievably easy and the space age, who would have ever believed that a man would one day walk on the moon? The year Dad was born and the first years of his childhood there was wonderful things happening in our country. The population in the United States, and there were just 46 states at the time, was 76 million American people. There were 8,000 cars and only 10 miles of paved road. A car was hand made and cost over $1,000.00. A Model T in 1908 cost $850.00. The wage for a 59 hour week was $12.95. It took 52 days to cross the country in a car. The Wright Bros first flight happened and the game of Ping Pong came into being. Sears and Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs were read more than any other book except the Bible. Eastman Kodak invented the Brownie Box camera which could be bought for $1.00 with 6 exposure film costing 15 cents. "The Wizard of Oz" was written and you could go to movies for 5 cents where “The Great Train Robbery” might be playing. Music popular at the time was, “In My Merry Oldsmobile” and “ Meet Me in St. Louis.” Gillette came out with a safety razor, the Teddy Bear was introduced at this time and McKinley was the President of the United States.
Dad’s world however, was pretty small. In his lifetime he traveled very little and never on an airplane and not going a great distance, Butte, Montana, Oregon, the Utah Desert and Rodeo, California by way of Reno, Nevada was the extent of his travels. He was very content to just spend his time at home. He went one time to California with Marvin in a cattle hauling semi to see Aunt Maude. The trip was difficult but worth it to be able to spend a little time with Aunt Maude and what a wonderful visit they had.
Dad had a great mother-in-law who he loved and developed a softening of his heart through her example. She was a great influence in all our lives. Family was very important to her and many times there were family gatherings at her home. It had been many years since Dad had his own family near and being part of the Davis family gave him an appreciation of this family which he was now a part of. He was so very proud of any accomplishment made by his family. He was very sentimental and didn’t want things important to him to be changed or discarded. He was a very affectionate person, often seen hugging Mom or giving her a kiss or a pat. When they sat side by side on the couch he always held Moms hand and had pet names and many hugs and kisses for his grandchildren as well. It was fun to watch him with a little baby.
Dad did not go to church but he supported Mom in all her callings and told his kids “I don’t go but it is where you need to be.” Though Dad was not in church with us he was a good person who lived a good life. He was a hard worker, honest to the core and kind and was so often found doing for others and he loved his family.
Dad had to deal with the usual aches and pains as the years passed. Arthritis was a constant companion and bothered his hip and shoulders but it was the headaches he suffered with that limited the things he was able to do. The time came when he seldom left home because the headaches started so suddenly and were so severe. He spent a lot of the day sleeping and night brought sleeplessness, he could be found at the kitchen table with his coffee any time of the night. It was one of these nights that a thunder and lightning storm was happening. Lightning hit the house causing some damage but most of all it had frightened Dad to the point that he was sick for several days. The memory of the lightning on a mountain at the sheep camp must have been foremost in his mind.
In 1976 Frank bought the family farm, adding to the farm he had bought north of Franklin in 1969. Soon the animals and equipment were moved out to the yard at Frank's place. It was so different to see the home place and the changes that had came about. Dad, however, still had at his heels a good dog. I wonder how many ears were rubbed, how many backs were scratched and how many heads were patted by Dad for his many beloved dogs.
On November 16, 1977 after 43 years of marriage Dad's sweetheart and our dear Mother left this life. It was evening and the house was dark, which was very unusual, when Dad came home he turned on the lights and found Mom sitting in the rocking chair she had suffered a massive stroke. The shock made it difficult to think and try to dial the phone. He was able to get Frank, and Mom was taken to the hospital in Logan, Utah. We were all at the hospital and Mom lived until Wayne came from his job in Salt Lake City. This was a hard time for our family as it is for all families at times like this. Dad was so lonesome without Mom and he now was spending most of his time with children and grandchildren. The headaches continued and he was having as many bad days as days that were good.
In October 1970, Dad developed blood clots in his legs and was taken to the hospital in Salt Lake City for surgery. The following day, it was found that all of the blood clot had not been removed and a second surgery was necessary. I remember as he lay in that hospital bed how he spoke to the nurses always thanking them for what they did for him. He appreciated their help and kindness to him. We brought him to Beth’s house for several weeks, where he spent most of his time in bed. I was working and each morning as I was leaving for work I turned the radio on. Dad listened to the easy listening music until I came home for lunch and wanted the radio left on all afternoon. He listened all day every day, and it was a treat if he heard Kate Smith sing. Dad loved good music. When it was supper time, he usually asked for rice and raisins or oyster stew. If it was fixed the night before it was okay, because “You could never have to much rice and raisins.”
After a few weeks Wayne took Dad to stay at his house, only a few days passed when he became very sick and was in a lot of pain. At the hospital an aneurysm was found and was very serious. Sending him to Salt Lake was out of the question. That day, November 10,1979, Dad passed away in the Preston Hospital in Preston, Idaho. We were not prepared to lose Dad so soon after we lost Mom but it helped to ease our sorrow to know he is now with her and there are no more headaches for him.
Dad is buried beside Mom in the Dayton Cemetery in Dayton, Idaho.
At the time of their passing they had 21 grandchildren with 2 grandsons preceding them in death. Their posterity continues to grow, there are now 24 grandchildren, 47 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.
We, as their children, are thankful to be their children, for the things we were taught in their home, for their example for good and for their love. We look forward to the time when we may be with them again.
Writen by the daughter of Heber Chase (Roy) Priestley
Ida Beth Priestley Taylor Mendenhall