Personal History of Julian Lester Fronk "In His Own Words"
Contributor: Pieinthesky Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
I was born on August 9,1917 at Five Points in North Ogden City, Weber, Utah, to Lester Henry Fronk and Hortense Evelyn Butler Fronk. My father was employed by the Utah Power and Light Co. as a beginning operator at Pioneer Station in Ogden. Then he was transferred to Granite Station, Big Cottonwood Canyon, and later to the lower American Fork Power Station and then to Olmstead Station as an assistant superintendent. I always admired my father's knowledgeable and brilliant mind and he was very good about teaching me about electricity and its power and danger as well as the management of a station. He was an excellent electrical engineer, even though mostly self educated, but was often sought out as a consultant by university teachers, especially the University of Utah. He was a great example to me and I always was grateful to him for making it possible for me to live and explore and develop a deep love and respect for all of our beautiful canyons and mountains along the Wasatch Front.
I attended the Butler Elementary School and enjoyed it very much - even the snowy bitter cold winter when my best friend, Woodrow Kazuki, a Japanese boy and I would ride our sleds down the steep hill clear down almost to State Street. Then of course we would have to walk all the way back up to school which by the time we arrived school had long since been dismissed. This brought about some strong words and frowns of disapproval both at home and school!
While living in American Fork Canyon I attended American Fork Jr. High School and again had a long walk to school and back regardless of weather and it was very severe at times. While living in American Fork I had a skiing accident and broke my left knee which has bothered me all the rest of my life. I lay in bed for about six months in a heavy cast with my wonderful mother caring for my needs. While there I was ordained a deacon on January 15, 1930 by Bishop Albert E. Read of Ogden. In later years I had to have a total knee replacement of that injured knee. I always joked about that knee being the only place in my body that didn't hurt as I developed both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis quite badly.
We moved to Olmstead Station in the mouth of Provo Canyon and lived in the big rock cottage there. It was beautiful there and I enjoyed it a lot. While there I attended the Edgemont Ward and worked a lot in the M.I.A. (Mutual) organization. I was ordained a teacher there on February 5, 1933 by Bishop Owen Davis. I was ordained a priest on December 2, 1934 by Bishop Sharp Gillespie. I attended Lincoln Jr. High and Lincoln High School in Orem. I was ordained an elder on December 18, 1938 by Bishop Gillespie in the Edgemont Ward.
I graduated from Lincoln High School in Orem, Utah on May 30, 1935. I had my eye on a cute little dark-haired girl and we had our first date the night of my graduation. We saw each other occasionally but I started my classes at B.Y.U. and she was still in high school, so we didn't date much until after she graduated in 1938. We went to the graduation party and tried to dance. I wasn't good at dancing - my knee always kept me from a lot of physical activity, but Velma loved to dance and would occasionally dance with another boy which really burned me! So finally we gave up trying to dance, although later on (after we were married) we joined the "Dancing Friends Club". I never did get the hang of it though, but I encouraged her to dance with others sometimes and got used to it. We had plenty of other things to do anyway. We both liked to draw and read together, take long slow walks in the woods by the river and were just so happy to just be together and laugh and talk and gather wild flowers and once in a while catch a fish or two.
I helped her father quite a lot on the farm and I loved and respected the Bunnell family, especially old Grandma Bunnell and all the folks, Uncle Ross and Aunt Pearl and their family were always wonderful and treated me so well. I loved to go to see Grandpa and Grandma Mildenhall in Provo also. Velma's little sister Thursa was my sweet little sister too and when she passed away following childbirth some years later I was deeply hurt. I was with her when she died. Her son Randall, and Velma's little brothers, Dell and Reese also became to dear to me. Mother and Dad Bunnell were good to me and I enjoyed being with them although I soon found out that farming was not my favorite activity!
We built a little 2 room house on Grandpa Bunnell's north east corner of the farm - we had paid $150 for 1/4 acre on the mortgage on the farm and my Dad and Mother gave me the money for our wedding present. I dug trenches for a foundation and then went and bought some big green logs from Velma's cousin, Merlin Prestwich, and laid them in the trenches and made a foundation. Then I put some boards across and we moved into our "house". We gradually got more wood, etc. and built it up around us. We had lived all summer in a tent on the front lawn of the old Bunnell house, but now we actually had a house! We had lived for a year after we were married at Dad and Mother's house in Olmstead (we had married on April 22, 1939 by Bishop Roy Gappmayer). Dad was transferred to Cutler Utah Power and Light Co. station at Collinston, Utah so it was sink or swim for us!
Anyway we had a nice little cozy house. I had gotten a job helping to build the Geneva Steel Plant so now we had a pretty nice income at last and were able to complete our home. I did all of the work myself, the plumbing, electricity, carpentry and it was such fun. We began to buy a few baby things every month and were pretty well supplied when our first child, Julian Boyd, was born there. Dr. Riley G. Clark delivered him and was very cross because we wanted our baby to born at home. Mrs. Otis Frazier was our nurse and helped us through a long difficult day.
We became active in the church there in the old Timpanagos Ward, and worked on the genealogy committee and attended the Salt Lake Temple, received our endowments and sealing and had our 18 month old son sealed to us. What a wonderful experience that was!
We lived in the little house for 3 years and then sold it to Velma's cousin Ed and Viola Harris and we bought a home in Christeele Acres for $6500. We loved it there and enjoyed our church activity. I was ward clerk for several years under the direction of Bishop Ray Hanks. We made wonderful friends there.
I had stayed active in my school work - I took more classes at B.Y.U. and also the University of Utah where I received my diploma in Engineering, Science, Management and War Training on February 15, 1945. I became a member of the "Association of Iron and Steel Engineering", and enrolled with the "International Correspondence Schools" and received my diploma in electrical engineering. I received my call for military service in 1943, but was deferred at the last minute for the necessity of producing steel for the war effort. Our other sons, Kim, Jan, Galen (David) and Adrian were all born here.
I was a volunteer worker at "Sharon Cooperative Educational Recreational Association" now known as "Scera". I, along with Levan Asay, was the first operator of the projectors at the small beginning of Scera, it was held in the Lincoln High School Auditorium. I loved working with Scera throughout the years and it was a blessing for my children to be able to participate in all of those wonderful early activities there. It was always so wholesome and uplifting to be involved in that.
We finally decided that we needed a bigger house and a change as well, and we designed our dream home ourselves and then had it built by Bishop Philo Edwards. It was right across the street from his home and his big happy family and was a wonderful home. We became active again in the 13th ward. Ruth Ann, our baby daughter, was born while living in that home. We lived there for 5 years when the United States Steel Co. transferred me to work at Torrance Works Division at Torrance, CA as general foreman of the entire plant of maintenance. It was a very stressful and difficult job, but we stayed there for 10 years. We were active members of the Palos Verdes Ward and attended church at the San Pedro Chapel, until we could get our new chapel built in Torrance. I helped build it and also was called to be the project clerk which I enjoyed very much. I wrote checks for $1,500,000. Elder Alma Sonne dedicated the chapel and it was really beautiful. It caught fire 2 years after the dedication and we helped clean and repair a lot after that - mostly smoke damage.
We loved the ocean and would take harbor cruises and go to the zoos and the many beautiful places and things to do in California. We made a lot of wonderful friends there. We enjoyed going to the Los Angeles Temple a lot while there.
When I decided to retire we decided to come back to Utah - we purchased my mother's home in Pleasant Grove as she needed to have a smaller place - she had a nice apartment in the Rawlings Apartments and enjoyed it there until her death there, following a fall.
My health began to decline and I went to see Dr. Dana Clark, a foremost endocrinologist and he began to treat my diabetes. We followed his directives and although I never felt well again I continued the treatments but gradually the disease took over my life.
After my retirement I started a woodworking project. I made nice little shadow boxes, shelves, frames, some small tables, doll cradles, doll houses and high chairs, etc. I enjoyed working with wood.
I especially enjoyed watching and sometimes helping my sons restore antique Model T cars. I always had a special interest in aviation and was so happy when they started their education at Northrup Institute of Technology and went to work at North American and Northrup at the Los Angeles Airport. And was so happy when they built their hanger and received their pilots licenses and eventually their own planes. They all do exquisite work in their challenging careers. My daughter loves her hospital experience dealing with emergency cases and she shows so much compassion and love which I greatly admire.
My grandchildren always amaze me with their courage and resourcefulness and I love each one and pray for them to be safe in this uncertain world.
I want the world to know how much I love and respect my little faithful wife who has always loved me and stood beside me in good times and bad.