History of Verna Fannie Perry Ririe
By Verna Fannie Perry
At the time of her death this history
was just in the process of being written and perhaps isn’t the
finished product she would liked to have had it. It was mainly notes
on many sheets of paper.
All wording is exactly as she had it written. It was compiled the best
we could with the notes we had to work with. To us it is beautiful and
full of warmth and love. We give it to you to help you hold a cherished
memory of your loved one.
A blessing given by Andrew J. Hansen, Patriarch, upon the head of Verna
Fannie Perry, daughter of Henry Morgan and Fannie Young Perry, born
at Perry, Jefferson Co. , Idaho December 27, 1899.
Sister Verna--Dearly beloved of the Lord, In the name of Jesus Christ
and in the authority of my calling, I seal upon you such promises and
words of inspiration as the spirit of my calling shall direct.
I seal upon you the spirit of your mission in life unto which you were
foreordained in the spirit world not long since past. You are a diamond--yea
a costly pearl. You shall become polished and brilliant even as the morning
star. A sweet disposition, willing to be led, soft spoken, bringing sunshine,
light, and life where ever you go; seeing the pleasant things in life,
artistic and idealistic in your make-up and you shall succeed in your
chosen sphere and career in life beyond your fondest hopes. Yea, you
shall be a master in the beautiful art and be one of the sweet singers
in Zion, and by your mastery of the beautiful instruments of melody you
shall charm mankind. Yea, you shall join in harmony the choruses or the
Hosts of Heaven.
I seal upon you, dear Verna, the blessings
of the daughters of Zion, you shall fill your measure of womanhood, and
be a wife and mother in
due time. I charge you that you seek your companion at the altar of the
Lord. Then shall your joy be full and lasting and the happiness of childhood
and maidenhood shall be swallowed up and forgotten in the joy and love
that shall come to you. I warn you that you be not persuaded by young
men of the world who are now and who will hereafter seek your hand
and your heart; heed them not, for they will bring upon you a life of
sorrow and remorse, but seek the Lord and He will reveal unto you
in unmistakable terms His choice, His mind, and will. Heed this warning
and you shall always be the happy, beautiful, lovely, sweet Verna.
I seal upon you the blessings of earth, and the comforts of life. You
and yours shall be lenders and not borrowers and shall stand at the head
in your sphere and generation. You shall see the Kingdoms of God established
in power and enjoy its blessings.
I seal you up against the powers of
the destroyer, and unto eternal life, and a fullness of glory. Yea, all
depths, and a kingdom
in the House or Israel, at the gates of Ephraim, of whom you are.
I seal these blessings upon you to be received through your faithfulness.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I am the youngest of a family of ten
children born to my pioneer parents. My twin sister was born just one
before I made my earthly appearance.
My childhood was a very happy one and I felt I belonged to a wonderful
family, all full or fun and merriment. Some were very religious also.
Father was a bishop and mother was a Relief Society President, so
they were often called away from home in cases of sickness or death in
our Mormon community. Life was rich there with families sharing joy and
sorrows together. Our social life consisted of many joyous occasions
carried on by the church. Holidays were always observed with ward celebrations.
I started school in a new 4-room brick schoolhouse which was built to
replace the little old log schoolhouse where my brothers and sisters
had received their educations so far. My sister, Maude P. Anderson was
my first teacher. We lived in her home one winter while father was having
us a large brick home erected. How well I remember our first Christmas
in our new home and decorating our huge tree. After graduating from grade
school I went with my twin sister to a church school at Rexburg. Many
church officials visited our school. Elder Adam S. Bennion was our favorite
speaker. I graduated in 1921 from the Ricks Academy.
I always enjoyed going to church and
at the age of 14 I also became interested because a certain boy went
married him in 1921 in
the Logan Temple. I have held various church positions since I was
16 years of age and was always overjoyed when asked to work with children.
Some of these positions were teaching in the kindergarten class
in Sunday School and being a bee keeper in MIA. I have held executive
positions in ward and stake Relief Society and ward executive positions
in primary. Also I have been organist of almost every organization in
My chief interest besides my family
has always been in music. I have taught many girls and some boys, to
play the piano and have taken
money from only one girl’s parents. The girls could always iron
or baby sit to pay for their lessons or their mothers would sew or raise
berries or vegetables for me. I have always been extremely thankful that
my parents bought me a piano and made it possible for me to learn how
to play and sing. Many happy hours were spent in my childhood home
with the family around the organ, singing and playing.
During World War II three of my sons
were in the service of their country. My eldest son was taken prisoner
Through constant prayers
his safety was made known to me, also I knew when he was in any great
danger. His life was spared to return home. He was very sick on two occasions
when a small child. I have great faith in the Elders administering to
the sick and was privileged to see one child raised from the dead by
the power of the priesthood. The little boy had been brought to
my home after breathing poison gas from his father’s car. My husband
was bishop at the time but was not at home when the father carried the
lifeless form of his young son in our house.
The Stake President who was our neighbor was called in and he and the
boy's father administered to him. He did not have any pulse beat then
but after these elders anointed his head and sealed the anointing the
boy began to breath and look around the room.
In 1946 my husband was called as stake president in East Rigby Stake.
Not only had I been a ward mother seven years -- and now, a mother of
a stake! I honestly tried to be of help to my husband in this great responsibility.
In 1952 we moved to Montana which still seems like a dream. Some of
it has been very wonderful. After living 52 years in the same community
a person gets very attached to his friends and locality. When I get homesick
I think of all the grand people I have met here in Montana and I would
not trade their friendship for anything in the world.
HISTORY IN VERSE
Rudy was my birthplace in the Snake River Valley
Over 200 miles from our home in Ravalli
My father and mother were both pioneers
The heritage they left us lived on through the years.
I was born at the turn of the century
A twin I am and always will be
To have a twin like Velda to help through life's labors
I always considered was one of God's favors.
Nine children preceded my appearance on earth
Our place rang laughter, singing and mirth
Sorrow rarely ever entered our home
And we loved it all from cellar to dome.
I remember the log house where the shade trees grew
And the brick one we built all shiny and new
Proud iris and roses bordered the walk
And the bright little pansy bed just seemed to talk.
My childhood was happy and gay and free
As only a life on a farm can be
My good parents taught me that hard honest work
And only a coward would ever shirk.
There were cows to milk and calves to feed
Ponies to ride and horses to lead
Chickens and ducks we learned to tend
There was water to carry and gates to mend.
Mother taught us housework and despite our wishes
We always did the supper dishes
Washing, ironing our dresses, and combing our curls
We wished we'd been born boys instead of girls.
We started school at the ripe age of eight
My sister was ill so we started late.
In six years we finished, I headed the list
My family all figured the papers got mixed.
Once we went to Blackfoot for a short stay
At Idaho Falls we bought a new shay
We saw our first picture show full of laughter & feats
Our eyes grew wide as we bounced in our seats.
On this trip Dad bought us a cayuse
I never learned to mount her with a big boost
Velda became the envy of the crowd
She could mount from behind, light as a cloud.
Now the red letter days of my life I will tell
All of them I remember well
My first train ride at the age of three
My Utah relatives we went to see.
One happy memory that made my tears flow
Was the day that daddy bought our piano
As I gave him a hug with my eyes all misty
I resolved to be like Padewiskii.
When Hebe came home his clothes in a sack
Mother was afraid he would never come back
"Mother, I again will never roam
It was Verna's ringlets that brought me home."
My father was bishop, we were left in the lurch
But seriously we didn't mind going to church.
Many times since, I have thanked Mom and Dad
The results of the religious training we had.
I loved the people who went there to pray
The ladies were pretty and the Children were gay.
The young men glancing at sweet winsome misses
And most of the old men wore mustaches and whiskers.
Church parties were fun, for friends and relations
Were on hand for each of the big celebrations.
Our toys were all on one big Christmas tree
There was popcorn for all and the supper was free.
We bid the old year out and the new one in
School parties for the birthdays of Washington & Lincoln Seventeenth
of March was Relief Society Day
It was always remembered with a ward party.
On May Day a queen played her role
And Children braided the tall may pole.
Cannons were sounded the fourth or July
And fire works lit up the evening sky.
A goddess of liberty reigned over the day
To the red, white, & blue we did homage pay.
On July 24th we honored the brave pioneers
And thought of the changes wrought through the years.
As we gazed at our beautiful fields of grain
We danced and sang and feasted again
Thanksgiving was a day of great joy
For Grandfolk; parents of each girl and boy.
After we'd eaten turkey and dressing
Then we went to church and counted our blessings.
So much for childhood, I was now grown up
With happiness such as a well filled cup.
Our high school days were much the same
With homes, husbands, and children our aim.
My courtship began at an early date
I had picked Jim long ago for my future mate.
One day Dad took me to Ririe's for a load or potatoes.
My face was as red as a pan of tomatoes
When in the cellar popped Jim and with a grin on his face
He threw a toad in my lap---and then came the race.
He chased me all around as he smiled gleefully
My heart skipped a beat as he smiled at me.
His arms were strong and his voice was mellow;
And from that time on he was “my fellow."
At the Logan Temple at age twenty one
Jim and I became as one
Happiness was assured with Jim for a spouse
He had a small farm and a two room house.
Jim's father was bishop and I was the tithing
So we both did a bit of conniving.
Dad wouldn't cheat the bishop not one little smidgeon
Giving me away just proved his religion.
Well we managed to keep the wolf from
And soon our family numbered four.
The years flew by; busy lives we were living
Each night we prayed our hearts full of Thanksgiving.
After 25 years of married life
It had not been all sunshine---not been all strife.
We had two lovely daughters and five handsome sons
Then came the roar of distant guns.
Three sons answered their country’s call
Those days were anxious hours for all.
I prayed as I’d never prayed before
That my boys would return from that awful war.
My prayers were answered at last strife was ended
The boys came home safely and plans were mended.
Our three sons soon married starting nests or their own.
We had 2 daughters, two sons left here at home.
Then we moved to Montana in the year '52
We left our old home and started anew
We've had pleasures and joys in the Treasure state
Carma and Wayne soon found them a mate.
We s till have our friends in our old home town
And we love the ones here we have found.
I have always been thankful my father
let me take music lessons. Once I walked ten miles so I wouldn't miss
my weekly lesson. My teacher had
studied in Paris so it was worth all
my efforts. I rode a horse there many times.
In 1929 my husband was called on a
six months mission. Our baby had died the summer before and it seemed
to be a year of sorrow for us. The
mission was the only bright spot. While he was gone my three boys had
measles, chicken pox, and Clive nearly died of pneumonia. My father also
passed away that winter. How glad I was to have Jim home from that mission.
Then came the depression. There was
one consolation nearly everyone was in the same boat. I played in the
that winter because
the snow drifts were so high there was no music to be had from other
towns. Once I got my pay in produce I went home with a sack of dry
beans, a squash, and a live rooster. We had some gay church parties during
In 1933, Wayne was born and it had been a tough year as far as finances
were concerned. Wayne changed our luck. He was such a happy youngster.
Jimmy was born in 1939. We all idolized him.
In 1936 Jim was made bishop and aside from being mother of a family
and ward I was made a counselor to the Relief Society President. It was
the year the church welfare became operating and I helped to can 1,000
cans of fruit and vegetables that fall. Once I got so interested I had
forgotten I had left Carma and Wayne to their Grandma's until after dark.
I met them walking home holding hands and when they saw me they both
started to cry.
In 1942 the war clouds gathered and we had three boys old enough for
active service. David joined the Air Corp, Max the Army, and two years
later Clive joined the Navy. Those were dark days for everyone. The crops
were bounteous and a good demand and price for all farm products, but
there was always a lump in my throat thinking about my boys away from
Dave was a German War Prisoner for 13 months and we wore one map out
keeping track of army invasions. In spite of trials my testimony was
greatly strengthened during the war and the boys all returned home safely
While David was a prisoner it was made known to me each time he was
in any great danger. I prayed earnestly for his safety. Once I saw him
starving and it grieved me so much when I would take the bread from the
oven that I was reminded of a missionary story of a loaf disappearing
from the table and was taken to the missionary boy. I thought how nice
it would be if something like that would happen to my boy.
When he came home he told me that about the time I was so worried he
gave his tobacco coupons for a chance on a loaf of bread. He won the
loaf of bread and it was the only time in his life he had ever been lucky
that way. It was a direct answer to my prayers.
Elaine was born December 1944. We were so happy to have another girl
in our home. She was six months old when David returned to the United
States. He had not heard from home since she was born.
After the war we paid all our debts and sent Clive on a mission. We
were very happy those days, as we soon had three lovely daughters-in-law
added to our family.
In 1948 our ward was divided and I
was made the first Relief Society president of Ririe 1st Ward. It was
a glorious experience but I would
not have made a success of it if it had not been for my understanding
and helpful family. In 15 months I was asked to be a counselor to Sister
Call in the Stake Relief Society.
Verna Perry Ririe passed away on March 27, 1957, following an automobile
accident near Stevensville, Montana. She was taken to the hospital
for observation and apparently died of internal injuries. Her
funeral service was held in the Rigby L.D.S. Tabernacle with Bishop
George L. Lovell officiating. Internment was in the Shelton-Ririe Cemetery.
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