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Notable Dates
By Clive Perry Ririe

I must rely on the word of others that I was born on April 4, 1927. I remember, however, the day I was baptized. The precise date will appear elsewhere but some details of our trip to Rigby accompanied by Eva Stitt and her son Bob are remembered. Mother drove in our '34 Ford and just as we pulled into Rigby we had a flat tire. I thought that since I was old enough for baptism, I was equal to the task of jacking up a car and changing a tire but Mother thought otherwise and Bob and I were instructed to remain quietly in the car until the job was completed and we continued on to the tabernacle where Bob and I were immersed in the font in the basement. We were confirmed the next day.

Several important events fell on August 6. First in 1945 when Hiroshima disappeared from the Earth. The few days following were the last of WW II. In my maturity, I can finally admit to myself that I received the news with a certain level of ambiguity. I was surely happy the killing and destruction were over but a little wistful that the dreams and ambitions of my young life were now unachievable. Since the outbreak of hostilities in '41 when I was only fourteen, I had dreamed of distinguishing myself in some way as a warrior; of becoming a hero. I, in fact, had not thought of anything in my life beyond the war and what part I may play in it. Now that was all gone and I had only gotten so far as to begin learning how to operate the electronic gear for detecting and destroying enemy submarines.

On the day the Jap surrender was announced I was on a PCS somewhere out of sight of land and we were doing runs on a submarine that was designed to give us actual shipboard experience directing depth charge firing. I think we actually dropped cans and our success (or lack of it) was noted by the sub crew. When the war ended, the sub skipper was smart enough to return to port and let his crew go ashore to destroy San Diego with their reveling. Our Captain, on the other hand, was made of sterner stuff so we remained at sea. With no sub to chase, we strung our fishing lines and were very successful. We caught about fifty albacore, a breed of tuna that was so good that even our Navy cook couldn't make it taste bad. The fishing was actually pretty fair training (not that it was needed now that the war had ended) but it provided experience in the use of an electronic device known to me as the Bendix. This device consisted of a series of mechanical connections that converted information about the ship's movement on the ocean to a "bug" that moved about under a large piece of opaque paper so that by marking the route of the "bug" on the paper we got an accurate map of our movements. At the same time we marked our intersection with schools of albacore the same way we would have mapped the movement of an enemy submarine. The use of this sophisticated (for the time) equipment made it quite easy to predict where the school of fish would be and to cross back and forth through it; each time hooking a fish or two or three. We learned very quickly bow to utilize an implement of war for a peaceful purpose.

A pair of my friends who were on a different ship had an unusual experience. They also had abandoned useful pursuits for fishing but as they were hauling an albacore up to the deck with a large gaff hook, a huge shark struck and cleanly removed the posterior portion of the fish. Before the fishermen gained their composure, the shark struck again; this time impaling itself on the gaff. Its momentum wrested the gaff from the grasp of the fishing crew but the shark was very firmly hooked so it simply pulled the gaff hook out to the end of its anchor line allowing the men to team up and haul shark, albacore and gaff up the fantail onto the deck. The shark turned out to be about ten feet long and weighed several hundred pounds; a catch worth shouting about.

I had decided to join the Navy barely six months earlier. The final impetus is lost to memory but late one night Bob Stitt and I planned our immediate future and the next morning withdrew from Ricks College contacted recruiters and signed up to be combat air crewman, ie gunners on Navy dive bombers. Enlistments for pilot training had been suspended because I suppose it was assumed enough were already in training to fill foreseeable needs. Air gunner was an acceptable second choice and we knew it would be exciting and would allow us to become heroes.

Bob and I, joined by Grant Howard, who like Bob and I had finished High School a full year before attaining draft age were ordered to Seattle for final testing (physical and mental) preliminary to going in to active duty. The three of us sat on a bench in the ante room of a Doctor's office when the Doctor walked briskly by, looking us over as he walked. He pointed to Grant and brusquely beckoned him into the examining room. Less than a minute later, Grant came out and almost tearfully reported that he'd been washed out before he even started. The examiner had told him he had a deviated nasal septum and could not qualify to fly. He was immediately sworn in as a Navy recruit and sent home to await the call to active duty. Bob and I passed the very intensive physical, including perfect vision and went on to a battery of mental tests.

At the conclusion of each of several sections of the test, the Petty Officer reported to us that we had both passed. This same routine continued until the part on Morse code. We, of course weren't expected to know the code but we were given i, n and t enough times that we knew those three letters; dot dot for I, dash dot for N and dash for T. These three codes were then played to us in varying order and at incrementally increasing speed. After that part as we discussed what might be the outcome, Bob was pretty sure he had done well and I, as I had been on each previous segment was doubtful. To our surprise, the Petty Officer breezed into the room and announced: "Stitt, you failed it, Ririe, you passed.” We both protested loudly (I louder than Bob). "That can't be!" I said, "surely if one of us passed it was Stitt," whereupon the tester immediately changed his mind reversing the results. Bob, because he was brilliant, went on to serve his entire Navy time at a College in Missouri where in about a year and a half he completed enough classes to complete a bachelor's degree and then was able to go to graduate school at University of Utah on the GI Bill of Rights and complete a PhD. I went into active duty the following March and was stationed or ported in San Diego for my entire military career. I've often contemplated the difference it might have made had I simply kept my mouth shut. Since the code part was the final segment of the test, I might have had a Navy career in College or possibly have been an air gunner. Confidence, or the lack of it, makes a difference!

My navy career was mostly boring, particularly the final year of it. The war had ended and I couldn't think of a reason why I shouldn't have been immediately discharged but I was not. I kept on with a training regime as if the hostilities hadn't ended. I found the schools interesting and challenging and they would have been meaningful if it had come a year earlier when the war was still on. Because I did well in Sonar Operator school, I was selected to go to an electronics training school where I found I could compete favorably with others, some of whom were very sharp people. Our class in Sonar Maintenance school was about twenty. Most of us were recruits like me but it included three or four officers and at least one young man who had voluntarily washed out of officer training. It was a pretty intellectual group. Nearly all of them were older than I was and certainly had had much more of worldly and scholastic experience.

I have had almost no contact with any of the others who went through those schools with me but I remember a few of the fellows. Foremost among them was my church buddy, Newell B. Cutler, whose middle initial was the same as that of Harold B. Lee, later a President of the church, and a cousin to Cutler's dad. I've seen Cutler a few times since Navy days and I met his dad and his brother. His brother later became a classmate at BYU. Cutler, I learned, became a dentist and practiced in the San Francisco area. There was a kid named Price who I asked one day if he was a Jew. Price was offended and retorted by asking if me if I would admit it if I was a Jew. I, of course, replied that I would and that I'd probably be proud of it. I had not the least inkling of the prejudice against Jews so my inquiry to my friend was not intended to deride him in any way. I also remember a couple of highly intelligent boys named Riddle and Marshall. Because our names followed each other in alphabetical order. Riddle and I were lab partners. We helped each other create radio receivers out of a pile of condensers, resistors, capacitors, transformers, etc. Riddle has since become a medical doctor and had a lifelong practice in his hometown in Michigan. (I looked him up on the internet and called him a few weeks ago.) We had two instructors who were great guys. Antonio (Erkie) Erqiuaga taught electronic theory and Callis taught practical or operational. They were both high level petty officers but they treated all of us as equals and we had a good time learning.

I guess the highlight of my Navy experience was a two week training cruise on the USS Skate, the submarine that was later destroyed in the Bikini atom bomb test. Actually a submarine cruise is about as exciting as watching submarine races but it was novel and I have met very few people who have experienced it so it makes for good conversation. My classmates and I spent nearly all our time in the forward torpedo room where we bunked on thin pads laid over the torpedoes. I really can't remember doing anything useful on the entire cruise. We were supposed to be learning about a new kind of sonar equipment that could detect mines on the surface or just under the surface of the water and that expertise was to have been spent aboard a small ship clearing mines in the Gulf of Alaska. Unrelated to our mission on the sub, there was an exercise with the captured German cruiser, Prince Eugene (orgin) in which the cruiser fired at least one hedgehog that hit Skate's hull just outside where I was laying over the forward torpedoes. It just made a thud but if it had been a live charge, I suppose I wouldn't have lived to tell the tale.

As we boarded the sub, the boats yoeman made up a roster which included names and home addresses and names of those to be notified in case of disaster. I was about the last one to be listed and the petty officer was behind schedule and the skipper was urging haste (in Navy parlance, "chewing his a..") so when he asked my name and I said Ririe, Clive Perry and I corrected him for writing "Riley" he got a little testy and then when he wrote Ryre and I had to correct him again he stopped and gave me a lecture about how I was holding up the departure and the Captain wasn't happy (he was p....d off!). I could tell I hadn't endeared myself to the yoeman. We pressed on and he wrote Clyde and I objected and he changed it to Glide and I again protested, "v as in victory." He famed and swore some more then he wrote Terry and I said no "Perry" p as in Peter then he recorded my middle name as Peter. Trying to be calm I said "No my middle name is Perry." This time he got it right and repeated to me "Ririe, Clive Perry" and I agreed and thanked him and we went on without serious incident to naming my father as the one to be notified. He then asked: "and your father's address?” I started to reply, "Ririe, Id...." but he fiercely interrupted me mid-word with, "No! G-dam you not your name again, your home address!" I know not what excuse he gave the skipper for the hold-up in completing the pre-sailing data but the boat and the yoeman and I survived the incident but I wasn't sure I was going to while the storm was raging. He had never heard of a sailor having the same surname as the town he called home.

After completing the Sonar Maintenance school, the Navy didn't have anything else to do with me so I was assigned permanently to the crew of one of the training ships, the PCS 1444. I didn't mind the duty but I never overcame seasickness. Every time we left port I got sick and stayed sick until we tied up again.

I was completely useless as a seafarer but while in port I got a streak of ambition one day and decided to help the deck crew paint the side of the ship. I didn't have to stoop to such lowly work because by that time I had become a petty officer but I was tired of doing nothing and I decided to make the seamen look bad by working hard and showing them up for the dolts they all were. As soon as I started slapping paint, all the rest of the crew disappeared. I worked on alone and probably spilled more paint in the drink than on the ship but I finished one whole side of the ship in a few hours. The crew had taken all day to paint about a tenth as much. Nobody was impressed. Only I knew of my spectacular performance but it made me feel good to show how much poor quality painting a farm kid could do when he really went to work.

Navy days taught me to appreciate home. I was almost unbearably homesick and the only relief was in reading the Book of Mormon, I think mother and dad were probably surprised that I always went in to town to church every Sunday when I was allowed to leave my base. The other relief was in my close association with other church members, namely N.B. Cutler, Gerald Lind and Martin Cox. Having those good boys as my compatriots was an answer to my prayers.

Popular movies of the day suggested that young men, when exposed to the real dangers of war, become humble; even prayerful and religious. Very early in my experience that fable was exploded. Everybody used the most vile and vulgar language available. I heard no words I hadn't heard before but it shocked me to learn that otherwise respectable young men had no compunction about profanity and vulgarity. I asked another sailor one day if he didn't believe in Jesus Christ and he was insulted that I should infer that he might not so I then asked why he was so blatant about profaning his name and he said very casually, "Oh, it doesn't mean anything. That's the way everybody talks." That being the prevailing attitude, I was a little astonished one day when my base commander, Captain Caufield came on the intercom and complained about the foul language. He said he had brought his wife to the movie theater the previous evening and she was insulted to hear a sailor referring to the sex life of a canine in the most vulgar terms. He quoted an arcane navy regulation about proper language and everyone got a good belly laugh about his admonition to clean up our language.

I had a few dates with a girl I met at church and she wanted me to take her to the base movies. I couldn't even tell her why I didn't want her to be in that environment. I was sure she wouldn't have appreciated the base language any more than the Captain's lady did and I didn't know how she might have reacted to the descriptions of the leading ladies in navy parlance and there was also the matter of GI balloons that I might have had to explain to a proper Mormon girl.

I had to travel in a troop car all the distance from San Diego to Bremerton, Washington to be discharged. I'd hate to do it again but youth and anticipation of better things to come made it bearable, even enjoyable. It was hot and very dirty as we went through the San Joaquin valley. I had never experienced temperatures in excess of 120 degrees F before but the smoke that blew in through the open windows bothered me less than it did others because it reminded me of dust and the dry farm to which I would soon return. The climb up out of the valley was memorable because we could see the engine and leading cars on switchbacks just above us and wondered if the old steam locomotive was going to be equal to the task as it spun wheels and then as the engineer throttled back regained traction and pulled the heavy load up the steep mountain. That train ride ate up more that 48 hours and got us to Bremerton late on Saturday so we had to lay over until Monday morning to be processed out of the Navy. I had Saturday evening and Sunday to kill in Seattle but for reasons I no longer remember, I had no money. On the ferry from Bremerton to Seattle I fell into conversation with another sailor who when he learned of my predicament loaned me ten dollars which I fully intended to repay but somehow I neglected to get his address so I still owe some sailor ten bucks. It has bothered me all my life. Bob Stitt was stationed in the Seattle area so we got together at the Queen Ann ward. On August 6 I was finally discharged. I became a nineteen year old veteran of the greatest conflict in human history and it had only cost me 17 months of my life. As the years have passed I have become more and more proud of my short military stint. Although I never saw any bullets flying nor men dying, I did volunteer out of pure and unselfish principle. I probably would never have been drafted if I had simply asked for one deferment but to do so never entered my thoughts. Both of my brothers and many cousins were serving and I wanted to share that experience.

I am part of a truly great generation. Eleven million of us served in the armed forces of the United States and we fought a war that barely reached our homeland, yet we offered our lives to maintain freedom in the world. I made myself available and would have done whatever I was asked to do in that noble cause.

On completion of my military service, I along with many other young Mormon Elders, became a missionary. I am told that currently a percentage in excess often fail to complete their missions after accepting the call. Not one of those with whom I was associated failed to qualify for an honorable release. My sons and daughters and now my grandsons have complained that they have had companions who didn't want to work. Some of my companions were more dedicated, I suppose, than others but none of us failed to get up almost every morning and go out and do the proselytizing work to which we were assigned. Most of my contemporaries in the missionary service were, like me, veterans of the late great war and maybe that tempered us so that the rigors of missionary service didn't seem difficult.

I had a unique mission president. He thought the experience of an old-fashioned street meeting was necessary to obtaining and keeping the true spirit of the work. Not all of us followed his instructions to walk out onto a street corner, sing a hymn and then start to preach, but I did and as President Brown asserted, it did make me stronger. I conquered the fear of men and stood forth to the world and told the story of the restoration. Never did we have anyone stop and listen and then ask for more information but I was consoled by the thought that someone might witness the spectacle and be favorably impressed and some time later learn more.

One street meeting stands out in my memory. A very hot day in Russell, Kansas, Elder Richard Black and I attracted a little attention. We started inauspiciously by trying to sing and that was a disaster. We both broke up laughing and had to desert the corner. We gathered strength and returned and as Elder Black was speaking, a young woman walked by us clad only in her underwear. Cars stopped to gawk and a collision ensued. A crowd gathered and we kept on talking in the hope that someone would pay attention to us and our message, but I don't think anyone did. The competition was far too compelling.

President Brown also asked us to go out into the farm areas and ask people to give us food and shelter. Not all of my compatriots would agree, but I thought that was a rich experience. We found that farm people were hospitable and kind for the most part and we slept in haystacks and barns only a few times. I got hungry enough a couple of times to make me very humble and I found out that after a day or more of fasting, the hunger goes away.

In Kansas wheat country, in the 1940s everything stopped for the harvest in July. Many small towns converted their only paved streets to wheat storage and people walked by the wheat stacks to get to the stores on main street. President Brown gave us permission to stop and stay with folks if they wanted us to help in the harvest. To me, that was almost equal to being given a vacation to go home. We settled in with a family named Steinle near the small town of Bunker Hill a few miles east of Russell. These folks were of German origin and the older members of the family still spoke German more fluently than they did English and their English usage (even of the younger ones) was heavily influenced by German. For example, they might say, "cross the bridge over" instead of "cross over the bridge." Elder Black was working with Bro. Steinle one day when a very dirty dusty canvas fell on him precipitating a flow of curse words which he quickly stanched, using German cuss words instead out of respect to his listener. As we finished the harvest and left them, Brother Steinle told us this was the only time he had gone through an entire wheat harvest without having to swear at his hired help. We took that as an extreme compliment.

Five years, or more after my mission when I was a student at BYU, a recently returned missionary looked me up to tell me that part of the Steinle family had been baptized. Thirty or more years later, I stopped at the old Steinle farmstead in Kansas and talked to a grandson of Sister Steinle's who unhappily didn't seem to know anything about his grandmother's association with the Church.

During our labors "without purse or scrip" President Brown once told us we had a right to ask the Lord to soften hearts and the Lord would oblige us. One day his prophecy came true quite literally for my companion and me. Again I was with Elder Black and as we approached a farmstead by way of a long private lane, I silently prayed as the President had suggested that the Lord would intervene for us and soften hearts so we could have lodging and opportunity to leave our message. The day was stormy in a way I'd never experienced before. As we came close to the sheds on the farm we sensed, though we were not competent to read the signs of the sky, that the farmer was preparing for an approaching disaster. He moved hurriedly to put his new John Deere tractor in the shed and we saw him making last-minute adjustments around his outbuildings. This should have been enough to spook us a little but it didn't. We greeted the farmer between his frantic motions in our customary manner and to our surprise, he didn't offer the usual objections, politely dismissing us. Instead he warned us of the impending storm damage and invited us to go inside his shed to wait it out. We watched him secure against the storm, still not aware that a serious weather event was about to overtake. As we stood in his shed with the door open, we noticed large hailstones hitting the ground and bouncing up five or six feet into the air. The size of the stones increased and we stood marveling that they were as large as an egg, then baseball size and finally larger than an official soft ball. By then the noise of missiles hitting the tin roof that sheltered us was so loud and persistent that we could no longer converse. We got inside a truck that was parked in the shed and closed doors and windows and the din was still too great to allow conversation. It was so hot that even those huge ice balls quickly melted. The storm let up after about half an hour. We then offered the farmer our help in cleaning up in the storm's wake. The man had been made humble. After we made a few repairs on his roof, he graciously invited us to stay for the night. I cannot remember their names but they were sufficiently humbled that they wanted to hear what a pair of Mormon missionaries had to say.

They fed us well, allowed us to take a shower and gave us a comfortable bed for the night.

The storm was much more severe than I'd ever experienced before. In the next few days we were invited to several chicken dinners where we ate some of the casualties. Many farm buildings had roofs destroyed and any auto or tractor that was not sheltered had suffered multiple exterior dents. All metal roofs like the one that sheltered us were destroyed. Car and house windows were shattered and a UP passenger train lost more than a hundred windows. Even some cattle were killed. I'm not sure the storm was sent specifically to soften hearts for our benefit but it certainly had that effect on a fair number of the folks we met in the following few days.

People look askance at me when I relate having seen hailstones the size of a healthy grapefruit but I certainly did witness that natural disaster and but for the hospitality of a Kansas farmer we might have been seriously injured. A couple of children were caught out in it but they were Kansas-smart enough to realize they would be injured so they hugged a tree and were not injured.

I was a bit let down when we moved back to the routine of hours and hours of tracting in the small western Kansas cities but before long, I was transferred to Oklahoma to the "Lamanite District." I found the Indians uninterested and had to conclude that the time of those Israelites had not yet arrived. We tried in many ways to reach our Indian brethren. One day Elder Evans and I fell in with a group who were setting up a tent for a powwow that was to be held that night. As we worked along with a few young bucks tying down the perimeter of a large tent, we suddenly found ourselves all alone. All the Indians had slipped away leaving us to finish the job they had allowed us to help them with.

Maybe the most memorable days of that winter came in January or February when Elder Evans and I ran out of money. We had spent all of Elder Evans' money and the mail in Idaho had been disrupted by heavy snow and drifting. The Idaho winter was so severe that no one could move. Schools were suspended and the train and other modern conveyances were unable to move so Mother was not able to mail a check to me. We went without food for a few days except for what we had on hand which was sugar and canned milk and postum. We were about to go to the only member in Watonga and beg when money finally arrived from home. Dad had weathered the storm with his four-wheel-drive truck and had gone to Idaho Falls where a few things (the mail included) were still moving.

On a Saturday morning early in March of 1949 Elder Evans and I picked up our mail at the post office in Watonga and I was somewhat surprised to be told my term of missionary service was completed. I don't recall all the details but somehow, I hooked up with an Elder Williams who owned a '35 Ford and had been released the same day so we drove together to Salt Lake City. We hadn't gone far when the mechanical brakes (which he had relined for the journey) were completely worn out. As we approached the largest and busiest intersection in Denver I was driving. I applied the brakes and nothing happened. We just went right through a five-way in a heavy downpour without even slowing down. We were fortunate that other cars were better equipped and drivers willingly relinquished their right-of-way so as to avoid colliding with an old Ford with OK license.

Elder Williams and I both thought we were competent to control our conveyance without the aid of brakes so we journeyed on through heavy snowfall as we ascended Rabbit Ear pass and hairy twists and turns on declines on mountainous Utah roads. Elder Williams was a little fellow so he had no trouble sleeping in the back seat while I did almost all the driving. It was a great adventure but even when I was young I had no desire to repeat it.

Modern missionaries do not have the privilege, as I did, to report their missions to a general authority. I walked casually into the church office building and asked to see Elder Spencer W. Kimball. I don't remember having to wait at all and I was granted an interview and given an honorable release.

After a long night on a greyhound bus I arrived in Idaho Falls midmorning. I spent about thirty-five cents on a long-distance call home and within minutes was picked up at the bus station by Mother and Elaine. Dad had already gone to town to sell or buy cattle. We stopped at the auction ring and I went inside and found Dad sitting by Lawrence Summers. They were concentrating on the cattle transactions so I sneaked up behind Dad and rather childishly surprised him. No one had expected me to be released for another few weeks even though my missionary service had already exceeded two years by about four months.

After more than a year in farm country of Kansas and Oklahoma, I had firmly set my mind on farming as my life's work so I was pleased that Dad bought the Milo farm in anticipation of my buying it from him. About a year after my return from Oklahoma I married Beth (Apri1 21, 1950) and we settled down for life near the bank of Willow Creek, firmly determined never to move. In the three seasons we farmed there, I made more mistakes than most young farmers of the day and in addition, suffered devastating floods two different years.

Despite a promising beginning and a determination to live my life out in the ward of Beth's beginning, where her father had been the Bishop at the time of his death, we lost all sense of stability only a little more than two years later.

In the first fifty years of our marriage we moved nineteen times: to Stevensville, Montana in the fall of 1952; to Ririe in '55 then to Milo the same year and later to Orem, Utah; thence to two locations in Provo and then back to Milo in '58 in the spring as I finished at BYU; to Nampa in the spring of '59 where we resided less than a year before moving to Meridian; from Meridian to Wilder very early in '60; before the end of '60 to Boise where I had a position with the Bureau of Reclamation and again we thought we were settled, but not so because I soon quit my easy government job and launched an entirely new career as a securities salesman at which I was not successful; spent one winter working in Las Vegas living with Wayne and Barbara after which, in the summer of 1963 I started a second job with the Bureau of Reclamation in Fresno, California; by the autumn of '68 I had burned my bridges behind me by once more quitting a reliable and easy government job so we moved back to Idaho and lived in Beth's mother's house in Idaho Falls from '70 until '71 when we rented a house in Roberts; from Roberts back to another rented house in Idaho Falls and then in the spring of 1975 into a new mobile home on Jeffco Farms again assuming we were permanently settled; by the spring of '77, my occupation having terminated along with my partnership with my brothers in Jeffco, we moved the mobile home to Roberts where we lived happily until August 6, 1987, the significant date (41 years exactly from the date of my Navy discharge) on which life took a very serious turn for the worse in the form of a severe stroke suffered by Beth; when she recovered sufficiently to leave hospitals we moved to an apartment in the Bonneville Hotel in Idaho Falls; in the fall of '92 we bought and moved into our present house @ 2868 E, 657 N in the village of Roberts.


I have frequently mused that every time I was faced with a major decision, I chose wrong. Mature reflection persuades a different conclusion. In the truly important matters, I chose well.

The day the war ended, I decided my next major move would be to volunteer to serve a mission. That proved to be soul-satisfying and probably the most comforting single item of my life. Three years later, I decided to marry Beth and to follow the advice of President Killpack, who performed the ceremony, to have as many children as we could. We brought into the world and raised five daughters and two sons. They have all brought us joy. Both sons and three of our daughters have filled missions. Two daughters and one son have married and produced a total of fifteen grandchildren. Both daughters were married in the temple and Dean has recently baptized his wife, Tracy and they will soon be qualified to be sealed in the temple. All our sons and daughters have performed very well in the world's work.

Loren struggled for a while but finally returned to school to extend his training beyond his BA from BYU and finished the regimen at Idaho State University that qualified him to practice Pharmacy. He received the most prestigious awards as he graduated from ISU, the most notable of which was for having the highest cumulative grade point average in his class. He now makes me very proud when I am able to break through his native modestness to pontificate on the fine points of his professional acumen. I have always found him completely informed when I've quizzed him about anyone of the many nostrums that have been prescribed for me.

Glenna was truly amazing. She could type accurately at a rate beyond most peoples' speaking speed and do it very accurately. She served the hearing-impaired in one of the wards in which she lived by typing the proceedings of meetings and making the transcripts available to Saints who were unable to hear. That mechanical competence was the least of her capability. She worked as a medical transcriber and developed scientific vocabulary far beyond that of most of her employers and fellow workers. She moonlighted as an instructor at a technical college for a time and her competence with the language, the extent of her biological vocabulary, was extolled by other instructors and administrators at the institution as well as by her students. She completely mastered the Swedish language and was host and sponsor to several young Swedish church members who came to Utah for college training and to work. Sadly, she was plagued by health problems through much of her adult life and succumbed to cancer at age thirty-eight.

Dean has been good at everything he has attempted. He was a fair high school athlete and could have been a good student. In the world's work he has been successful at every job he has had and has become a highly proficient automobile salesman and sales manager. After completing a successful and laudable mission, he tried college for a while but found his niche in selling and was exceedingly fortunate in having chosen Tracy. They have accumulated wealth and more importantly have three beautiful children and are raising them very well in an exceptionally orderly environment. Dean is partly responsible but the genius of his wife is probably a bigger factor.

Karen was a joy from the day of her birth. She was the fifth of our offspring and by the time we got her, we had learned a little about how to appreciate a baby. She was bright and beautiful and graduated from BYU in proper life sequence, having taken a couple of years out to fill a mission to Spain. She was teaching elementary school in Lincoln when she consented to marry Arn. She has borne four sons and has held some teaching positions along with raising her family. I was made particularly proud of my daughter when I, by chance, met one of her young Spanish-speaking pupils. When the little girl learned I was Karen's father, she darted across the room and hugged and kissed me and told me how she loved Miss Ririe because she was the only one of her teachers who had been able to explain things to her in Spanish. I was and remain proud of Karen.

When Becky (Rebecca) was an infant, I noticed that she was almost always happy. She deviated from cheery behavior only when something definable was wrong. We moved from Boise to Fresno when she was still a baby and she had measles or chicken pox on the trip. She couldn't sleep nor rest while we traversed the hot roadway across the Nevada desert. We stopped and let her rest on a blanket in the shade of a tree in one small town (Lovelock) but as soon as we put her back in the car she awakened and fussed almost all the rest of the journey and for the next six months or so, each time we put her in the car she cried. I've never been able to completely forgive myself for putting her through such misery. She has grown to be thoughtful, beautiful and capable. When she was a young teen-ager, I noticed her as she approached me from down the hall of the church. I could tell something was wrong with her because she wasn't participating in the conversation of her girl friends. I thought she might have been feeling sorry for herself because her friends were excluding her, but when she saw me, she collapsed into my arms and sobbed. When I finally got her to compose her feelings and talk to me, I learned that her friends had been gossiping about another young friend who had gotten pregnant out of wedlock. The other girls thought it was probably their religious duty to tell the Bishop about their friend's sin. Becky simply cried in a show of adult sympathy. I proudly thought at that moment that I had succeeded in teaching my daughter true Christian charity.

Bunny (Verna Beth) was brilliant from the start. She started to count almost as soon as she could walk or say any words. One day I remember her climbing the stairs counting: one, two, three, four, five, yellow, six, green, seven, red. By red she had reached the top of the stairway. From that auspicious beginning at less than two, she progressed through college always excelling scholastically; finally graduating from BYU law school. I never tire of telling her how proud I am to have a practitioner of the "learned profession" in my family.

I suppose our sons and daughters made some mistakes along the way but they stand as the Testament of the rightness of the most far-reaching decision of my life; that to marry their mother.

Lee Anne is written about last because she was our firstborn and has performed uniquely. She is the mother of ten children, two of whom died as infants. Her eight living children are the pride of her life and mine too. I never expected as she was growing up in my home that she was capable of organizing and operating a family's life so outstandingly. Most everyone notices how aptly all her children have learned to accommodate each other and non-family persons with whom they associate. I think it was mostly her ingenuity and ambition that got Ed through school to a PhD attainment and to qualify as a professional psychologist. They managed very well even when they had very little to get along with. Her children are all superbly adjusted and loveable and have wholesome, righteous values. It's hard for me to think how our firstborn could have accomplished more in the world's work or as a righteous daughter of Zion.

On some truly important matters, I chose well but I must admit that I could have done much better in the world's work.

I was not thinking very well when I decided I didn't need to go to college after my mission. I should have followed the advice of my mission President and immediately enrolled at Ricks or Utah State and stayed with it until graduation. I could have done so very easily because my military service had earned me very nearly enough paid college to have completed a degree.

When I finally did get back to college, I was fairly certain I wasn't smart enough to work and carry a difficult enough class load to conquer chemistry or engineering or any other physical science, so I chose to become an Agricultural Economist, thinking that the degree was paramount and any discipline would open the door to a challenging and rewarding career. I also didn't think it was important to achieve a high grade point average, again the degree itself was top priority. Getting the degree was easy but has turned out to be much less rewarding than I supposed.

When I finished college, I came face to face with the realization that there wasn't much in the world's work that my cherished degree placed me in a position to get. I, therefore accepted an appointment as a Warehouse Examiner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That position was offered because I scored very well on the Civil Service Entrance Examination and that along with my status as a veteran placed me high on the selection list.

I failed to appreciate that I had an easy and fairly interesting job and instead dwelt on the fact that it wasn't the least bit difficult and I thought I should have employment that made better use of my voluble knowledge and great ability. Arrogance defeated me. Less than a year after starting the job I came to think I was not doing anything constructive and that illusion was reinforced by several job experiences: one day I went into a Bean Warehouse and completed all the assigned work in about two minutes whereupon the Warehouse manager taunted me by telling me I had probably done a whole day's government work in that brief walk-through of his facility. As I cogitated, I admitted to myself that I had actually done an entire week's government work. Later or earlier, I can't remember which, I found one serious case of noncompliance. A bean dealer in Twin Falls had sold a lot of beans that was covered by a warehouse receipt and had not submitted the money to the owner. The receipt was still current and the dealer had spent the money. His excuse was that his application for an SBA (a government agency) loan had been unduly delayed and he had been forced to appropriate the money. I was satisfied that the dealer had no intention to steal anything but he was in a state of noncompliance and I was obligated to report the matter. I was disappointed that the whole matter was treated lightly and the dealer suffered no consequence for his improper action. Why, thought I, should the government pay me to discover fraud if nothing was to be done about it.

Next, I became the manager of Nampa Elevator, a wheat receiver and livestock feed outlet of Colorado Milling and Elevator Co. I soon learned that the measly salary was better than most employees of the company and they considered it a journeyman wage and didn't consider raises until after ten years or so of service. My disillusionment lead to a much worse situation, that of managing a dairy farm which turned out to be a subsidiary position where I was expected to trot to the tune of the dairy's herdsman. I didn't really mind the hard work but it was painfully apparent that the job had no future. I immediately started shopping around for a government job because I had come to see some advantage of holding a civil service post. Again my rating as an entering civil servant and recent college graduate worked for me and after a summer of selling fertilizer for Adrian Feed Company, I accepted an appointment as a Repayment Specialist with the Bureau of Reclamation in Boise. This in the autumn of 1960 in my thirty-fourth year of life.

My next serious misjudgment was committed in the spring of 1962 when after two and a half years with Bureau of Reclamation, my arrogance again overtook me. We were not really making ends meet and certainly didn't think we were making any financial progress so when I became aware that one could make big money selling financial instruments, I resigned my secure job and struck out to get rich selling life insurance and mutual funds. I was sure I was well suited because I passed the licensing tests with notably high scores. On the securities test, I answered ninety-six out of a hundred questions correctly. A passing score was seventy. Being smart, however, was not a guarantee of success. With no financial reserve and at best a two month lag between earning a commission and receiving it, I was forced to fall back on an enterprise I had employed part-time while working for the Bureau. I put in very long days prospecting for lawn spraying and fertilizing jobs. With fairly hard work and a little ingenuity, I managed to make a living and dig out of some of the financial difficulty previous misjudgments had caused.

Lawn work was seasonal and a little unreliable. How I could have thought it was substantial enough to be a practical enterprise seems like a very bad dream in retrospect but I thought, at the time, I could make it work.

In the summer of 1963, I started the longest-lasting employment I had experienced. I managed to bear a five-year stint in the Fresno Field Division of the Bureau of Reclamation. This time I had real enthusiasm for the work for a couple of years but later had to conclude that there was no way I was ever going to do anything really useful. I worked effectively at discovering violations of the Bureau's water delivery rules and at first my superiors praised me for it but eventually the political powers, the money interests, prevailed and I was told that the important part of my responsibility was to accommodate not regulate.

Leaving that government job was the last in a series of occupational mistakes. I should have been smart enough to go along and get along rationalizing that is the way of the world but again my arrogance took and I concluded I was smart enough and ambitious enough to make my way independently doing work that was productive and besides that, I wasn't really happy living in California. I longed for the rigors of life in eastern Idaho.

In the fall of 1970 after another unsuccessful effort to get rich in the securities and insurance business, we moved back to Idaho and I went to work for Earl Hunter managing his fertilizer and pesticide business. I managed to move up to being first a field salesman and then a unit manager for Simplot Soil Builders. I liked that job and was modestly successful but it led to the great jump of developing Jeffco Farms.

In 1973, I discovered desert land that could be obtained via Desert Land Entry. Brother Jim and I along with my fellow worker at Simplot, Ronnie Berrett filed for a section and a half. Jim soon discussed our filing with Wayne and his partner and we lined up another three sections of developable desert ground. Wayne and his Las Vegas associates set up limited partnerships and we bought land, drilled wells and installed irrigation systems. Later we brought Max in and he took Ronnie Berret's desert entry. We thought we would be the most scientific advanced farming operation in eastern Idaho when we brought Dave and his agronomic and soil science expertise into our combine to join Max, our expert on farm machinery; Wayne's partner, Dave VanWagoner, who we thought could set up our accounting; Wayne who devised the limited partnerships by which we raised the money; Jim the attorney whom we thought would always keep us out of trouble

And me with no discernable skill.

I, at least, noted the possibility of the deficiency that finally took us down: center pivot irrigation systems applied water at a rate far in excess of the intake capacity of our soils. They were especially inefficient when their mechanical problems were factored in. I finally concluded that if we hadn't experienced so many deficiencies in the way they operated, we might have by using special techniques of land preparation, we might have overcome the intake deficiency problem. I reasoned (and as others experience has confirmed) that if we could increase the land surface by punching holes in the ground, we might have improved penetration. It didn't do much good, however to improve water penetration when we couldn't even get the systems to operate without mechanical break down. The end of this sad episode in my life is that I finally convinced the partners that our irrigation systems doomed us to failure with the result that the circles were dismantled and sold and a hand line system installed and my reward was that I was eliminated from the combination in the fall of 1976.

I have since forgiven my brothers allowing that they had other stresses that led to their recognition of my deficiencies. Other considerations are far more important than those that might have kept me estranged from my family.


Perhaps this remembrance shouldn't be included under the general head of "dates" because I'm not sure I remember the year but it was certainly one of the prime experiences of my young life. It happened the winter of 1937/'38, I think. I was in the sixth or seventh grade and everyone in our community got the itch. Bob Stitt was more inventive than most and I noticed him frequently probing his back with a ruler and I soon copied and got a measure of relief, albeit, temporary and small, nearly inconsequential. Bob's mother, Eva sat in our kitchen one afternoon that winter when Mother, having exhausted all cures known to her, confided that our family was afflicted and nothing seemed to help. To our surprise, Eva laughed and admitted her family also suffered. Finally, everybody admitted their homes had been invaded by the silent disrupter and a community meeting was called in which the village sage, Bill Johnson, explained the nature of the malady and imparted his wisdom as to the remedy. Accordingly, in our house several tubs of water were heated on the kitchen stove. Max, Dave and I brushed each other raw with course bristles and then applied a foul-smelling salve allover our bodies. After the skin-scouring and bathing in water as hot as we could endure, we went to bed in sanitized bedding. Almost miraculously the itch was gone and did not return because we had broken the cycle by discarding or thoroughly cleaning all infected clothing. What a blessed relief! I went back to dreaming of owning a large ranch stocked with cattle that tended themselves and produced nothing but wealth. There might have been a super-productive wheat farm too but while the itch gripped me, my only dream had been of discovering some way to turn my outer skin in side out so I could get at those little creatures that forced me to scratch constantly.

14 May 2000

As we were leaving their house, Lee Anne called Dean's house and learned that Dean had been in a violent car accident in Nevada. He was comatose due to serious brain injury. Tracy was, at the time of Lee Anne's call, leaving for the airport and a flight to Reno where Dean was being treated at Washoe Medical Center. From Idaho we could do little more than pray and hope but we contacted Wayne's son Randy who helped us contact Priesthood holders in Reno who went to the hospital that night and gave Dean a blessing. I drove to Reno the following days. I didn't hurry because I feared that I would learn nothing hopeful. On arrival, my fears were confirmed. He was being kept alive artificially; responded little to stimuli. It appeared almost hopeless, that if he did survive he would be profoundly diminished both mentally and physically.

About the same time I arrived on the scene, Loren and Karen got there from California. Tracy was accompanied by her parents and one of her sisters and some old friends of her parents. I'm afraid I wasn't much help to Tracy but she didn't need help. She exhibited a strength that I had not previously seen in her and she was genuinely hopeful. Tracy told me that, in addition to the Elders I had asked to administer to Dean, another pair of priesthood holders had answered the request of Dean's Elders quorum president and had also sent brethren to give him priesthood blessings. Tracy's confidence lifted me as she told me of a special fast of members of their Utah ward and that several ward members had attended a special meeting as they broke their fast and prayed for Dean's recovery. I, of course, knew that the Lord could heal Dean but I can't say that I had great assurance that He would.

I stayed in Reno for a few days as did Karen and Loren and we spent time around Dean's hospital bed watching all the indicators, thinking we could see some slight response but it still looked nearly hopeless. I wondered aloud to Loren if perhaps Dean was experiencing what the younger Alma did during the time he was comatose after the Lord dramatically called him to repentance.

The Doctors, pronounced Dean stable but warned against optimism, emphasizing that we should not expect early improvement that he could remain comatose for several more weeks. Accordingly, I decided on Saturday, May 20, to return home for a few days, promising Tracy I would be back in Reno the following week and would stay with Dean while she went home to Utah and her children for a few days.

Before I left, I decided that Loren and I should give Dean a priesthood blessing, notwithstanding his having received previous administrations. This was more Karen's idea than mine. I had reasoned that it was in the Lord's hands and that He didn't need to be reminded, by means of another priesthood blessing, of our desire that Dean should recover. I think Loren was even more reluctant. Neither of us could be sure we were worthy to exercise our Priesthood but we decided to do it anyway. I was anxious that Tracy's folks not have any reason to think we were doing anything that needed to be kept secret from them so we asked them to join us. I chose to be voice and Loren stood next to me. Tom, Tracy's stepfather and Phyllis, her mother stood on the opposite side of the bed and Tracy stood at the foot. We bowed in reverence, Loren's hands and mine on Dean's head and I began to deliver the blessing but I was seriously flustered by another voice speaking words that were mostly inaudible to me, that is I couldn't understand what was being spoken. I paused and the murmuring continued and it dawned on me that Tom was calling on the Lord in his own way and so I went on with the blessing but I had completely lost the words I had previously thought to say. I think I was left with no alternative but to say what I was prompted to say. I promised Dean that he would have power to overcome the effects of his injuries and be restored to complete competence to fulfill his mission as a husband and father. I don't think those were the words I had rehearsed in my mind before the blessing began. I take no credit to myself but it does appear that the words that came from my mouth were prophetic. Dean has recovered to the extent that he is now able to take his rightful place as provider and leader in his family and he has had to do it largely by his own efforts. The Lord gave him the power but he's had to do a great deal of physical recovering and regaining mental ability by his own effort.

After a few days at home I went back to Reno and stayed from Friday through the following Wednesday by which time the medical professionals were predicting that Dean could be moved to Salt Lake in a couple of weeks. Their forecast proved a little pessimistic. He was flown to Utah on June 9, only about ten days later, still comatose. He has since had a miraculous recovery. He's shown great courage and tenacity in fighting to regain. More importantly, he has repented and rededicated his life as did Alma. I think he was harrowed up in his soul as he lay nearly lifeless in Nevada.

Tracy has been a great lesson to me. We recognized her from the beginning of their marriage as unusual (outstanding). We probably didn't hide our disappointment very well when Dean chose to marry out of the temple to a nonmember but almost as soon as they were married, it was apparent that Dean had been very fortunate to have chosen such rare quality. That Tracy was a product of a good home environment showed through clearly. She had lived among Mormons during much of her youth and probably had been made to feel like an outsider at times, but had no noticeable antagonism. As we became acquainted with her parents, we sensed in them, none of the cynicism that often is associated with devout believers in other theologies who live among us and witness our hypocritical behavior. I felt confident that Tracy would investigate with an open mind just as soon as Dean decided to devote himself to the cause which he knew to be true.

As we watched their children we came to know they were being taught well and I think Tracy was the one who set the example and established the regimen in their family life. One time when they were visiting our ward during testimony meeting, Megan whispered to me as one of the young children was bearing his testimony, "Grandpa, I always say my prayers." I was sure that Dean could not resist that sweet spirit and remain lukewarm as he had been. True to my inkling, he finally recognized he wasn't giving his children all they deserved, that they needed the blessings that come through family participation in righteous home activities and church programs. I think Tracy would have decided to be baptized even if Dean hadn't heeded the call to repentance but I'm grateful it happened as it did with him coming along and claiming his role as the head, the priesthood leader of his family.

5 February 2001

On this significant date I'm ten days from a major heart and artery operation. I've been told my carotid arteries, basilar artery and coronary arteries are seriously impeded. The coronary blockage cannot be safely treated in any way other than open heart surgery. One surgeon declined to perform the operation after learning of the basilar blockage because, he said, a drop in blood pressure, a risk associated with open heart surgery, would cause a fatal stroke. The basilar supplies the blood to the medulla which controls heart beat and respiration. Artificial means could extend life but all possibilities of motion would be irretrievably lost. Heart specialists and surgeons in San Francisco have been consulted and I'm scheduled for personal visits on the 12th of this month. Surgery may be performed on the 15th.

I cannot say that I'm calm in the face of peril. I wish I could be sure my repentance has been sufficient to entitle me to remission of my sins. I think it has been. No other question resides in me.

I have no doubt about the reality of the Savior's gift of forgiveness. My assurance of the truthfulness of the Gospel is born of personal revelation. I have not done as well as I should have but I've never done anything that caused the light of testimony to be extinguished. Because I know I have unconditional love for my sons and daughters, I don't doubt that Heavenly Father loves me and He wishes to bless me with eternal life. I think I have repented acceptably and that He will not be stopped from blessing me. I love Him and am grateful for the supernal gift of His Son.

My belief, not born of extensive gospel study of the matter, is that after death, earthly remains are quite insignificant; that all the reverence accorded the dead body does nothing for the spirit of the man who vacated it. Proper burial can do nothing more than bring a measure of comfort to those who remain alive. Certainly those whose bodies are not buried in a hallowed spot are no less eligible for eternal rewards. Therefore, I think that if I should not survive my surgery, I would prefer that my remains be disposed of in the least costly manner allowed by law. If that means incineration, I can think of no reason to avoid doing that.

Funerals serve a useful purpose. Recounting a man's positive attribute and reaffirming his faith, tends to inspire those who loved him to aspire to better things, to resolve to overcome weaknesses. To that end, I hope that a memorial service might be held. Funerals, in my opinion, should emphasize the Gospel more than memorializing the life of the deceased. I hope those who participate in a memorial of my life will teach the pure Gospel of Christ. Perhaps feelings might be tender so that the verities of true religion might be confirmed in the hearts of those I love most, namely my sons and daughters and their spouses and my grandsons and granddaughters.

Vocal music has been an important part of my mortal life. In recent years, I've thrilled at the accomplishments musical of my grandchildren. Mother often said she would be pleased if her funeral consisted entirely of music and when she died I was tempted to remind Dad that she had expressed that desire. I refrained, however, because it occurred to me that the funeral wasn't being held for Mother's consolation, that the feelings of the rest of the family were paramount. In that vein, I defer my wishes to those who remain. But, I plan to attend that memorial and I think it would please me and add inspiration if Julia and one of her brothers would sing, "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" and if Julia and any appropriate combination of her brothers, sisters and cousins would perform "I Need Thee Every Hour" and "Oh, My Father."

I expect that a memorial for me would be attended mostly by the members of our extended family: cousins, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters along with my immediate family. The time restraints caused by the need to dispose of remains would not prevail so maybe a delay would be appropriate but I think it would please me and accommodate others if the memorial could be held in the Ririe chapel. It wouldn't be an official meeting of the Roberts 2nd ward so it wouldn't need to be conducted by one of our Bishopric. Suggesting that son-in-law Ed conduct the meeting is not an indication of lack of confidence or love of those who preside in my Ward. My aim is to relieve them of a burden.

Only a few days after Mother died, I attended the funeral of the mother of my brother-in-law, Dick Murdock. Elder Clifford Young, one of the speakers said his idea of a good send-off would be to have loved ones gather informally and exchange emotions and thoughts as they felt. I'd like my family to hear counsel from my former Bishop and longtime friend, DelRay Holm and then from others as may seem appropriate to my daughters and sons, but nothing should be sung or spoken unless it affirms the Gospel of Jesus Christ as restored to earth by the Prophet Joseph Smith. A funeral should not present the truths of the Gospel in an objective way. It should clearly be a declaration of eternal truths presented without a hint of apology.

If possible, prelude and postlude music should be the well-known hymns played by cousin Delaina Ririe Stromberg.

My legacy is my family. I love each one and look forward with anticipation to the day of our reunion.

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