Biography of Orlan Clinton Pope by Leona J. Pope
Contributor: crex Created: 9 months ago Updated: 9 months ago
Orlan Clinton Pope
By his wife Leona
16 August 1900-5 October 1961
Orlan Clinton Pope, the son of Edwin Theodore Pope, Jr. and Laura Gunn, was born 16 August 1900 at Randolph, Rich County. There were ten living children in the family and he was the seventh. His grandfather, Edwin T. Pope, Sr., and brother Robert Pope were with the first settlers in Randolph, coming from Bear Lake Valley in the spring of 1870. The brothers were converts to the Church in Minnesota. Robert had a wife, Sarah, and child when they came to Utah. Edwin was born in the state of New York in 1835. He met his wife, Elizabeth Pearce when assisting a group of immigrants to cross the plains. She was eldest daughter of Robert Pearce and Sarah Brown, all were immigrants from England.
Orlan’s folks were active members of the Church and when he was three years old they took their family to the Logan Temple where their endowments and sealings were done 9 September 1903. It must have been a wonderful event to have their eight children sealed to them for time and all Eternity. They were hard working, honest folks. His father farmed, did carpentry work, ran a threshing machine and whatever work was available to support a large family.
Orlan loved to sing and had a fine voice. He learned many songs from phonograph records. While quite young he sang with the ward choir. With a large family, cousins and neighbors, they never lacked for fun things to do and sometimes mischievous things too. Like lots of boys, he wasn’t as interested in school as he might have been which he regretted later in life. His older brothers Ted and Edgar were soldiers in World War One and served overseas in France. He wanted to go too but was too young and his parents wouldn’t sign to let him enlist. He had his physical but the war ended before he was called to go.
At a Sunday School party at our teacher, James Grey’s home, while playing a game “Here comes an old lady with a stick and a staff,” no matter what question you were asked you must “neither laugh or smile” or pay a forfeit. Orlan was asked if he would take Leona home. He said “I will” and he did. That was the beginning of our special friendship. We were too young to date and were never in the same room at school, but were in Church classes together. But there was a special bond between us that grew stronger with the years. We had lots of fun things to do. We had to make our own fun. Home parties were favorites, with games and good things to eat, dances, plays, roller skating, sleigh rides, later moving pictures came to town, which we all enjoyed. We had a player piano, which was enjoyed very much. Some of the songs we liked to sing were the war time songs like, “Over There”, “Tipperary,” “There’s a Long, Long Trail”, etc. We liked to dance to the “Missouri Waltz”, “Beautiful Ohio”, “Hesitation Waltz”, etc.
When the folks moved to a ranch south of town, sometimes I walked home from school and Orlan would walk with me to the bridge over Big Creek, then cut back through the fields to his home.
Sometimes I rode a horse, he was an old horse, but had been a race horse and wouldn’t let another one pass him. Sometimes I went faster than I cared to. Sometimes I drove a horse and buggy home after closing up the shop. More than once I woke up at the gate with the lines on the ground.
I was sixteen when I first went to Provo to school. I met a girl from Paris, Idaho the first day and we became good friends. I even had a boyfriend and some dates before I went home in January. We corresponded for a time, but Orlan was away working when I got home. When he got back I knew he was the one I liked best. We dated steady after that. After my family moved to Provo, he came to see me a couple times. I didn’t care about dating there. So when Father and I went back to Randolph, we resumed our dating. We had been planning on waiting a year or so and a Temple marriage, but with the circumstances the way they were, we got married. I was 19 and he was 20. We had loved each other for a long time, and although times were hard, we were happy just to be together. Father disposed of his business and the next summer we lived on his ranch south of town.
My folks returned to Randolph again the fall of 1921 and our son Robert Delvar was born in their home, 6 December 1921. He was the most perfect baby ever born according to his parents. When he was six months old we went to the Salt Lake Temple, 31 May 1922, which was a dream come true. Father had moved to Hinckle, Utah in March and that fall Mother and the children moved there too. We took care of the Hotel until Father sold it. We moved to Hinckley, Millard County, too, in December 1923. Elda was born 29 January 1924. We bought a farm, without a house, so we rented one. Where the Delta Valley had been a very prosperous alfalfa seed growing place, times changed, the land became water logged, and had to be drained. Also drought conditions, really trained us for the great depression. Orlan worked on the drain, cut cedar posts, hauled cedar word and whatever work he could get to do.
We met many fine people and enjoyed the Hinckley Ward. Orlan served in Y.M.M.I.A. and in the Choir, and later in the Genealogical committee. Our finest crop was our children. While still in bed with Arlene (third), a tornado struck. It sure frightened us. It twisted the house until the doors wouldn’t work, but not breaking the boards. It threshed our seed crop on the ground. We were used to hard times and that was just one of the. I had complications with the next baby. The doctor worked hard to save my life. He lived five days. We had three more children born there and moved to Provo fall of 1932.
One great blessing while in Hinckley was having our Patriarchal Blessings given to us by President Willis Robinson, and the next day going to the Manti Temple for the week. They opened up a whole new world to us, and all through our lives, especially through the depression years have been a guide and comfort. To make this story shorter, we moved to Provo fall of 1932, with our six children. Arnold was the baby. We lived with the folks the first winter, until we could get a house. Mother needed my help too. Grandma Peay needed her help up to Aunt Louisa’s. She had had a bad accident. Father still had his farm in Hinckley. Mother had a new home built on her portion of the Peay estate. That fall another epidemic of flu hit and we had a most terrible time for weeks. My 14 year old brother, Ernest, died. We almost lost several of the others. It wasn’t until the Priesthood rebuked the disease and blessed the home that we got over it.
We moved to 360 South 700 West, still in the Provo Second Ward. Orlan was counselor in Genealogical Committee with Nephi Neilsen, a wonderful successful time. The house was sold and we rented the Miller house at 349 West 300 south in the Sixth Ward. We continued attending the Second until the Committee was released. Again we had sickness, measles and whooping cough, an awful combination. Buddy also got pneumonia and died 24 March 1934. Charles was born 9 April 1934. The next year scarlet fever struck and Elda was first. It affected her ears. The rest of the children took it. Amaryllis developed mastoid infections that developed into spinal meningitis. I also went to bed for 10 days. Her chances, according to Dr. Oaks, were only on in a thousand. It was only through the blessings of our Heavenly Father that her life was spared. We were members of the Sixth Ward then. The next year, 15 April 1936, Ted was born.
When he couldn’t find any other work, Orlan worked on W.P.A. where he was foreman much of the time. He learned to plaster at the Utah State hospital, stucco at the Midway Town Hall, made drain pipes and many other things. He had many experiences and made many friends and always did good work. Often our cash income was less than $50 a month. We had a cow, raised a garden and had learned to make every penny count. We had also proved that it pays to pay our tithing first. Orlan got a job on the Franklin School addition. We bought a lot on 10th North (now 960) and built a basement into which we moved in 1938. We built the top later. We were then in the Fourth Ward, where we were soon put to work and loved it. Delvar started at BYU getting work at the Press. He joined the Air corps in World War Two, becoming a Junior Lieutenant.
Our children started getting married and time moved so fast. Arlene married Lamond Mecham, Delvar married Elizabeth Done. When he finished basic training, she went with him. Elda married George Thatcher, who was in the Navy and she went with him. Amaryllis married Bud Wernz who worked for Rio Grande Railroad so they lived in different places. Julia Healey, our foster daughter, married Don Dean. They stayed in Provo for awhile, and then moved to Arizona. They have been active in their various wards and stakes in many positions.
On 7 March 1944 we had a premature baby girl, Dora. She only lived a short time. Grandma Peay had died in February. Delvar and Betty had a baby girl in California. I took a bus trip down to be there. Baby arrived first and I visited there. Then Arlene and baby came up to San Juan and took me to Los Angeles to visit them. I arrived home 14 April in time for Teddy’s birthday. We had another sorrow in September. Teddy was kicked by a horse and died 9 September 1944 on Mother’s birthday. We had eight deaths in 12 months.
The Mendelssohn Chorus was a great joy to Orlan. He sang with them for 23 years. Their trip to Dallas, Texas to represent Utah at the Federated Music Clubs of America at their 50th Jubilee in 1949 was a most wonderful experience for us. Orlan was in charge of the Number 2 bus. The chorus sang in a great many places. It was and still is a wonderful organization, the oldest male chorus in Utah.
Orlan was always active in the various wards we live in. Music always was a love. He loved to sing as he worked. His only training was many funerals and weddings and always at home. He was in M.I.A., Genealogy and Temple work, Priesthood leader for the Teachers Quorum, Home Teacher and was very active and a promoter of sports. He played with the ball teams for years.
In October of 1958, we purchased the folks farm in Lehi. Father had to give up farming and they had moved to Provo. Orlan always wanted to get back on the land and wanted a place where the family could get together, work together, and play together. It was to be a gather place for the whole family. We rented our home in Provo, moved to the farm, and Orlan continued to work for Provo City. The farm was so run down but the family helped and it surely made a difference. It was great to be working together. The children enjoyed the family parties and informal get-togethers. It was a joy to hear Orlan sing while he worked. We joined the Lehi third Ward where Bishop Carlos Coates soon put us to work. Orlan worked with the Ensigns and Leona with the Laurels. He was also called to serve as M.I.A. superintendent for a time. We really enjoyed the young people, and the whole ward.
It was a rewarding time of our lives and a hard working time with his job in Provo and a time of building “Castles in the Air.” The acceptance and love we felt in the new ward will never be forgotten. It was a very happy time. Orlan was looking forward to the time he could retire. It never came. On 28 July 1961, he was electrocuted in a freak accident while painting a light pole. It should have killed him but he lived for 69 days with five surgeries. We were allowed to be with him continually. I stayed days and others took turns at night. He was an inspiration of courage and faith to everyone. So many prayers were offered but always God’s will be done. He was mercifully released 5 October 1961. Our greatest trials have brought some of our greatest testimonies. Our family closeness grew even more through our suffering with him. He was so greatly loved by all who knew him, especially the young folks.
My leadership positions began mostly after the children were born and I became a Primary teacher, counselor and then to M.I.A. where I served for 25 years in ward and stake positions. Twice as President of University Ward, teacher of Laurels in Lehi Third Ward and Mia Maid teacher before becoming Relief Society President five years. One of the big thrills of our lives was when on Mother’s Day, 13 May 1957, at Utah Stake Conference; we were presented with the Honorary Master M Men and Golden Gleaner Awards. Our testimonies of the truthfulness of the Gospel were strong and grew even stronger with the adversities we faced. The Church was truly a part of our lives. Without the Sealing Power and the hope of Eternal Family relationships, it would be empty indeed.
Since Orlan’s passing my life has been busy with our family, with helping my parents, especially caring for Mother in her home, with Arvilla’s help, the last few years of her life. I’m grateful for brothers and sisters who help and at all times the activities in the Church to fill my life. With the grandchildren growing up, getting married, giving me great-grandchildren, going on missions, serving in the Armed Forces, going to college and so many wonderful and interesting things, I have been blessed beyond measure. Always, there is the looking forward to a great family reunion in the hereafter and the prayer that we may be worthy to be there together.