THOMAS MARION STEWART
By daughter Marion S. Peterson from taped interviews 1995/1996
Thomas Marion Stewart was born on 23 June 1917 in Alamo, Lincoln, Nevada to parents, Sarah Jane Paris and Sumner Udell Stewart. He was the seventh child and fourth son born to this family. He was delivered by his grandmother, Mary Ann Udall Stewart, who was the midwife in Alamo. She was quite an assertive woman, for her time, and apparently there was a little debate over what Daddy's name should be. All his life he has gone by Thomas Marion but five decades after his birth it was discovered that his official birth certificate recorded his name as Ivan Stewart. Evidently, his grandmother thought that she had won the debate when she signed and mailed the certificate in. He had to get the name officially changed to "Thomas Marion" in Carson City, Nevada.
Grandmother Sarah Jane (Jennie) was not well after his birth, so, most of the time, he was kept tied into a rocking chair with towels and everyone in the family would give the chair a push as they walked by to keep it rocking. He was a very good child and this seemed to be a great way to keep him happy.
His first nine years were spent happily growing up in Alamo. The family home was back-to-back with the home of his aunt and uncle, David and Jessie Stewart. A gate opened between the two yards and the two families were very close. Their son, Alden, was Tom's age. He was close childhood friends with his cousin, Keith, Raymond's son, "Slick" Lamb and Max Riggs.
The family was quite poor and at least three or four children slept together in one bed. One of the first things he remembers is his Dad coming in and telling him that his brother Grant had been born. They were three and a half years apart. All of the children were trained early to work hard. On wash day it was up to the kids to keep a fire going under the "black tub". They stirred the pot, rinsed and wrung out the clothes and hung them out - one day a week. The water had to be pumped outside from a 3 ft high pump. The kids carried the water from the pump to the tub. It took nearly all day.
The children milked from 2-5 cows daily. In Alamo each block was about 50 acres in size. Their home sat on one-fourth of the block or 12 1/2 acres. The cows were in the far back of the lot. They also had chickens, pigs and cattle which they raised and butchered for their meat. They were all taught to work. They grew an excellent garden: currants, melons, tomatoes and many other vegetables and fruits . Grandma put up at least 2,000 quarts of fruit annually. Daddy helped by hoeing the weeds in the gardens. Grandma was a wonderful cook.
However, because the family had so many children and a lot of hard work was needed to keep the children clothed and fed, he doesn't remember every having his mother take the time to read to him or the others. Still, they were happy and felt loved.
The family was close with the Paris family and their double cousins, Raymond and Ruth's family. Also, the Lamb family was catty-corner from them. Grandpa Stewart farmed, mostly alfalfa. The family was quite self-sufficient, raising all of their own food.
Daddy remembers wearing hand-me-downs. Wearing shoes that didn't fit or that were worn- out was a real problem. He remembers putting cardboard in the bottoms of shoes when they were overly worn. Thankfully, everyone was in the same situation because he does not remember ever having anyone make fun of his clothes or shoes. There was not much competition in the small town.
The boys played horseshoes and some baseball, but more time was spent working than playing. The swimming hole was a ways away, so they didn't get to go there too often.
Paris, the oldest brother, went on a mission about the same time that the rest of the family moved from Alamo to Las Vegas. They were the only one of the Stewart or Paris families to move away from Alamo. Grandpa Sumner got a job with the railroad that, at that time, owned the Old Ranch. He was sent to farm the ranch. They first lived on Ogden Street and then moved to one of the adobe buildings located on the ranch. They raised all types of fruit there: figs, pears, walnuts, etc. It was a 30-40 acre orchard at the time. Later some of his cousins and their families lived in small homes in this area called the "Old Ranch." They started moving away in the 1950s and, eventually, the ranch was torn down except for one historic building.
Daddy started with the third grade in Las Vegas at the old Las Vegas School between Bridger and Clark streets. He was in the A Group and did so well that he was promoted ahead to the fifth grade, skipping the fourth. Math was his best subject, but he enjoyed all of his classes. The year that Las Vegas High School was first opened, Daddy was a freshman there. He played football and basketball. His brother, Don, played four years of football. He says that he never had the chance to really study so he didn't get straight As, but he did well in spite of it.
In the summers he irrigated and he bailed hay. They had an old team that pulled an aging steel bailer. When he was about eleven he was what was called the "tier" of the bails. A plunger would drop down to space the bails apart and when they would come out he would run around and tie the wires. He didn't have gloves so his hands took abuse. After ten-twelve hours of bailing the boys were all hot and quite dirty. They would go up to the well pump, which was about twelve inches in diameter, and Wayne, Don, Grant and Daddy would strip naked and all wash down, under the pump, before going home.
In the mid-1920s Grandpa Sumner moved his family seven miles northwest to the Craig Ranch which was on a dirt road from town. The family only had one car that had to be shared by all. When they were in high school, it meant that if one member of the family needed to stay late to play ball, etc. all of the others had to wait so that they could ride home together. Sometimes it was 10, 11 or 12 o'clock midnight before they got home. Then they had to get up the next morning by 5:00 am to milk the cows, separate the milk and be back in town by 7:00 o'clock the next morning. Grandpa would do the driving because he worked in town for the city during the winter. They lived at Craig Ranch for seven years.
They had only been living at the Craig Ranch for about one year when Grandma Sarah Jane (Jennie) died. She had been sick for a short time. The eleventh child, Beverly, was a very little baby at the time of her mother's death. Grandmother Jennie had had a very difficult time living away from her friends and relatives. Craig Ranch was so isolated that she was really alone during the day, except for the younger children. The death certificate says that she died of lobar pneumonia. She died on 18 August 1929 at the age of 43 years and 7 months. Daddy had just turned twelve years old.
It was a sad day when the mother of this large family received her untimely call to the other side. The older sisters, Arlene and Marguerite (Bunkie), took over running the family after their mother's death. The family continued on as best they could, but it was never the same again and never as easy.
Once each summer they would get to go to Alamo and visit. He would stay with their Grandmother Paris (Sadie) and her second husband, Jack Jenkins. He very much enjoyed staying with them. Grandmother Sadie was calm and very nice and especially loving, much more than his Grandmother Stewart (Mary Ann). Grandma Paris would feed all of the grandkids, sometimes ten at a time. He wondered how she had the money to do it. He always enjoyed her corn. After being picked, she would have the grandchildren put it on the roof to dry, with the kids watching. Later she would reconstitute and boil it. It was his favorite thing to eat there.
Visits with his Stewart grandparents were more infrequent and usually only lasted an hour or two. They had too many grandchildren for them to give one-on-one time to each grandchild.
Grandfather William Thomas was quite a serious man who spent a lot of time reading and studying. Daddy can't remember ever riding horses or spending time alone with him.
Visits were only social and about once a year.
He remembers during his high school years that one of his main chores was making bread for the family. He baked at least four to five loaves of bread every day. The family often had bread and milk for their dinner. They had fresh milk from the family cow to go with the homemade bread. Later in life he often liked to eat that same simple meal even though he usually had to use store-bought bread and milk.
Arlene and Marguerite (Bunkie) stayed home, longer than most girls would, to cook and help raise the younger family. Aunt Ruth, the oldest sister, had run away and gotten married before their mother died. That event was a huge blow to her parents and caused Grandma Jennie to have much sorrow during the year before her death.
When Daddy graduated from Las Vegas High School in 1934 he left Las Vegas the next fall to attend the University of Nevada at Reno. He raised his own money to go, and even though he had a partial scholarship, he couldn't stay longer than part of the first year because there wasn't enough. He played center on the college football team. Because of skipping a grade he graduated with his brother, Don, who was one year his elder. Don went to the University of Southern California to play football, but he, too, had to leave after the first year due to lack of finances.
A year later Daddy got the opportunity to work for the Nevada Highway Department as a surveyor. Later he changed his work and in 1937 he went to work for the US Bureau of Public Roads. First he worked with John Kylie where the two of them built a bridge in Yosemite National Park. He became very close friends with John and his wife, Helen. Next he went to Sequoia National Park and Pala Indian Reservation in San Diego County to do surveying and road building work. He travelled to many other places on other assignments.
In previous years, he had watched the building of Hoover Dam on the Arizona/Nevada border. It was started in 1931 and the water started filling to create Lake Mead in 1938.
The second year of Bureau work, in 1938, he was sent to Overton, Nevada where he worked with Jim Castle to build a road from Overton to Lake Mead. It was in Overton that he met Mother, Anna Lenora Taylor.
School teaching jobs were scarce in the 1930s and early 1940s. Mother, Anna Taylor, had been raised in Utah and Idaho but was lucky when a job came available in Overton, Nevada. She had heard about Daddy from some of the other teachers. They were introduced by Luetta Imlay. Their first date was to a dance and they remember that it must have been the day before payday because Daddy only had one nickel in his pocket.
They danced out on the tennis courts, where they could hear the music, instead of in the gymnasium with everyone else because they couldn't afford to pay to get in. Daddy was a great dancer, but in Mother's words, "I was was too stiff to be as good." She remembers being told later that Daddy was the one that all the girls liked to dance with when they were growing up. After several dates Daddy was transferred to Boulder City on another job.
They promised to write to each other and she would send a young student named Loren Whitmore out to get the mail each day. She said that his fingers were yellow with tobacco stains and when she told Daddy about it he said, "You tell him to go out and be a good boy (getting the mail) and he would give him a cigar." One time Loren put his head down in school and went sound asleep. The other boys said that they were sure glad that they didn't smoke like Loren.
Daddy didn't date anyone else after meeting Mother. Their courtship lasted for nearly two years and they were married on 7 June 1940 in St. George, Utah. Daddy was transferred to six different jobs in different places the year before they were married so a great deal of their courtship took place through the mail. Because Daddy had moved so much he hadn't had a chance to be active in an LDS Ward, so they decided to have a civil marriage. Daddy proposed near the football field in Las Vegas. We wondered if he had surprised her, but she answered that she would have been disappointed if she hadn't received a ring and a proposal on the day when it came. Her school class gave her a Sunbeam electric iron for a wedding gift.
It was a warm summer day at 5:00 in the afternoon when Mother and Daddy arrived at the St. George Tabernacle for their marriage. They had planned to stay in a motel owned by a man from Evanston. This same man had made the arrangements for someone to perform the ceremony. When the bride and groom-to-be arrived at the Tabernacle, Daddy immediately recognized the man who was going to perform the ceremony as the same man that one of Daddy's cousins had had a wild drinking party with the previous year. When the man recognized Daddy he said, "Tom, if I had known this for you I would have had music and a lot of things!" Luetta Imlay was the bridesmaid and John Bunten, who had been teaching school in Overton, was the best man. No other family members attended from either side of the family.
The newlyweds went to Dick's Cafe and had cantaloupe ala mode for their "wedding feast." The next day they went to Bryce Canyon in their brown 1938 Chevrolet coupe. They didn't have much money. They stopped at a lodge for refreshments and ordered iced tea with lemon. The tea was very weak but the lemon wedges were fairly well-sized so they took both lemons and laughingly made lemonade.
On the next night they stayed at Beaver Dam Lodge in the Arizona strip between Utah and Nevada. They came out of the motel the next morning and couldn't start their car and had to buy a new battery, which was a horrible expense. Mother had saved a small cash gift given to them from her father, and she gave it to Daddy that next day. He didn't like to accept the money, but it surely helped to buy the battery.
After getting the battery replaced they drove to Las Vegas and looked for a place to live and moved in on the same day. The small apartment was located at 602 South 2nd Street. It was furnished and had paper-thin walls with a bedroom, a tiny living room, a small bathroom and a kitchen that originally had been the back porch. The toilet had as little legroom in front of it as the one we laugh about in the Star Valley home. They could well hear the people that lived on the other side of the wall. The only furnishing that they had personally was a cedar chest of Mother's with linens and towels. Mother was out of school for the summer but she was still receiving checks during those first three months of their marriage. She remembers Daddy saying how glad he was when her checks stopped coming--he wanted to be the chief supporter in the marriage.
At that time Daddy quit working with highways and passed a civil service test to work for the Post Office. The morning after his honeymoon, Daddy started to work for the Las Vegas Post Office. Bob Lias, Wayne Whitehead and Daddy ran the entire post office themselves from Saturday noon until Monday morning. He made $1.00 per hour. They worked long hours and rotated working so that they could have every third weekend off. Daddy learned to do everything from making out money orders to dispatching, collecting, and delivering. They had to pick up in drop boxes, rush back to sort and then dispatch. They sent some by trains and planes. Mother didn't work that summer.
Daddy's first delivery route was on the west side of Las Vegas where there had never been a route before. He had to purchase a bike. He and his brother Paris, Orville Lee and Dale Howell had to pick up the mail at 7:00 am then bike through their routes. When finished, they came back and made a second delivery in the afternoon. At that time there were only five or six routes in the whole city. The west side of town had an area where mostly black families lived. Then further west was an area with quite expensive homes.
One family on his route was the Thomas Gay Meyers family. They were a prominent family and were active in the LDS Church. A real tragedy occurred one day, and Daddy was lucky to escape being hurt or killed. He had just passed the Meyer's home, a block past, when there was an enormous propane gas explosion of that home. Five people were killed. Daddy was as white as a sheet when he came home that day and told Mother what had happened. The parents had been killed and their oldest daughter, who was married to Gerald Leavitt and was pregnant and there for a visit, was killed. Gay, who later served as our Stake President, was the only member of the family who was home at the time that was saved. He escaped because he was in the bathtub when the explosion happened.
The next route that Daddy was assigned was Main Street, Stewart Street and to Charleston in the main part of town. He walked this route and did it twice a day. He kept a dime in his pocket for several days at a time because a bakery was on the route. He resisted as long as he could before he would go in and buy a brownie. He, like all other postmen, had his trouble with dogs. When he was biking he said that the dogs really liked to go after him because of the bag over his shoulder and the straps that dangled from it. One day he got his buckle in his hand and waited for a particular large dog (one that charged him daily) to come after him. He hit the dog square in the head with the buckle and knocked the dog out. He continued on his way to the next house before he looked back and saw that in five minutes the dog came to. From then on that dog never dared to bother Daddy again.
Once they tried to deliver a package that had a bad address and had to take it back to the post office and put it on the shelf. About a week went by and the Post Office started to smell terrible. They went in search of the source and finally zeroed in on this box. They took it onto the back porch of the building and discovered a dead, decaying chicken in it. No one that has ever smelled that smell will ever forget it.
He finally got a permanent appointment for $2100 a year. Then he went in the trucking business on his days off. Ferris Bunker and Daddy bought a large truck numbered #23. Marion used to love to ride in that truck. The truck was so heavy that it once fell into an unmarked septic tank and a crane was needed to get it lifted out. The two of them hauled dirt to make extra money when they had time off from the post office work.
717 Carson was their next home after several months. Daddy's brother, Don, and his wife Bette Jean lived in the same apartment houses. When she first married Daddy, Mother didn't feel very close to his family. As the years went by, she formed a strong relationship with his sister Arlene and with sisters-in-law Erma, Audrey and Kay. Several of his cousins were her close friends. The Stewart Clan got together often, especially at holiday time. Several of the family didn't stay close to the Church and married members of other Churches and didn't even have their children baptised. By the fourth generation of the Sumner U. and Sarah Jane Paris Stewart descendants, several of the families were entirely away from the Church. It was sad to contemplate. We often wondered if things would have been different if Grandma Jennie would have lived to add her influence to the lives of her children and grandchildren. Two of Daddy's sisters, Helen and Beverly, both lived in the Denver, Colorado area but they still came often to Las Vegas and kept in contact. After the children of brother Wayne were grown, they were never close to the rest of the family. Wayne had died young and his wife had remarried and moved away. Some of us never saw them or had any contact. One sister, Bunkie, didn't have any children of her own, but she raised and mothered her sister Ruth's youngest - Mark Bradford.
Marion Lenore, was born on 22 June 1942 at the Southern Nevada Memorial Hospital. There had been a recent epidemic, something like the bubonic plague, at the scheduled Las Vegas Hospital that had killed some newborns, so Mother and Daddy drove to the other hospital at the west end of town. While Mother was in labor on Sunday, 21 June, Daddy golfed with Vaughn Harris. He says that he stopped and called her every hour, but she begs to differ. She was hardly speaking to him when he finally showed up to take her to the hospital. About midnight he went in search of Dr. Thomas Hardy who the nurse said was probably at the Boulder Club downtown. Daddy found him and they hurried back and were in time so that he could actually witness the birth at 5:20 am wearing no mask or gown. Marion was an early birthday present for him - his 25th birthday was the next day.
Lou Anne was born on 17 April 1944 and Daddy witnessed her delivery, too. He was still with the Post Office and that was when the U. S. Army was starting to take fathers to serve in World War II. He travelled to Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City, Utah for his medical examination and was called to active duty when Lou Anne was four months old. He first served in Camp Roberts for Infantry Training for four months. He came to Las Vegas as often as he could on the weekends even though there was a gas war on. Mother was left home with two small children, one of them who was often sick.
In August of 1944 Daddy shipped out of Fort Ord and by train travelled to get on a ship in San Francisco. They shipped out on the S.S. Monterey which was a cruise liner at the time. They were on board for 32 days. They had to travel around the outside edges of the ocean south to near the northern tip of New Zealand, then west and north to the Philippine Islands -- all to avoid the submarines. They had to move slowly because they were travelling with about fifty other ships. Daddy was one of the few on board ship that didn't get sick.
They disembarked at Manila and were stationed about 25 miles south of there. On the first day there he heard his named called over the loud speaker and asked him to report to the post office at 7:00 am the next morning. The captain asked him if he knew how to work the sorting machine. This was a place from which the soldiers were being deployed to about 50 different locations. Daddy was asked to demonstrate. He looked over the machine and quickly taught himself how it worked then demonstrated for his commander. The Captain was very impressed with how fast he was. He offered him a deal that would have him working four or five hours each night with the daytime off. Daddy asked, "Well am I going to go into the infantry?" The Captain said, "Hell, no. You're a postman." He took the position and only had to work part-time and never saw battle.
While home on a furlough in 1945 Mother and Daddy were sealed in the St. George Temple. Lou Anne and Marion were sealed to them on February 8, 1945. Aunt Arlene went with them to look after Lou Anne. Grandpa Stewart was in attendance, also.
He remembers the terrible heat and humidity while he was in the Philipines. He worked there for six months and then down the road they were opening a placement depot. He was sent there and started a post office from scratch. He ran into Wendell Bunker while working there. They did things together including going to Church. All the prisoners of war were shipped back to them to be processed. Daddy said that many of the men really looked bad. They were thin but they said that the Japanese were starved as much as they were. The returned prisoners stayed and had the medical work they needed and were then sent home when they were healthy again. Daddy was discharged and returned home in February of 1946.
When Daddy left for his active duty the family lived on Second North and Third West. At that time Mother's father, Grandpa C.W. Taylor, had moved to Las Vegas and was working at Ronzones. He would visit Mother and the grandchildren during his lunch time and take Marion for a walk in the baby stroller which had wooden wheels. Lou Anne was quite a sick baby and just before Daddy left for the Philippines he secured a week's furlough and flew home to Las Vegas and they went to Los Angeles to see some doctors. She had trouble keeping food down. Over the years it was found that she had some food allergies, milk included.
Ferris had come home from his time in the service and Mother had been living in their home while he was gone. Elayne lived with her folks. Mother and Daddy had to move to the small home located behind Uncle Paris and Aunt Erma's home on North Eighth Street.
When Daddy came home he had two trucks and he hired George Rogers. They shovelled sand and hauled ten to twelve hours a day to do lawns, etc. He was called back to the post office and he got back his same route back. But now they only had to do one round a day. He was usually done by noon. Other carriers stretched out their work to make it last all day. They got after Daddy for getting done too early and encouraged him to take longer. He couldn't take that and ended up quitting after several weeks.
Mother had carefully saved up $1,800 while Daddy had been gone. They were able to buy a front-end loader to help in their business. It was new but didn't have power steering. It was very hard to run and took a lot of additional manpower to get the job done. Aunt Bette had borrowed their little brown Chevrolet Coupe and had taken it shopping. She left the keys in it because Uncle Don needed the car later. Some gamblers saw the keys in the ignition and stole the car. They wrecked it later after getting very drunk and having a head-on collision. The car was totalled. The men had driven to Railroad Pass on the Boulder Highway and it was about 3 a.m. when they had the wreck. Uncle Don felt so badly about what had happened that he worked off a debt to Daddy by helping with the front loading. They had no insurance. Right after that Uncle Don got laid off at the railroad so he ended up working for Daddy to help pay it off. The car had cost $600 when they got it. They needed another car, and they found a druggist that had a car with 2-doors, a used gray Buick. They used it for several years. Daddy used to park his truck right along side the car in the driveway. Mother got up one morning and couldn't start the car (lived on 10th street in Elayne's old house). The battery was dead because the radio had accidently been left on. Daddy said that he would check it out in the morning. When he went out the next day, it was gone. Two guys had found the keys in it and pushed it out into the street, got it started and stole it. It was found three days later at the parking lot by the train depot. The keys were still in it and it was not wrecked. This time they were lucky.
In 1946 we moved two doors down into a rented house on 10th street that was next door to Max Christensen. Marion and Lou Anne both had trouble with neighborhood children who liked to bite. Diane Christensen liked to do that. Also, Marion got her foot slammed in the Christensen front door and lost her toenail. In addition to biting, Diane liked to slam the door on you. Marion's little metal tricycle got mangled in their driveway when it left it there one night.
Down the street John S. Park Elementary School was being built, and Marion was in the first Kindergarten class there. The teacher sent home notes often noting that Marion rocked in her chair, Marion couldn't draw circles, Marion doesn't sit still, Marion doesn't cut circles, Marion tips her chair over (almost every day). Doris Hancock was the teacher. When Mother heard that Miss Hancock's mother was sick, she made a cake and took over to their home. No more bad notes came home about Marion.
On 15 March 1949 we moved from Tenth Street to a brand-new family home at 1909 Ballard Drive. The area was called Crestwood, and at the time was one of the nicest places in town to live except for the Scotch Eighties. Marion and Lou Anne were able to still walk back to John S. Park to attend school until the Crestwood School was built about three blocks from our new home. When the wind was blowing it was awful because there was just desert between the Huntridge Area and Crestwood. Mother often drove us, especially when the weather was bad. Marion was in the 5th grade and Lou Anne the 3rd when they moved to the new home.
Daddy had meanwhile started his own construction company. He had the contract to do the landscaping for the new Crestwood tract. Their new home had cost $11,000 which included the lot, house, chain-link fencing, landscaping and six trees. The area was four blocks total in size. Our good friends, the Bunkers, moved into the tract at the same time we did.
He went to work for Joe Wells for Wells Cargo, a construction company, They worked together until 1953/4. Then Daddy broke away and formed Stewart Construction. He taught himself the skills of a civil engineer and became very skilled at figuring jobs. At one time he had a company called Stewart-Hitchcock and they had an office on Wyoming Street. They made aggregates for the WMK Company and were doing very well until about three years into the project when Pete got the urge to get into uranium investment. Daddy didn't feel the same way, but apparently Pete spent all the money and rented core drilling machines and other equipment. Daddy bought him out and they still remained friends. Daddy had a great knack for not holding grudges and being able to turn the other cheek when others did him wrong.
He went back to Stewart Construction for a short period. Mother decided to go back to teaching school. Later Daddy got the opportunity to go to work for Nevada Rock and Sand and Nevada Ready Mix with his cousins Neil, Alden, Gerald and Harold. The business went well, but it wasn't always easy to work with a group of brothers, even though they were cousins. I'm sure that he was taken advantage of a number of times.
Over the years Daddy worked a great deal constructing highways in Nevada, but he also worked in Arizona, Utah, and Idaho. He was with Nevada Rock and Sand for many years and Mother was very upset when he decided to quit. The Stewart cousins had decided to economize and were going to substantially cut Daddy's salary. The blood of the David Stewart brothers was too thick to include Daddy in a fair way. Daddy has a very strong character because he will not hold grudges. He did not believe in them. Rather than fight or retaliate he would rather turn his cheek and go on in a different direction. He then went back with his old license and worked by himself. In the long run, it was much better for him.
Ken Clark and Daddy started an equipment company where they would buy and then rent out equipment. He rented to his own Stewart Construction. Bob Delaney joined the two of them and then Bob and Daddy bought out Ken. They started their Keough account through the profits of this rental company.
Daddy seemed to us to be a workaholic. However, he did enjoy time with the family. He was a very early riser and would work hard. He kept on working until he had a stroke in 1993 and was unable to continue at the same pace. It was hard for the rest of us to see him sit so much when he had been very active his whole life.
The 1950s were great years. The family home was totally remodeled with the addition of a family room, bathroom, laundry room and storage and additional expansion on one bedroom, the kitchen and the living room to make a formal dining area. Also, the front porch was enclosed to create an entry way. The playhouse in the back yard was replaced with a large storage building. Even though clothes dryers were becoming common place, Mother never had one installed. She continued to carry the clothes to the clothesline out back. There were advantages to that, but as the city grew so did the smog, so they didn't always smell as good as in the old days. The weather in Las Vegas made it so that the clothes could be hung out most of the year and only occasionally did they take the clean, washed clothes to a laundrymat for drying.
Daddy and Mother were always active in the L.D.S. Church but not always totally committed. After their marriage they found some wonderful friends that did many things together for all the years that they lived. All of these friends were LDS and eventually they all became very active members of the Church. Daddy's cousin, Mishie Stewart and her husband Earl Leavitt, Earl's brother Vaughn and his wife Lois, Ferris and Elayne Bunker, Mark and Evelyn Gammett and Layle and Ruby Johnson were their closet friends. The women of the group, plus many others from the Ward, started a "Friday Club" that took turns meeting at each home once a month for lunch and sewing. As the years went by and the ladies got older they would go out for lunch and host the group when it was their month.
When they were first married Las Vegas was part of the Moapa Stake that included Overton, Bunkerville, Mesquite, Boulder City, Henderson and a small section of Northern Arizona. Las Vegas had only one ward. In the twenties a Chapel was built at Ninth and Clark. This is where much Church history of the family took place. Both Marion and Lou Anne were baptized there, attended early morning Seminary, etc. By the time the girls were in high school there were six wards in town. Two new Chapels were built in the 1950s and the Church continued to grow extensively all over the valley.
Daddy served as the Elder's Quorum President after our move to the Ballard address with Jack Hammond and Paul Maughan as his counselors. He was also a Ward Dance Director and a Scout Master. He had to turn down several calls from the Bishop because of the time he spent travelling throughout the state on his road jobs. He turned down two Bishops who wanted him as a counselor. Marion was upset after one Bishopric change and cried wondering why they never thought about calling her Dad. Of course, she had not known that he had been given these opportunities put wasn't able to accept them.
In the mid-1950s Daddy helped to build the beautiful chapel on Eighth and Franklin. We had been members of the Charleston Ward which was divided to create the Fifth and Sixth Wards. They then met in this new building. Daddy donated loads of gravel, donated funds and was on the building committee while this building was being built. While the building was going up the men in the wards would donate service to help with the erection and the Relief Society sisters would cook food and take to the workers. A. Norval Solomon was our Bishop at the time. He had just followed Philip Empey. When the building was finished we were so excited to have President David O. McKay come to dedicate it.
I remember having ice cream socials in our back yard and pot-luck dinners at the Church. In those days we did all kinds of activities to raise funds to build chapels. It wasn't until the 1980s that the Church was able to pay for those kinds of expenses from the tithing funds. Later, even Ward Budget contributions were stopped. When the Saints would become active enough to pay a full tithing the Church was well able to take care of its building and maintenance needs.
During the 1970s Daddy served as a counselor to Bishop Ferris Bunker for four years in the Las Vegas East First Ward then had the opportunity to serve on the Las Vegas East Stake High Council. Prior to these callings he served as the Ward Executive Secretary and worked in the Sunday School Presidency. He also taught the Priests' Quorum. In 1980 he was called to be a Bishop. At that time their area had been put back into the dwindling First Ward. So many of the people were older that often they had trouble getting Aaronic Priesthood holders to take care of the Sacrament each Sunday. Serving with Russ Howard and Max Cooper as his counselors was a great, but challenging experience for him. Hal Eldredge was the Ward Clerk. People admired and loved him as their Bishop and the experience was a growing one for him.
After this calling he again served on the Stake High Council for the Las Vegas East Stake. Later he was called as the "Transient Bishop" for their Stake. That calling became necessary because so many people flocked to Las Vegas for what they thought was an opportunity paradise. Often they found themselves unable to find a job and no money to exist. Daddy's job, for a little less than one year, was to be on call to meet and give Fast Offering aid when it was needed. Sometimes he received calls during the night. It was a challenge and very wearing on him.
The girls remember Daddy as always being there and interested in their needs. When we were in high school Daddy was always supportive when we needed chaperones for dances or state high school tournaments. When Marion went off to college, Daddy rented a U-haul trailer and took all of her things plus several other friends and all of their luggage.
Daddy was proud that both of his daughters graduated from Brigham Young University - Marion in 1964 and Lou Anne in 1966. Lou Anne got her degree in Clothing and Textiles and Marion in Elementary Education. Both sons-in-law also graduated from B.Y.U. Daddy was always there for each special occasion.
Marion and Brent R. Peterson were married in 1963 in the St. George Temple and had their wedding reception in the backyard. Nine months later, when Mother had still not recuperated from Marion's wedding, Lou Anne and Richard R. Schwendiman were married on 26 June 1964 in the Idaho Falls Temple. In less than a year Mother and Daddy found themsleves alone for the first time in twenty-two years.
About this time the Stewart brothers made an investment in a ranch which was partway between Montpelier, Idaho and Afton, Wyoming. They thought that it would be a good place to develop a family vacation spot plus be a place that they could take clients. They dammed up a stream and created a large pond which was stocked with trout. Also, they had Billy Casper come and design a nine-hole golf course against the hillside. Two farm homes were renovated for the family's use. Over a period of twelve years, improvements were made -- a cook shack was built with a large eating area and a wonderful cooking section. The larger of the two homes was remodeled and enlarged to include a walk-in refrigerator. Every year each of the families would get two weeks that they could use the ranch and facilities.
Our family started out by going in late August and early September over Labor Day. As the grandchildren got older, we changed to late June and would celebrate the family birthdays for Amy, Marion and Daddy in addition to Fathers' Day and several anniversaries. Daddy originally owned a portion of the entire project, but later sold his share when their business operations changed. However, the family still gave us a chance to go each year until they started to individually take the homes permanently. Alden took the home where we had stayed; Gilbert built a large house near the pond which later was bought by Neil and renovated for his family. Gerald built a home above Neil's on the hillside. As time moved on, they let the pond and the golf course go to ruin.
In the meantime, Harold looked further north of Afton in the Thayne, Wyoming area and purchased a large parcel of land to develop what is called the Star Valley Ranch. Over a period of years he and his family put in improvements and sold parcels of land. They developed two beautiful golf courses, a club house, a swimming pool and tennis courts. Each year it looked more wonderful. The area was nestled against the mountains on the northeast side of Star Valley. The view from the higher lots was of the western mountains and the farm land below. Daddy bought a lot in the early years of the development, but several years later he sold it.
For several years the whole family didn't get to go on the much-loved Star Valley vacation together. But in addition to the home lots at the Star Valley Ranch, Harold and his sons developed a mobile home park which was affiliated with Coast-to-Coast Camps. Marion and Brent missed the Star Valley vacations so much that they purchased a charter membership during the early development of the camp and were able to take their motor home and camp there. A new golf course was built for the campers. It was fun but it was not like the early years when so many of us could go together each year.
In 1988, right after his grandson Tom left on an L.D.S. Mission to Raleigh, North Carolina, Brent, Marion, Mother and Daddy met on a camping trip in Star Valley, Wyoming. Brent and Marion had their motor home and Mother and Daddy had one that had previously been used for Daddy's business on jobs. We had a lot of fun on that trip. The most exciting thing that happened is that we discovered that the home of Irene and Ross Woodward, Daddy's cousin and her husband, was for sale at the Star Valley Ranch. They had lived in it during the summer for about twelve years, and it was in mint condition.
After having a tour, we all fell in love with the home, its setting and the possibility of having it for our family. We had enjoyed so many wonderful memories at Crow Creek which was southwest of Afton. Daddy surprised us all by saying that he wanted to buy the house and he did. The Woodwards sold it with virtually everything in it including the towels, bed linens, furniture, pictures and silverware. By the end of that summer it belonged to Mother and Daddy.
Our first time in the home was in late August of 1988. Every summer the folks would pack up their clothes and a few other essential items and move into the summer home. It has five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a nice kitchen and laundry area plus a living and dining area, a basement family room and a large extra room for storage. We love every minute of being there. It is peaceful and relaxing to Mother and Daddy. They love having their girls and husbands, the grandchildren and spouses and eventually the great-grandchildren to come for a visit. The second summer a massive land-scapting change took place which gave us a large lawn and a bigger driveway and parking area. Mother was able to plant some of her favorite plants that won't grow in Las Vegas: lilac bushes, bleeding hearts, poppies, peonies, rhubarb and hollyhocks grace the gardens. A large porch sweeps around the entire main floor and provides a shady spot at all times. Watching the stars and looking down on the patchwork quilt of farmland beyond is a favorite pastime. Mother loves the humming birds that come to her feeder every year.
In 1982, when Daddy was sixty-five years old, he went to Dr. Richard Nilsen for a checkup and the doctor suggested that he have a stress-EKG. He failed the test and was almost immediately admitted to the Desert Springs Hospital heart by-pass surgery. Lou Anne and Marion went to Las Vegas to be with them and were given a ride by Marion's in-laws. The family spent a very nervous morning awaiting the results which turned out to be five successful by-passes. Daddy's recovery was seemingly very quick. He found out how much he was loved by friends and family alike when he saw how people responded to support him. The nurses couldn't find enough places to put the flowers that were delivered.
Five years later, just before his 70th birthday, Daddy had a mild heart attack. His cardiologist highly recommened that he try to get to Milvaukee, Wisconsin to St. Mary's Hospital where a nationally recognized heart surgeon was having tremendous success on high risk patients. Daddy was able to have Dr. Dudley Johnson perform seven more by-passes on the day of his 70th birthday. It was quite an experience for the whole family.
Marion flew back to be with him for the surgery and immediate recovery time following. Lou Anne came and replaced her for the final hospital stay. We met wonderful friends during the several weeks we were there. Others had come from all over the country to have the expert service of Dr. Johnson and his skilled crew. Daddy was supposed to have his surgery start on the morning of June 23, but due to an urgent emergency of another patient, he was postponed until the mid-afternoon. Mother and Marion spent twelve anxious hours waiting and getting bi-hourly updates, but it wasn't until 3:00 a.m. the next morning that he was finished. We cried when we heard the news that he had done alright.
Daddy took his recuperation seriously and did exercises and followed instructions for diet changes. Mother made great efforts to do the right cooking for him. He attended a Cardiac Rehab clinic at least twice a week for many years after to keep those by-passes open and working. He also took a special drug for blood pressure, which was kept down, and for cholesterol.
People always liked being around Daddy because he was so positive. He had many dear and close friends. His cousin, Neil, was one of his closest friends. When Neil died, a piece of Daddy died with him. He was very close to Jim and Darlene Parker who live in Reno, Nevada where Jim owns an equipment company. Jim and Darlene would try to drive over to Star Valley once each summer to visit with Mother and Daddy. Jim always kept you in stitches. Daddy was always close to the old friends - Ferris Bunker and Layle Johnson. Other friends were in the Ward. Jack Corsi, who lived in Star Valley and Las Vegas, was a special friend, too. His brother Grant had been close to him, and it was hard for Daddy when Uncle Grant died so unexpectedly and so young.
In his mature years Daddy took up an expensive hobby - owning and raising race horses. They were always kept at a special farm near San Francisco where a trainer named Doug Utley trained and took care of the horses. Daddy went as often as he could to see races. He named a horse after each of his grandchildren. One of his most successful possessions was a horse named Amy Louise. She did very well. When it was time to make her a brood mare, he sold her to an owner in Oklahoma. He was hard for him to part with her. His grandchildren were getting into their twenties when he made the deal to sell Amy Louise and have the payments split amongst his grandchildren over a period of four years. It was a very loving and generous gift from him and made a huge difference in how all of them faired in the early part of their marriages. It helped them through college and with the early expenses of family live. By the mid-1990s he didn't have any horses left, but he always loved a good horserace. Many of the family had the chance to make a trip to the races with him--memories that we will never forget.
Daddy and Mother were wonderful grandparents. From the time each baby was expected, they saved money and bought gifts for them. Often the children would visit alone with their grandparents. Marion and Brent lived in Las Vegas for six years while their boys were young and we had contact almost every day. Daddy remembers having the boys for a month one summer and taking them for all-you-can-eat pizza. By the end of their stay, they couldn't fit into their clothes. They ended up being good swimmers that summer because of so often using the Norman's pool next door.
Their first grandchild was born in Provo, Utah on 25 September 1965 to Marion and Brent. Mother had come to Utah to help out, but Daddy was alone in Las Vegas. When Jeffrey Brent Peterson was born, Daddy was so excited to get a grandson. He had been making a list and started calling everyone to tell them about this new addition to his family. Rich and Lou were the next to get a child. Julie Anne Schwendiman was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho on 10 March 1967. She was adopted by Rich and Lou and taken to the Idaho Falls Temple for sealing six months later.
On 26 October 1968 Thomas Russell Peterson was born in Las Vegas. He was named for his two grandfathers. That really tickled Daddy to have this boy named after him. Daddy loved being with his grandchildren and usually stopped every day to see them while the Petersons lived in Las Vegas. It must have broken his heart when we moved to Washington in August of 1972.
Meanwhile, Lou Anne and Rich had moved to Littleton, Colorado. That is where the last two grandchildren were born, Amy Louise on 26 June 1970 and Mary Linda on 12 April 1972. Mother and Daddy went to Colorado to see the Schwendiman Family whenever they could. Once they took Jeff with them.
The grandchildren really loved their Grandpa Stewart. He seemed to have unconditional love for them and would rather be with them than doing some of the things that other adults liked to do. Whenever he got the chance, he tried to take each grandchild, alone, on some kind of a trip. They never forgot this special attention. When the grandchildren grew up and married, their spouses loved him equally. It bothered all of them to watch Daddy age. They all wanted him to be around forever.
Grandson Jeff graduated from Weber State University in May of 1990 with a degree in Sociology. That same summer Daddy and Mother celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. We all met in Salt Lake City and took them out to Finn's Supper Club. Lou Anne and Marion had secretly made a family quilt for them that included separate blocks from all of Daddy's and Mother's families in addition to one from the grandchildren and children. They loved the evening and were surprised with the gift and the scrapbook full of cards and notes from their friends.
In May of 1991 the first of the grandchildren to marry were wed in the Salt Lake Temple. This wedding for grandson Tom and wife Stacey Sorenson was on 3 May. That summer proved to be overwhelming when three more of the five grandchildren also married. Julie and her husband Kevin Reusch were married in Las Vegas on 26 June; Amy and her husband Robert Winder were married in the Jordan River Temple on 12 July and grandson Jeff and his wife Tammy Edwards were married in the Salt Lake Temple on 25 September.
Daddy and Mother attended each wedding and were so proud of their grandchildren. We have some wonderful memories of the weddings and receptions. They were so proud of Lou Anne who had hand-stitched her daughters' wedding gowns and had made two of Stacey's bridesmaid dresses in addition to most her own daughters' bridesmaids gowns. It was a summer to never forget.
It was an exciting day on 10 July 1992 when the first great-grandchild was born to Stacey and Tom Peterson. She was named Kathryn LaVon Peterson. Daddy loved to see, hold and play with her even though he didn't see her very often. Nine months later both Tom and Amy graduated from Brigham Young University on the same day. Mother and Daddy came for the special event. Amy graudated with a degree in Music Education and Tom with one in Communications and Public Relations. Amy and Robert stayed in Provo so that Robert could finish the next year. Tom, Stacey and baby Katie moved to Helena, Montana and then to Riverton, Wyoming for his job with WalMart. Later he found exactly what he wanted to do and accepted a position of Public Relations Director for the hospital in Riverton - Riverton Memorial.
On 21 September 1993 Rich and Lou Anne got their first grandchild - a grandson named Stewart Robert Winder. Amy and Robert were still in Provo when he was born. He brought great joy to the great-grandparents and everyone else. In August of 1994 Robert graduated from B.Y.U. with a degree in European Studies. They lived with the Schwendimans for awhile and were able to buy and move into a brand new home in Magna, Utah in the summer of 1995. Amy worked for Sylvan Learning Center and taught piano and violin lessons. Robert worked for U.P.S. and at Intermountain Video with Rich and Lou.
Three years after the other four grandchildren had married, Mary Linda, the youngest grandchild, married Scott Thompson in the Logan Temple on 14 June 1994. She had met him while attending Utah State University. They both graduated with high honors in the spring of 1995. Scott in music and pre-med and Mary Linda in music. In 1996 Scott was accepted into several medical schools but chose Univeristy of Rochester Medical and Dental School in Rochester, New York. He also had the choice of going to the University of Milwaukie Medical School, University of Chicago Medical School or George Washington Medical School. On 29 April, 1996 they had their first child - Kent Richard who was born in Brigham City, Utah. This was the fifth great-grandchild for Mother and Daddy.
The summer of 1994 was bittersweet for the whole family. Finally, Jeff and Tammy were expecting their first child after three years of marriage. Stacey and Tom were expecting their second, also. Tammy had been having some difficulties and in June when she was only 20 weeks pregnant, her membranes broke - a condition that cannot be cured. She went seven more weeks before giving birth to a 2 lbs. 9 oz. baby boy, Brent and Marion's first grandson. Because his lungs had not developed after the fluid rupture, he struggled to even live. After six hours, with the best of medical care, they removed the respirator and he slipped back to his Father in Heaven. It was a very sad time for everyone. Little Michael Jeffrey Peterson found a soft spot in all of our hearts. On 4 August he was laid to rest in the West Point, Utah cemetery near many of Tammy's family, after a short, lovely memorial service. It broke the hearts of all watching to see Michael's father, Jeff, carry the small casket as the only pall-bearer. A week later Tammy had to have an emergency surgery to remove her gall-bladder. It took a long time for them to heal their hearts. They moved ahead with life and spent time getting settled into their brand-new home in west Layton. Money that Daddy had saved for Jeff for years, since his birth, helped them be able to purchase this home. They had origianlly bought a double-wide mobile home at the time of their marriage. The equity was transferred to his new home.
Ten days after Michael's birth and death Stacey and Tom had a very healthy boy who they named Sumner Thomas Peterson. He was a delightful baby and a very happy one. Sumner was a special family name from both sides - a surname in Stacey's family and the given name of Daddy's father and two brothers. They, too, had purchased and moved into a small home in Riverton. Their support from Daddy was much appreciated.
Meanwhile Julie and Kevin bought a home in Las Vegas and worked hard with their own construction company. They used the name Stewart Construction and were very successful because of Las Vegas growing so fast. Daddy saw them often, but the rest of the family missed seeing them except on some holidays.
In May of 1996 Stacey and Tom had their third child, a son named Soren Russell who was born in Riverton, Wyoming on 7 May 1996 - one week after Mary Linda's boy was born. This was the sixth great-grandchild.
In the spring of 1992 Daddy had a slight stroke and that was followed by him needing to have gall-bladder surgery. He overcame the surgery quite well but never was able to live as he had done before the stroke. We were so grateful that he could still walk and seemed to get around just fine. However, his speech was somewhat affected. After the stroke he really stopped working and spent too much time sitting and watching television unless they had company or were visiting the family in Utah. Everyone hated to see him get so quiet.
Daddy is a very special man not just to his family but to his many friends and relatives. For years he has cared about others and never over-indulged himself. He was able to control his temper and always was able to forgive and forget when he was crossed and dealt with unfairly. He was so cordial and friendly to even those that he didn't know. None of us will ever know how many people he has helped along the way. He was very generous with his offerings to the Church, especially Fast Offerings. His greatest gift to his children and grandchildren was that he taught by example. We could always count on him for moral support and being there when we needed him. He is wonderful with the babies and little children and he loves to be with them when he can. He is loved dearly.