History Of Stanley J Pettingill
Colaborador: Brigman29 Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Portion of Patriarchal Blessing given May 24, 1943, Long Beach, CA by Patriarch Thomas Thompson Durham to Stanley J. Pettingill. Permission given as inspired by
Lois Pettingill, his endearing spouse.
You are a noble son of Israel and the blood of the righteous fathers course through thy veins and thou art entitled to the blessings of the fathers. Thou art especially blessed with a lineage that is choice, and which if studied and sought after shall be a protection and a blessing, not only in this life, but shalt lead thee on into the eternities; for thou art of the tribe of Joseph of old, who was sold into Egypt and you were born upon the land of Joseph for the land of Joseph is a choice land above all other lands. As you appreciate this great blessing to come through a line of the patriarch and through the covenant that was made by your parents, God will be with you and bless thee to fulfill thy destiny in righteousness...
History of Stanley J. Pettingill
(as dictated to and/or paraphrased by his daughter Vicky P. Smith)
I was born August 31, 1928, to Clifford and Essie Pettingill in Long Beach, California, just off of New York Street, in a little cottage behind another house. I was born at home, weighing 10 and a half pounds, a pretty big kid I’d say. Because of my size, I was the last child my mother gave live birth to. I received at the hands of my father, a blessing and my name Stanley Jay Pettingill.
One of my first memories is of a little house in Santa Monica. This house faced west, being behind an ice plant, just a few blocks from the ocean. My mother often had dad’s sisters Valoy and Ella with her. While living here, at this young age, I was a challenged with a spastic stomach and often everyone took their turn at cleaning me up.
We lived close to a church. I remember some friends of my parents had asked me to be the ring bearer at their wedding. They rented me a tuxedo and taught me how to carry the ring cushion, walk down the isle slowly, and present the ring. For this my brother and I received a toy truck as a reward for our efforts.
The next thing I remember is when we lived in Venice, south of Santa Monica. This home was made of stucco and on the corner there was a fire station. Every time it rained we had 10-12 inches of water sitting on the lawn, high enough that it almost came into the house. However, this brought many fun times and wet enjoyment for the neighborhood kids. While living here, I also remember that my dad gave Ray and me a bicycle that was all fancied up to look like a motorcycle. One day while riding down the driveway just as fast as I could go, I ran into my brother Ray and hit him dead center. First our heads collided and then Ray fell backwards, banging the back of his head on the ground. I fell over onto the lawn, but was not badly hurt. Ray however was knocked out and remained in a coma-like state for the next 8 hours. His condition was serious. His head had become swollen, putting pressure on his brain. How relieved everyone was when he came to consciousness.
We often invented toys. While living here we had found some old wooden shingles which we for fun tossed high into the air and would watch them sputter and flutter to the ground. I recall one of them, after being thrown up high came right back down upon me, resulting in me getting splinters in my eye. Just one more accident and another trip to the doctor.
When I was a young boy, my father was our barber. He also owned a very sorry set of hair clippers. In an attempt to give us our bowl-like, Prince Valent haircuts, he would squeeze the clippers cutting some hair and pulling out a whole lot more. Quite a few years later we rejoiced with dad’s ownership of electric clippers.
In Hawthorne, I began my school experiences. One day on the way home from kindergarten, I was hit in the head by a rock and arrived home drenched in blood, terrifying my mother. However, Hawthorne also brought us blessings. While reading the newspaper one day, my mother read an article about a baby girl that had been abandoned. Showing the article to my father and then following up with phone calls, my parents brought about the adoption of my sister Marlene. She was a beautiful baby (and still is a beautiful woman).
Along about that same time we also welcomed a family pet named Buster. Buster was a Toy Shepard, rather small and with pretty markings. The whole town soon came to know our pet. Early, every morning, Buster would leave our house to gather his breakfast treats from the bakery and butcher. Buster was so well liked that when he came up missing one day, we reported the incident to the police. We felt for sure that he had been stolen, not just lost. Our suspicions were confirmed when the police found him some 15 miles away. There a black lady had taken him to her home.
Often mom would take Marlene and Buster with her to the grocery store. Since the aisles in the store were so narrow, mom would often leave Marlene outside with the dog watching over her. Marlene was strikingly beautiful with her dark eyes and dark black ringlets. People would gather around her to admire her. Buster being protective would not allow anyone to get near.
Buster would enjoy riding in Marlene’s stroller also. One day while I was pushing the dog in the stroller, Buster spotted a cat that ran by. Buster took off after the cat, running in front of an oncoming car. He was hit and killed. With great sadness I placed him back in the stroller and headed for home. No one at home was very happy about the incident.
In the summertime, prior to WWII, our family would often go to Idaho to help my uncle around his farm. One of the things we had to do was harvest and stack the hay. One day, I was working the derrick horse, when the horse stepped on my foot. It didn’t injure me any because of the softness of the hay yard which cushioned my foot. I, however, was pinned beneath the horse’s foot. I had to holler for someone to come and help move the animal off my foot.
In 1941, WWII had started. There was really no chance of dad being drafted because of the importance of his job and the fact that he had three children. We moved to Long Beach, closer to Dad’s work. We lived 4-5 blocks from the ocean. Dad worked at Terminal Island, San Pedro at the Hammon Lumberyard driving a heister. Here in Long Beach I also attended grades 1-3.
As a young child these were difficult years. I could not learn how to read. I flunked my first couple years of school, before it was discovered that I had a lazy right eye. To treat this condition, every week I would go to a clinic where they would teach me exercises for my right eye. The exercises amounted to following and tracing objects. I became pretty popular with my friends, as I wore a patch over my eye for about a year. My vision problems not only affected my ability to read text, but was also frustrating when it came to reading musical notes. My mother’s efforts to have me play the piano were frustrating to her and also to me, as the notes appeared to be all mixed up and made no sense.
A year later we moved to another home a few blocks, away on New York Street. I remember here we lived in a rented house over the top of 2 garages. Moving in furniture was quite a challenge, especially when it came to the piano. In order to get the piano in, the piano had to be raised up and over the balcony. Even with my dad’s brothers, Delos and Eldred, it was only with great difficulty that the piano was raised by ropes. (Now Scott owns that piano today).
When I was approximately 9 years of age, we moved to North Long Beach at 436 Plenty Street. Dad bought a home and built on another room to accommodate rooms for all of us; boys and Marlene. We lived here until I was about 13.
Mom still wished for us to play a musical instrument. Our school had musical programs for students. Ray learned the violin and I studied the cello. By this time my vision had been corrected. I did not have to wear glasses. I now could read notes. I enjoyed the cello and continued into high school. After I was married, this very cello was traded for two clarinets, a white one for Vicky and a black one for Dallas.
WWII was going on and mom didn’t delight in living so near the constant, fearful sounds of cannons and air raid sirens. So, we sold our home and moved to East Midvale, Utah, where my dad worked for Williams Building Supply Co. We lived with my Aunt Tessie (mom’s twin sister) and Uncle Ansel in their basement until we could get settled. Here, in Midvale, I attended Midvale Jr. High and Jordan High School. While in Long beach at 12 years of age, I contracted what was thought to be Rhuematic Fever. Later we found that it was not Rhuematic fever, but a disease of the bone which had been dumping poisons into my body. Mom didn’t take me to a regular doctor, but worked with an osteopath, Dr. Larsen in Long Beach. After about 6 weeks, the spasms subsided. I was 12 years old, 6 feet tall and weighed only 98 lbs.
We then moved to Midvale and I was placed under the care of Dr. Allred, another osteopath. I experienced spasms behind my right knee, making my leg very tender and at times pulling taintly on the bones and muscles. Until the age of 15, if I played too hard my leg would cause me to limp. Dr. Allred worked with me for some time. When he determined the location/source of my illness and felt he had done all that he could do, he sent me to a doctors Oakelbury and Tirey. An x-ray of the knee revealed that I had an infection in the femur (same kind of infection which Joseph Smith had experienced). At the end of my sophomore year I had surgery to cut out the bad bone. I was in the hospital 3 weeks and 3 days. I received shots of penicillin every 3 hours, usually in the shoulder or butt. A wheelchair was found for me. I felt that I could not stay in bed and so often the nurses had to hunt me down. I got to know those nurses real well. I left the hospital kissing 3 nurses and the elevator girl good-bye.
My Uncle Bass (my father’s brother) came to visit my parents. In order to provide relief and save my parent’s nerves, they took me back to Elba, Idaho. Here instead, I drove my grandmother crazy, her caring for my wounds and trying to make me stay off my leg. I suppose she kept me from breaking my leg, being the bone was so thin. I returned home in the fall to start my junior year of high school.
Again I experienced difficulty in school, because of the absenteeism of the previous year. English was especially trying. There seemed to be no one who could help me catch up. However, my leg continued to heal and life went on.
Soon after my dad bought some property at about 10100 So and 900 E. in Sandy, Utah. We (Ray and I) helped him build a house. We hand dug a basement 12X12, and eight feet deep. We were finally ready to pour the cement, when the night before it rained caving in 3 sides of the walls because of the sandiness of the soil. We dug it out again.
When the house was finished, Ray was called to service in the navy to fight in WWII. Dad established a farm to raise mink. We also had several peaches and apple trees on our 5 acres of land. We sure had plenty of canning to do at harvest time. We also had a horse named Tops, and a cow “Damn Old Cow” called so by my dad. We had good milk, butter and even cottage cheese.
I graduated from high school 1947 and worked for Kennecott Copper on the track gang. My folks moved to Hyde Park and I attended Utah State University for 3 quarters. Prior to my mission my folks adopted my younger brother Kit. I was then called to a mission to the North Central States, St. Paul, Minnesota. I traveled there by train, changing trains to go north in Omaha. We waited track side, a cold experience as it was in January of 1949. My first assignment was in Brainard and I was assigned to make a city directory. Later, I traveled to the Red Lake Reservation and opened this area, which had had no missionaries since before WWII. I was stationed in the small town of Red Lake. Six months later, two more elders arrived. Two of us stayed in Red Lake and two of us went to Ponema. Previously the Catholic and Episcopal churches were established at Red Lake. However, they were not well accepted by the Indians. These Catholics and Episcopalians tried to move in and establish themselves here also, but the people refused to be converted and were so named pagans by the Catholic and Episcopal churches. In Ponema, I met with the chief and told him the story of the Book of Mormon. The chief commented on the familiarity of the story, and explained it as a story that had been passed down many generations. Within two months we had several conversions.
The temperatures were cold in our tar paper shack, being our only shelter. Often it was -35 to -50 degrees F. Our source of heat was an oil stove. We did learn some tricks to keep warm. We wore wool socks and mocassins in our boots (kept loose to provide circulation). We cooked on a hot plate. My total expenses for the month were $65 (rent, food, and utilities). The Indians would fish by net off the Waleye Pike. We would help with the catch and they would give us fish.
In the winter, ice on the lake would be as thick as 5 feet deep. Indians would cut the ice and use it for packing fish to be shipped. Lumber was another local industry. Lumber was hauled across the ice in big trucks (instead of driving around the lake).
Every Sunday we held Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting with a few Indian families. One family, the Little Creeks, had me give a name and blessing to one of their daughters. On the reservation we were also invited by the Indian agent to have dinner. It was duck stuffed with wild rice.
Once or twice a year we would travel to district meetings in Grand Forks, North Dakota by bus. We would board the bus in Bimiji. There we would see the huge statue of Paul Bunyan and his Ox. Our mission president was John B. Hawkes.
While on Red Lake Reservation, my companion and I each used our bicycles to get around. Although we did not baptize there, we lay the ground work for upcoming missionaries. Elder Holladay had helped me open this area. I then served with Elder Whittear and Elder Harold Hansen. I was the same age as Elder Hansen, sharing the same birth date also.
In the summer, we organized a softball team to encourage involvement and develop friendships with some of the younger men. A league of teams had been established, but these teams included mostly older men of ages 30-40. The younger men were left out. We won 11 games, losing only 1. I was their pitcher.
I was then transferred off the reservation and worked two other towns; Crookston, and Thief River Falls, Minnesota. Here we worked with a radio station KTRF with providing a Sunday program. It consisted of reading the Spoken Word by Paul Evans and playing music of the Tabernacle Choir.
At this place I was released as were as a few other elders by President Hawkes . One of the elders bought a car in Detroit and we took turns driving the car on the way home. We arrived home just before Christmas 1950.
I soon enrolled at USU, but couldn’t afford books and had to quit after 2 quarters. Employment was scarce. I went to Salt Lake City began working for Standard Oil. I lived with Uncle Harold. Virgil Fewkes happened to live in the same apartment complex. I bought myself a motorcycle and had it only a couple of months before wrecking it. Going west on North Temple at about 500 West, a car pulled out directly in front of me. Harold was on his motorcycle and I had been watching him. I hit the car head on and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. I had a skull fracture. I was released to go home. All that night a clear white fluid leaked from my nose. The next day I contacted my Uncle Virgil’s doctor and was told to go back to the hospital. They shot me full of antibiotics. I then returned to Hyde Park to recoup at my parent’s home for a month or so. After the scabs were healed, I returned to Salt Lake to work at Hill Field Airforce Base. I repaired film projectors. Here I also caught the flu and could not get rid of it. Once again I returned to Hyde Park to recover.
I had plenty of accidents as a young man. One time when riding on a ride (called “The Hammer”) at the county fair the car broke loose from the workings of the ride. This sent myself and the person opposite to me soaring to the ground. The guy on the other side of the car hit the ground first, taking most of the impact. I somehow walked away, but sadly the other guy was killed.
In the course of time you shall desire the companionship of a sweet and true daughter and shall find favor with her and shall have the privilege of being sealed by the holy priesthood. Thy desire shall grow that you might become a father and thy posterity shall become numerous in the course of the eternities which God hath prepared. You shall see many great and eventful things happen in the world and your heart shall leap with joy and gratitude for the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ and you shall know the value of honoring the priesthood of God... (portion of Patriarchal Blessing as noted above)
In 1952, I went to a 4th of July celebration with a boyfriend, Harold Hancey. There we saw 2 girls sitting in a car. We soon learned girls names were Anna Beth Linnartz and Lois Noble. Harold who knew both girls lined me up with Lois (although at the time it was Anna Beth I had asked to be lined up with). Later on that weekend we went to the movies with some other friends and cousins. I picked up Lois and helped her into the car. I went to slide in by her and noticed she was looking up at me, so I bent down and kissed her. I thought myself to be quite the Romeo. Lois was a mere 18 at the time. I believe she was quite shocked, dismayed, and probably not too happy with me.
While visiting Lois one Sunday, Bob and Don Goode came by to visit and we went to sacrament meeting together. We returned to Lois’s home for cake and ice cream. Mavis (Lois’s sister) walked into the room in a bright red suit. Don was clearly interested. Lois and I spent a lot of time doubling with Don and Mavis, during July through November of that year.
A week prior to a dance at USU, I had asked my future mother-in-law’s permission to marry her daughter. The night of the USU dance I put a ring in her corsage and proposed to her in her mother’s kitchen.
Work was once again difficult to find. I decided to go to California, live with Ray and Phyllis and work for Packer Bell in assembling radios and televisions. I worked there until May of 1953. I bought a 1940 convertible in California and drove it to Utah with Ray and Phyllis following. I was married to Lois in the Logan Temple on May 4, 1953. Having little money, Lois and I returned to Santa Monica, California.
Ray and Phyllis were still in Utah, so we stayed in their apartment until we were able to find our own place. I remember that this apartment must have been very small, for it had a bed that pulled down out of the wall. In August, Don and Mavis returned home so we divided and shared a two bedroom apartment in West L.A. We lived here until Packard Bell laid me off. Mavis had had a baby in December, so Grandma Noble came out to spend a few days. After this we left the apartment to Don and Mavis and returned to Utah pulling a little trailer. Mavis had decided to go back for a visit. We lived with Lois’s folks for a month. We were able to move when I found a job at Cache Valley Dairy. Lois gave birth to Vicky on April 28, 1954. We then moved to Logan, and shortly after that we moved to Raymond Fisher’s house in Smithfield. Ten months and 28 days after the birth of Vicky, Dallas was born, March 26, 1955 in Logan, Utah. Vicky contracted chickenpox, so Lois took Dallas to NaDene’s. Vicky was left at Grandma Nobles.
Next, we moved to Hunter, Utah. I worked for Poppleton Beauty Supply as a salesman to the nearby beauty shops. My next job was working at Meadow Gold Dairy delivering to groceries stores such as Smith’s and Grand Central.
We then moved to an area called Sugarhouse. While Lois was working for Sperry, where she met Lucille and Kay Anderson. It was from Lucille’s mother, Mrs. Curtis, that we were able to find and rent a duplex on Westminister Ave. We lived on one side and Lucille and Kay lived in the other side or the duplex. Lois at this time also became pregnant with our 3rd child. Mrs. Curtis now felt that we should move, for 3 children were too many, with too much noise. I also had to tell her that I had been laid off from Meadow Gold Dairy. She was then very anxious to have us gone. I made it very clear to her that we couldn’t move and sited a law that claimed if someone was pregnant they couldn’t be evicted. Paula, our blonde haired baby girl was born September 9, 1958. She was a little bit of challenge when it came to feedings, for she was born with a stomach reflex. She was a distinctive little girl, who would loved and played with her dolls.
Finally I found a job working for the State Road Highway Commission. We then moved to Draper, Utah and lived in a duplex next to a small farm and pasture owned by Jim Rhoades. Later we affectionally referred to him as “Uncle Jim”. Vicky began kindergarten. One day when Vicky and Dallas were playing out in the pasture, they threw a ball into a corral that was full of pig manure. Using their ingenious little minds they decided they needed to get their the ball, so they carefully placed boards across the manure giving them a trail to walk on to recover the ball. Little did they realize that the boards would sink into the manure as they walked upon them. Upon sinking and getting themselves stuck, they helped each other free themselves and trudged home bawling. Lois was not going to allow them into the house. She striped their clothing from them, down to their underwear. She then sprayed them down with water from the garden hose. We enjoyed Draper. We will always have fond memories of July 24th celebrations that happened there.
We decided it was time to purchase our own home. Jim Rhoades lent us $500 for a down payment on a home. On the day we were to move I was asked to be the Elder Quorum President. I was not able to accept the call. We moved to a 3 bedroom, 1 bath home in White City. Total cost of the home was $9000. We lived on Serpentine Way at the top of a hill. The kids learned to ride skateboards and bicycles. Dallas was the first to learn to ride Vicky’s new bike. This didn’t make her too happy. Some of our neighbors were Bob Jones’s family and the Baxters. We often visited with our neighbors and our children played together.
I continued my work for the State Road Commission. New homes were being built to the east of us. These had basements. We decided to trade the home on Serpentine Way for a home at 10206 So. 1280 E., using our existing equity as a down payment. The price was $15,000. The basement was unfinished and it had a carport. The yard was very sandy, so we had to haul in lots of topsoil. The bigger yard made it possible for us to construct a bigger, homemade swing set for the kids. Two main poles (actually telephone poles) were planted several feet in the ground. The swing set included 2 swings (a tire swing and one that had a flat board seat), a rope climb, and a 3 foot wide high bar to swing and play on.
After being in this home for less than a year, we noticed our kitchen flooring began to bubble and pull away at the seams. This was puzzling. We contacted the contractor and they replaced the flooring. Much later, we discovered the cause of the damaged floor. That first summer in our home, while Lois and I were at our jobs, the kids had brought in the garden hose and flooded the floor. The kitchen floor was turned into a water “slip and slide”. Water ran from the kitchen all the way down the stairs to the basement. Apparently this event occurred more than once. They always carefully cleaned up before we arrived home. Even the towels that were used for clean up were washed, dried and put away.
We also put in a double wide driveway in order to have enough room to park our old gray truck. We had many good times in the old truck. One day the truck rolled backwards down our inclined driveway. It stopped when it hit the light post at the bottom of the curb. This was a good thing for the truck otherwise would have rolled a long distance down the hill. We would often pile the kids in the back of that old truck and would go for rides up Creek Road and Guardsman Pass. In those days, Guardsman Pass was quite a rough trail and our rides became real adventures.
We lived in this home for 10 years. Our final two sons were born while we lived in this home. Scott was born on June 22, 1963. Seven years later, as somewhat a surprise, Blaine was born, February 14, 1970. I guess he was our sweetheart baby. The kids attended school at Edgemont, Midvale, and Alta View Elementary Schools. I served as financial clerk to Bishop Lund. Our next bishop was Avard Goodmansen. The Goodmansens lived across the street from us. The kids would play with their children. I especially remember a night game they played called “Spotlight”. We had other good friends and neighbors including Bruce and Caroline Cameron. Bruce and Caroline kept a watchful eye over the kids and kept them in line. I’m not so sure the kids wanted all this attention. The ward held many activities. We had 24th of July celebrations and carnivals on the Jordan High School fields. During this time we built a new stake center. While living here we also involved ourselves in helping another family. The mother of the family was dying of a brain tumor. There were many children in this family. We had several bicycles, tricycles, and a wagon around our home that were not being used. I repaired and fixed these up and delivered them to the family.
Lois had some serious back surgeries while living here. She was one summer tormented by the family pet who we had named Pierre (our dehydrated frenchman). Pierre had an annoying, yapping bark that would drive us nuts. One day when the kids were at school, Pierre disappeared. He had found a new home. There was some boohooing about the missing pet, but a lot of relief for Lois, as she could finally rest.
I quit my job for the State Highway Commission and continued only doing some part time highway counting. I started working part time at a Conoco gas station. The owner talked me into investing and taking over the station. We mortgaged our house and took a bank loan for $5000. I pumped gas, sold tires, and did car repair. I continued to do this for about a year and then saw we were not making enough to cover expenses. We had to close the business and take out bankruptcy to survive. We were left with our home. We decided to sell our home and pay off unsettled bills. Although this was not required by law, all creditors were paid. We had enough money left to make a down payment on another house and moved to 8495 So. 1275 E., further north in Sandy. This house was split level, having 3 levels. The kids attended Union Jr. High and then went Hillcrest High School.
Prior to leaving White City I had begun working for Consolidated Freightways. Here I drove truck and mostly worked in the Tires/Parts Department. I continued to work for this company for 21 years.
Blaine grew up in this home. He had a favorite tricycle (big wheel) that was yellow with big black tires. He would follow Paula and Scott up the road to the crosswalk every morning on their way to school. He was good friends with the crossing guard. Soon after Paula and Scott crossed 1300 East, the crossing guard would send Blaine home. Lois would listen for the clump, clump of the big wheel as Blaine came down the sidewalk. Blaine loved his big wheel adventures and literally wore holes into the tricycle’s tires. When Blaine was a young teenager he was attacked by a dog. His injuries were serious and extensive. One side of his nose and nostril were torn. A plastic surgeon was brought in and many stitches were needed to repair the damage.
Throughout the years while living in the Sandy area, we enjoyed exploring the great outdoors. Our adventures included fishing with and without a boat. At times we would go target shooting. A few times I took the Dallas and Scott deer hunting. We had a small Honda 150 motorcycle which we rode in the fields behind our home. We would explore dirt trails and chase jack rabbits. Scott even drove it through our sliding screen door into the kitchen one day.
We enjoyed picnicking, camping and spending time in the mountains. Some of our most memorable times were backpacking into the High Uintah Mountains. We had two such memorable adventures, one in the summer of 1986 and another in the summer of 1988. Lois was able to come with us the second time, along with Vicky, Paula, Klyn, Jonathan, Scott, Stephanie, Blaine and Shawn. (Dallas had completed the hike the summer of 1986 and was not able to attend the second hike. However he was instrumental in making sure that his son Shawn came.) We hiked to Gem Lake with the aid of a pack horse and spent 4 days camping; surviving rain, snow and even hail. It was a good time though. We enjoyed setting up camp, relaxing, fishing, enjoying one another and the beauty of God’s creations of Nature..
When I reached the age of 62, Lois and I received a phone call from the mission president of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Mission. Louis and Willie Picket, a former bishop of our ward (Sandy 22nd ward) were at the time serving as a missionary couple in that mission. They had referred our names to President Ferrell. After some discussion and inspiration, Lois and I felt that this was what we should do at this time in our lives. I took an early retirement and by July 19, we entered the Missionary Training Center (MTC). Here along with 7 other couples and 2 weeks of instruction, we were trained and prepared for a wonderful missionary experience. We were assigned to the North Philadelphia Asian Zone to organize 2 new branches. It was quite a cultural shock. However, working with various Asian people soon became one of the choicest experiences of our lives. In this inner city location there were no church buildings. The people were too poor to travel, so meetings were established in local buildings, often not in the most desirable areas. With the help of 14 missionary couples, the Gospel was brought to this area of Philadelphia. We served here for 10 months and then we were transferred to Ridgely, Maryland. Here in Ridgely, we served for 7 weeks working in activation of a local branch. We taught lessons to an 11 year old boy and were able to see him baptized. He became the newest member of the branch. We continued to work with others and began teaching a 17 year old boy, who was later baptized after we had returned home to Utah.
We returned to Utah (1992) and purchased a home in Alta View Estates Senior Park, a retirement community in Sandy. We had a nice double wide mobile home that suited our needs well. After a short while, I began to see the beginnings of a disease that was forming in my body. It started with tingling in my feet and legs. Interventions were tried to remedy the problem which involved visiting and receiving treatments from neurologists at the University of Utah, back surgery, and progressive doses of prednisone. We lived here until 1998. Our family moved away and we found ourselves alone in the Salt Lake Valley.
We felt it was time to return home to the areas of our childhoods. Scott most graciously agreed to build us a home in an area near his own residence in Smithfield. We sold our home in Sandy and lived with Scott and his family for eight months while he worked many long hours after his own work day to complete our home. When it came to construction he seemed to have a natural sense and knowledge of how to build our house. Sometimes other members of the family would help. Vicky, Joe and Mindi helped pull electrical wiring throughout the house . Dallas was somewhat leery of heights while walking on the overhead beams, but was good help in getting the roof on the house. Blaine helped dig trenches for the sprinkling system. Most anytime someone came by they gave assistance. In November of 1998, we moved into our lovely new home.
Lois and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary while in this home. Our children put together a celebration which they hosted at the University Inn on the Utah State University campus. Many of our family and friends attended.
I was at times able to attend other events, however this was often a painful undertaking. I do remember a fun time on Thanksgiving at my daughter Vicky’s home. The family entertained themselves with song using a Karokee Machine. I felt somewhat goofy that night. I led the family in a song called “Who Let the Dogs Out”! We were sure a funny bunch of “barkers”. We also held traditional, Christmas Family Home Evenings at our home, where the grand kids would present their talents. We always had good food, fun times, and spiritual reminders of the season.
My illness continued and required additional treatments. One half of my stomach was removed because of a nonmalignant tumor that had grown and was keeping food from leaving my stomach. I spent a recovery time of 5 weeks in the hospital. Next, I suffered a bout of pneumonia. Then came a condition in which my esophagus needed to be stretched so food could pass to my stomach. I continued receiving help from Dr. Bowman, and Dr Fang (U of U). Dr. Sommers worked with an ongoing problems with skin cancer, the worse being a spot the size of a half dollar on the top of my head and as deep in as my skull. Other procedures included treatment for pressure ulcers on the sides of my heels and numerous bed sores on my back. Careful monitoring of foods and medicines became necessary. I was assisted by aides and therapists which came to our home. I thank the many aides and nurses who helped with my treatments; Mark Hamblin, John Berryhill, Todd Thomas, Melissa Johnson, Tammy Ellis and Kim Anderson.
I thank my daughter Paula and her family for the summer they cared for me in their own home and the sacrifices they made.
I delight in the many grand and great grand children I have been able to see grow, and the ones that will yet come into this life. I give them my love.
Because of the severity and progression of my illness, the last few months of my life were spent in a nursing home. This was to be a most difficult time not only for myself, but also for Lois. She showed a great deal of conviction and courage. I thank my dear wife, who from the beginning was my care giver. It was her full time job, one she diligently served at for 13 years.
This illness with its many ongoing challenges, brought me to the end of my days.
I seal upon you immortality and eternal life to reign as a father in a kingdom of glory with thy companion and preside over thy posterity, that you may ever grow onward and upward in life’s journey...(portion of Patriarchal Blessing as noted above)
Dad passed on through a new door and a new beginning, January 24, 2005 at 2:20 AM. His passing was due to complications of pneumonia and poisonous toxins that had built up in his body. This and the many complications of his unknown disease took him to the end of his earthly life.
2 Timothy 4:7-8:
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day...
Thanks to our father who so deeply loved his family, worked diligently to meet our needs,
and served the Lord through his example in the gospel.
He expressed his love and testimony everyday by the way he lived his life.
Written By: Vicky Ann Pettingill Smith, daughter of Stanley J. Pettingill