Leona Neal Schaefermeyer by Genevieve Swain
Contributor: Darlene Pierce Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
EDNA LEONA NEAL SCHAEFERMEYER
A tribute by Genevieve Swain Schaefermeyer
I loved her; sincerely.
But not at first, I felt intimidated.
She was larger than me - much. She was six foot one, buxom, stern visaged, strong willed and a decision maker.
She had eight children; including a set of twins who were my age.
She was tough. She had to be. The family couldn’t have survived if she hadn’t been.
Married at twenty one to a man twenty five years her senior, a dreamer of ‘gold in tham there hills’. A man of all trades, master of none.
Unprepared for babies coming every fourteen months.
Homesteading barren land on Green River, Sagebrush, Dinosaur quarryman.
Cook for telephone lineman; Seldom bringing home more than $40.00 a month.
The river furnished water for drinking, washing clothes, bathing and some food.
The food was whitefish, catfish, carp and roundtail fish.
Cotton tail rabbits from the sagebrush flats.
No trees; blazing sun in summer, freezing cold in winter.
Isolation, miles from nearest neighbor.
Scarlet Fever, Whooping Cough, Quinsy, Bronchitis, Flu. They had it all.
Two room log cabin.
Dirt floor lean-to.
Iron bedsteads, straw ticks for mattresses.
Wood / coal stove.
Water in barrel from river, muddy water in summer settled by adding chopped up cacti.
Clothes washed on scrub board.
Off the homestead at last and living at the coal mine where she weighed coal while caring for family.
Later on an old apple orchard farm. Picking sorting and peddling apples. Orchard old and dying.
Husband getting old with no steady work.
Still no modern conveniences.
Two oldest daughters married and having babies.
Depression of 1930’s. No Work. Orchard non productive.
Oldest son married and more grandchildren.
Youngest child fourteen years old.
She-middle aged-cancer of cervix. Looking so very tired.
Then I came along and married Jim.
Jim and Neal used to help out with household expenses and groceries. Now that help is gone.
Six people still to feed and care for and elderly parents needing her strengths and help.
And a new strong willed daughter-in-law.
I was welcomed into her home. No complaints nor worry ever voiced.
Assisting at births of grandchildren.
Using hoarded pennies to buy lettuce and oranges for me alone during my first pregnancy.
Collaborating with me to get Jim to put me in my own home.
Sending him home to be with me when I refused to spend every Sunday at her house.
Listening with understanding when I asked her to send Jim to me when he wanted to discuss our financial affairs with her.
All her children loved to be at her home on Sundays and other special days.
I did too.
She had a keen sense of humor.
They laughed a lot, and played hard.
But, I learned to love her most the winter I cared for her when she was ill with pneumonia.
Mustard plasters, enemas, alcohol rubs, hot soups and bedpans.
No money for doctors or medicines.
Once scalding tears slipping from the corners of her eyes onto her pillow.
I worried that she might die. I was scared.
She wept when I left to go to the mine to run the boarding house.
I was 22 years old. She didn’t want me to work that hard.
She felt badly that her sons didn’t seem to be furnishing the kind of homes for their wives that she felt they needed.
Once, before Jim and I were married, I heard her scolding Neal about not buying LaVelle a ring when they were married. She told him he must get her one.
Always there to care for my children if I needed her and never any complaints.
Met my plane in Salt Lake when I brought my polio stricken children to Salt Lake for treatment.
Often depressed by her feelings of inadequacy in raising a granddaughter who had gone astray.
She expressed to me in her letters her deep grief and feelings of loss when her oldest daughter died and her loneliness after her life’s companion had passed on.
She sympathized with my problems and encouraged me with my endeavors.
She was my mother when my own had left this earth.
I miss her.
I loved her.
She raised a splendid son for me to marry.
Recollections of Great Grandpa William Neal
Contributor: Darlene Pierce Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
My Recollections of Great Grandpa William Neal
By Kendall Schaefermeyer
My recollections of what I have heard over time from my Dad, Aunts, Uncles, and Great Aunts & Uncles is that Grandpa Neal was a very industrious man & hard worker. I think that many of his characteristics have trickled down to some of us, his descendants. Many of these characteristics that have now been called “Schaefermeyer Traits.”
Grandpa tried his skills at many things trying to make a better living for himself & his family. He grew up as a farmer and learned how to maintain and repair machinery by necessity. When gold & silver were discovered in Central Colorado he decided to move there and try his skills at mining hoping it would be more lucrative than his attempts at farming. Whether he went first and then sent for his family I do not know. He may have gone first because Granma Neal’s family had a picture of herself & the children before they left assuming they would never see them again. Grandpa Neal was not in this picture.
The largest mining operations of that time were in Leadville and that is where I was told they had settled. The Matchless Mine was the largest mine in Leadville at that time. It was owned by H.A.W. Tabert (which is a story in and of itself & can be found in the book, “Men to Match My Mountains.”) this may have been the mine he worked in. Mother told me that he changed jobs for a raise of .50cents an hour more and this upset Grandma because the family was forced to be uprooted again. I was not told but assume that this is when they moved to the mines at Idaho Springs, (this town & the mines can be seen in the canyon at the sides of I70 as it follows through the town this side of Denver) I do not know what convinced him to go back to farming, but he then bought a farm in Utah. It was 4 miles north of Jensen on the Dinosaur Quarry Road. The home that stands is about 75 to 100 ft. square. The last time I was there in 2004 remnants of the old orchard were still growing both North & East of the house.
Professor Douglas who had discovered the Dinosaur Quarry roomed at the Neal’s home for the duration of his search. After a lengthy search he became discouraged and decided that even though the geology of the area was right and promising, he was still unable to find any evidence of fossils and then was about to give up his search. Grandpa Neal persuaded him to stay and search a little longer, that is when he found his treasure.
Grandma & Grandpa Schaefermeyer were married at this ranch.
I do not know the reason why Grandpa left that farm & purchased the old Duffy Ranch in Colorado. During the summer the cattle had a lot of grazing land & the several hired hands cut and stacked wild hay for winter feeding. To be able to get water to the ranch Mr. Duffy dug a tunnel under Duffy Mountain and turned water from the river which was higher in elevation thus being able to get water to the ranch.
The tunnel became clogged with debris & cave-ins at one point, so grandpa bought some steel wheels to put on an old mining car that was left at the site that he was going to use to haul the debris out o9f the tunnel. The wheels did not fit the car’s axle so he had to hone & file the flanges and axles by hand. He filed these wheels night after night in the old rambler long, log cabin that they lived in, until the wheels fit the axles
Meanwhile back at the quarry Grandpa Schaefermeyer went to work for Professor Douglass digging out the dinosaur bones. He built a cabin on the north shore of the green river & cleared some land for farming. After Grandpa Neal moved back to Colorado Grandma Schaefermeyer decided to go see her folks in the middle of winter. Grandpa S refused to accompany her, she and the children set out alone in their team and wagon. When Mr. Douglas found out about it he insisted that Grandpa S set out to accompany her. The next morning he set out on foot and caught up with her. Somewhere near the Bar K Ranch 30 miles or so away. On the way back from this trip Uncle Jim who was just a baby was dropped from the wagon and trampled by the horses, grandpa S jumped down from the wagon & picked up the baby and threw him into Grandma’s lap exclaiming, “He’s dead. He’s dead” miraculously he was not harmed. Later when Jim & Dad were boys they went to live with their grandparents, they rode as far as Creg in an automobile, I can’t recall who owned the car. When they arrived no one was there to meet them and take them on to the ranch. As they waited they saw an old coal tipple nearby, which just begged for their attention, they climbed up the tower and were climbing in and around a coal car. When they accidentally released the car and down the shoot it sped and ran right through the repair shop’s wooden doors.
During the years of the horse drawn wagons and machinery, there was a lot of abuse of animals to make them pull harder/ Grandpa Neal believed in treating his animals with kindness and prized them very much. One time dad reported to grandpa that some of the ranch hands were beating one of the teams, grandpa wasted no time in correcting the situation, under no uncertain terms and in a way that insured it would not happen again. During the school season dad and Uncle Jim rode horses to a one room school house several miles from the ranch, as they rode down the snow covered fields wild coyotes would run alongside them like dogs. A bad winter caused Grandpa Neal to lose all of his cattle despite all efforts to save them, even by bringing calves into the house for warmth. He then lost the ranch and moved back to Vernal.
My first recollection of Grandpa Neal was he & Grandmother Neal leaving Grandma Schaefermeyer’s back yard in his 1928 Chevrolet. He would always wined up the engine to take-off speed and then released the clutch. The car would lunge forward, almost stall, and then recoop and lunge again two or three times before putting off down the lane. After Grandpa Neal died this old car sat out in Grandma Schaefermeyer’s backyard west of the old sawmill next to the plum bushes for years. The parts from the car were used by dad and his brothers. Dad made a trailer out of the front axle which he used for many years.
The Neals were renting a house in Vernal when I first knew them; the house was somewhere East and South of the main part of town. I remember visits from he and grandma to our house when we lived in Vernal. He was a very tall lanky man over 6 feet, he always stood erect and did not like people who slouched, he would constantly remind us to sit and stand up straight. He always had a grin like smile and always dressed in a suit and tie. Just before grandpa died of pneumonia I remember going with mother to visit him. He was taking a hot bath when we arrived, so Granma Neal was visiting with us in the living room when Grandpa opened the bathroom door and stepped into the living room stark naked. Grandma exclaimed, “DADDY, we have company.” He looked up at us and said, “OH” then he turned and walked out of the room. I remember how sick he was before he died, after mom and I visited he was bed ridden and I remember everybody’s concern for him as he slowly went downhill. I was in the second grade and remember walking the three miles home from school the day of the funeral, it was bitter cold and overcast the deep snow and ice made it seem even colder. I thought a lot about him all the way home and wondered where he was now and what he was doing, how warm and comfortable he must be up in Heaven.
After grandpa died, Arthur and Earl added a room onto Grandma Schaefermeyer’s home for Granma Neal, it was on the southwest corner of the existing house, and she lived there until she died. I don’t remember her being very active and spent a great time in bed.
`When Aunt Olie and Uncle Milo moved to SLC their oldest son Donald was a senior in high school. He lived with Grandma Schaefermeyer until he graduated. Donald could imitate Donald Duck to a T and was famous for his ability to do so. He was once featured on a radio talent show in SLC. One evening Uncle Earl was digging a trench on the East side of the house to hook on to the culinary water pipe out to the street. Donald came out of the house to visit with Uncle Buzz & I, Grandma Neal came out and got on Donald to return to the house and finish his homework, he sassed her back for fun. In Duck language and they went at it for quite some time. Grandma tried to get aggravated at him and get him to mind her, but even though she could understand what Donald was saying to her she could not hold a straight face for very long.
A Life Worth Celebrating
Contributor: Darlene Pierce Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker (husband of Granddaughter Anita Padilla Walker)
A LIFE WORTH CELEBRATING
I have known Neal for 30 years, but I guess I didn’t really know much about him.
I knew that he had every tool in the world and that he liked to use those tools to tinker with . . . well . . . everything. I knew he loved the out of doors. I knew he loved John Wayne movies. I knew that he ate oatmeal for breakfast nearly every day. And I knew – or at least, strongly suspected – that beneath his quiet, crusty, 96-year-old exterior was the heart and soul of a good old boy.
But that was about it.
In fact, when he died a couple of weeks ago I was troubled. Not necessarily because he had died – he was 96 years old and his health was failing, so we were all kind of expecting it. But because, from my limited perspective, it didn’t seem that he had lived much of a life. There was no long list of educational or professional awards or accomplishments for his obituary, no community clubs or civic organizations to notify of his death. He didn’t leave much of an inheritance for his children and grandchildren – in fact, I’m not sure he left anything at all other than his much-modified, much-maligned pick-up truck (solar panels included).
And nobody seemed to want that.
“There probably isn’t going to be much of a crowd other than family,” I said to Anita as we drove to Neal’s funeral. “I just don’t know that anyone else will care.”
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The church was filled with neighbors, friends and family members, and they all had a Neal story to tell – or two. One neighbor told how he mentioned to Neal that he was having some trouble with his car. After he explained the problem Neal told him to replace a certain part (tube? Hose? Cable? It’s all car innards to me). The neighbor said that was the one part that didn’t look worn – he didn’t think it needed to be replaced. Neal said, “Well, that’s where your problem is – if you don’t want to fix it, I guess that’s OK.” So the man replaced the part – and you already know the end of the story, don’t you?
I knew Neal was good at fixing stuff, but I didn’t know he was THAT good.
One of the speakers at the funeral talked about how Neal was hired by a local church to do some difficult and expensive technical repairs on their building and how he did the job – superbly well – and then gave the congregational leader a bill that said: “Paid in full – God doesn’t charge interest.” Someone else mentioned how Neal had secretly paid for one of the young people in the neighborhood to do volunteer work for their church in South America. A family member told about how Neal averted a minor disaster by wading in and fixing a water leak when he was supposed to be “just visiting” their home.
Evidently stuff had a way of breaking when Neal was around – and he had a way of fixing broken stuff.
And that isn’t a bad legacy to leave behind, when it comes right down to it. Neal wasn’t educated, but he was smart. He wasn’t eloquent, but he was profound. He wasn’t wealthy, but his life was rich. There won’t be any buildings named after Neal, but he leaves behind countless homes, offices and motor vehicles that felt his knowing touch – and were fixed.
I learned a lot about Neal at his funeral. And it turns out I was wrong about him, as we so often are when we judge people – even people we have known for years and years. This was more than just a gruff old guy who sat in a chair and said little whenever we visited him. This was a good man who lived a good life – a life worth celebrating.
Even if nobody wants to inherit his truck.
# # #
Edna Leona Neal Schaefermeyer by Mary Ellen Jones
Contributor: Darlene Pierce Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
EDNA LEONA NEAL SCHAEFERMEYER
by Granddaughter Mary Ellen Jones Olsen
Edna Leona Neal was born on June 14th 1886. Her parents were William Neal and Eliza Virginia Veatch Neal. Charles, her older brother, was three years old when she was born. One year later, Beatrice joined the family. Bea and Leona became the very closest of sisters, sharing many good times together. Although it was forbidden by their parents to exchange food at the tablet the girls often did without getting caught. Bread was the main item exchanged, as one sister like the bread crust and the other liked the soft inside.
Bea was subjected to fainting spells when upset or surprised. Once as her mother caught the kids in some episode, Bea called, "run kids, run," as she sank to the floor in a faint.
Leona lived her first four years in Kansas in which time her brother William "Bill" was born.
Although tornadoes struck the area Leona never witnessed one, however, she saw barren strips where they had passed through the grain fields and farms taking everything in their path. One relative was even left stranded at the top of a telephone pole after a tornado had passed.
When she was four years old, the family moved to Leadville, Colorado. Her father worked in a silver mine in this high mountain-top mining town and this was her home for six years. As a child she was not allowed to go barefoot and never in her life did; especially on this coal mountain top, covered with big pine trees.
Another brother, Veatch and a sister, Olive, were born here. Veatch died as a baby, 6 months old, and was buried there.
When she was about seven, she was walking home and came across a beautiful big dog. She was absolutely thrilled with him and walked home with her arm over his back. No sooner had she gotten home than a man came along and reclaimed his dog. She was very sad to lose her short-found prize.
In June when Leona was 10 the family moved to Hayden, Colorado and again in June exactly one year later, when she was eleven they moved to Idaho Springs, Colorado. June was a good month to move.
Later the family moved back to Hayden. Leona had a lot of fun ice skating with the young people on Bear River. They would build a big bonfire in the middle of the ice and skate. The land had just been opened for homesteaders. The new settlers had few possessions. When a party was held in a home everyone sat on the floor and played cards because there wasn't enough tables and chairs.
Leona learned to play the piano. She spent many hours in the cold parlor of a neighbor's home practicing until her hands felt frozen. The parlor was only heated on special occasions when guests were to be there. Other times the doors were closed and just the living area of the house had heat. A beautiful big doll hung in a corner of the parlor. It was a Christmas present to the girl who lived there, but she was not allowed to play with it. Leona thought it was a waste to have a doll just to look at.
Leona's mother was a school teacher and she desired a good education for her children. After Leona had completed grade school, plans were made for her to return to Kansas to live with her mother's sister and family, Sade and .Jim Common, where she could attend high school.
Her journey to Kansas was by train. Due to a heavy wash-out, the train was delayed a day. When she arrived at her destination, there was no one to meet her. The Common's had thought her plans must have changed when she did not arrive on the designated day. Having the address, she set .out to look for her aunt's house. She had gone several blocks when she passed a boy on a bicycle. He looked her over as he passed and then kept looking over his shoulder at her. Actually it was her cousin, who was on his way to the train station to see if she had arrived. Having never seen each other before presented a slight problem. He finally turned around, got up enough nerve to straighten things out, then he took her suitcase on his bicycle and showed her to the house. She arrived on Sunday and was in school Monday morning.
She spent two years here without seeing her family and at times she was very lonesome for them. Baby brother Frank was two years old when she departed and he looked very much the part with long hair and long dresses. On her return she found she had lost her beloved baby brother. He had turned into a four year old trousered boy with cut hair.
Sister Bea took Leona's place in Kansas going to school. However, she contracted measles and her health became such that her mother felt it best for her to return home after only one year of schooling.
Leona and her brother Bill went to Fort Collins to continue their education. They began their journey riding with a couple who were complete strangers to them. The wagon trip took three or four days travel.
After arriving at Fort Collins, Colorado they found a room. They didn't have much money, but were able to find jobs. Bill, who had just finished grade school worked for the professor tending yards and cleaning rugs, etc. On a cold day, snow could be placed on a rug in a cold room and then swept off. This made a very good cleaner. Leona found various jobs. With both of them working they were able to live and attend the Jr. College.
Leona later returned to Hayden. Then moved to Jensen, Utah with her family. They came by wagon through Brown's park, over Diamond Mountain and through Crouse Canyon. The Calvary came along with an urgent need to get through the narrow canyon. They hooked several of their teams to the Neal Family's wagons and did they ever go for a fast ride out of the canyon so the Calvary could get through.
Leona's parents hoped the move to Jensen would discourage a certain suitor of their daughters. Their plan didn't succeed. On June 25, 1907, Leona became the bride of William Schaefermeyer at a wedding in her parents’ home. Leona's father was so upset she didn't know if he would come out of the bedroom for the ceremony, but he finally did. Her parents were not pleased with her marrying a man twenty five years her senior.
Her new husband had built a very nice two-story house in Hayden. Inside were many items of furniture he had built, including a rocking chair and a love seat.
The following year a baby girl, Beatrice, was born to the couple, followed by another daughter, Martha, the next year. A son, Neal, was born the next year on Christmas.
That spring, during cold weather, Leona decided to visit her parents in Jensen. She caught a ride with a wagon driver. She took Bea, 2 years old, Martha. One year old, and Neal, four months old. One her return trip from Jensen to Hayden, she caught a ride with two wagons hauling furniture. One of the drivers looked at the mother traveling with a little baby and two little girls and shook his head in unbelief.
In February of 1912, the family decided to move to Jensen, Utah where Will could work in The Dinosaur Quarry. Leona was expecting her fourth child in April.
All bundled up until they looked like balls, Bea, Martha and Neal sat on the double bed that was on top of the family possessions in the covered wagon. The three little ones were as happy as could be, with no fighting or crying and seemed to enjoy traveling.
William liked the outdoors and loved to camp.
The trip wasn't without mishaps even if they were more funny than harmful. One day Martha rolled out of the wagon between the canvas and the wagon box. Very excitedly Will ran and picked her up and stuffed her back in the wagon, all the time saying, "she's dead, she's dead." Actually she wasn't hurt at all and hadn't even made a sound.
Little Neal fell out of the wagon. He went straight out the front and under the horses. Will thought for sure his son had met his fate. The wagon was stopped and although he had gone under the horses hooves, he was alright.
At Skull Creek, Colorado, Will unharnessed the horses and was leading them away from the wagon when he suddenly stepped off a bank into a hidden snow-filled gulley and disappeared. The horses jumped back pulling him out by their lead ropes which he held tightly in his hands.
After arriving in Jensen, the family stayed with Leona's parents. A son, Jim, was born in April.
While living on her parent's ranch in Jensen on Green River, Leona saw an unforgettable sight. One washday while she was doing the washing with the aid of a washboard and a hand cranked washing machine, Bea, 3, and Martha, 2, had taken Neal, 1, on a ride in a little wagon. They returned with Neal plastered with the most slimy, sticky, terrible, yellow mud that just left his eyes showing. Leona thought it was the most hilarious sight she had ever witnessed. Her mother viewed it differently and seeing no humor in it, thought the little girls needed some punishment. Leona could do nothing but shake with laughter.
When the weather permitted, logs were brought from Diamond Mountain and Will built a two-room cabin between the Green River and the Dinosaur Quarry.
Leona borrowed a black horse from her parents to take some cleaning equipment to prepare her new home. She loaded it with whitewash, buckets, a broom, a mop and other equipment. On the trip back the horse took the bit in its teeth and headed home at top speed. Leona held on for a wild noisy ride amidst the clamor of the buckets, mop, broom, etc.
On June 25, 1914, twin babies were born to William and Leona. The little boy and girl arrived prematurely without the aid of a doctor. They were named Pearl and Earl after Mr. and Mrs. Douglas, operators of the Dinosaur Quarry. The warm summer weather and the continual care their mother gave them, accounts for the survival of the tiny twins. Will made an awning, covered with green branches on the East side of the house, to help provide shade and coolness.
With a family of six children under the age of six, the older children had to be given a great deal of responsibility to keep the household running. The older girls washed dishes, mixed bread and even cleaned chickens on a chair or while standing on boxes.
Will salvaged wood from the river and was able to build two more rooms on their home. Eleven years were spent on the homestead on the banks of Green River, during which time two more babies were born. Arthur was born in the Ashley area, a few miles North of Vernal. He was born at the home of Jane Murray, a nurse, when the twins were four years old. Two years later Ruth was born at the Timothy place in Ashley, home of a midwife.
The school age children had school with the Douglas boy, Gawain. His father Earl Douglas was founder and developer of the Dinosaur Quarry; his mother, Pearl, was the school teacher.
Leaving his family behind, Will decided to go to Rangely Colorado to work in the oil refinery. He stayed in a boarding house. When he returned home he was riding a brown horse which would take the place of one of his white team that had died. He wasn't much for riding horses, but he rode fifty miles to join his family.
One winter the family moved into Vernal, because the country wasn't providing any school. They lived in a house on the South side of the fair grounds. Ruth was four months old when they moved to town.
In the spring they moved back to their homestead on Green River. The milk cow calved as they were preparing to leave. The calf was loaded in the wagon and the cow followed behind.
Will was working in the Dinosaur Quarry again.
As school time approached again, Leona decided to go to Juniper Springs, Colorado to visit her parents, who had sold their ranch in Jensen, Will decided not to go. Leona and her brood started out. Baby Ruth grabbed Martha and walked for the first time. They hadn't gone far before Will came riding up and joined them.
One fateful day, while at the Neal ranch in Juniper Springs, the mothers were in the kitchen and supposedly all the children had gone down in the field. Jim, however, had found his way into his grandpa's cool shed. He found a giant cap, used for blasting out stumps. He hit it with a rock and the resulting explosion caused him to be temporarily deaf and embedded his hand with rock fragments. He ran screaming into the house. Leona, horrified, had to pry her son's hands from his pockets, not certain what she would find. With her care, he recovered.
The boys stayed in Juniper Springs with their grandparents and went to school. Martha stayed with Leona's brother, Bill Neal and his wife Ethel in Sage Creek, Colorado and went to school.
At the Dinosaur Quarry, Mrs. Douglas was the school teacher for her son Gawain and Bea, who were in the same grade.
Will's nephew, Bill, son of Charlie and Bessie Schaefermeyer, brought Leona back to Colorado in his car to get her children after the school year.
The boys were put on the train to Mt. Harris, where Leona picked them up the next day at the home of May and Harvey Hurd, Will's niece.
In the Jensen area a house warming was a big event because there was little opportunity for social life. The winter's cold froze the river so the family had a way to cross and attend such a welcome event. Will led his family across the river, testing the strength of the ice with his axe.
Deep winter snows and ice jams often made it necessary to cross the river on the ice. The river was dangerous with its whirl pools and under currents.
Leona gave Martha one of the milk cow's calves that was born on her birthday, but the river claimed it when it fell through the ice and drowned.
Neal jumped on the livestock watering hole, as it had frozen over. He succeeded to break the ice and went completely down into the cold river water. When his hair came to the surface, Bea grabbed it and pulled him out.
Spring run-off and the melting ice brought many a strange sight down the river, such as sheds, assorted animals and occasionally, some poor misshaped human.
Leona often hunted rabbits and geese. She and one or more offspring would ride out on a horse. Laying the barrel of the shotgun between the horse’s ears to steady it, didn't seem to bother it too much. One of the children was dropped off the horse to retrieve the game. The plentiful cactus was always a hazard and sometimes made contact.
Early spring found the family moving to the coalmine Basin, west of Vernal, where Will had found work in the Pack Allen mine. Two wagons were used in this move. Roy Kay drove one. The kids rode on feather beds on the high stacked wagons that were churning through hub-deep mud.
Leona worked here by cooking and feeding twenty miners three meals a day. Little Ruth bumped her mother one day as she fed the men, causing hot coffee to spill and scald her head and ear.
Water that was pumped from the mine was ditched around the rocky hillside by Neal and Martha, and the family grew a garden and watered an apricot tree.
The older children stayed in an apartment in Vernal and went to school. Later they went to school in Maeser, about three and one-half miles away. They came in a horse-drawn buggy when they could find the horse and walked when they couldn't. Once when the buggy wheel broke, Neal put a pole in its place and they managed to get home. Like most kids they had their tormentors. The Hacking kids would spook their horse, and it would get its legs out of the shafts.
In cold weather the kids would pull the quilt over their heads and head the horse for home. Often they would be aroused by a coal freighter hollering, "Watch where you're going." They would turn the horse and buggy from the middle of the road so he could pass.
Leona bought the family's first car from the car agency Mr. Allen, co-owner of the coalmine, and her brother, Charlie Neal, owned. It was a touring car with isinglass windows. Charlie showed Leona how to run the car and she headed for home. She tried to stop at Mrs. Rudge's Maeser store and ended up on the front steps before she got it to halt.
One day Will and Leona were going into town. Will backed the car out of the garage. Leona started around the car to the driver's side. Will moved over and took his foot off the clutch. The car lunged forward, knocking Leona down. She grabbed the radiator cap but her hand slipped off and the car started over her. She caught hold of a rod under the car and drug beneath it until she also lost this hand-hold. A cedar stump stopped the car with the wheel only inches from her head.
Her shoulder was torn and broken loose in the joint and was the most severe of her injuries. She bound it to her side or carried it in a sling for a considerably long time. When she drove during this time, she used her uninjured left arm to drive with and always had one of the kids along to shift the gears.
The family moved to Maeser and rented the house now owned by Wallace Caldwell. It was owned then by Ephrum Pitt.
Leona's parents were living on the adjoining property to the west which consisted of a large orchard. Having sold the ranch in Juniper Springs, her father brought his large herd of horses to the Duffy ranch in Jensen and bought property in Naples.
The orchard property belonged John McLaughlin and his wife Marth, "Matt," sister of Leona's mother. John bought the orchard place as an investment after being on the Yukon gold rush. He also owned property in Hayden, California.
John willed the orchard place to his wife, Matt, who in turn willed it to Leona.
With the six-acre orchard place as their new home, the whole family went into the fruit business. There was a big cellar, fifty feet long and twelve feet wide, which dwarfed a lantern's light. Leona and some of her children sat in this cold, damp, dark, cellar until two or three in the morning wiping and boxing apples. Will made the apple boxes. Leona's father had dug two pits in the orchard, which were filled with apples and straw. There was much fruit to pick and cider to make later in the season.
Leona bought a truck and took apples to peddle along the road and sell where she could. She took a load of apples to the Indian Bear dance at Whiterocks and got stuck. An Indian with a team and wagon pulled while a lot of braves pushed. After they got the truck out, Leona poured a basked of apples into the wagon. Indians were diving in all over while the wagon driver tried to cover them up.
The family had apple throws and fights. Mrs. Pitt across the street was even the recipient of a rotten apple being tossed by a stick. With rotten apple splattered on the side of her head, she stormed across the street to report to Leona about the activities of her boys. She was too mad to talk so Leona sat her down, gave her refreshments and calmed her down. Peace was restored and life went on.
The children grew and experienced many good times, (which hopefully they will record) married and left to make homes of their own.
During the Second World War years Leona and Will moved to California with Earl who had work in a defense plant. Their daughter, Bea, and her husband, Mar Jones and family, lived on the orchard place in their absence.
Later they moved to Clearfield, Utah where Earl worked at Hillfield. They started to buy a house there.
As the war came to an end they returned to their home in the orchard. Leona's mother spent much of the remainder of her life here in her daughter's care.
Daughter, Bea, suffering terminal cancer, was nursed by her mother for some time before she was hospitalized and died. This was a disease that Leona herself had survived.
Many grandchildren were born in her house.
A number of grandchildren with one parent to care for them were taken into her home for different periods of time, some short and others longer.
She was always on hand to help those who were ill or in need of a helping hand.
She journeyed twice to Alaska to visit her children living there.
Her husband, Will, having good health most of his life, died in this house at the age of 99 in 1960.
Her son, Earl, lived most of his life with her. She said, "I worked so hard to have him live when he was a baby, now he is caring for me." They took many mountain rides together in her later years, which she thoroughly enjoyed.
After 90 years she left this mortal life. Time had had its way. Eyes were dimmed and hearing marked; mind no longer keen and clear, body still strong except in proper function. Yet inside the worn shell still lived the girl that loved life and the world and those around her. Who met life with wisdom and courage, looking on the sunny side and brightening the world with her sense of humor. No wonder we loved her so.
She raised a large, close, loving family and was always counted on to help the sick and say the cheerful, encouraging word. Many grandchildren learned to love their grandmother who lived out her life in the house surrounded with huge old apple trees.
Neal Schaefermeyer interview by Daughter Carol Padilla
Contributor: Darlene Pierce Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Interview of Neal Veatch Schaefermeyer by Carol Schaefermeyer Padilla
When I was 13 months old my folks decided to move to Jensen where my Mothers parents lived on the Neal ranch. We stayed there while my Dad went up on Diamond Mountain to get the logs to build our house. The time we lived there the dinosaur quarry was found and as we got our house built we moved in and dad went to work at the dinosaur quarry.
Earl Douglas came out there from Pittsburg to search for this quarry and dinosaur bones and Dad stayed there with the Douglas’. The Douglas’ had stayed at the Neal’s while they looked for this quarry. He was about ready to give up and go back cause he couldn’t find anything but my grandfather said “oh stick around a little while, you’ll find it” So
The next two or three days they went up there and they found some bones and of course they settled up their by the quarry and we settled up there by the river about a ½ mile from the quarry. We lived up there I guess 8 years. And as far as I know that is where I first went to school. They had a little log schoolhouse they built there by the dinosaur quarry. I walked ½ mile over to school. While we lived there we had all these diseases that came along, scarlet fever, whopping cough and the measles and the mumps. You name it we had it. We had no doctors. Our parents were our doctors.
The main thing they used for these diseases was castor oil and of course peroxide was their main antiseptic. Finally made it through all these things but it was quite an ordeal.
Why did your family move from Hayden to Jensen?
Because Grandfather Neal moved down there and that was the only relative my mother had close and they moved down there to take up this homestead a couple of miles above the Neal ranch.
Tell us about that move.
We moved in a covered wagon, four head of horses. There was snow on the ground when we camped at Elk Springs that night Dad kind of throwed the snow away and put the camp stove down and the tent. We stayed there that night and the next morning the stove was melted right down through the snow about two feet and that was the time I fell off the wagon among the horses. The old white horse pawed me and knocked me out. Dad came over and got me and said “ he’s dead,” throwed me up on the wagon seat. Course a cat has nine lives. It didn’t seem to injure me much. It didn’t help my head any.
We moved on into Jensen, course I don’t remember any of this, it’s what I’ve been told, which is the truth.
And then we moved up to the quarry. Course I remember living there. I remember some cows and stock and dad built a little awning. We walked to school over to the little schoolhouse. And Mrs. Douglas was our teacher. Her husband Donald Earl Douglas used to come over and give us biology classes and things like that. See he was kind of a professor. He was the one that run the dinosaur quarry.
We were there eight years and one of those years my Grandfather Neal moved off of the ranch and moved up to the Duffy ranch in Colorado and ran that ranch. Jim and I went up there one winter and one summer and went to school up there. I think it was about the 4th or 5th grade. Then we came back to the river and we were there altogether about 8 years. And then we moved away from there and went up to Vernal
What things did you do as a boy at the quarry?
We did quite a bit of fishing. Dad was quite a fisherman. He put throw lines out. He would put weights on it and bait. And catch mostly suckers and roundtails and catfish. We lived on those fish and course we went swimming every day in the river. My mother she couldn’t swim, not a lick, but we always went swimming anyway. And I remember when I learned to swim the river was high clear up to the banks. They just threw me out in the river and said swim so I started to swim, that’s the way I learned to swim or I wouldn’t have made it.
Were those quite hard times?
The times were not too bad then for those days. We did about as good as the general run of the people. We shot lots of rabbits. We had rabbits on the north side of the house all winter. We hung them up, let them freeze and have rabbit all winter. Course Dad worked at the quarry all the time and made pretty good money there.
Grandpa built a home on the quarry what kind of a home was it?
The first he built was a log house that had two rooms in it. Kitchen and a bedroom and there was eight of us. Then I remember later on, I don’t know how old I was, he built a lean-to on. That was about the time we came back from living in Colorado and going to school up there. Then we lived there with the new addition and of course it made it a lot better. Course we had a little company that came here and there. Course the Douglas’ were about ½ mile away. They lived right by the quarry.
Jim, was born in Jensen
Earl, Pearl, Arthur and Ruth were born while they lived at the quarry. They were born in Vernal, that was the closest Doctor.
The twins were born in the summer and it was real hot. No air conditioning. Just out there in the heat. Mom always said that is what brought them through, they lived in an incubator. But I remember the twins when they were born.
What kind of work did you do as a boy?
Well, when we lived down there on the quarry we didn’t have much to do only chores, Had some cows, sheep and pigs and we fed those was about all. I guess the quarry kind of shut down after a while. Dad went to work at Rangeley Colorado and while he was gone us kids had to do all his chores. We hauled the water from the river up to the house which was ¼ mile on the sled in a barrel. The Green River water. The water used to be really muddy. We would take a cactus, cut them up and throw them in the barrel and that would settle the water. So it would be drinkable. And that was about the only thing there was down there to do was go to school in the winter. Hauled our own wood and chopped our own wood.
When moved to Vernal ?
We moved up there I don’t remember the dates but I must have been 12.
We moved on account of the work. The quarry had shut down so we moved up there to the work and then Dad worked up at the Pack Allen coal mine up there west of vernal.
We first moved up there down by the old central school in Vernal. We rented a house and went to central school. Then we moved to the Pack Allen coal mine which is three miles above Maeser. And dad worked at the mine and we either rode a horse or walked or anyway we could get to school in Maeser which was about 3 miles which is quite a task.
We worked a little up there, I used to haul water from the spring on the stoneboat, (the sled with a barrel with a donkey we had) to the ladies around there that lived there in the camp that worked in the mine. Then Jim and I got a job scraping the slack coal out from under the bins of the shoots of the mine. We would haul that out and made a little money there. Mother run the boarding house at the coal mine, cooked for all the miners and was there she had her worst accident I guess. We were going down to the show at Vernal. We bought a brand new 24 Chevrolet touring car. So dad went to back it out of the garage. It had quite a ramp to get it out of the garage. She did all the driving but dad was going to back it out and when she came out there she was going to get in so he let the clutch out to put it in gear and slide over so she could get in and it backed over her right on top of her and pulled the ligaments out of her shoulder and that did away with the show that night. Course that was quite an ordeal. It left her with a broken shoulder.
I heard of an accident you had as a boy with a hayrack.
That was when we lived on the river. I was just a little feller. I don’t remember this thing only what I was told. I have scars to show it. I was walking around there carrying a trap that dad used to have. A narrow peg on a chain to drive in the ground to hold the trap. I fell down and fell on this peg and it went through my cheek, clean through inside. And so all we had to do for a doctor was my mother. She pulled it out and poured in the peroxide and boiled it and got the adhesive tape, pulled it together and put the tape on it and that’s the way it was till it healed up. Another time I started out to bring the horse in and I ran a greasewood up my foot about an inch up in the bottom arch of my foot and it broke off. So to the house I come hopping on one foot. Mom gets me down there, gets the pliers and the butcher knife and sets on me and digs in there, then gets the pliers and pulls it out, boils it out with peroxide and puts the tape on and that’s the way it went till it healed.
What kind of Christmas gifts did you have or birthdays what kind of celebrations did you have?
On Christmas we always had Christmas we always had Christmas trees and we always had presents and I guess they bought presents for us. A certain amount you know. Everybody had something for Christmas and then on our birthdays we always had birthday cakes and sometimes homemade ice cream. We never had any big celebrations there wasn’t many people to celebrate. Every Sunday, not every Sunday but some, everybody was down there. The whole community would get together and go down to the river, there was a great big tree down there. We’d have a get together, eat and enjoy one another.
4th of July did they have big celebrations?
Some, I remember going to Vernal to one and they had fireworks a certain amount, course you always had candy, ice cream and pop. Things like that the kids go for. They would have oh different things,. like they do now. Course not as big, not so many automobiles and mostly horses and wagons.
Did you ever take vacations or trips?
No, we never did. Oh some we’d go to Vernal once in a while and visit some of the relatives
As a child, you were not member of LDS church did you have any kind of religious background?
Well, not too much course we never did go to church. We lived down to the river. But Dad used to go to church when he was a young guy in Colorado - Episcopalian church. And then when we moved to Vernal we used to go there some. But most of the time we kids went and the folks didn’t go, - once in a while but not always. It was the congregational church.
The old church still sits there.
Tell us about the town the Vernal when you were living there, how big of a place was it, what kind of buildings or stores?
Well, they had some pretty good stores in my day, course they had the Vernal Bank and a dozen or more buildings was there. Course we never got to Vernal too much but I remember when we did go we would just go up for supplies. Dad would go up about once a month. Every payday to get supplies for a month. And that was the only time we went to town and sometimes some of us kids would get to go - not every month but sometimes
About 15-16 when you moved from Jensen to Vernal?
Then we moved from the coal mine down to Maeser. We lived there on the apple orchard
Did Grandpa build the house there at the orchard or was it already built
It was already built
We bought it from McGaughlins. They bout it from I forget who they bought it from. Anyway they bought this place and then mom and dad bought it from them.
Talk about your social life as a teen ager.
I guess some of them did some dancing I never did do that. I was the kind that didn’t do that when I was a teenager. We just had parties quite a bit and things like this.
We would meet at each other’s homes. We’d eat and had games and socials.
Music in those days did they listen to much music?
Had no radios at all. They had some Victrolas . They weren’t the kind you could haul around. They were big and sat in the home and you went to someone’s home and listened to it. Dad brought home an Edison Victrola. The one with the cone (cylinder record) type. It had the one that the cone slipped on. Arthur has that one now.
Was the country at war during the time of your growing up years?
When we moved we lived at the dinosaur after World War 1 broke out. We talked a lot about this in school and a lot of the men around there at the dinosaur had to go to war. I remember them talking and going. We went down to Jensen and they had a celebration down there for all the men that were leaving from Jensen and all around there. I remember going down there and they had a great big feed for all day, - the day before they left.
No war when you were old enough to fight in the war?
No, the only time I was ever close to the war was when we lived at the Parriette Mine. We had the family and all you kids were there and I was exempt because I was working with something that was beneficial to the war. So I was exempt for that otherwise I would have gone.
Where did you meet mother?
At the time I was going to the Maeser School and she was of course a little ahead of me and she went to the high school. I never did go to high school. Maeser was my last school, - 8th grade. We went together there in Maeser and -
How long did you know her before you were married?
About 2 or 3 years.
What did you do on your dates or when you were together?
We would go to the movies quite a bit. Go to some plays in the ward and things of that sort. Then she finally left there and went to California and I stayed up here in Utah.
How did you get together?
I worked at the Black Diamond mine then and I went down there to California and we got married there in Los Angeles at the hall of records. One witness, marriage counselor and that was all of us.
How did you go down to California?
I bought a 29 Chevrolet when I worked at the mine at Ft. Duchesne. Brand new one. That’s what we drove. It took a couple of days to drive down. You would just roll up in a quilt; lay out at the side of the road and sleep. We stayed in motel while we were down there.
We were married Jan 9, 1932. It was in the depression - very much so.
What effect did that have on your life?
I had a little money saved up and that is when the depression hit. That is when the mine closed down and I went to California. It just kept getting worse all the time and that winter we all lived in the place in Maeser. Mar and Bea, and there 3 kids, and Earl and all of us kids, Art, Ruth, we all lived there. Grandpa and Grandma Neal lived there too. We lived on that 600 dollars that winter. We just sawed a little wood. Mar and I went to work up in the coal mine but you didn’t make very much A dollar or two. It was pretty rough.
You were married in Jan of 32 and you were without work for how long after you were married?
I was out of work until about April and then the Black Diamond Gilsonite mine started back to work, that’s north of Ft. Duchesne. At that time we moved to Ballard and lived in the old place until the first of November. We were expecting a baby so Momma moved back to Vernal with my folks. I stayed over at the mine, lived in a tent until Kendall was born. Kendall was born on the sixteenth of November. Dad and Mar came over and built a log house and mom and Kendall moved over there and we lived there for 8 months I guess, then the diamond mine closed down and they bought the Parriette Mine 8 miles south of Myton. And so they just brought in a bunch of trucks and we moved all the cabins, the cookhouse and our house and everything out to the Pariette Mine. While we were living there mom was expecting again. She went back to Vernal and Carol was born on May 11 1935 We lived at the Parriette Mine for 5 years and then we moved back to Maeser. We built a home there in Glines and Neala was born there in this home December 5, 1938 and we sold our home in Glines and moved over to a rented home in Maeser ward. Mom and the kids lived there and I worked out at the Parriette Mine and lived at the boarding house. Elynn was born on January 2 1941 and then we moved to Roosevelt Aug 1943 rented a house over there. Then we bought us a home in Roosevelt 1944 the old Shisler place is the one we bought. We drove back and forth from Roosevelt to the mine every day to work all the time we lived in Roosevelt.
What was your job in the mine?
It was on the mine. I maintained all the motors out there, sharpened all the picks did all the hoisting and done all the pumps down the mine. One year I worked 16 hours a day 365 days
How much longer did you work at the Gilsonite mines then?
We worked there at the mine until 1947. Then we quit the mines and went into the drilling business. Darwood Campbell and I started the business we called the Uintah Basin Drilling Company. We bought an old rig from Pete Hunt. We went down to Mexican hat and bought another rig and brought it home. We took them both and built a rig and started in the business.
There was another child when was he born?
Theron Neal was born May 21, 1951. That was the last.
Thru all your life you were a non member we would like to know a little about your conversion to the church.
Well, 1956 the missionaries came to preach the gospel. Faye Peterson and LaRue Nixon came together. Stake missionaries and they taught me the principles which I already knew quite a bit about but I just didn’t have any urge to be baptized. I drank coffee at that time. And that was the one thing that bothered me. I didn’t want to quit that and I knew it was a must so when I decided to be baptized I just decided to quit it so I did, there and then. It went on for some time. One evening Ralph Shields came down and said, “Next Saturday is baptism how about going and getting baptized?” and I said, “Well, I guess I’m ready”. So we went Saturday night and I was baptized. Ralph Shields baptized me. That was Nov 1956.
How long after baptism were you sealed to mother and the family?
We went to the temple March 1959 and all the family the kids were sealed there then.
Lived in Uintah Basin all your life and we would like to know about your retirement and your move from Uintah Basin.
I retired May 1976 and then we came out to Kaysville, rented a home till we got our home built. And then we moved into our new home in Kaysville December 1977.
What is your posterity includes
l great grandchild
Neal and Art Deer Hunting
Contributor: Darlene Pierce Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
[This is an excerpt from a letter Art wrote to a friend who was serving as a missionary, dated 24 November 1991--spelling and wording as he wrote it]
Thought I might give you an Account of a typical deere hunt--I think you only went with me once Elder and you can't judge me by that one Hunt.
Neal only had 2 Boys & only one hunts but can seldom get off so he has adopted me & my family to go hunting with. I've been determined to stay out there with him 'til he could get a deer but we didn't do very good--I shot once & Robyn shot twice--Neal never saw a Buck--
Karl & 3 boys (his) went out muzel loader hunting on Achie Ridge where we had been Hunting, the got 4 bucks--late enough in the year that the Bucks were coming out in the open more--any-way Neal likes to Jeep hunt--and since I can't hike too good that's about all we do is ride in that bumpy ol' Jeep all day--all the days weren't like this, but Here's a blow by blow account of uno day--
We hunt Bitter Creek where you & I went--Bet this is real intristing for you Sister Haws--sorry but maby Mary will write again--
We had permission slips to hunt down in the bottom of Bitter"Crick"--lots of deer no bucks--I said to Neal, (just He & I were out there) If we could cross the Crick & drive up the draws on the other side where hunters don't get to, maby we could find Bucks--Got up early, drove down Brewer Canyon to the Ranch (you & I looked at it from the ledges above) When we got there, still dark, a front wheel was rubbing the frame--Broken main leaf on the spring took a short chain and come-a-long, pulled the spring together, had a small Clevis, so put that on the leaf to hold it in place, left the come-a-long on, wired the handel up to the frame to keep from ripping it off, I got 4 big poles from the old Cerrell I can't spell that--well it sounds like this (Corell) fence, some barbed wire off the fence went a mile down the 'Crick' to a place we had flagged preveously. Where we could get the down the banks of but the chanel of the Crick was 3' wide & 4' deep--layed the poles across and wired them together to mak a bridge for the Jeep wheels. [diagram] Worked great, Crossed & through high grease wood--then turned up the Canyon I spotted the day before from on top. did ya git that? An old wagon road whick which gave out. Then up the wash, came to a wire gate stopped & hunted no deer--Found where a typical deer hunter had come down from the other side, --we know he was a typical deere deer hunter cause he went just as far as his 4X4 pickup would go and then went a little farther up against a Big Pinion Pine--where the tracks stopped and there layed the broken gllass form from his head lights--
Any-way neal says "If we can get this far we can go out the other side--
The other side is where we Saw you and Randy In your Jeep Sta Wag.
We opened the gate & Went abt. 50 yards, a small ledge no way around--so carried rocks some flat, some not, & built two tracks, ramps & finially got up--It now 10:43 & I'm goin to bed.
"Time for a Commerical"
It's now 7:50 p.m. Monday th' 25th.
As you may or may not know, I have had some chickens for last fue-few-years. In late spring I took a dozen eggs down to Karl Swain--He incubates eggs--I came up with 11 chickens--cats killed one so I had 10 that I raised 4 roosters & 6 hens--one rooster is from a Banty egg, that my Banty had layed. This rooster has fethers on its' legs and feet his mother was a pure Banty, cute little wild (flighty) hen--his father was my big-Big-white rooster--I don't know how they managed that, but the egg hatched so I guess they managed--any-way with these 10 spring chickens, and the 6 hens & Big white rooster I now from last year I now have 17 birds in the coupe.
I raise a lot of sweet corn, and that that isn't used I shell and feed the chickens. Now why would anyone want to keep 5 roosters, or even one for that matter, But Marilyn Hunting says hens lay better if there is a rooster so but I've got 5. Well every day I go down to the chicken run and sit on a Cinder block and shell corn fer' ma' flock. There are those that are a little spooky but most young ones get impatient and come up and pick the corn out of my hand--now I don't need 5 roosters, but how can ya' grab a pet like these & wring their sconey necks? Mary says she likes fried chicken.
(End of Commercial)
Now back to the deer Hunt--after we got on top of the small ledge, still in the bottom of the wash, about 20 feet ahead there were two big rocks oh maby 4 X 5 ft. square in the wash on either side--we had with us, a shovel, a pick, crowbar, ax, Chain saw a small Electric 12 volt air pump, tire chains, 2 1/4" log chains & extra gas, 2 gal. water, lunch, 4 apples some sweet rolls, 1/2 loaf Bread, 2 tins tuna, some Roast beef & potatoes Mary sent out when I came back after going back Saturday for Church after the 1st days Hunt--
The Jeep was two wide to go between the 2 rocks so we found a seam in one & used the Sledge hammer and crowbar finnally split it, tied the Jeep on the 1 half & pulled out of the way, still too narrow other half seemed to be either buried or was part of the ledge--gave up on rocks--with pick and shovel started a small dug-way around and over top of other rock--loose dirt & rock on bank but a lot to move. One rather deep part where water had washed down, I took the Chain Saw cut a Cedar up on steep bank, used the Cedar Post part as a stringer on wash side, filled in with green Cedar branches, then picked & shoveled the bank down on top and made short a road-dug-way and got Jeep up over and aroun out of wash. Another big rock, Used the handy-man Jack, tipped it up and over out of the way--Then back down in the Wash & nearly up to where the pickup came to. Another cut bank and big ricks--
Neal likes to run his tires with about 20# air--better traction & rides better.
Now we have the jeep front bumper against rocky bank rear bumper against big tree about 1 foot to jockey back & forth--nearly dark and rain & sleet, thunder, & lightning. We are soaked & muddy--Remember I have an acheing back, & have already taken 2 pain pills (have 1 left) as Neal was tryint to get the Jeep turned so we could go up another bank we had dug down he backed a hind wheel upon a rock & it broke the bead loose & went flat--we had already put the spare on down in the Greas wood.
Dark now--I cut a Big dry Pinion and split wood & got a fire going under a big rock--we lifted the hood got out the little Air pump, hooked to the battery and started to pump up tire--Bead wouldn't seal--tried spare, it wouldn't seal--jacked up Jeep & finally got a rather flat looking tire but decided to try it--oops, had left the hood up and distrubitor was soaked--no start--Has a V6 engine found a scrap of paper & marked each wire--took the cap off--(had a flash lit-kinda' dim) put plastic bag over cap & wires, hurried over to fire, wiped & heated & dried cap--put back on and Jeep started--Rain & hail like everything.
Neal got in Jeep & took off, hit the muddy dug-a-way bank, side swiped a pinion but made it up to where the pickup had been to.
I gathered up chains etc. went up to Jeep--Neal said tire is flat again. Sand & gravel in bead--Took tire off used last of water to clean bead--hooked up tire pump (left Jeep running & hood down) went back to fire and ate last of Roast Beef & patatoes also had a quart of grape Juice--after I ate went back up to Jeep--tire pump not running-tire flat. It's raining, we are soaked--In the lites of the Jeep took tire pump apart and found a broken wire, put back together & sat in Jeep by the heater while it pumped--finially up enough so put tire on and finially made it to the main road McCook Ridge, back across Bitter Creek on road and to camp 9:45 p.m.
Not too bad a day for two ol' grampas huh?
Let's see I'm 73 & Neal will be 80 Dec 25th. That was only 1 day--
There is another day about like that one but I guess it will save--
Hey we love you both and are thrilled for the great expierence you are having--Branch Pres. Huh?
Coulden't have chosen a better couple to run things
Love Art un' Mary
(Comment by Uncle Neal after I read the letter Sep. 3, 2000. "One thing he didn't say was that after we got to the top and on the road we didn't know what way to go.")
Funeral Service for Neal Schaefermeyer
Contributor: Darlene Pierce Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Talks given at the funeral of
Neal V. Schaefermeyer
Well how do you talk about someone’s life that was really bigger than life itself? And that’s the person that I’ve got to stand here before you and talk about.
If you listen to most talks at a funeral the speakers usually give a resume of great things that that person has done in church positions they have held as long as your arm, It lists, the temple work they have done, the missions they have filled. And all the things they’ve done and they’ve visited in works and efforts. But that wasn’t my Father and that wasn’t his, what you would call his ball of wax. Dad was not one to be in the spotlight, he was not one to be out front, he was not one to be at the pulpit, he was not one to be in public doing things that drew attention. He was quiet when he was in public, he didn’t say much but when he did it was pretty profound most of the time. And if you listened he could give you a lot of advice in a few words.
He came from a family who were very intolerant of Mormons. If you go back generations you might even say antagonistic towards Mormons. And yet five of his brothers and sisters married Mormons along with himself, he being the last one to convert.
Prior to Dad’s baptism, in the eyes of the church, he wasn’t much of a father. He did some things with the family and as my sister explained, mostly was away from home working. Spent most of his time away from home. And so we didn’t really know him that well, he didn’t support us in any of our church activities, in any of our school activities. He had his own life and he pretty well followed that. Dad had had some pretty bad business experiences with members of the church so he was quite bitter toward the church as some non members are, they blame the church for the actions of its members and Dad was one of those people. He would not give if he knew it would end up in the hands of the church. He just had bad feelings all around about that. When I went to him when I was 20 years old and asked him to support me on a mission the roof almost came off the house. And he wanted nothing to do with that so I fixed him. I found another way to go on a mission rather than him. I don’t really think he thought I would go and he was not at my farewell, he didn’t take me to the mission home. He was working down at Scoffield at the time and I was home the weekend before I went on my mission. It was the first time in my life, I kind of felt him linger around for a while before I left. He came out to the car and stood there and talked to me before I left.
When I came home from my mission I went to work for him. And sometimes the sparks flew over religion. Especially working over the Sabbath, which I didn’t want to do and that was his big day.
But then in 1957 that all changed. I was at my desk on point, the naval station in the Philippine Islands and the Lieutenant walked by one afternoon and just dropped a letter on my desk and I was used to that happening so I went on with my work. When I got to a stopping place, I picked that letter up and it was from my Mother. I opened it up and she said,” several months ago two of our neighbors were called as stake missionaries and seeing your Fathers truck in the driveway one evening the two ladies came over to our house and knocked on the door and your Dad answered the door and each one of them grabbed an arm and led him into the kitchen and sat him down on a chair and proceeded to teach him the gospel. And last Saturday morning he was baptized. And I was so stunned, I just couldn’t imagine that this would happen. Something I had prayed for all of my life and just like that it happened and so I got up from my desk and I walked out behind the building and sat there on the grass and I didn’t know whether to stand up and shout hallelujah or get on my knees and thank the Lord or just cry so I did all of them.
You’ve heard about the mighty change that king Moroni had in the Book of Mormon. Several different prophets in the Book of Mormon talked about this mighty change. In the California mission I probably saw hundreds of people who joined the church. Also in the Philippine Islands at that point. We, through some efforts had baptized over 50 of the first Pilipino people to come into the church. But of all those conversions I never did see what I really saw in a person that they talked about this mighty change. That is until I came home a year later.
The first morning after I came home I walked upstairs and I felt like something was different and I could not put my hand on just what it was and as I sat down to breakfast I remembered their wasn’t the smell of coffee in the house. Dad was raised in a family where coffee was the main thing. Grandma’s house smelled like a coffee factory and there was always coffee on the stove and Dad had to have his three times a day so it was different to come upstairs and eat breakfast without the smell of coffee on the table.
The next thing that happened was Sunday rolled around so I got up went upstairs, the last minute of course, looked in the front room and there was my Father sitting in his Sunday suit with his white shirt on and his tie, reading the newspaper, waiting for me to come and go to priesthood meeting with him. And so I got in the car with him, we went to priesthood meeting, we went in and sat down. The bishop got up and opened the meeting. And he said brethren as you know we have had some improvements made on our welfare farm. We needed a new irrigation system and so we asked Neal Schaefermeyer to go up and drill us a well and this morning I found out he is finished and he has handed me the bill. Let me read it to you. It says, Dear Bishop, on such and such a day we took a drill up and drilled through solid cobble rock for 400 feet (cobble rock is a well driller’s nightmare) we put 7 inch heavy duty casing down that well, the full length, with a submersible pump in the bottom of that well and piped that up to the surface of the ground, tested it at so many second feet of water per minute. Consider this bill paid in full, our Father in Heaven pays these things in advance. And Rob Nelson our history teacher reached over and slapped my dropped jaw shut. As I sat there I thought. Na, that can’t be Dad. And then a few Sundays later we went to stake conference. It was the first conference in our brand new Stake Center. The stake president got up and he said isn’t this marvelous that we have this beautiful building to worship in. You notice this is a unique building. It is an all steel building and thanks to Neal Schaefermeyer and his crew that came down with their equipment, hoisted all the steel in place and welded it there through days and days of activity. All at no charge. And I couldn’t believe this was the same man.
He kept my brother and my sister on their missions, Countless other missionaries he kept out. The members of the church and the bishop and stake presidents knew that if they ever needed money or service all they had to do was go down to Neal Schaefermeyer and they would get it. And this was the mighty change that came over my father.
As my sister has described him over what I knew him when I was growing up it was a very very different person. He became my constant companion now. He never even knew I existed before then. He took my brother and I everywhere that he went. We did everything with him. He taught us things. We worked with him. When he moved to Kaysville I had been out here for years. I was the only Schaefermeyer on the Wasatch front, before all these moved out here.
I was used to doing what I wanted, going where I wanted and doing what I wanted to do. One day I left town and didn’t tell him and I heard about it. And I had to check with him every time I left the place so that he knew and kept tabs on me. We became what I would call best of friends more than father and son to the point that we could almost look at each other and just know exactly what we were thinking. We were that close. We tore things down, we built things up, and we repaired them. We did all these things together and it was a relationship I had never known with my father and what the gospel did to him.
In 1931 Dad went to work for the Pariette Gilsonite Mining Company, and as my sister explained Dad had an 8th grade education but he had the wisdom of the greatest of engineers, and he was an engineer and he was a geologist and very good ones. He completely built that mine single handedly. All the machinery. All the equipment he assembled and then they built a second mine just about a mile up from there. And there he built that mine and put that one together and maintained those mines for 25 years.
Then he and one of his coworkers decided that they would go out on their own and go into the well drilling business. The oil companies were starting to move into the Uintah Basin and there was lots of exploration for oil just coming about. This was an opportune time to go into business so they went out and bought an old well rig for $150 that was built on an old 1928 Dodge school bus. It was all wood and dilapidated and the derrick was an old telephone pole. Dad tore this thing clear down to the bare frame and rebuilt it all the way back up. All out of steel. He had never even seen a well rig before and he had to put it all together. Before he even got done people were wanting to buy it. But he put that rig together and they went into the business and started working.
Now Kelly and Neala both talked about Dad’s horse sense. Now I’m going to give you the nitty gritty on Dad’s horse sense, what he really knew, and what a genius that he really was. After he got into his drilling business pretty good he got a good contract up at Neola ten miles north of Roosevelt and if anybody knows Neola, that’s cobble rock country, and to explain to you who don’t know what cobble rocks is, that’s like drilling a hole down through a barrel filled with marbles and then trying to keep the marbles apart and leave the whole there when you pull your instrument out. And that’s just what it is like to drill in cobble rock. Plus they always fall down in on top of your bit, you’re stuck in the hole, you lose your tools, you lose everything. It’s just hard drilling.
Dad used to say, you know when the Lord made the world he started just East of the Uintah Basin and he and his crew went clear around the world and when they got back, they just dropped everything and went home and it’s still here. And that’s what he felt about it. Well, the chief up there decided that Dad was not drilling fast enough so he sent down to Texas and got a couple of these rigs to come up from down there. The first mistake they made was pulling up to the trailer of the party chief and saying within one week we’ll have them Utah drillers right off this bench. That got back to my Father and so the Texans came by. (I’m in the mission field when this happened so I’m quoting Dad) chewing on straws in their straw hats, grinning from ear to ear as they traveled past them and went up and set up their rigs above them and began to wham bang, wham bang, all day long trying to drill holes. The next morning they came back for their meeting to give an accounting for their days work and party chief asked the first Texan what he did and he said man I drilled all day long as hard as I could drill and he said when I shut down I could still reach down to the bottom of my hole and pick out rocks with my hand. And He said to the other one, how did you do and he said I got eight feet and he said well, that’s pretty good. Well, in width, he said, I just drilled all day long and the rocks just kept coming in. I had a place there big enough to build a swimming pool. He said to Dad, what did you do? I got 50 feet today so they went back the next day and pretty soon the Texans started filtrating down to Dad’s rig, started pulling up a keg or a rock or a log and sat around and when they all got there he just reached up and dropped the throttle and turned around and said, alright you guys “This ain’t no drilling school so get out of here.” A few days later the Texans went back to Texas. But the good thing about it was their company didn’t want to take those drills all the way back so they gave them to my Dad for almost nothing. So he acquired two more rigs.
Out south of Vernal in some of the bad lands out there the United States Government decided that they would drill a very, very deep well and so they hired an oil rig company to come in and drill this tremendously deep hole and what they had in mind was that they would put a sensitive seismograph instrument down in the bottom of that well and with that they could detect a nuclear blast anywhere in the world. And so they went out to drill the well and the government people came out with their instruments and went out there and sat a wooden derrick up, put a shoot wheel up in the top of it, threaded a cable through it and proceeded to put together this several million dollar seismograph instrument. The tied the other end to the bumper of their pickup and they put it all together and got it already to go. It was about noon, so they decided to run to Vernal and get lunch so they jumped in their pickup and headed to Vernal. The jig and all that cable went sssssssshooooooooooo clear to the bottom of that well, and when Dad heard about it he offered to come over and fish it out for them. Oh we don’t want any pion Utahns driller over here messing around, we’ve got to have the best so they got a fishing tool company out of Oklahoma to send their representatives and all their tools up. A team out of Texas came up with their equipment and for two weeks they fished and they fished and they couldn’t get that jig out. Finally, they decided that they would have to give up, write off the millions of dollars that cost and get another one to put down there.
Then one of them said, well hey, do you remember that guy that came out here and volunteered to do this and they said, well yah, so what? Well as least give him a try. Well I don’t know what good it will do if he can’t do anything. Well, why not try so they said ok go call him so at 10:30 at night Dad got a telephone call. Do you think you can get this jig out for us? Yah I can get it out. How long will it take you to get ready and he says I’m ready right now. Well when can you be here? He says, I’ll be there at first daylight. Don’t you have to get your equipment ready? Everything I need is right out here in my truck in my yard. Ok come on over so he rode over there, drove up to the well, just getting daylight and here come this herd of people getting right around him started telling him how to do it and what had to be done. He says, wait a minute hold up when I come out here I’m the boss, and when I say, I’m the boss then you listen, What I’m telling you is get out of the road and let me do my job and I won’t hear one word.
Now dad was a hardhead when it came to doing things because he always knew he was right, he always knew the way to do it and he didn’t need anybodies suggestion. That didn’t sit very well with some people but that was his way and I always found out when I worked with my father you shut up and do what he says and I never ever heard him say I guess that didn’t work we will do it another way because it always worked. So he went over to his pickup pulled out his crowbar, pulled out a piece of rod, made a horseshoe bale just like this was the crowbar, you brought it around here, took his cable clamped in on and then he cut about 12 little short pieces about that long and built bars upon the handle of the crowbar. And all these guys were sitting here scratching their heads. Well, Dad knew that when that jig went down that well that all that cable come down on top of it and they were down there with a bell fishing tool trying to fish over the top of that jig and get ahold of it and pull it out So all he had to do was go over there and drop that crowbar down there and when it hit the bottom it had some speed and it just shot down through all that cable and when he pulled on it all that entanglement was all around that crowbar and all around those bars. He hooked it on to his truck, pulled it out and there was the jig. And they are all over there congratulating themselves and saying what a great thing it was and never said a word to him until he walked over and handed them a bill for $25,000. To him it wasn’t very important, he got back in his truck and rode back and he was home for lunch.
There is a Gilsonite mine out near the Colorado border called Bonanza, Utah. It’s a big Gilsonite mine, big concern. And they found a new way to dig Gilsonite. They would drill holes down through the vein and they would mine with water jet. With very high pressure water they could wash the Gilsonite out of the vein a lot quicker and a lot better than using picks and so they hired a survey company and geologist out of Denver to come over and they spent weeks out there finding those veins and surveying them and then they hired Dad to come over and do the drilling. Mr. Fesenton who was the head engineer and the head man over operation. Now, Neal here’s the veins all you have to do is watch out here and you can see everything that has been surveyed. The stakes are in the ground and you drill where the red ones are at. We want about every hundred feet so that when we wash back in we can wash 50 feet in each direction. Understood? Yup. So we started drilling. The first day Fesenton comes out. Very good, the next day, very good. The next day Fesenton comes out and here is Dad drilling 150 feet off the vein. And he was really upset so he goes tearing over there and he says, Well Neal, can’t you follow the stakes? And he says do you want me to follow the stakes or the vein? Well, what do you mean? What do you think that black stuff is your walking in right here? It’s Gilsonite and he says well how did you know that the vein was over here when all these smart guys out of Denver says its here? And he says come here and he walked around the rig and he says see that whole valley down there? Do you see all those sagebrush growing in that valley and Fesenton says, Yah, I do. Alright you see that strip down there that doesn’t have any sagebrush? Yah. Well sagebrush won’t grow in Gilsonite. So I guess Mr. Fesenton went back to the office and looked up all the money he had spent that he really didn’t need to.
One more story, I could tell them all day long. Two engineers decided that they would buy what we call coal mine basin west of Vernal. It was a beautiful valley and they thought they would go up and buy that valley, drill some wells on that property and have themselves a great farm because that was fertile ground and to save some money they bought their own rig. And they started to drill. They got down about 100 feet in their well and their air compressor quit. Now they had to have a air compressor because what that does is blow the cuttings up out of the well. Otherwise they would just build up in there. So they called the drill company up and told them they had sold them a piece of junk that their compressor had quit. They said well send it out. So they go to all the trouble, take off the drill, unbolt it and uncouple it and put it on a truck, ship it to Salt Lake. They overhaul it, they send it back and put it on and it still don’t work and three times they sent it back to Salt Lake. They just can’t make it work, so they come over and ask Dad if he thought he could come over and drill a well there. And he said, yah I can do it. Well when do you want to, oh I‘ll just use your rig. You can’t, its broken. Oh, I’ll use it.
Well, what Dad realized ---- I’ll tell you if you have ever gone out in a pond and it is dried up and has a clay bottom and it looks like putty with all those big cracks in it. When clay gets wet it swells, when it’s dry it shrinks and that‘s what causes that. Well you have got 200 feet of clay that you are drilling through and he knew that one time in history that was wet and when it dried it shrunk and when it did that it caused fishers to go out so the guy there was drilling out these fishers. So Dad went over, got his helper gripped 15 gallons of diesel fuel out of the tank, poured it down the well, stirred it with the bit, and it made it look like the modeling clay that we used to use, remember, to make dinosaurs in science class. And then he started his drill coming up and he plastered shut every one of those fishers. The circulation started back and down he went. These engineers that were suppose to come out and check on him and they got tied up and didn’t get out until about sundown and Dad was just putting the derrick on the rig and moving. And they said, just as we thought, he couldn’t do it and he is pulling off. So they come up and start chiding him about it and pretty soon they look down and there is water running everywhere. He had finished the well. So then they said well we will give you this rig if you will drill the rest of our wells for us. So now he had 4 rigs.
We talked about Dad being an outdoors man. I remember one time we had a well to drill down in the San Rafael desert east of Hanksville, and we left Roosevelt and went over Indian Canyon, took those old rigs down in there and got into Hanksville just a little bit before dark and headed out towards the well we were going….. what it was, was an oil well there and they had to have a water well to supply water for that oil well so that was what we were going to do. We hit the sand just about dark and we bounced and we dug and we spun and we twisted off drive lines and we welded them back all night long, till we were so tired we just couldn’t move a unit so we grabbed our bed rolls and some of the guys slept on the backs of the trucks and some went in the trailer house, just anywhere you could throw a bag down. I threw mine down on one of the roots in the sand and we slept a few hours and about sunrise the cook called out breakfast is ready. Dad went over and got his plate and went over on this little sand dune by the side of his rig and he sat down and he ate his breakfast and when he got done he reared back on that sand dune and he looked up at the sky and he says “I wouldn’t trade this sand dune for the whole Salt Lake valley.
Another time I went out to Roosevelt for Thanksgiving dinner with Mom and Dad. The next morning Dad says, you know I haven’t had a chance to go close the mine up for the winter why don’t we run up and do that and I said alright. Mother fixed us a great lunch, turkey sandwiches, deviled eggs, salad and pumpkin pie with whipped cream and all of those things and we headed up to the mine. We bucked about 3 feet of snow all the way up Mosby Mountain and all across the top and all across Mosby Mountain and down into the mine and just as we got there the alternator on the jeep started to squeal. So I went in and started to build a fire in the cook stove and Dad pulled the alternator off, brought it in and tore it down. Sure enough the bearing had ceased on the front of it. He got it loosened up pretty good and took the rear one out and put it in the front where all the tension is and packed the other one with axel grease and put it in the back, went out and put it on. Yah, it works fine. We go up then and closed the mine down and came back down to eat our lunch and low and behold we had forgot to bring it.
So we got in the cabin and scrounged around to see what we could find and here in the cupboard was a can of pork and beans just frozen solid. Next to it was a can of sego milk and it was frozen solid and next to it was a can of cocoa. So we took the lid off the stove, threw the pork and beans in on the fire. We melted some snow, put the can of cream in it and got it thawed out and then we poured our cocoa in the boiling water and we put the cream in and it curdled right up on top of it. And pretty soon the ends started to bulge in the pork and beans so we pulled them out quick and cut the end off and they were so hot they burned your tongue but then when you got into the center the beans were frozen solid. So there we were chomping down on these beans that were so hot they burned your tongue and when you got to the center they would crunch like ice and we’re moving our tongue around the curdled milk trying to get a little hot chocolate and he rears back and says man, this is living ain’t it!
So that was my Dad. As I said he didn’t have much of a resume of church positions and things but what he did for the church and what legacy that he left and the lessons that he taught with just a few words are the teachings that we get from the general authorities.
I admire this man so much. What an inspiration he has been to my life and how much he has taught me. There at the last he used to say, you’ve been a boss for so dang long you have forgot how to take orders. Can’t order you around anymore.
But out at Bonanza, you couldn’t have a fire, because of the danger of setting those Gilsonite veins on fire, 40 below zero all night long he would stand out there with his hands on those controls. Never heard that man complain. I never heard him be negative, I never heard him say anything bad about anyone. His philosophy to me was. If you don’t want to get up in the morning, get up anyway and you’re always glad you did. And I tried that and it worked.
And his next philosophy was. If you get up in the morning and you don’t feel well, and you‘ve got a cold coming on or you got a ache or you got a pain or your depressed or you got any problem, the best thing for you is to go to work and work just as hard as you can work. Before the day is over you will forget all about those things and you will be glad of what were your accomplishments for the day. And I found that to be true.
If I didn’t learn anything else from him I learned that, I’m grateful that I did. I’m grateful for his life, I’m grateful for what it has been to us, his friends, and his family. What a great person. To us he was a great giant. A giant of a man and God bless his memory.
But may we all try our best to simulate his life and the great man that he was in being able to be an example for those like he was to us. I pray in Jesus name, Amen.
Bishop Stan Fillmore
Thank you for the invitation to share a few remarks with you. A group of family and friends of this good brethren have come together and reflected back upon him. The many memories of a life well lived. What a wonderful opportunity it is to be in your presence and to learn of these experiences of this wonderful brother.
We have been deeply blessed by your reflections. I too buried my father during this same season of the year a number of years ago. I am told that the older I get the more I act like him. And I see that as a compliment.
It is my wish that all of the good traits that brother Schaefermeyer possessed and has demonstrated in his mortal journey have been incorporated into your families and into your lives.
To me Brother Schaefermeyer was as close to my heart as my grandfathers. His no nonsense comments in the High Priest Quorum were said without flare but were very much to the heart of the doctrine of the subjects discussed. He would often say and I quote. “The way I see it we should do it and get on with it”. End of quote. He always greeted you with a pleasant twinkle in his eye and a firm handshake. He lived as the salt of the earth. An independent and meat and potato man who would use his talents and skills to help others. What you saw was what you got.
We are also invited by our eternal father to model our lives after our savior and redeemer and older brother. That these traits may also be found in our countenance. In the cartoon strip of peanuts Linus says, “I guess it’s wrong to always be worrying about tomorrow. Maybe we should just think only about today” and Charlie Brown answers and says, “No, that’s giving up. I’m still hoping that yesterday will be better.”
Our yesterdays may not get better, though our memories of them may come clear now as we reflect upon them like we are today with the life of Brother Schaefermeyer. Time well spent today can make our future tomorrows more memorable. It has been written, to be able to look back on one’s life with satisfaction is to live twice.
You as families and those of us whose paths have crossed with the life of Brother Neal Schaefermeyer have today enjoyed the satisfaction of reliving moments of a seasoned life well lived. Brother Schaefermeyer has given a gift of pleasant memories for today and for tomorrow. I invite you to reflect upon them. By doing so in the veil which only temporarily separates us from him for a season. Brother Truman Madison has said, “Reflection upon the past is one of the profound councils of the patriarchs.” You have done wonderful experiences today and in following such a wonderful patriarch and reflecting upon his life. Brother Madison says further,” the very remembering of spiritual things becomes, in a measure, a reliving of them, an antidote to dark days and self-doubts and a quiet form of worship.”
Elder Russel M. Nelson of the quorum of the twelve said , “the more we know about our ancestors the more we know about ourselves.” Those we call dead are not dead at all. They are alive on the other side of the veil. Family ties can continue beyond death because of the ordinances performed in the temple of our lord. Brother and Sister Schaefermeyer took care of that blessing for all of you as family some years ago in the Salt Lake temple The Lord has said to us all. “Fear not even unto death, for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.” May we be reminded of our Lords tender affections for us. He that hath my commandments and keepth them, he it is that loveth me and he that loveth me shall be loved of my father and I will love him and will manifest myself unto him.
Elder Nelson further states, “The happiness found in this life is only a sample of the every lasting joy that awaits us later.” The veil of death is thin. I know by experiences of sacred decree that those who have gone before are not strangers. Our loved ones may be just as close as the room nearby separated only by the gateway to immortality and eternal life. Together we are soothed by the crest of our Lords love. He said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world give I unto you let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid and he promised, I will not leave you comfortless.”
May we all find the assurance and personal centeredness from the memories of a life well lived by Brother Neal Schaefermeyer. And find solace in the tender mercies and peace of our Lord and redeemer I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I am very honored this day to be asked by the family to take some part in my friends, and when I say friend, he is a great, great, I mean a great friend. He’s done a lot for me. I lost my father when I was in high school and he acted as a father for me. We did some crazy things that I couldn’t mention here, but I’ll tell you I will never forget him because he was tremendous. And if he called you a fruitcake you knew you were in his grasp as a friend, but he was a great friend. I thoroughly enjoyed him, and thanks again for the opportunity to give the benediction.
Kelly Waldron Home Teacher to Neal for many years
Brothers and Sisters, it is my great privilege, having been asked by Brother Schaefermeyer (Kendall) to address you this morning. It is my privilege to take a minute and speak a little bit.
My family moved to Kaysville in the fall of 1986 and it was just within about a week or so of that time Sister Schaefermeyer passed away. We never did meet her. We never did know her. It has been 20 years that we have lived in the 18th ward and in that twenty years as near as Greg and I could figure, I was Neal’s home teacher for about ten. And I want you to know that was great. Those were great times. Home teaching to Neal was like camping with the scouts. And I don’t mean to bring to much levity to this meeting but it might feel good because Neal was that way. He was great. There was always something different at Neal’s place. It was generally pretty exciting and it was typically roughing it. My companions were usually my sons and some others over the years. We went home teaching to Neal in everything from skid camper to 3, count them, trailers, a Volkswagen mini bus, and frequently in the shop. If you can imagine that and those of you who know, his world was in the shop. Everything that was really important was neat and was fun, was in the shop. In all those times he was never anything but gracious and welcomed us and it was great to be there and have my kids with me. I remember the first time I took Erin, does anyone remember Rosie? “Hey Dad, this cat shakes hands, how neat is that?” Neal was at one with the world wasn’t he? With nature.
I’ve written down a few of my thoughts. All of these trailers and contraptions and things. There was a movie that was out a couple or three years ago and it was called “Gone in Sixty Seconds” Some of you may have seen it. Starred Nicholas Cage. It was about a car thief who was supposed to boost a car in 60 seconds. Whenever Brother Duerden called, Neal could be gone in 60 seconds. And you could set your watch by it. Rascal.
It was tricky to home teach. You would be ready to go home teaching and Neal would be in Quartzite or some strange place. Up on top of the mountain on his four wheeler.
Neal’s faith was so simple and it was grounded in what he called horse sense. It was just a lot of fun to talk to him. His faith, though it was simple was firm as a rock. He had kind of an internal compass. A lot of people know where they are at all time. He always knew what was right and what was wrong.
If I may I won’t quote a lot of scripture because Neal did not quote a lot of scripture. But being simple in his faith was good and strong. I’m going to quote to you more from Brigham Young who was a lot like Neal in that way Brigham Young said, “know whether you ought to do a thing or not and if you ought not let it alone.” How simple is that? Now I could talk to you all day about the light of Christ. I could talk to you about doing unto others, the beatitudes and we could talk scriptures in the D&C but that would be wasted on Neal because he was, I don’t want to say simplistic, but that’s kind of the word I want to use. He was simplistic in those things. Well, if you shouldn’t do it, Neal wouldn’t do it. And he would tell you that it was a simple deal.
Though not a scriptorium, he had this internal compass. Let me quote to you another from Brigham Young, “Ye Latter Day Saints learn to sustain yourselves, produce everything you need to eat, drink, or wear and if you cannot obtain all you wish for today learn to do without that with which you cannot purchase and pay for, and bring your minds into subjection that you must and will live within your means”. Neal was proud of the fact that he never borrowed a dime in his life much to my consternation as a banker. He would tell me about it monthly. He was discouraged that I would pay him so little for the money he would put in the bank. I learned from Neal and his family the term cobble together. It was one time I was home teaching out in the shop again and he had the transmission of his brand new pickup truck apart on the workbench. Now I’m smart enough that I can just about get the oil-pan plug undone to drain the oil. That didn’t scare Neal. He was unafraid to tackle anything. Among the three or four trailers that he used, every one of them he found a way to tear them apart and put them back together and make a bed. And I don’t know how tech any of you are but he could run his TV and his phone and his stereo off of solar panels. Beyond me. Never good at that.
Did you ever need to borrow a tool from Neal? If he didn’t have it, you didn’t need it. It was occasionally when I was home teaching Neal, that I would find the car of one of his neighbors in the garage and Neal would fix it if it was particularly a widow or maybe a single parent type lady who was in need or broke down. It would find its way to Neal’s garage and Neal would fix it. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t fix or build.
One time I was in there and he was putting together a trailer to haul his snowmobiles and ATV to go to the top of the mountain. Let’s say he was 90 when he did that. Ok there you go.
Again this is a quote from Brigham Young, “the outdoor air is what people need for health. It is good for them to camp out. Close houses are injurious to health. If our houses were, every one of them, leveled to the ground and we were obliged to live in our wagons or tents the people would be healthier”.
I don’t know how many people know but there was time in our ward when we allowed on the first Sunday of the month to have some of the patriarchs get up and give us there life history. I will never forget that Neal stood up and told us that the first two years he was married they lived in a tent. Hold on to your hat and the honeymoon was never over.
We could discuss again scriptures like, “Retire to thy bed early that you may not be weary, arise early that your minds and your bodies may be invigorated.” Did anyone get up earlier than Neal? We could talk about the word of wisdom. Neal liked oatmeal and he would eat one quart of oatmeal for breakfast.
He used to be fond to tell me he exercised a lot and people didn’t generally exercise enough. He used to laugh at people who drove and tried to find the closest parking spot in front of Gold’s Gym. Think that one through.
He was always hunting and camping and he grew up of course in the basin. Neal was always fond to tell me. I don’t know if I can duplicate it but maybe I’ll try. I remember we used to go out in the pasture and chase that horse three or four miles to put a harness on it so we could ride it a quarter of a mile over to the neighbor’s house to visit. Horse sense again. It made perfect sense to me.
I’ve put a lot of talks together. I’ve made you laugh and I hope I’ve made you feel better with memories that we had from Neal. Made us feel good.
There was another side of Neal that was very important that I recognized as his home teacher. Though not a scriptorium, Neal died firm in faith in the gospel. Neal was very faithful to the church. Always honored his priesthood. Neal was a faithful home teacher, always took care of this responsibility from the church, his assignments. He had a testimony of the atonement of Christ. He was a firm believer in the resurrection and he knew there would be a hereafter and he would be with his sweet wife again. I don’t know what more we could say about Neal and I’m not going to say any more because I loved him and enjoyed his company, enjoyed home teaching him. It was a privilege and my life was touched and I hope everyone here who didn’t know him would be touched in the same way. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Neala Schaefermeyer Perez
I am not a speaker, and you will know that when I finish today. But I wanted to get up and do the eulogy for my Father.
This was a man that was born to a father that was 51 years old and a mother who was 24 years old. There were two older sisters and soon five younger siblings. With an aging father and a big family my father learned responsibility very early in his life and he never shirked his duty.
His family was so very important and I don’t think anyone knows what he did quietly for anyone that needed it, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children he was always there.
He only attended school to the 8th grade because he had to work and help those at home. And I think it bothered him to a certain degree because he didn’t have a college degree like his friend Duerden. But he always let you know Duerden had the book learning but he had the smarts.
He grew into a man working in the Gilsonite mines. In fact when the Second World War broke out he was never drafted because his work in the mine was so important. But he worked in those mines 7 days a week, 16 hours a day, no holidays, for years during the war.
He and my mother were married during the depression. They moved in with his family in Vernal. He had saved $600 before he was married and that was what sustained his family along with the farm that they lived on.
He and Darwood Campbell started the drilling business and the long hard hours continued. He was the one that was out on the rigs with a helper and that was where he wanted to be. Outdoors was his life.
We as children did not know our father very well when we were younger because he was away working , however, we have memories of him pulling our sleighs behind the car, which you younger children know nothing about, it was wonderful. He would let us ride on the fenders of the car around the neighborhood. We had a big garden and every year we would go down and get a truck load of manure, come back and most of us learned to drive by driving the truck around the garden while he threw the manure out of the back of the truck and how he ever stood on the back of the truck while it went jerk, jerk the whole time.
He provided very well for his family and always made sure we had the things that we needed and he expected us to be good children. We were not, but he expected it. Our recreation as a family was to go fishing and camping and we all have fond memories of those trips. He took us to places where few people ventured. He did not like to be on a fishing creek with anybody else.
He gave us the mine. What a gift he gave us. I want to read you a story that Elynn wrote for him for father’s day one year.
THE GOLD MINE
My father’s hobby in life, as was his father’s before him, was that of prospecting for gold. When I was about 11 or 12 years old, my father had a claim on a mine which was about an hour’s drive from our home.
This mine was on a hillside with a beautiful meadow below.
The next paragraph was added by me for this talk:
(I think most of you have been to the mine and my husband will kill me for telling you this but it’s just so apropos. My husband was raised in New York and he was a New Yorker and he had heard us talk about the mine, the mine, the mine and one day as we were driving up to the mine, it was before we had air conditioning that much in the cars so the windows were open and as you know, the dust was flying, it was a hot summer day and my husband turned to me and said, I can’t wait to get up there and take a shower. I said, “Pull-over, I think we need to talk”.
There was a spring on the hill so there was always fresh water. As children many fun times were had at our mine as we played and climbed the surrounding hillside. We brought our friends and had picnics and spent the day.
Then as time went on each sister or brother moved away from our home as we married and started families of our own. Now when we came to visit and work in the mine we stayed for a week-end, two weeks or whatever time we had or wanted to stay. We brought our children and each off them learned to love this beautiful meadow as we had. They loved to watch their Grandpa, Uncles, Dad’s and sometimes Mom’s help Grandpa with his gold mine.
Time just kept moving on and it wasn’t long before we were not only bringing our children, but they were bringing their spouses and then their children, our grandchildren. What a joy to watch our grandchildren having the same experiences at the mine as we did when we were children.
One of the most special experiences at the mine was the summer we held our family reunion there. Attending were all the relatives from our father’s side of the family. The reunion was held on a Saturday so most of the relatives left that night, but my father’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren stayed another day. One of our nieces was married to a Bishop so we made plans to hold a sacrament meeting. On the morning of the Sabbath we carried chairs to a little grove of trees there in that meadow, where we worshipped our Heavenly Father, passed the Sacrament, and a nephew’s baby was blessed. (Cousin Freddie, wife and family were with us that day also.)
A few years later, as the mine was getting too dangerous to continue working it was time to close it down. We all spent the day filling in the front and making it safe for anyone passing by. After we had finishing we all had such a strange feeling, almost as if we had just buried an old friend.
That night as we sat around the campfire as we had done so many, many times before, we were talking about all the good times we had had at this marvelous place. And then our Dad said something that most of us had thought many times before. He said, “this is the gold, all of my posterity here enjoying this time together.”
Last year Norm and I and our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren journeyed out to the mine to spend a few days. As I sat there watching the children play, myself unable to climb the hills or roam the meadow now, I felt close to my family, to my Mother who has passed on, to a favorite Aunt and Uncle who spent many summers at the mine, to my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, even to the many family pets that have shared this great placed with us.
We are thankful to our Father who didn’t give us gold or riches, but something much more, something called family.
And we often talked as a family about the mine and getting the gold out of the mine. Nobody ever wanted the gold out of the mine because too many bad things happen when there’s gold and the love we had of the mine and each other was what we wanted. The joys we shared there, the memories we shared there will always be a part of us, and I think there will be stories handed down to our grandchildren and their children about our mine.
His love of the outdoors never ceased. He was never happier than when he was outside. He loved watching the wildlife and especially the birds. He spent a little bit of last summer over in the Martha’s pasture and he had a ball watching those turkeys all summer long running around in that field.
Mom was always active in the church. But dad didn’t join until I was a teenager. I always remember one Saturday night. You who are from the basin remember on Saturday night Vernal would drive to Roosevelt, Roosevelt would drive to Vernal. Kind of hang out for the evening. Mom and Dad joined us that night and it happened to be the Saturday before fast Sunday. So Elynn and I were hassling them to go into the local café, have something to eat and hang out a while. We just kept on about this. Finally dad said to us. “You know, if we are going to be members of this church then we need to live its rules, if we are not going to live its rules then why bother”. He was a man of few words but when he spoke you listened and you learned.
The day we were sealed as a family will be forever sealed in my mind. How grateful I am for my parents for the siblings they gave me and now we’ve extended out to the spouses they have married and the children they have had. What a wonderful comfort in my life to have all these wonderful people around me who care for me and who I can love and enjoy. I am so grateful for my parents and the sacrifices they made that we could be a forever family together and love one another. And that is one thing we have and always had in our family is a loving and caring for one another.
He loved being on the mountains on his ATV. He and Kendall spent many an hour and a day up there doing just that.
What a memory knowing he was so happy on the day . He loved spending the summers in Vernal and we thank all those who cared for him when we couldn’t be with him. Cousins and a sister were there and looked out for him. We appreciate Robin and Kathy down in Mesquite. They lived in Vernal for a while and then went down to Mesquite and how much time he spent in their yard in his trailer. They watched out for him and took care of him. And how grateful we were that they opened up their home to him and loved him. In fact one time when we were in mesquite picking him up and Robin’s little girl Annie said to us (apparently there had been a leak after everyone had gone to work and school ) and so dad had gone into the house , found the leak and got it turned off before it was a problem. Annie was telling us, “I guess I had just left when it happened” and her father turned to her and said, “Well what would you have done Annie if this had happened while you were home”? “I would just run out and call Uncle Neal.”
That’s just of the way it was with everybody, just call Neal.
He was one of the most honest, to the letter of the law, hardworking, and I mean hard working. This was a man that knew what it was all about and never, ever complained about it. It was just part of his life to work hard and he knew what had to be done. And he could do anything. When I first got married and moved to New York it was the first time in my life that I realized other people called plumbers, electricians, mechanics for their cars, and repairman for their appliances. Dad knew how to do all that and he just did it. I didn’t realize you called someone in to do it.
He was not an affectionate man. It was hard for him to be affectionate. In all the times that I told him that I loved him he didn’t know how to respond except for the last time I saw him, I kissed him and told him” I love you Dad” and he said “me too.”
It was a comfort to know that his last week was spent happily with Theron. They were probably cruising the corvette looking for chicks. They did that a lot. And it was a comfort to know that he died in his grandson Curt’s arms. How grateful we were that he didn’t go alone.
Did he leave this world a better place by being here? Yes I think he did!
We need to learn from his example, the positive and the negative.
It was time for him to go as life was becoming more difficult for him, physically, mentally, and emotionally. He was a horse and buggy man and the modern world was very difficult to live in.
Oh, how I will miss him
He was a good man as very many of you have expressed
I loved him
And I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.