My Memories of Lois : by her sister, Ruth Garrett MacKay
Contributor: crex Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
My Memories of Lois
Written by her sister, Ruth Garrett MacKay
I can remember Ray and DeLora fighting but Lois didn’t get involved. When we moved to Tenth East she ran around with a great bunch of kids. That is when she met your dad [Joseph Thomas Edmunds Sr] and these kids were always together having fun. This was during the depression so no one had any money, but that didn’t seem to matter. Lois was always happy.
Lois and I slept in the same bed at that time, but we didn’t do much talking. I guess there was too much difference in our ages. The day I remember well was when Joey [Joseph Thomas Edmunds Jr] was born. It seems to me it was on a Sunday evening. When things got really serious, I had to go down [to] the basement with the boys. I could still hear her cry out and I remember thinking, “If that doctor doesn’t get here pretty soon I’m going to bite my nails.” Well, I did, and he finally came. It was Lionel who lived in Sandy. He was Charlotte’s (Joe’s sister’s husband).
After the baby was all cleaned up we got to [go] back upstairs. When I saw him I thought he was deformed. He slanted from his nose to the back of his head. He had no forehead. Maybe all babies come into the world looking like that but I don’t see them so soon after birth.
The next memory I have of Lois is when I went to Fresno and stayed with her during summer vacation. Your father [Joe Sr] was interning then so she was alone most of the time. I rode down with Paul (Joe’s brother) and Ella. I remember when we got there Ella said, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” These are dumb things to remember but they certainly had a lasting impression on me.
Lois and I ate a lot of bread and milk that summer. She taught me that by toasting the bread, it tasted better. We went for walks and just visited. There wasn’t any money to do anything else.
I guess things started looking better when Gee Gee [Charlene Rae Edmunds] was born because I went down on a bus to help when Lois was in the hospital. I was so glad when she came home so that she could give me instructions on how and what to cook. With her help I could take care of the family pretty well. She even taught me how to hang sheets on the line.
I remember Joanne [Lois Joanne Edmunds] as a cute, chubby baby. I said to Lois, “Her legs are so fat that she can’t get her feet together.” I tried to do it but didn’t have any luck. Lois just sat there beaming because she had such a darling little girl. When I fed Joanne in the highchair she was so neat. If a little bit of food got on her mouth, she licked it off immediately. Later, when I fed Gee Gee, she opened her mouth so wide I could have put the whole bowl in.
I think of Lois as just being there – solid, quiet, and always thinking of others. She seemed to be very happy and proud of her family. One experience I remember very vividly was when I went down at the time Diane [Diane Elaine Edmunds] was born. We were both sitting outside and Gee Gee came over to tell us something. She was so excited and enthused, and her eyes just sparkled. After she went back to play Lois just said, “Isn’t she cute?” You could just feel the love she had for each one of you. She had a special love for her family. I always felt welcome and your folks did everything they could for me. I remember them asking me where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do.
I think of Lois analyzing a situation and just quietly taking care of everyone’s needs. Her contribution to life was to make everyone around her happy. I appreciate the example she set for me. I always wanted to be a mother like her.
The last picture I have of Lois is when they returned from their mission. We were up to Mark (brother of Lois) and Raili’s and Lois came from the kitchen into the living room. She had on a white dress with navy blue polka dots. That was the time that Everett [Ruth’s husband] saw her special spirit (he saw her all dressed in white and realized that her time on the earth was very short) and I guess that was the last time I saw her alive.
[Transcribed by Lois' granddaughter, Laurie Ann Edmunds Reeve in 2016]
Profiles From the Past : A Mother’s Devotion
Contributor: crex Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Profiles From the Past : A Mother’s Devotion
By Gordon Irving
(Published in the Church News [Salt Lake City, Utah], 10 January 1981)
Frieda Kaestli came to Utah from Switzerland in 1892 at the age of 21.
She joined the Church the next year and in 1896, married Thomas Edmunds, a widower from Wales, Utah. As Frieda and Thomas began their family, they established the goal that their children would serve missions and graduate from college.
Thomas Edmunds died of a heart attack in 1911, leaving 40-year-old Frieda with the task of raising their six surviving children. A relative approached the new widow and told her, “Frieda, Thomas has left you very well provided for. You can live the rest of your life and not have any money worries. But if you spend your money on your children, on their missions and education and things of that sort, you won’t have anything left and someday you’re going to be on charity.” Like most mothers, Sister Edmunds was unaffected by such an argument.
Eager to have the best educational opportunities for her children, she moved the family to Logan, Utah, in 1915 so that the older children could attend Bingham Young College, at the time a Church school. Frieda was careful with her savings, urging all her children to work to support the family, especially after 1919 when the children began to go into the mission field. For more than 10 of the next 14 years, one or another of the Edmunds children was on a mission, with those at home contributing toward his support.
Frieda moved the family to Salt Lake City in the early 1920s so the older children could attend the University of Utah. Several years later the family moved to Chicago, where two of the boys were studying at Northwestern University. In both cities Frieda took in boarders to supplement the family income.
Where her youngest son finished his mission in France in 1933, nothing remained of what Thomas had left her more than 20 years before. By careful management, hard work, and devotion, Frieda had stretched the money until three of her sons and one of her daughters had filled missions.
Frieda Edmunds labored as only a parent can to fulfill the dream that she and Thomas had for their children. And the Edmunds children, solidly grounded in the Church and in their professional activities, were then able to provide for her needs during her remaining years.
(Drawing by Deseret News artist Reed McGregor)
[Transcribed by Frieda’s great-granddaughter, Laurie Ann Edmunds Reeve in 2016]
Memoriam of John Kaestli Edmunds (1900-1989) : by his wife, Jasmine Romney Edmunds
Contributor: crex Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Memoriam of John Kaestli Edmunds (1900-1989)
Written by his wife, Jasmine Romney Edmunds
PRESIDENT JOHN K. EDMUNDS
(His life and accomplishments, as seen through the "prejudiced eyes" of his wife, Jasmine R. Edmunds)
My husband has always said that I was his best "cheer-leader" and now I have the opportunity to tell you just how "special" he is – to me, anyway! Though I am not thoroughly acquainted with his younger life and do not know just what made him the way he is, I can testify that the end result has been totally satisfying to me – so here are a few facts concerning him:
He was born in the tiny, but beautiful, little Sanpete County town of Wales, Utah. His father, Thomas Edmunds, had come to America from Wales, Great Britain. His mother, Frieda Louise Kaestli, was a Swiss convert to the Church and had come from Switzerland where she had lived on the slopes of the Alps in a Swiss Inn, which was owned by her father [Johann Kaestli].
When John Kaestli Edmunds was ten years of age his father died of a heart attack and his mother and brothers [Carl, Paul & Joseph] and sisters [Charlotte & Olive] moved shortly thereafter to Logan, Utah where the children could have the advantage of better schools. Sister Edmunds, widowed at such an early age, was determined that her children should have the best in education and should go on Missions. Her life and energies were almost totally devoted to these two goals. Her sons had begun their education in Wales and Moroni Public Schools and continued their schooling in Logan at the Brigham Young College. After High School President Edmunds went to school at the Utah Agricultural College for one summer and then was called on a Mission. When he returned he attended University of Utah at Salt Lake City for five years from which University he acquired a B.A. Degree and studied some law. He then attended Northwestern University at Chicago, Illinois, from which he graduated with a Turis Doctor's degree. He then spent one more year in Post-Graduate work.
VOCATION AND BUSINESS ACTIVITIES
Financial necessity and personal ambition and determination were the motivating forces which caused President Edmunds, during his College years to enter into many of the vocation and business activities in which he engaged. He learned to do (and succeed) at many things. He taught in the Biology Lab at B. Y. C.; sold woolen goods and Building and Loan and shoes in the summers to help work his way through school. For one summer and "for money" he played the leading man in the University of Utah "Varsity Players." At the University of Utah he was Freshman Debate Coach and managed the Speech Department of the Extension Division of the University and played the lead in the school play. At Northwestern University he taught Speech and was Assistant Debate Coach and then Head Debate Coach for several years. IBM hired him to teach Speech to their salesmen and Executives of the Jewel Food Company of Illinois. During the summer of 1928 he worked for the Chicago Crime Commission and determined at that time not to engage in Criminal Law, feeling that such a clientele would not furnish the best association through the years to come. While going through law school in Chicago he sold shoes, men's furnishings, radios and worked in a Real Estate Office in the summers. In 1930 he had completed his legal training and began to practice law in Chicago. His past experiences had given him the courage it took to rent an office in one of the skyscrapers in Chicago' a Loop and put his name on the door and wait for clients to find out that he was an honest and efficient attorney. Though the first years were lean in income (and we had just gotten married!) he continued to practice until he became well known in the business world of Chicago and had a most successful practice. His practice consisted mainly of cases of Corporate Law, Wills, Trusts, Estates and Real Estate.
SPECIAL TALENTS AND INTERESTS
President Edmunds has many special talents and interests. Whenever he desires to do something he gives his whole mind and attention to it until he does it, not only well but excellently! All games, that he puts his mind to, he plays very well indeed. He enjoys chess and golf and has won some awards in swimming, tennis and table tennis. His interest in all forms of athletics is keen. At the University of Utah he was an outstanding debater and has been and is an excellent public speaker (one of the best, I always say!) At home in Wilmette, Illinois, he had a beautiful garden and yard and took joy in growing flowers and fresh vegetables. He writes well and follows the pattern which became habitual with him in his Law Practice - "Make every word express accurately that which you wish to say and use no superfluous verbiage".
MEMBERSHIP IN ORGANIZATIONS, AWARDS AND SPECIAL ACTIVITIES
President Edmunds has had membership in many organizations- In school as a young boy he played the clarinet in the town bands of Wales and Moroni! At B. Y. C. he was a member of Webster Literary and Debate Society and Tennis Champion. At the University of Utah he belonged to and wan President of the Friar's Club (the returned Missionary Organization) and President of the Blue Key Society. He was a member and officer of Tau Kappa Alpha (Debate Fraternity); Iota Sigrna (Activity Fraternity), a member of Skull and Bones (Honorary Junior Fraternity) Owl and Key (Honorary Senior Fraternity), Theta Alpha Phi (Honorary Dramatic Fraternity), President of the Graduating Class and elected Life President, winner of a prize in the Pasteur Essay Contest and awarded the John R. Parke Fellowship. At Northwestern University he was a member of the Vice-President of Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity, Class Orator of the Law School Graduating Class, awarded the Scott Matthews Medal for being the Outstanding student in "Land Titles", author of Thesis on Air Law which v.-as published in "Journal of Air Law", and member of the American Bar Association. He was admitted to the Bar of the State of Illinois in 1930 and admitted to practice in the Federal Courts five years thereafter. He was a member of the American Platform Association and served as an Officer and Director of several corporations, and was included in the volumes of "Who's Who in the Midwest."
Though my husband was intensely interested in his profession and its extra-curricular activities where he could be of service, his first loyalty and the thing to which he always gave his first attention was The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He has, and has always had, since the days of his first Mission, a deep desire to be of service in the Kingdom of God on earth. He has had much activity in the Church and has held many positions. He was baptized at the age of eight in the Manti Temple and in due time was ordained to each of the offices of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood. At the age of eighteen he was, sent as a missionary to the Eastern States Mission. Here he became President of the New Haven Conference and spent thirty months in the Mission-field. Returning to Salt Lake he became Assistant Sunday School Superintendent of the 33rd Ward and later Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association Stake Board Member of Liberty Stake. He was a member of the Church Central Committee of the Y.M.M.1.A. which Committee conducted the first M. Men Basketball Tournament of the Church. He served as a Stake Missionary of Liberty Stake. In Chicago, while he was going to school, he became Y. M. M. I. A. President of Logan Square Branch and teacher of the Gospel Doctrine Class. He filled special traveling assignments in the Northern States Mission under President Romney and President Hinckley. He became First Counselor in the Branch Presidency of Logan Square Branch of Northern States Mission and then was made First Counselor in the first Stake Presidency of Chicago Stake when that Stake, the 118th in the Church was organized in 1936. He was ordained a High Priest by President Heber J. Grant at this time. He served as Counselor for eight and one-half years and then in May of 1945 John K. Edmunds became President of Chicago Stake and continued in this office until February 3, 1963. During these eighteen years of his Presidency the Chicago Stake grew in size and strength and at the time of his release it was divided into three Stakes. On February 3rd of 1963 President Edmunds was ordained Chicago Stake Patriarch and in the spring of that year was called to be on the General Priesthood Horne Teaching Committee of the Church. While on this committee he traveled widely on week-ends – to Canada, Mexico and Europe and all through the United States – at the same time he was practicing law during the week and giving Patriarchal Blessings many evenings and assisting in the writing of some of the Home Teaching Manuals. He was co-author of the Church-wide Home Teaching lessons during the first year of their publication and co-author and editor of these lessons during the second and last year. In the Fall of 1967 he was chosen as a Regional Representative of the Twelve, assigned to work with nine of the Stakes of the Midwest Region located in Illinois, Wisconsin Ohio and Michigan. He continued in this position until he was called to come to California as Mission President in the summer of 1969.
During the years of his Church work in the Chicago area he rendered much legal service to the Church. The Chicago Stake House was built during his Presidency and many Ward houses were erected. It was a great joy to him to see the Church grow and flourish in that great metropolitan area. -Though he would be the last to admit it, he was known and loved widely in the Midwest.
HUSBAND AND FATHER
Now that you have read of President John K. Edmunds' life and accomplishments, I should like to tell you that he has been a wonderful husband and father. His sense of humor and constant optimism in the face of daily living and constant problems has helped us have a home of happiness, peace and hope. He has been a loving and thoughtful father and in spite of all the responsibilities and positions he has had, he has always had time to counsel with and listen to the problems of the members of his family.
Oh, he is not completely perfect! He doesn't like to hang wallpaper, or paint the outside of the house, or do the dishes or mend broken screens, but he has always provided the money to have someone else do it, or, if I preferred, given me his moral support while I did it! And for that I am grateful!
He has great compassion and concern for the people with whom he works and given the best he has to every responsibility that faces him. He seeks for guidance and help from the Lord and knows that this Church is the Church of Jesus Christ and for it he would give all his energies and talents.
For my husband, President John K. Edmunds, I am grateful – for his strength, his integrity, his dependability, his tenderness, his love. If you were L wouldn't you like to stand beside such a man for eternity? I would. This is my hope and my goal.
Financial necessity and personal ambition and determination were the motivating forces which caused President Edmunds, during his college years.
Jasmine R. Edmunds
Note: After he was released as the president of the California Mission, he served for five years as the president of The Salt Lake Temple. He was the author of the book "Through Temple Doors" published in 1978 by Bookcraft, Inc.. He and his wife (who President Edmunds characterized as "the epitome of fine womanhood) were the parents of two daughters – Janet and Janine.
[Transcribed by John’s grandniece, Laurie Ann Edmunds Reeve in 2016]