Life History of Ralph Julius Lauper
All of us have associated during our lifetimes with others who have had influence upon us, some for good, some for bad and some for both. Parents fit into a different category from all the rest it is expected of them that they should influence us. My father did that but the unusual makeup of the man and his faith, combined with an amazing physical ability; qualify him for more than just passive reference to the fact of his being "my Dad".
Emile Louis Lauper: 1869-1936
Father, whom my son David gently refers to as "The Old Gentleman", was born in a very plain little home in Switzerland, just outside of Geneva, and a mile or two away from the place where the "League of Nations" building now stands. My Grandfather was a vineyard-keeper for the philanthropist, Baron Rothschild, who donated the land for the "League" buildings. Dad had one younger sister [Alice] and no brothers.
Little Emile came into the world 25 years after the prophet Joseph Smith was martyred, and a scant four years after President Abraham Lincoln was shot. It was years before either of these events would mean anything to him.
I think my Dad grew up in a kind of lonely environment. His sister was too young to play with, his mother too busy and hard working, and his father didn't know how or didn't want to play. So Dad had no social life at all. All he ever did as a kid was work, an activity for which natural desire, physical ability, and training aptly fitted him. I don't recall that he ever learned how to relax and to really enjoy himself. He got satisfaction and joy from things, but not fun. He wasn't that close to his father, who Dad said was a basically good man, but, "he drank too much, got violent and was mean to my mother". Then he would get over it and would be very sorry afterwards. What Dad was saying is that my Granddad was an alcoholic.
Dad seemed to sense there was a better way to live than in such a horrible way as that, but instead of running away or doing something violent he did just about the only other thing he knew of to fight the disease of drunkenness, he joined the Christian Temperance Union. He played the cornet in the group band, marched with them, and was a participant in their street meetings. This must have brought some satisfaction to his yearning and searching soul, but not enough.
I suppose that Dad went to church occasionally, but never in any conversation we ever had did he once mention a preference for one over the rest of them. He was much like Joseph Smith in that regard. When he heard a couple of elders preach on a street corner it became a different matter entirely. He believed everything they were saying. He spoke with them, liked what he heard and was soon walking as far as 15 or 20 miles just to attend a cottage meeting to learn more of this strange religion.
Dad told his mother of his intention to become a baptized member. She was surprised to learn that he had been meeting with the missionaries. He was, in turn, surprised that she too had been taught the gospel by two elders who had found her in their tracting.
They decided to be baptized together. They told grandfather and he seemed overwhelmed by it all as the date, time, and place were set. It was at the water where he surprised them, as he revealed baptismal clothes which he had secretly brought along. They were all baptized on the same day.
Grandfather didn't live too many years after that, meanwhile the elders had kindled a fire in Dads' heart. His dream was to come to America, then bring his mother and little sister to the land of promise. He was able to fulfill that dream despite the rigors, work and sacrifice involved.
My Dad rode steerage class on the boat to the U.S. around the turn of the century, 1898, I believe, and told me he walked up Broadway, in New York City on wooden sidewalks. The streets were dirt or mud, depending on the weather. He scrounged around for jobs to get enough together for train fare to Utah. He told me about washing dishes in "dives" down in the Hells' Kitchen area on Manhattan's Lower East Side. He said he once lived on peanuts for a week.
Dad did get to Utah, he did bring his mother and sister over and they settled in Lehi. Dad met my mother, and they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple in 1900 when Mother was a young, pretty girl of 18 and he 30 years of age. Ten children were born to them, seven boys and three girls.
Enough has been said in my life story as well the writings of my siblings, about the 'nomadic nature' of our family life and the difficulty Dad had in making ends meet, due in great part to his inability to get the hang of American Economic Life. His failure to amass anything substantial in the way of worldly goods can not, by any stretch of the imagination, be attributed to laziness or avoidance of work. I never knew anyone who worked as hard as did He! So I will forego, as far as possible, a recitation of such things and dwell more on some things not often, if at all, mentioned.
Dad was strictly "old world" and grew up in a time and place where a Father's word was law and was to be obeyed. He never told funny stories because he didn't know any. If he had any guile, it was certainly not apparent to me, he was too blunt and upfront for that, nor did he seem to have any time or affinity for the social graces.
For all his gruffness and rough exterior, Dad would display a sign or two of outward tenderness. He was possessed of a sentimental side to his nature, which impelled him to express his feelings toward my mother in both poetry and prose. On the rare occasions when he would say, "I love you, son" I would find myself more or less waiting for the other shoe to fall. His inner feelings gained much better expression from the pen than through the mouth, at which level he was very apt.
I never heard my father play his cornet but I used to appreciate hearing his fine, pleasing, tenor-baritone singing voice in church.
Dad's formal education was limited to a few elementary grades as a boy in Switzerland, but his mind was very, very sharp and inquisitive. He taught and educated himself, an avid reader; he perused everything in sight and with the aid of his ever-present dictionary was able to develop a vocabulary to match any college professor. He was very conversant on any subject: history, politics, religion, and news of any kind were all right down his alley. Science and math seemed so easy for him I wondered how he ever arrived at such a level without formal training. I still recall the lessons he taught me in astronomy and science, while I, a teen, worked in the fields with him.
Poor Dad had a glaring deficiency which plagued him throughout all of his life in America. He could learn all the words, and did, his problem stemmed from his inability in grammar and accent. Try as he may he was unable to rid himself of a thick French accent. He pretty well mastered the grammar, but never his accent. This shortcoming cost him dearly in a society, which at the time labeled all who spoke with an accent as a dumb, stupid foreigner, to be tolerated at best and shunted aside whenever possible. Dad had to be hurt by it and his outward demeanor probably hardened, in order to compensate.
Father would sometimes impose on people, but I never knew him to take undue advantage of anyone. It was he who was usually swindled. Mother said he was too gullible.
Dad never told a dirty joke or story and wasn't interested in listening to one. Animals were his friends but in his dealing with them, he would use salty curses of the standard variety never filthy or profane. When I was still a boy Dad made a deal with me. He said, "Son, when you hear me take the name of the Lord in vain, that's the day you can do it too." He never did it and during my 75 years of life I haven't either. And I always thought he didn't know how to teach!! His moral teachings went right to the heart of the matter "if it's wrong or immoral don't do it!" He boasted, "Your mother is the only woman I ever had."
In matters religious, my father was one of those fortunates who are possessed of true believing spirits. Dad came into the church in full belief and testimony. He could and did argue violently, at times, with people concerning their acts etc., but never the brethren. If they said it, then that was all there was to be said. He might object to the bishop about something in the ward but if the bishop decided against him, his faith was not at all damaged, and he went right on supporting the bishop.
Dad's feelings about the Lord and His church were beautiful. He said, "I fear neither man, beast, nor the devil. I fear only the Lord." Again he said, "The church is true. I accept every principle and commandment in it. I don't believe that part of it is true and part is not. I accept every part of this church because it comes from the Lord." His faith and testimony, right from the beginning, must have made things a lot smoother for him all of his life.
"The Old Gentleman" was 47 when I was born. I didn't notice him much until his early fifties so I never really knew him as a young Dad. To me he was always old. He was bald from the time I first knew him. His eyes were steel blue, rather close-set. The nose was straight and high-bridged, down to a mouth of normal size. His chin was strong but not protruding. His moustache was a curious thing. He always wore one, until about two weeks before he died, at which time he suddenly shaved it off.
Dad carried his regular 180 pound weight most of his life. His frame was that of a typical "Switzer", short about 5' 8" tall, stocky with a barrel-chest. His legs were not at all typical. They were spindly looking and small. In reality those legs were two bands of coiled steel.
In his youth Dad had been a nice looking guy but now, as I said, was bald, his eyes were not so good, his teeth were gone, and his hearing was bad. He treated all of these things as annoyances and took them in stride. His false teeth were ill fitting, his eye-glasses could have served as telescopes and his hearing aid was absolutely good for nothing. The rest of his body was functional and what a body he had!!
It is impossible to adequately describe the amazing power, strength, and intestinal fortitude possessed by this relatively small man, but I'll try. I've always maintained that were he to be playing pro football today he would be the only player, at 180 lbs in the history of the game who would become all pro on the defensive line, or as linebacker or fullback on offense. He was so strong and powerful as to be unbelievable, and most of what he did occurred after he suffered a terrible accident in his early twenties, one which would have killed any other man I know.
One day in Switzerland, when Dad was about 24 years old, he was working in the vineyards. At one point he attempted to jump from a shed across a row of stake supported grapes to the ground on the other side. He didn't quite make it and impaled himself on a sharp, pointed stake which entered his body between his legs and passed through his bladder, stomach and intestines. It broke off outside his body and he fell to the ground. Imagine the pain with a piece of wood inside of you, reaching from your groin to a point up near your heart! He was fully conscious and felt it all!
Dad's calls for help brought a young man who looked, threw up, and ran off to bring more help. At the hospital, the doctors fussed with him for a while without operating and decided to just let him die. They were certain that his life could not be saved and were astonished that he had been able to pull the stake out by himself before help had arrived!
Dad didn't die. He lay for several days in a feverish state, infected by his own body wastes, as well as any other bacteria which might be floating around. Then a miracle occurred! The very infection which was fighting to take him was turned into the ally, which, in the end saved his life. The infections formed into puss-pockets which blocked off all leakage and left his marvelous constitution free to rid his body of the infection. The French Medical Journal, of which brother Dennis has a copy in his possession, calls the event, "Le Miracle D'Laupere".
After 24 days in the hospital Dad stole his clothes and walked home. His mother, upon seeing such a haggard-looking man standing before her, promptly fainted. Dad revived her and gave assurance that it was not a ghost who had just walked in. The modern Lazarus had, indeed, come back from the dead. I am convinced, today, that his recovery can be attributed only to direct intervention by the same power through which Lazarus of old was restored. It could not have been the doctors, who did nothing at all.
His recovery was attended by the return of athletic prowess and endurance. By the time he left Europe, Dad had won the marathon swim across Lake Geneva, and the marathon walk around the same lake. He won both of them very easily. Among his trophies (which my sisters have) was one which his steady nerves earned for him, as an expert rifle marksman in the Swiss Army.
Switzerland is a neutral country and has been for centuries. But it still maintains a small standing army and all young men are conscripted for army service. Dad told of the long marches they made. They always carried their heavy packs and guns. He said he usually ended up carrying his own and one or two extra, for others who couldn't keep up.
For Emile life in America was the same thing, one physical crisis after the other, with strength, endurance, and courage tipping the scales in a direction favorable to him.
Everyone came to recognize Dad's strength. Farmers always had machinery in need of greasing or repair, plows, rakes, small wagons, mowers, etc. Instead of using a jack Dad would grab a wheel, lift it from the ground, and instruct us to put a block under the axle.
Lauper would often hire out to work in the fields and would sometimes hire others to work on his farm. He would boast of his ability to do the work of two men, and he did!
My brother Serge tells of the time when he and another young man were helping Dad to unload bushel bags of wheat from a wagon. They would take the bags, weighing between 60 and 70 lbs, from the wagon, walk with it to the grain building, a distance of 30 or 40 feet, and throw it in through a big window about five feet from the ground. The two young men were grousing about how hard it was to do this. Dad didn't like it one bit! He stood by the wagon, with hands on his hips, and ordered them to place two bags on each shoulder. He next made them get up on each of his shoulders. Serge and the other kid must have added at least 150 lbs, each, to the load. With this 600 lbs burden Dad set off in a trot toward the window where he flipped his shoulders upwards, dumping men, wheat, and all into a pile on the inside. That man was strong! I can recall seeing him lift logs or animal carcasses that no one else could budge.
My father liked and respected animals. He insisted also that they defer to him. Animals seemed to sense that. They knew that he had no fear of them. Ask the bull who made the mistake of charging him and was knocked unconscious, as I sat on the fence rail and watched, by an irate little "Switzer" who calmly picked up a fence post and brought it down on the top of the animal's head. Ask the wildest horse we ever owned. She was the one who stood around, waiting for something to kick or bite, after she developed a sore just above the hoof on one hind leg. Dad decided to rub some axle grease on it to keep the flies off. He let her know he was coming. She didn't reach out to bite or kick him. She did turn and watch him, her body quivering, as he calmly walked back, leaned over, picked her leg up, and swabbed a heavy coat of grease over the open wound. She had, doubtless, injured herself by kicking something in the first place.
Yes, you might ask the protective sow who was ferociously guarding her newborn litter, to whom she had just given birth, but in the wrong place. Dad calmly went and picked up the squealing piglets, two at a time, placed them in a wagon and drove off towards the barn, followed by the frustrated and also squealing mother, who lacked the courage to tackle him. Or you might ask the two hundred or so ferocious dogs who were faced down by him at one time or another. On one occasion in Sutherland, near Delta, Utah, Dad took Dennis and me to call on a farmer about some business deal. I called his attention to the sign on the gate which read, "'Beware! Vicious dogs!" Dad didn't hesitate a second as he opened the gate and walked in, telling us boys to stay close behind. Nor did he show any concern when several big, mean-looking dogs came bounding around the house and headed straight towards him. They didn't make much noise and that, in itself, was a danger sign. At the last second, he took his hat off, waved it at them and he made some kind of unintelligible growl. Those vicious dogs actually skidded to a stop, turned, and ran yelping away. They wouldn't come nearer than 50 feet as Dad stood and conducted his business with the farmer on the front porch, who even called to them, and was baffled that they wouldn't come. They were plain scared!
Even the insects respected him fearfully. They rarely bit or stung him and he seemed to be, more or less, immune to the venom of all of them. One day I called his attention to a very large swarm of bees which had left the hive and had anchored themselves to a small tree branch, alongside a ditch on our property, about a quarter of a mile from our house. Dad took an empty hive and, with me leading the way, went to the spot. While I stood off about 30 yards I watched him set the hive directly below that round mass of bees, about a foot circle of them, take the lid off the hive and without any protective mask, or clothing he took his small saw and cut the branch off above them, dropping branch and furious agitated bees into the box. He put the lid back on and walked back to the area where he kept three or four other hives of bees. For all of this, he was stung four or five times on his hands and face, probably by bees he had injured. I pulled out a couple stingers. He wouldn't take longer for anymore.
The only time I saw him seem a bit rattled into impetuous action, it was a reptile which did it. Dennis and I went with Dad and brother Felix, to the cedar area in the foothills about 30 miles north of home in Sugarville. The purpose of the trip was to bring home two wagon loads of cedar for firewood. It was a three day mission, going and coming. Dad had his hand under a big log, trying to wrap a chain around it. I was standing off to one side and heard the unmistakable warning sound of a rattlesnake. He was not in a position to see it, and was already becoming hard of hearing. From where I was standing I could, and saw, with dismay, a huge rattlesnake, coiled up to strike. Its rattles were going full blast but it must have known Dad and was simply afraid to strike. Before I could warn him, the reptile decided to get out of there. It took the closest exit, right over his hand. I don't believe Pop was afraid, even then. He was too collected. I think he was startled, however. With one motion he grabbed a nearby shovel and decapitated the poor thing, who's only, sin had been the mistake of meeting up with an opponent, against whom it was afraid to defend itself.
His endurance was legendary. One of our old white horses died. Dad skinned the animal and sent the hide away to be dyed and made, into a big black coat. It was, so heavy I could scarcely lift it and with it on, he resembled a black grizzly bear. One winter he had my brother Felix hook a team of horses to our covered wagon, (Conestoga) and pull it up to the same cedar country, and leave him there with it all stocked with provisions for at least a month. His plan was to stay there a month, chopping fence posts to sell or use on our own farm.
He was cut off from the outside world. It turned out to be a severe winter. Blizzards forced him to the protection of his covered wagon, with only a little lantern for light and a small wood stove for heat. After several days of the close confinement, he became deathly sick from carbon monoxide poison, coupled with what was probably a case of pneumonia. Realizing no help could be expected for weeks and refusing to just lie there and die, he donned his big coat and set off through a couple of feet of snow on a 30 mile jaunt for home.
How he made it was more than anyone could understand. When he staggered into the house about midnight, after fighting the sleet, biting wind and snow all day long, we couldn't believe what we were seeing! He was wan, deathly pale, weak and sick-looking. His eyelashes and eyebrows were iced-up, his moustache had icicles hanging from it and his big overcoat must have been carrying another 40-50 lbs of frozen sleet. Mother fixed him a hot bath and put him to bed. In a couple or three days he was up and around, still coughing, but working nonetheless. The man had tremendous recuperative power.
Now let us consider a few incidents to point out his further immunity to bodily destruction. There were many, I'll describe just three of them. Many could be related but these are unbelievable enough to boggle the mind, in and of themselves.
1 - Dad leads a horse dragging a log along a steeply sloped hillside, parallel to a sheer drop-off. Log rolls off cliff. Dad hangs onto the horse in an attempt to save him. Man and beast both fall at least 30 feet straight down to the rocky ground below. According to a news item of the day and which I have in my possession, "The horse died within a few minutes, Mr. Lauper was uninjured".
2 - Lauper hitches a ride for a distance of two blocks, along Main Street in Delta, Utah, standing on the running board of a "Model T Ford" auto, loaded with high school kids. He tells the kid driver when to slow down, so he can jump off. Kid slows and Dad jumps. As he does so, the kid swerves towards the curb. The car knocks Dad down. The heavy laden, hard rubber, rear tire passes over his head right at the temple, lacerating his ear and leaving tire marks on his skinned head. Dad somehow makes his way home, sans X-rays, or medical attention for a head, already swollen to twice its normal size. Dad spends about a week in bed, recuperating!
3 - Dad is bringing a wagon loaded with over 4 tons of grain from Delta to Sugarville, where we live, a distance of 10 miles. He is teaching a young horse how to pull. The colt is harnessed and connected to one of the team but instead of being hooked up to really pull any significant weight he is working against a chain fastened to the wagon. He doesn't pull much, so the chain is slack, almost dragging the ground for much of the trip. That's ok with Dad. He just wants the colt to get the feel of it.
The day is clear but very frigid. The surface of the narrow, gravel road is frozen icy-solid. Dad loops the team's reins loosely over the upright brake handle and walks alongside. A car approaches from the rear. Pop reaches up to rein the team over to the side. At the precise instant when he is right next to the wagon and reaching for the reins, a series of things happen in quick succession. The driver of the car decided to honk his horn and does so, the colt is startled and leaps forward, the chain snaps tight and trips my father, who is in his fifties, and down he goes, a narrow, steel-rimmed wheel runs over one of his legs on that frozen, gravelly roadway, it passes over at a point about 6 inches above his ankle on the shin.
Dad pulls himself up on his wagon and drives home. He is helped into the house and to bed where he nurses the leg for a few short days. The leg is badly mangled but with no visible fractures. It will heal smoothly without bumps. The only evidence that will remain from this horrible accident will be a slight, gentle bow on an already slightly bowed leg. He is a Superman! All of that without even breaking a bone! Chafing under the strain of inactivity, he secures a pair of crutches within a week. He will hobble around on those things for a month while he tends to his chores and other light activities around the farm. He watches and supervises the work of us boys throughout the ordeal. Within a month or so he returns to his full strenuous schedule!
Around Thanksgiving of the year 1935 he complained of not feeling so hot. He was 66 years old and would be 67 the next February. Poor Dad! We all probably thought it to be a recurrence of the upset stomach which plagued him once or twice a year for as long as I could remember. Those attacks, when they came, were severe enough to confine him to his bed for as long as a day or two at a time, and that took some doing! At other times, he might wobble out to the fields to watch us work. On those rare days it always seemed strange to see dynamic Dad sitting down while others worked.
From "Turkey Day" until Christmas he suffered more and more. On the 29th of December, I believe it was, he consented finally to have Doctor Hendricks come and look at him. The doctor diagnosed his problem as appendicitis. In that, he was right but that was far from the full story. We took him to Ventura General Hospital to have his appendix removed. It was there while waiting for them to wheel him into the operating room that I witnessed my father showing fear for the first time in my life and probably his as well. He had always avoided doctors, didn't trust them and wanted nothing to do with them. Now, here he was at the mercy of one of them! He was afraid of the knife! He wondered aloud, if the operation itself could be avoided. The fear shone in his eyes as well as in the number and kinds of questions he asked of the doctors and us boys. Dennis and I were the only two of his sons there. Mother and the girls were also there.
By the time he was wheeled into the operating room Dad became his old self. He accepted his spinal shot and we boys watched through the glass door and heard him talking calmly to the two doctors as they cut into him. Hendricks was telling him how messed up his insides seemed to be. Dad related the story of this accident in Switzerland.
Looking back to that night many years later I came to realize there is a reason to explain why a man, who wouldn't even flinch at the sight of a knife or gun in the hand of an enemy, would exhibit something akin to terror at the thought of one in the hands of a skilled surgeon. It came to me! It wasn't the knife which bothered Dad, it was the doctor himself! Something in my fathers subconscious mind triggered memories of his unhappy experience with them, during his accident in Switzerland and his very being revolted at the idea of having to place his life at the disposal of one of them again, ever. When this explanation came to me, I began to know Dad better. This super-being was, after all, subject to some of the phobias and hang-ups endured by normal people. He was almost one of us!
Dad developed peritonitis from his ruptured appendix. In normal times he could be expected to recover easily from this, just "a piece of cake." In this case he drew near to death. Early on the morning of January 1st 1936 Dennis and I were summoned to the hospital by the girls and mother who had been there through the night. They had now been relegated to chairs out in the hallway. We went into the room where a nurse was bustling around a little and tried to "shoo" us out. Of course we wouldn't go. She was leaving anyhow and Dad would have been left to die alone, less than 30 minutes later. We greeted him and he spoke clearly to us. He said his feet were cold. Circulation had all but ceased and he was starting to die. We piled a blanket on him, for which he thanked us but said he was thirsty and had to have some water. I asked the nurse to give him some. As she was walking out she said such a thing was impossible, he would cough and tear his sutures out. When I told this to Dad he looked at me and said "Get me some water, Son, or I'll get it myself." That Old Battle Axe didn't know my father as I knew him nor did she love him as I did. The Old Gentleman would either have water or literally die trying to get it. I was always glad for the little act of kindness and consideration I did for my father. I got the water just like my Dad told me to do, as I had many times in the past. He drank heartily and gave me a beautiful smile and thanked me as if to say I was a good and obedient son. It was the last thing anyone would do for him in his life. He said a few more things to us, but suddenly started to go and died just as I walked out into the hall to tell the women.
We granted a dissatisfied Doctor Hendricks permission to perform an autopsy. He found Dad full of adhesions. Everything was in knots. This was, of course, from his Swiss accident, and it had bothered him all of his adult life. Somewhere along the way, cancer had made its invasion and had completely taken over. He had fought it as long as he could. My father's body lies alongside that of mother's in Ventura, California.
How mind-taxing it must become for the reader to accept the foregoing account as credible. I feel almost the same way about it, although I know the brief history to be a true one. I was there for much of it.
As I look back on my father's life of crisis and miracles, one fact sticks out in my mind- only a small part of it has been told. The best and, to me, most noteworthy aspect of his life was largely unnoticed while he lived. Now, 56 years after his death, I still don't know how to call attention to it in such a way as to do it justice.
To adequately describe the man, Emile Louis Lauper, one would need the ability to reach down into the very soul of this little Swiss Giant and leave out the exterior drama and front page stuff. Consider the courage and inner well of character strength, which enabled him to even live at all. He was possessed of a kind of faith and self determination, which provided the means whereby he could live his life nobly and die the same way.
Dad was sealed to his wife in the Salt Lake Temple in 1900. Here was an Elder with a believing heart. He accepted the gospel plan, without question as to any part of it. He must surely have enjoyed a quiet, personal relationship with the Savior, else how could any man keep a strong testimony without help or opportunity to give expression to it in a tangible way, ever. For the next 36 years, until the day of his death, it was Dad and the Lord, going it alone, against a neglectful church, all the way. Pop kept his faith in and devotion to the gospel principles while he was allowed to be a member in the church. He was never to become a part of it, except as a statistic.
Father was never asked to serve as a missionary or as a temple worker. There was never a building program for him to find activity in. He was never called to a position of responsibility in a Priesthood Quorum or even asked to teach one. He was never sustained to a position in the Sunday School program or to teach a class. He would have been an excellent teacher, with great knowledge of the gospel.
I saw him administer to the Sacrament a few times, heard him pray in church once in a while, and bear his strong testimony in fast meeting, when the opportunity occasionally presented itself. He did ward teaching [now called home teaching] now and then, when they got in a bind, I suppose.
If Father was ever asked to deliver a sermon in church, I fail to recall it. He never, with his fine voice, was asked to lead a song. I heard him easily clear up disputed points of doctrine in various classes. His accent, though pronounced, was never even a slight barrier to effective communication. He kept the faith. He totally supported the General Authorities as well as local authority.
The agonizing truth of the matter is this, each Branch President, Bishop or Stake President who held jurisdiction over him would gladly extend to him a temple recommend upon request but not a single one of them saw fit to call him to serve in any capacity in his life, ever. How he was able to remain so strong in the faith is something I'll probably never know! I do know that I could not! He may just as well have been alone on an island. He and the Lord would have made out just fine!
It may be said that the Church didn't forget Dad. It never did get acquainted with him in the first place. If this hurt Dad and it probably did, he never voiced any complaint. After all he had a "friend" who knew him and loyal like he himself was, stuck with him to the end.
So Dad, the eternal optimist, remained constant in the faith. He didn't complain about such an injustice, nor did he rail about a fickle fate which dealt him such a hard hand in life. Being an idealist, he always believed in the ultimate triumph of good over evil, right over wrong, and that one day things would even out. Everything would turn out all right in the end.
There were three things of which I heard him boast: his testimony, his physical strength, and his family. This much I do know. We enjoyed many of the blessings in life for which he yearned, worked and hoped for, most of which he earned, deserved but was denied.
The Old Gentleman with the believing heart and faith to match lived and died in full fellowship. He was buried in the robes of the Holy Priesthood as one of Gods chosen.
A truly great man I wish that I could be more like unto Him!