Esther Elizabeth "Nan" Jones Balmforth - Obituary
Colaborador: BarbaraLeishman Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Esther Elizabeth "Nan" Jones Balmforth
(8 July 1896 ~ 2 January 1982)
Esther was born on Wednesday, July 8, 1896 at Adamsville, Beaver County, Utah. She was the third child and second daughter born to Evan D. and Catherine Hannah Griffith Jones. She had one younger brother who died while he was young and four younger sisters, two of whom also died while they were very young. Esther left Utah with her parents and older brother and sister when she was just a year old. They had heard some mention of Eagle Rock, and so they headed north, but when they got as far as Morland her mother said that she wanted to stop there, so her father found out who owned the land they were camped on and made a bargain for it. He and her two uncles built a house for her grandparents and for themselves.
Esther's grandfather died about two years later. When she was about six years old it became Esther's privilege and duty to stay with her grandmother, since she was living alone. She thought she was the special one because none of the other grandchildren got to go and sleep with her. She loved to cuddle down against her grandmother in her feather bed and each day she would bring milk to her and do other errands for her. They made their own cheese and it was a regular tradition to have fried cheese for breakfast. Another delicacy was poached wheat. Esther said that one day her grandmother decided to have something else for breakfast. This made her just a little bit angry, so she said that she wasn't going to come anymore. She thought it would make her grandmother unhappy, but instead, her grandmother bundled up Esther's night gown and set it on the porch and told her to be sure and take it when she left. That hurt Esther's feelings, so she decided to stay just a little longer.
When Esther was only eight her mother died, leaving five small children. Esther's early schooling was in Morland and Basalt. She won first prize in the school district writing contest for her essay on the Panama Canal. She had beautiful penmanship and always loved to study, even after she had left school. In the fall of 1912 Esther met Joseph Balmforth at a dance held in the Ensign Hall at Shelley. She had come to the dance with a group from her home in Basalt.
In those days it was customary to have a floor manager to see that everyone danced, and to keep order. The floor manager's name was Art Mitchell, and he introduced Joe to Esther. They didn't see each other again until the following November when Esther came to work for Mrs. Tommy Thompson, who had just had a new baby. At that time Joe rode a horse past the place where Esther was and she happened to be out in the yard. Even though he recognized her, he didn't speak because he wasn't cleaned up and was too proud to have her see him in his work clothes. He came back that night though, and took her to a dance in Woodville and asked her to go to a dance in Shelley the following week. Esther said that was a real treat because it wasn't very often that the country girls got to go into town for a dance. On Friday, August 7, 1914 Esther married Joseph Archibald Balmforth in Woodville. Since Utah was rather strict on their age limits and Joe was still underage, he thought it was the best thing to do, even though they were planning to go to Salt Lake to be married in the Temple. So they traveled to Salt Lake City and were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on Wednesday, August 19, 1914. When they came back, they had a little party that was very nice.
He fixed up a two-room house out in the field of Joe's dad's farm. Esther cooked and earned money enough to buy a bed, six chairs, a table, and a dresser. Joe bought a stove, a piece of linoleum, and a cupboard. Later, Joe got a job picking potatoes, and Esther would walk two miles to carry his lunch to him, and then she would help him pick potatoes. They earned $6 a day and were delighted with it! They bought a few groceries and Esther even bought a new fall coat.
On Thursday, June 15, 1916 Joe and Esther's only son, Norman LaVerne Balmforth, was born. He was followed on Sunday, January 5, 1919 by a girl, Virginia Louise, and on Thursday, January 26, 1922 Gertrude Alene was born. Joe and Esther enjoyed their small family very much as they taught them and watched them grow up.
Early in 1940 they moved to Rose where they lived for a little over a year and ran a small grocery store. While they were there Joe helped with the Rose baseball team, as that sport was his life-long love. When their children were small, he and Esther would pack them into a buggy and ride out to various places to play games. Esther would tend the kids all day while he played, and rather than complain about it, she learned to love the game too, and always loved to watch the games, even in later years on TV. When Joe was working in the field Esther would watch the World Series, and then give him a play by play account when he came in. In early 1941 Joe traded the Rose store for a farm in Woodville on the Snake River.
On Thursday, December 18, 1941, just a week before Christmas, Joe and Esther suffered a great loss in the death of their daughter, Virginia Louise Balmforth Cox; she was married to Percy Cox.
From the time they were first married their home was always open to whomever needed shelter or food. First, it was some of Joe's sisters who were of dating age. Esther would spend her last bit of money or give them her last pair of stockings and go without so that they could look nice. Joseph's bachelor brother, Seymour, lived with them for many years and during the depression when Joe's sister, Vera, died in 1937 they took the two children in for two years. And when their daughter, Virginia, died they took care of her daughter, Alene for a few years.
As a young lady, Esther had a beautiful singing voice and sang for many special occasions. She was very industrious and frugal and sold eggs and butter every Saturday. She always canned fruits, vegetables, meats, and made her own bread. She was so frugal that she could always come up with some money for Norman to go to a dance or for whatever Joe needed. One time Joe was flat broke and needed to buy some calves, but didn't know where to get the money. Esther went to her special hiding place and got out $100 to give him. Esther wasn't one to go out much; she wanted to stay home with her family and was always a great helpmate to her husband Joe, whether it was with his work or with his church positions. She loved flowers and always had a beautiful garden.
Esther had many friends — she made them easily and people loved her. When Norman's daughter Kathy, was little, she called and started talking to her grandmother and she called her "Nanny" and the whole family picked it up and later shortened it to "Nan." Many other people also picked up the nickname and called her Nan.
In 1953 they moved to their home in Shelley. On Saturday, January 24, 1976 Esther suffered her greatest loss — the death of her beloved husband of 61½ years. During most of these years Esther was very active in the Church, serving for many years as a teacher in the Primary and later in the Primary presidency. She taught the Gospel Doctrine class and also the Social Relations class in Relief Society. She was a visiting teacher and served as 2nd Counselor in the Relief Society under two different presidents. Esther taught an outstanding Special Interest class and was asked by Brother Roy Doxey to come down and participate in June Conference in Salt Lake City one year.
On Saturday, January 2, 1982 Esther Elizabeth Jones Balmforth passed quietly away at the home of her son, Norman Balmforth on the farm where she had lived for so many years. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Joseph; her daughter, Virginia Louise Balmforth Cox; her parents, two brothers, three sisters, and one grandson.
She is survived by her son, Norman LaVerne Balmforth of Woodville, her daughter, Gertrude Alene, (Mrs. Harold Collard) of Idaho Falls; two sisters, Idanah Thompson of Downey, California; and Kathleen Robertson Carter of Sandy, Utah; eight grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren, and two great, great grandchildren.