The Story of
Albert and Etta Toronto
Oft times the magnitude of one’s life and the scope of one’s service to others become more apparent in retrospect and more fully appreciated with the passage of time. Judged by the conventional standards of the world, the lives of Albert and Etta Toronto were not exceptionally remarkable or noteworthy: they both were born and lived out their years primarily in one city; they never held high positions in church or state, nor did they distinguish themselves in artistic, literary, or academic circles; and they left neither wealth nor worldly fame to their children….
But viewed in the light of divine standards and with an eternal perspective, Albert and Etta were supremely successful in fulfilling the role which ultimately matters most: that of father and mother. Their legacy was an everlasting one because their lives exemplified virtues of faith, dignity, compassionate service, genuine love for others, and quiet, steadfast devotion to duty. As parents and grandparents they achieved what Etta herself identified as one of the foremost goals of parenthood: to “teach us that our mission here is to put back into life more than we have taken from it and give us the assurance that we are not mere children of today but Citizens of Eternity. The love and esteem universally accorded Albert and Etta are an indication of their having accomplished that goal and a reflection of the truth of this observation by Pres. Spencer W. Kimball: We may think there is little of interest or importance in what we personally say or do – but it is remarkable how many of our families, as we pass on down the line, are interested in all that we do and all that we say. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us – and as our posterity read of our life’s experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted.
It is hoped that this Book of Remembrance, prepared in honor of Albert and Etta, will contribute in some small way to the realization of that glorious day.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Notes from Etta’s Diary (1903 -1905)
Transcribed by Joe Toronto
Those contributing personal memories and reflections:
Born: 4 February 1878
Salt Lake City, Utah
Died: 22 February 1954
Salt Lake City, Utah
Albert was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, 4 February 1878, second son and third child of Anna Johansson and Joseph Toronto. He was five years old when his father died. As a little boy the family lived near Garfield at the point of the Oquirrh Mountains to help take care of herds of cattle who were sheltered in a cave in the mountain. Later this cave was known as the “Toronto Cave” and would shelter people as they traveled from Tooele to Salt Lake City. A plaque to this effect was dedicated and attached to the cave in a public ceremony in 1949.
After his father died the family moved to their property on “A” Street and 1st Avenue in Salt Lake City. There was little or no money available, so his mother raised a vegetable garden and sold strawberries and raspberries for 25¢ a quart. His mother also took in washings, and Albert used his little red wagon as the delivery truck for the pick-up and delivery of the laundries.
He remembers a straw hat his mother bought for him, and which he didn’t like at all. One day they were going to visit some of his mother’s Swedish friends, and of course, the straw hat was part of his attire. There was a strong wind blowing, and before Albert knew what was happening, the hat was blown from his head. Later, when his mother asked him about his hat, he told her the wind blew it off and he couldn’t find it. What he didn’t tell her was that he didn’t look very hard for it, and that he was glad that the hat was lost!
Albert worked at Barton’s clothing store at about age 10 as “cash boy.” This meant he’d carry the money and sales slip to the cashier who would make the change, if any, and Albert would return it to the customer.
The dedication of the Salt Lake Temple was a highlight, when as a boy of 12 he was one of many chosen to help usher at the services. He went early to learn where and what he was to do. An older gentleman was there also; and all of a sudden they heard music–singing of the most beautiful voices he’d ever heard. They knew no one else was in the temple, so they finally realized it must be angels singing hosannas for the completion of this holy temple.
He graduated from the University of Deseret with a business major. He later filled a mission to Germany, from 1899 to 1902, serving three years.
When he returned from his mission, he again worked for Barton’s clothing store, this time as a cashier; he also worked there for several months after his marriage on 14 June 1905 to Minnie Ettie Felt. “Etta” told him many times that his experience working in the clothing store had helped to make him a very neat appearing man at all times.
He obtained several month’s office experience working with the railroad. While working there he was able to get passes to Portland, Oregon, to the World’s Fair then in progress. He took his bride to Portland for their honeymoon.
For three months they lived there: Etta working in the Utah building at the Fair, and Albert selling insurance. He even went to Astoria, Oregon, for a month where he sold insurance to the Eskimos working and living there.
Soon a letter came from the Stake Sunday School asking both of them to be on the Stake Board, and they returned to Salt Lake City. Albert had a job selling life insurance for a while. They lived with his mother and sister Rosa in the big house on “A” Street, but they soon moved to their own apartment at Hawkes Court. Their first two children, Ruth and Wallace, were born here.
He bought into National House Cleaning, a janitorial business for cleaning homes; but it proved too much for both him and Etta, so he gave it up. They moved in with Etta’s mother in her small home on 7th East. Etta helped her mother sew burial clothes. One of Etta’s sisters (Irma and Roy Bitner) and her family also were living with their mother. Two more children, Joe and Bob, were born here. They lived here from 1909 to September, 1915. Albert helped keep Etta’s brothers Joe and Lamont on their missions.
About this time a chance came to draw on some newly-opened land in Idaho, about 18 miles from Twin Falls. Albert won a drawing for 250 acres, and his sister Rosa also won a drawing. They moved to Idaho, thinking to homestead the land. “To prove up on the land” as it was called, they made a small clearing in the sage brush and built a one-room shack. Canals and ditches were dug, but through circumstances not understood by them, water could not be pumped from the Salmon River into the canals; so they returned to Salt Lake City. They were in Idaho about one month. On his return he started selling real estate for Ashton & Jenkins Realty. They purchased a small home on 10th East, but the growing family necessitated a larger home. It was then they acquired their home at 239 Douglas Street–the family home for many, many years.
In 1914 he was able to establish Toronto & Company, his own realty and insurance business. This was made possible by the sale of the Garfield properties to the Kennecott Copper industries. The realty and insurance business was to be his livelihood the rest of his life. He went into the business of building homes as well as selling other homes. Joe Coulam was his builder, and their first homes were built on Yale Avenue. Then in partnership with Romney Lumber interests, they bought both sides of Princeton Avenue and were making good money, and everything was looking up for them to make lots of money.
But the depression came; Wally and Joe were on European missions; and worst of all, the bookkeeper for the partnership proved dishonest and cheated them of several thousand dollars. Albert said, “It was a rugged time, but it was good for us. No matter what comes there is a hidden blessing.”
On three different occasions in his married life, they were on the brink of becoming wealthy. “We could see the glitter of gold,” he says. But each time financial reverses slashed those dreams. “I guess we were never meant to have money,” commented one of the boys, “but we are glad. If we’d had money, maybe we would have forgotten the gospel; as it is, the gospel is mighty important to each of us. These hard times have kept us humble.”
It was hoped to have Toronto & Company as a family business, bringing “the boys” into the workings of it as they grew older. Most of them helped out at one time or other, such as working on the construction of the houses during the summers. Wally even sold houses and helped in the office when he returned from his missions. Bob wasn’t too interested in this type of work, and neither were the other boys, really. Only Mont seemed to enjoy the business, and he carried on the Toronto & Company business.
For 20 years he had served in Ward bishoprics as counselors, in the 11th Ward and also in the University Ward. It was during his services in the University Ward that their outstanding and beautiful chapel was built.
He was the father of nine children: 3 girls and 6 boys. The oldest child, a daughter named Ruth, died of spinal meningitis when only 6 months old. The others (in order of their births) are: Wallace, Joseph, Robert, Lamont, Paul, Helen, Alan, and Norma. The five oldest boys filled missions, but World War II was waging at the time Alan could have gone, and there was no opportunity for him to be called as a missionary–only as his military service provided the contacts and opportunities to teach the gospel.
He died on 22 February 1954 of an unexpected heart attack. He had complained of not feeling well, but had gone to a party for Etta’ s birthday, on the 21st. Next day he felt as if he had indigestion, but the doctor put him in the hospital, much against his wishes. The family visited him and had gone home for the night, assured that he was resting comfortably and all seemed well. A telephone call a few hours later informed them he had taken a sudden turn for the worst, and before the family could arrive, he had died. His death was sudden but without pain and suffering, and for this the family was grateful. He was buried in the City Cemetery in the Toronto plot, where others of his family are buried.
Most people remember him as being kind and gentle, always thinking of other people. Even during the depression he might, and often did, give his last dollar to some down-and-out friend he would meet on the street…He was honest, and even when financial reverses left him heavily in debt, he wouldn’t take out bankruptcy as other men often did. It was a happy day when he could say he had paid off every bit of money he owed to anyone anywhere.
Don’t we all (the family) remember his “burglar alarm” for the back door? He’d latch the front door, but for the back door he had his own system: a chair propped under the door knob, and on the chair assorted pots and pans. Any unsuspecting person attempting to open the door surely would tip the chair over, and the pots and pans would clatter to the floor with a terrible noise-thus awaking Albert (and everyone else, probably). I don’t know if it was every really put to the test …
And his tomatoes. He tenderly cared for his plants in the little spaded plot in the backyard next to the lawn, as well as the little square just outside the fence next to the alley. He’d fertilize, and he’d spray for bugs; he’d go across the alley to the store for wooden boxes or crates to use as props when the vines became heavy with ripening tomatoes. Many people enjoyed eating “Dad’s tomatoes.”
(Information for this life sketch was obtained by Clara R. Toronto in August, 1969, through conversations with Etta Toronto, Albert’s wife.)
Albert was in the real estate business. Part of the success in that business was advertising houses for sale, and the best day for newspaper advertising was on Sunday. Albert, as well as the whole family, didn’t like “doing business on Sunday” but they felt it was a necessity. The phone would ring all day, interrupting dinner or interfering with pleasant visiting, or delaying a family ride or visit away from home. However, some of the referrals received by phone on Sunday helped sell a house at a later date•.. When they were older, both Wally and Joe were salesmen for Toronto & Company. If they sold a house and closed the deal on it, they would come into the office and say, “Press the flesh” and everyone would shake their hand and congratulate them.
When first married he had a motorcycle with a side car … Later they owned a Model T Ford that had isinglass side curtains to put in for protection from bad weather. When the 1918 Armistice ending World War I was signed, they tied tin cans on the back of the car and went around town making lots of noise with the other celebrants of this happy day.
He was careful with or particular about the care he gave his cars. Before going anywhere he would go around the car and kick the tires to see if they had enough air in them… He also was concerned about the tools used in his construction business. He would tell his workers to be sure the tools and shovels were sharp so they could get the most from them, and be sure to clean them when finished working for the day so they would last longer. Because of this example and training, Bob does the same thing today, keeping car and tools in good working order.
In the basement of the home he had his weight-lifting corner. The fashionable bars and weights of today were not there, for he had rigged up his own system: a heavy iron crowbar onto which could be added weights as needed. These weights might include an axe, or a firewood cutting wedge, a heavy sledge hammer, or any other heavy item found around the house.
From Uncle Bob:
I don’t remember that my Dad every disciplined us with a spanking. My two older brothers were always teasing me, and one day they tied me up. I was screaming and hollering. Dad came in and said, “Boys, will you please stop that! Let that boy go and quit teasing him!”
Albert served in two bishoprics. In the old Eleventh Ward he served with Bishop George S. McAllister. This bishopric in 1923-24 had a masterful mural “The First Vision” painted on the wall behind the choir seats. (An article in the Church News of 18 December 1982 tells more about this painting, how it was “lost” and forgotten for many years after the building was demolished in 1960, how it was “found” in a shed in 1980 in a badly deteriorated condition and was taken to BYU for restoration, and now is hanging in the new Eleventh Ward meetinghouse.) The Eleventh Ward was divided, and University Ward was created. Albert served with Bishop Frank Pingree, and this bishopric was instrumental in building the beautiful University Ward chapel near the campus of the University of Utah.
At a Felt family meeting, Hardy Felt recounted this story that Grandpa had told him: Grandpa had just barely arrived in Germany on his mission and didn’t know the language. He and his companion were tracting together. For some reason Grandpa’s companion had to leave him for a little while. Grandpa met a man and started conversing with him. He was able to speak so the man understood him. He taught him about the gospel. He was also able to understand the man. As soon as his companion came back, he couldn’t converse with the man. However the companion continued teaching the man and he joined the Church. Grandfather had been able to speak in tongues.
One of the first things I remember is when Dad used to take all of us kids swimming down at the Deseret Gym every Saturday night for our weekly bath and swim. We used to go down there and play around and have a good time. First we’d take our shower and our bath, and then we’d go into the swimming pool. I remember Dad used to swim the breaststroke mainly, but he was pretty good at it; and then I remember that I didn’t know too well how to swim at that five-year old age. I remember that he took the family out to the Great Salt Lake on one occasion, and we went swimming. I found out that I could float and swim a little bit and everything, and I thought I was really learning how to swim real good. When Dad took us to the gym the next time after we’d been out there, I thought I was going to get in there and really swim. Well, I did; I jumped in and I started swimming and I sank right down, and that scared me. Guess I didn’t realize that the salt in the Great Salt Lake was holding me up. I think that is where I got my start and interest in swimming is at that early age, and then I went on as I grew older and learned to love the sport. In junior high school I remember I got my first badge, my first ribbon for swimming, then went on through high school and got ribbons there and also made some records, and got into college and made a record there. I think it was from Dad’s help in swimming that I got this start, and I appreciate it. He is a lovable Dad.
Another thing I remember about Dad is when he got a Christmas tree one year from one of the old churches in Salt Lake. That year Christmas trees were scarce, and he went out and scrounged around to find a tree for us. There weren’t any available, and he finally found one at this church, I don’t remember the name of the church. It was a big tree; it was a huge tree, and it was too big for our house so he cut it down. Well, it wasn’t too long until Uncle Roy had called and said he needed a tree, too; did Albert know where he could get one. Dad said, “I have a big one here, and you can have what I don’t use.” So Uncle Roy took it, and he cut down what was left from Albert’s tree, and he made him a tree out of that. Uncle Mont found he needed a tree also, and he called and wondered where he could get one. Dad told him that Uncle Roy had taken a few tree trimmings, and maybe there were some left and from that he could make a tree. So Uncle Mont took what was left from Uncle Roy’s tree and made one for his family. So they made three trees out of one tree, and all of them had a nice Christmas tree that year. That’s quite a memory that I remember about.
I also remember at Christmas time when I was a little kid that we used to go upstairs to bed and be all excited about Christmas. There was nothing downstairs in the front room at all on Christmas Eve, but when we got up in the morning it was just like a fairyland, pretty decorations, the tree, Santa Claus had come, the toys were there. It was beautiful. It seemed just like it had been started with the touch of a fairy’s wand into a beautiful fairyland. Mom and Dad just seemed to make those Christmases live for us, and some of those traditions we’ve tried to carry on in our family, and it has been really great.
I remember the trips when Dad used to take us to Idaho to Bear Lake where we’d fish and boat and swim a little and have fun at Fish Haven and the enjoyable times that we had there. In particular, I remember when Joe Collum and Fred Reese went with some of their kids. All of us boys decided we were going to get two boats and have a race across the lake; half the boys would be in one boat and half in the other boat … We got half way out there and a big storm came up, and these big waves came in the middle of the lake there. We didn’t know what to do, and we were scared to death. I think it was Wally who said, “Well, we better pray;” so we prayed. We prayed hard. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed harder for anything in my life than I did then as a young kid about 10 years old. As a result of that prayer, I feel that Dad and Joe Collum and Fred Reese on shore went to the boathouse there and got the guy and a motor boat to come out and rescue us and pull us in. I think the Lord was really with us there, because I’m telling you those waves were really high, or maybe it was because I was just a little kid and thought they were that high; but it sure bounced that boat around, and I’m thankful that I’m here today.
I’ve told my children and my grandchildren this story a number of times to show them the importance of prayer, how that we need to pray to the Lord when situations arise that we’ve done everything we could but we just can’t handle it, and the Lord will come to our rescue.
I remember one time when we were up there at Bear Lake and went fishing with Dad. I was out there fishing with him, and I caught a fish by the hook going right through the fish’s eye. I pulled it out and it looked so horrible to me, and I thought I had really hurt that fish, and I cried. I was only a little fellow then, and Dad consoled me and took the hook careful out of the fish’s eye. He took the fish and kinda washed it off, and so on, and tried to impress on me that it was an accident that it happened that way.
Ever since then I have been uneasy about going fishing or hunting cause I don’t like to hurt things, and I guess it came from that experience way back then; but he did help to console me on that. He’s such a wonderful Dad to console kids like that in those kinds of experiences.
I also remember when it was time to go to church one night, and I did’nt want to go. I was just a teenager, and I just wanted to stay home; I was tired and a little rebelling against going, I guess, and I didn’t want to go to church, and that’s just the size of it. He said, “Well, I want you to go. You don’t have to go; I ‘m not forcing you to go, but I want you to go because it’s for your good. Come on, we’ll go together.” He never did tell us we “had” to go; he always said, “I want you to go” or, “I would like you to go with me” or whatever. We’ve always tried to do that with our children, and I think it is the way to do it. We can’t tell them to go, we have to say “let’s go.” that’s the way he did that, and I’m so thankful to that wonderful Dad of mine for encouraging me to go to church that way, not in a commanding voice, but in a voice that was very humble and very sincere that he wanted us to do his wish, and I’m thankful to him for that.
I also remember the many times that some of Dad’s missionary converts from his mission in Germany, the converts who had come to Salt Lake City, would come up and visit with him. sometimes they would bring him some flowers or some goodies or something like that, because they appreciated so much that he had brought them the Gospel. This made an impression on me, and I was so thankful that I was able to go to Germany and participate in the same mission that he was in. Although I didn’t make the converts, maybe, or have the baptisms that he made, I gained some wonderful friends and acquaintances over there. When I saw these people who came and how much they revered him and loved him, it just thrilled me to the point that he was, whether he knew it or not, influencing me to want to go on a mission and give people the Gospel.
Dad was a wonderful man who lived the Gospel and put it into practice in his life. I remember I worked down at the office in the old Atlas building after I’d gotten home from my mission, and even before my mission soon after the ’29 depression, the great depression of 1929. I remember, of course, that Dad had taken quite a financial beating at that time, as everyone had. I remember that people would come to the office, and they’d want Dad to pay his bill, pay his debts. Romney would come in and want to get that lumber debt paid off; the milk man would come in and want him to pay that bill. He’d say, “I just can’t right now; I’m strapped, but I’ll see that you get paid.” I remember that he would not take out bankruptcy; he was to proud to do that. He wanted to payoff those bills.
I remember those people would come in there, and he’d give them maybe $5.00, or he’d say, “Mother, write a check for Brother Romney for $5.00″ or, “write a check for $10.00; we don’t have much I know, but the Lord will bless us. So give them that money, for we’ve got to get these deb ts paid off.” And I just appreciate him for that. It has made me realize the importance of being honest and of trying to pay your debts and do the things that you have to do, and to pay your tithing.
I also remember Dad coming up to the office there after being out on the streets on an errand, or out to lunch, or something, and a beggar or somebody on the street had asked him if he had a dime for a cup of coffee, or a dollar for a meal. Well, he didn’t do that; he’d take them over and give them a meal and pay for the meal, because he didn’t want to give them the dollar and have them go spend it on alcohol or liquor or something like that. That was a lesson to me of the things that we need to do. We need to be charitable to these people that are down-trodden, and so on, but not to just give them cash, but to go and give them a meal and make sure they got a good, nourishing meal … Many times he’d see somebody like that during the Depression days, and even though he didn’t have a cent, he’d come up to the office and he’d say, “Mother, give me a couple of dollars out of the till. There’s a man down here I know that really needs some money for some clothes for his kids, and I want to give him a couple of dollars to help him out.” This would happen even though he was hard pressed for keeping his own kids in food and clothes. That’s the type of man he was.
He lived the Gospel. He loved people. He loved us all; he loved his family. He wasn’t able to spend as much time as he would’ve like to with his family because of the many obligations he had, like being in the real estate business and appointments at night. He also was in the Bishopric and had meetings there; we didn’t see a lot of him, but when he was home he was good to us. He would counsel with us, and he made his being home very impressive, especially upon me, and I guess upon the rest of you, too.
Another thing I remember about Grandpa was that he’d get up in the early mornings, go out and take care of his tomatoes. He really cared for them and nurtured them, and brought along those great big beautiful luscious tomatoes that he used to take care of. He’d go to work all day, and when he’d come home at night, if there was any daylight left, he’d start taking care of them again; he really did have luscious tomatoes.
From Uncle Joe: (February, 1954)
FATHER ALBERT’S PASSING PRECEDES BY TEN MONTHS ARCHIBALD BENNET’S TV PRESENTATION OF THE GUISEPPE STORY, AND TORONTO GENEALOGY. BRIAN LEASE told there how he would start the research (Nov. 21, 1954). Wally commissions Brian to do this work in 1956. We, the family fast and pray in May 1956 and go to the Salt Lake Temple for Spiritual Help. Lease does his work through June on the Islands. Submits his first report in July 1956. I have the feeling that Father’s passing ignited a spark (an explosion) on both sides of the veil that resulted in that first great success. (Though the later work was not reliable.)
ILA PRIVILEGED TO BE PROXY FOR ANGELA FAZIO, GUISEPPE’S MOTHER IN MANTI TEMPLE. Felt a very special spirit there. Also as a family we went to the Salt Lake Temple to perform sealings for these Italian/Sicilian families. We again felt this special spirit as though we could see and feel the embraces, the tears, words of happiness. Brother Peranian of the Salt Lake Temple baptistry, called up Wally after performing baptisms for a number of these people, saying: “We have rarely called up a patron, but we want to know who these people are, for we have seldom felt the spirit we felt today as we did this work. ALBERT’S PASSING INAUGUATED A “BOUND” FORWARD IN TORONTO GENEALOGY.
ALBERT’S PRACTICAL ADVICE TO HIS SONS. As we were about to depart on missions, or me on my selling tours he would generally say something like this: Remember to say your prayers, keep your head cool, your feet warm, and your bowels open.
WHEN WE RESISTED GOING TO CHURCH. He and mother would say: You don’t have to go to church, but remember, we would like you to go–we would be happy if you would go; and we generally went.
FATHER TAKES TIME TO TAKE JOE TO MORRISON LUMBER CO. FOR SPECIAL HARDWOOD. I was taking shop at the Stewart Jr. High on U of U Campus. I wanted to make skis, also a good bow. He took me to Morrison Merril Co., by Salt Lake Hardware and the Railroad to get me hard ash staves for skis, and a six foot long hickory staff for a bow. He took that time.
DAD IN BISHOPRIC FOR YEARS. Almost from the time I was born till I was on my mission, Dad was in a bishopric, about 20 years, counselor in the 11th ward to two bishops, and in the University Ward when it was built new to Bishop Frank Pingree. He was especially concerned with the poor and down-trodden. With this and his Real Estate and Building business be didn’t have a lot of time with his boys. But I remember this well:
DAD MAKES AND EXPLODES HIS OWN JULY FOURTH CANNON. This was at Tenth East. Dad spent the day with us. On a piece of six by six he nailed firmly an empty cartridge shell. Rammed it with gunpowder and wadding. It exploded with a deafening roar to the delight of all of us. This was an Albert we had not before seen. Something out of his boyhood.
THE SATURDAY EVENING RITUAL ON TENTH EAST AND EARLY DOUGLAS ST. DAYS.
I would have been eleven, twelve, thirteen years old. This was to be our time with Dad. We would come and take us to see Westerns: William S. Hart, Douglas Fairbanks, or else swimming down at the Deseret Gym. How we chomped at the bit waiting for him to get home. He had a membership at the Deseret Gym. It was men and boys night–we all went in September Morn style. Shower, hot steam bath to get up a sweat, after soaping and lying on the palette in the hot steam; then a hot, then a cold shower and a dive into the pool. First I had to hang on to the side. Once in the deep part, I let go and began to sink, and struggle. I was sure I was going to drown. (I did! No one knows it!) But back to Albert: He swam a slow breaststroke. He saw to it we were taught by Earnest Hollings at the U of U pool (Hollings would say: “Knees out … Feet out…KEEK”) and also by Charles Welch at the Deseret Gym, who became our swimming coach in high school. He also started me in a summer wood-working class down by the Deseret Gym, at the LDS, with Asa Kienke.
DAD AND MUSIC. We had the early VICTOROLA–“His Master’s Voice”–Dad liked good music. I remember hearing “Humoresque” (Dvorak), Titel’s “Serenade,” “Love’s Old Sweet Song.” (some of these things Mother played)
MOTHER’S DISAPPOINTMENT. (This is mother’s account) When the first babes came, as a token of appreciation Albert would bring Etta a record HE liked…SHE would have much preferred flowers to warm her precious feminine heart.
ALBERT RESPECTED, LOVED EQUALLY BY THE HIGH AND THE LOWLY. Shortly after Ila and I were married, we were crossing over the Fourth South Viaduct, saw an elderly negro walking, offered him a ride, introduced ourselves, the Torontos, “Do you know an Albert Toronto? I ran the elevator in the Atlas Building. In those worst depression years he would reach into his pocket and hand me a fifty cent piece –I am sure it was the last he had–I am grateful to that man. “
Then again, in Spanish Fork I was called to the High Council, and went with Dad to Joseph Fielding Smith’s office to be ordained a High Priest and set apart as a High Councilor. “Hello, Albert…Albert, come stand with me as we lay on hands and set your son apart for his work.” He was first named by many of the noble and notable brethren.
I remember that many of the German people who migrated to Utah, whom he had baptized delighted to come and see him and on their baptismal day (their birthday, as they said), bring him some token of their gratitude for him bringing them the Gospel.
APOSTLE JOHN A. WIDTSOE IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE. I was released after three and a half years in Europe, came through London to see President Widtsoe, European Mission President. Bishop Frank Pingree, our University Ward Bishop (The Torontos and the Widtsoes) had just died. Dad was counselor, “Brother Toronto, who do you think will be our new Bishop. Will it be your father?” … I honestly answered from my heart, “I don’t think so. I don’t think Dad is the right bishop for all those wealthy people in Federal Heights.” Apostle Widtsoe answered indignantly, Nonsense. Albert Toronto is one of the most faithful, capable men I know. He would make a good bishop.” But Dad was not chosen.
DAD LOVED MEETINGS. (Mother notes this both with pride and with sorrow.) She was happy he loved to do his duty, but she thought he over did it. If ever he would hear there was a meeting, he would go. He took us boys to Stake Priesthood Meeting, to some of those earlier day 2 p.m. meetings in the Tabernacle. Notables such as B.H. Roberts, James E. Talmage would hold forth for almost two hours. Then he also liked to go Sundays to the Assembly Hall to meetings of the German Saints, held in German.
ALBERT WAS A LOYAL CONCERNED BROTHER–THE ONLY LIVING BROTHER–TO AN ONLY SISTER. He almost took Aunt Rose with them on their honeymoon to Portland. I think Rose did go on some special anniversaries when Mother wanted to have Albert alone. Sundays he would drive down to “A” Street to bring Rose to Sunday dinner. “We are hungry. Why are we waiting?”–we would often say–“For Dad to return with Aunt Rose.” For the record, for Christmas Aunt Rose always gave us a book to read in those early days.
ALBERT AND CARD PLAYING. We liked to play Rook and Pit at home. Dad never played. But in our early adult years, we remember going to Grandma Alma Elizabeth’s with the Jos. Felts, the Roy Bitners, Mother and Dad, (Ila and I later) and sometimes Jennie Schofield and play “FIVE HUNDRED,” but Dad never played. He took his Book of Mormon, and would read, sometimes sitting, sometimes lying down. The Brethren had said, “Don’t play cards,” and he didn’t.
ALBERT AND PHYSICAL CULTURE. He was an early fan and reader of Bernard McFadden’s Physical Culture Magazine. Myself, I was impressed seeing the bulging muscles of Charles Atlas and others. Dad would do some push ups; take a warm, then a cold, sponge off and sometimes ask me to rub his back briskly. Dad was health conscious.
KINGS PEAK IN THE HIGH UINTAS. The fall of 1938, after Ila and I were married, we boys, except Bob, with Dad, back-packed up Henry’s Fork on the North slope of the Uintas into a high alpine meadow. It was in September..waterfalls, snow banks .. a cold, crystal-clear stream meandering through the meadows .. sheep grazing in the high valley .. the High Point in Utah 13,498 feet–a towering pyramid looking down upon us. Dad enjoyed fishing in the quiet stream while the rest of us conquered Kings Peak. He enjoyed fishing, up Parley’s, up Thistle Creek, etc.
DAD–A GOOD MARKSMAN. On these mountain trips we took two 22 rifles, a Remington, and a Winchester. We would line up bottles, stumps, old cans and whatever and take turns away from everyone. Dad had fun with us hitting the mark, and was the best one of all of us.
IT’S GOOD FOR HIM TO KNOW I’M UPSET WITH HIM OCCASIONALLY. There were certain days when Albert would not meet Etta’s expectations. Maybe forget an anniversary, be exceedingly late, or not telephone, maybe another meeting, but soon be back again. He just couldn’t stand the thought of Mother being at odds with him. “Well, it’s good for him for me to be mad at him occasionally.”
A Tribute From Etta to Albert a Year After His Death
Here was a great man. In his own quiet way he lived the life of a true Latter Day Saint. I told him many times why I first loved him.
He was a gentleman and I was always so proud to introduce him as my husband. Immaculate in his attire and clean in mind and body.
During our years together he was not only a gentleman in the courteous sense of the word but always a gentle man with me and with his children.
There was always a leak in our financial bag and a gradual dribbling away, but some man or woman was befriended and made happier in the passing of the “dribble.”
“With charity for all and malice toward none” he loved all mankind and was beloved by many.
May you all seek to develop the qualities of your Dad.
Love and service above everything else to God our Heavenly Father–lovingly understanding your husbands and wives and gentling your children.
It was an honor to have been his wife and a privilege to have mothered his children.
Looking forward to the endless years of Eternity I shall have with him, I am indeed greatly blessed.
February 21st, 1955
September 20, 1932
A BLESSING Given By NICHOLAS G. SMITH, Patriarch, Upon the Head Of ALBERT TORONTO son of JOSEPH TORONTO and ANNA (JOHANSON) TORONTO born FEBRUARY 4, 1878 at SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
Brother Albert Toronto: As a Patriarch in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I lay my hands upon your head and in accordance with your desire I give unto you your patriarchal blessing. Brother Toronto, you have been blessed above millions of our Father’s children, having been born into a home where the spirit of our Heavenly Father resided, its influence has been made apparent upon you and your life’s work, and you have had a desire to love right and righteousness and in playing your part as a servant of the Lord you have been guided and guarded and directed along life’s pathway.
You have been enabled to accomplish a great deal of good and men and women honor your name and love you for the sunshine which you have brought into their lives. Continue to call upon your Heavenly Father for the blessings which you desire in righteousness. He will guard you and direct you and be with you, for you are one of His chosen sons. You are are of Ephraim and are entitled to the blessings that were promised unto Jacob, and you have magnified your calling and played your part, for through Jacob all the nations of the earth were to be blessed, and you have been busy accomplishing this great work. Chosen and directed of our Heavenly Father, and given responsibility after responsibility in His Church you shall go on. Ways and means shall be opened up for you to accomplish your desires in righteousness. You shall not want for the necessities of life and you shall live to a goodly age and be a comfort and a consolation to your loved ones and be a help to your fellow men. Those of riper years shall come to you that you might advise with them and counsel them in their affairs.
Therefore, continue on thy way with a heart filled with gratitude for the blessings that have been yours, realizing and knowing that the Lord will not fail you now. You shall be able to accomplish the work which rests upon you to accomplish, and as time permits, arrange to go to the House of the Lord and there accomplish the work which shall rest upon you –the deliverance of your ancestry –that you might be known as a savior upon Mount Zion.
I bless you and seal you up to come forth on the morning of the first resurrection, clothed with power and glory, there to associate with your loved ones throughout all eternity, one of the Lord’s chosen and I bless you to this end in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Born: 21 February 1883
Salt Lake City, Utah
Died: 25 March 1973
Minnie Ettie Felt was born 21 February 1983 in Salt Lake City, the third child and third daughter of Alma Elizabeth Mineer and Joseph Felt. She says her mother had the name “Irma” picked out for this baby daughter; but when her father blessed her he named “Minnie Ettie” in honor of his sisters. Her mother was really surprised. All her life she has declared there is nothing pretty about either of the names, so she chose “Etta” as her name, by which she is known to everyone.
Her very earliest recollections, and until she was about 7 years old, were of the “underground.” Federal officers, so they asserted, were in Salt Lake City to wipe out polygamy, and since Etta’s mother was the second wife, it was necessary for her to keep out of the reach of the officers. This was also true of her father. Being on the underground meant sleeping in make-shift places of kind families who would “take-in” wives and children who could not stay in their own homes; it meant staying indoors most of the time, for even the children could not be seen outdoors by unkind neighbors; and it often meant hurried and unexpected trips from one home to another, often at night, often from one part of the Salt Lake Valley to another.
Etta says she can remember sleeping in attics and hearing the mice scurrying about; of being awakened in the night and a complete stranger shining a light in her face demanding to know where her father was staying; of venturing outside a home with her younger brother for a short walk to the fence, only to have someone recognize her as not belonging to that family hearing a comment about “officers,” and hurrying inside to tell her mother, where upon another change of home would be needed. Her mother’s three youngest children were born while she was on the underground. Etta’s two older sisters were living with their father’s first wife, Louie Ma, and were safe from harm and danger of the officers.
At one time she and her mother were staying with the Duncan family, and her mother was helping with the wash, her arms wet and soapy from many scrubbings up and down the washboard. Hurriedly, a man came to inform them that the deputies were on their way, so her mother wiped her hands on her apron, grabbed her children, got in fue man’s buggy, and they left. The mischievous Duncan girls decided to play a trick on the deputies. Their house was so arranged that one girl would slam a door at one side of the house, and the deputies would hurry there; it was several minutes before the deputies “caught on” and decided there were no polygamists (especially Mrs. Felt) in that house.
“Do not pick the strawberries” Etta was told by one of the homeowners where they were staying. Since Etta was just a little girl, and she had been in the house for such a long time, she didn’t think anyone would mind if she picked one strawberry; so she did. However, a neighbor saw her, and grabbed her and took her into her house. There the neighbor was making soap–the boiling lye and ashes solution bubbling and popping in the big tub on the stove. The neighbor held Etta, screaming and kicking, over the tub, threatening to drop her in if she ever did that again.
Etta was afraid of the deputies. “Will they get me?” she’d ask. “No,” her mother replied, “for you are just a little girl.” The deputies seemed to apostate Mormons and they knew who was married to whom; they knew for whom to look for and they were paid $25.00 if their tip to the police proved fruitful. If the children were two years old or older it didn’t matter; but if a lady should become pregnant then the deputies were after them. This is why it was so important for children not to be seen out-of-doors where ever they might be.
On a rare occasion Etta was staying with “Louie Ma” and her older sisters. Louie Ma coached her in saying “I don’t know” if a stranger should ask her any questions. While there she was awakened in the middle of the night. A light shown in her face and a gruff voice demanded “Where is your father?” “I don’t know” she replied in a sleepy voice. “Where’s your mother?” the questioner asked as he shook her angrily. “I don’t know” replied Etta now crying. Several more questions and loud replies brought Louie Ma who chased the strangers from the house.
Often her own Mother would find it necessary to change her name temporarily. At these times she’d say to Etta “What is your name?” “Etta” came the reply. “No. dear. your name is Minnie Bell. and I’m your mother Mrs. Bell. Now again: what is your name?” After several times Etta would answer correctly: “Minnie Bell” but she would soon forget and her mother would repeat and repeat again until her little girl could answer correctly the first time.
Etta tells the time her Mother was staying with an “Uncle Charlie” just before her little brother Lamont was born. Because her mother was pregnant she couldn’t be seen by anyone t so she was living in the attic where she had been for several months. Although the family was kind to her and considerate of her situation, Etta remembers her mother thinking more than once how easy it would be to open a window and jump out, hitting the ground far below, ending her life and all the miseries of the “underground.” But her love for the gospel, her faith in her Heavenly Father that all would eventually work out right, sustained her and she was able to pull through these morbid periods of depression, not only while at “Uncle Charlie’s” but on the many other occasions when situations became depressing.
She received her patriarchal blessing when she was 2 ½ years old. It so happened that she was with her mother in Riverton. and she became quite ill. William Smith who was a Patriarch and one of the many people who assisted those on the underground and who was concerned for their welfare, came to see them one day. Etta’s mother asked Brother Smith to bless Etta which he did, and he also gave her a patriarchal blessing. Many years later she was given another blessing (the giving of a second blessing is a practice the Church doesn’t do anymore), and she says the second blessing is so very similar to the first.
She has often told how she was baptized in a bathtub–the big white old fashioned kind that stood on legs. The tub was filled with water, and she and her father stood in the tub. She says she had to be “dunked” three times because all of her wasn’t covered the first two times. The tub was in a Sister Jensen’s home where she and her mother had stayed many times during the six years of being on the “underground.” Being baptized in a home was the method used at times because of fear the deputies would find her father or mother if they went to a public place such as a church house where baptismal fonts are provided.
Her first schooling was when she was 8 years old, and she was graduated from the 8th grade by the time she was 13. She says some of the kids claimed she was the teacher’s pet, but Etta claims she worked hard for her promotions.
About the time polygamy as a tenet and practice of the Church was abolished (she remembers going to the tabernacle and hearing the Manifesto read), and the Federal officers had agreed to move from Salt Lake City and leave the polygamists alone.
At age 13 she went to work in a cracker factory for the wonderful wage of $3.50 a week; and at 15 she started working at the telephone company as an operator for the wage of $15.00 a month: night shift, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., overtime was 10¢ an hour. When she applied for the position of telephone operator, she wasn’t yet 15 years old–the minimum age to be hired. But the chief operator tested her anyway: one of the tests being if your arms were long enough to reach to the outer edges of the switch board. Etta’s arms were long enough, and she was tall and older-looking, so the chief operator said, “Maybe if you put your hair on top of your head like the older girls and lengthen your skirts, you can pass for 15.” This she did.
After about six months she was promoted to an assistant operator, and her main duty was to make out wage slips for the other girls. She worked there six years, and was assistant chief operator when she left to get married. While she was assistant chief operator she made $60.00 a month. She said it was a thrill to place the first long distance call from the Salt Lake office-it was to Denver. A business man needed to contact a certain person in Denver, and they talked for 15 minutes. After the call, the man told Etta he was very pleased with her efficiency in getting the call through so promptly. Later, he sent her a box of candy in appreciation.
She was married at age 22 to Albert Toronto on 14 June 1905 in the Salt Lake Temple. About three years previously, Etta was at a party. During the evening a girl and her brother came, but they couldn’t stay for they had another appointment; but they did go around the room to meet everyone there. The boy was introduced, for he had just returned to Salt Lake City from his mission in Germany. That night when Etta went home she reported to her Mother that she had met a-man she would like to marry someday, if he would have her. “I’ve never heard you say anything like that before,” her Mother said. “I’ve never met anyone like him before,” Etta answered.
Two years later Etta was asked to serve on the Stake Sunday School Board to help with the junior groups. She accepted, and then she went to her first board meeting, there was the handsome young man she met at the party two years previously. After the meeting, Albert Toronto asked if he could walk her home, and she was very happy to have him do so. From then on, it was Albert and Etta.
They spent three happy months in Portland, Oregon, Albert selling insurance, and Etta working in the Utah booth at the World’s Fair. When they returned to SLC they lived with Albert’s mother and his older sister Rosa in the Toronto home on “A” Street. This was an “old country” tradition: the newly-weds living with the parents.
While Albert seemed happy with living here, it didn’t prove too satisfactory for Etta who was pregnant and wasn’t at all well. Added to this, Rosa was domineering and demanding of Albert’s time, thinking she could still have him as an escort if and when she wanted to go anywhere. Finally Etta said she was going home to live with her own Mother where she could get the care she needed.
A beautiful, black-haired baby daughter was born, and they named her Ruth; but she lived only 6 months, when she died of spinal meningitis. They soon moved to a duplex on Hawkes Court, where they lived when their next child, a son named Wallace, was born. About this time Albert bought into National House Cleaning, a janitorial business for cleaning homes; and although it was profitable financially, it proved too much for both him and Etta, so he gave it up.
They moved in with Etta’s mother in her small home on 7th East. Etta helped her mother sew temple burial clothes, a most exacting occupation for most of the work was done by hand with seams and hems turned to very specific instructions. Joseph and Robert were born here. A sister of Etta’s (Irma and Roy Bitner) and her family also were living here in the small 7th East home.
A chance came to draw on some newly-opened land in Idaho, about 18 miles from Twin Falls. Albert won a drawing for 250 acres, and his sister, Rosa, also won a drawing. They moved to Idaho with their three little sons, thinking to homestead the land. “To prove up on the land” as it was called, they made a small clearing in the sage brush and built a one-room shack. Canals and ditches were dug, but through circumstances not understood by them, water could not be pumped from the Salmon River into the canals; so they returned to SLC, again living with Etta’s mother. They were in Idaho about one month.
They purchased a little bungalow and moved to 10th East. Lamont, Paul, and Helen were born here, but all too soon the house proved to be too small. They bought and moved to a larger home at 239 Douglas Street, where the others were born, and where the family lived and grew up and married and left to establish their own homes. Etta lived in the home 15 years after the death of Albert in February, 1954, most of that time by herself. In the summer of 1969 the boys moved her to an apartment; the old home was wearing out, and proved too much and too big for Etta to manage in her older years.
Having a large family brought problems great and small, sad moments, happy times, never-to-be-forgotten experiences and situations; but they all benefited from living in this home, with this father and mother to guide them. The boys, in particular, remember the old wooden washer in the basement–the one with the wringer that had to be turned by hand, and the agitator that also was pushed and pulled by hand. Even at that, it was better than doing the huge washings on the board. There were two vacant lots–one on each side of the house, and the boys would dig tunnels and have their “club” deep within…
A store was just across the alley (the backyard of the home was on the alley), and it proved to be a great help in getting things needed in a hurry… The Church house and the University were just two blocks away, while the grade schools were several blocks away, the old LDS High School one mile toward the center of town where the older children walked each day, and the public high school (East High) where the younger children later attended … The girls that came to live with the family, to help with the work in order to pay for their room and board while attending school are remembered; particularly remembered are Edith and Ethel from England … The big attic often was converted into a stage for child-produced plays, complete with costumes from Etta’s collection…
Trips to the viaduct to watch the trains coming or going or switching was a real fascination for the young children, especially when all this was topped off with peanut butter sandwiches with cousins at the park… Family tickets to the Deseret Gym provided fun in swimming and other indoor sports … Childhood illnesses were cured when Dr. Schofield, the family doctor, came to the house with medicines and comfort… Tonsillectomies were performed on the kitchen table … The depression years with heavy financial reverses and two boys on missions, and no definite financial income, brought trying times; but faith and trust in the Lord helped provide for all their needs … The boys’ bonds and insurance policies were cashed in to pay off a loan from a demanding relative … Bread was baked every other day. Goodies (cake, pie, or cookies, or something else) were made and set aside ready for a meal, only to have it disappear sometime during the day … The boys had dates with various girls, finally choosing their favorite one, a marriage, and then babies adding to the happiness of the family … Games were played around the big table: fifty cents, hearts, old maid, cardinal puff puff. The boys were called on missions and came home; off to war and returned.
Etta enjoyed an evening of cards occasionally, particularly on holidays orspecial occasions. Canasta was one of her favorite games, she learned several different kinds of solitaire. She would be invited, with her sister Irma, to various programs and entertainments to perform one of their “acts.” She loved to have people come to her home: the unexpected caller, for whom a cold drink of soda pop was usually always available from her supply in the refrigerator; or the invited guest, for whom a fancy and delicious refreshment had been prepared.
Working in the Relief Society presidency during her younger years, and as one of the class leaders in her older years, was one of her delights. However, the M-Men and Gleaners were the group that held a special place in her heart. For many years she shared teaching the class with Brother Lowell Bennion of the Institute. The University Ward had many students attending MIA, and sometimes there would be 40 or 50 young people in the class on a Tuesday night. She has reported that it was a great challenge to give them something that would benefit them. Many of the girls, in particular, would come to her home to talk over a problem, seek help or advice, or to be comforted in some way, because their own families were so far away. Years later she was awarded an Honorary Golden Gleaner certificate by her Stake for her outstanding service to these young people.
During World War II when secretarial help was so difficult to find, Etta started working as “office girl” for Toronto & Company. She retained this position for many years, even after Albert died and son Lamont was carrying on the business, even though he had been elected and was serving as Secretary of State for Utah. Even after Mont closed the downtown office in the Atlas Building and had others help with the selling of houses (to keep Toronto & Company alive while Mont was serving as president of the Canadian Mission for 3 years), Etta took the insurance records to her home and sent out statements and received payments there.
On one occasion while at the Union Pacific train station, she slipped on the cement floor, fell, and broke her right hand and wrist. For many weeks her hand was in a cast, and for many more weeks she was awkward in using her hand, but it finally healed … Many months later, as she stepped off the high curb in front of her office building to get in the car, she misjudged the distance and fell, scraping the shin bones of her legs against the edges of the cement curb. She was in bed several months from this injury because phlebitis (blood clot) developed on one leg, then in the other. From then on,for the rest of her life she was bothered with her legs cramping and hurting. “But,” she says, “I’m so grateful to the Lord for I don’t have running sores as so many others do, nor must I keep them wrapped. Even though they ache most of the time, I’m still able to get around, do my work, and go places and do things.” …
Years later, she had an ulcer operation and about half her stomach was removed, but she was able to eat anything she wanted, although in not so large a quantity as before… Even later, she had an operation for a hernia, only the doctor found five of them that needed repairing. She was confined to her bed and room for nearly four months, with easy-going for several months more.
Her first real sorrow and heartache was the death of her first child, Ruth, at 6 months of age from spinal meningitis … Nearly 50 years later, on 22 February 1954, her sweetheart and companion, Albert, died from a heart attack. This death was so unexpected, for he had not been ill, but had complained only of an upset stomach… Also, the death of her daughter Helen was so unexpected, an accidental death by carbon monoxide poisoning, and there were so many intermingling circumstances surrounding her death, that Etta was upset for many months. She finally conquered her feelings, and with the help of the Lord found peace and comfort, with no ill-feelings toward anyone … While still recuperating from her hernia operation, her oldest son Wallace died. His death, from cancer, was a blessing and a relief from pain, and she was happy for him to be released from his suffering. Wally had been her pillar for so many years, since the death of Albert, and with Mont still in Canada as a mission president, she was quite at a loss for many months. The other boys (Joe, Paul and Alan) helped and assisted her as best they could until Mont returned.
She liked to travel, and her favorite way was by car so she could see the country–“this beautiful world the Lord has given us.” The train goes too fast, she says, and although airplane travel gets you there in a hurry, you can’t see anything because you are flying so high above the clouds … She and Albert went to Tucson with Paul and LaReah (When Paul returned from service after World War II) to visit Bob and Clara; then by themselves they went to Indio to visit Bob after he had moved to that California city. She flew to Arizona for Ruth’s wedding and on to Snowflake by car for the reception for Roger’s missionary farewell. She and Albert went to Wisconsin to see Alan as he graduated from medical school; then later visited Alan and Carma in St. Louis where Alan was stationed at an Army base… She journeyed by plane to Boston to Visit Ed and Norma while Ed was going to school at Harvard; and she flew to Toronto, Canada, to visit Mont while he was serving as mission president.
Birthdays of her special friends, children, and grandchildren were special occasions for her–and she tried to remember them all. Her favorite way to say “hello and best wishes” was to compose a short jingle, type it on the birthday card, tuck a dollar bill inside and send it to the happy honoree. At Christmas, a tiny little red and white stripped sock filled with pennies or nickels delighted the children… If she heard of someone who was ill, she soon would be cooking something to take to them: a plate full of cookies, a dish of custard pudding; or perhaps it would be a lovely bouquet of flowers from her yard.
Her love and compassion for people has meant lasting friendships. Who can forget “Aunt Minnie” and her daily morning visit? .. Or Edith and Ethel and their kindnesses as the years go by … Or “Susie” who would phone and tell her troubles, and who, upon her death, had bequeathed $10,000.00 to Etta for her patience through many years of troubled anxieties … Or Wreathabell, the lady from Canada, who adopted Etta and her family as her own after she came to Salt Lake City to live … There undoubtedly are many others who have benefited from knowing Etta and have fond thoughts concerning her and what she did for them…
Although she lived there only about one year, she quite enjoyed her University Heights apartment on the 5th floor of the building. From the big windows on the west she could look out over the city–the beautiful city that she loves. From the east window she could see the mountains hovering near as if to protect her from anyone or anything that would cause harm or danger. On a good, clear day she could see all across the Salt Lake Valley–from the point of the mountain on the south to Ensign Peak on the north, the puffing smoke stacks at the Garfield smelters, the big copper mine at Bingham tearing away at the mountain, and on the west the silvery Great Salt Lake shimmering in the sun.
The apartment had a large living room, an equally large bedroom, each fully carpeted, a small but adequate kitchen, bath, and three closets. She was very comfortable there, and everything was handy for her convenience. She was in her same University Ward with all her friends, and she could phone “Harold” or “Bob” at the store for her food and household necessities, which would be delivered to her apartment. Then there was Ethel who delighted to come visit and take her somewhere in the car–a jaunt downtown for some quick shopping, to a movie, or out for a bite to eat, and then to return for a game of Canasta. And of course, “the boys: dropped in most every day to check on her, and Norma phoned often from Provo to chat with her Mother. Bob’s yearly visit from Arizona, usually in August, was anticipated all year long, and was the time for family gatherings at her home or at the park.
Failing eyesight and general poor health prompted “the boys” to move her from the apartment to live with Mont in his home; this was in May, 1970. In June there was an operation to remove growths from her left eye, in hopes it would enable her to see better; but complete recovery was slow.
In June of 1972 she went to live with Norma in Provo, and was there the last nine months of her life. She was really failing. She couldn’t stand because of her bad legs, and she couldn’t swallow anything at all. In March they took her to a rest home in Bountiful where she died the next day on Saturday, 25 March 1973 at the age of 90 years. Her funeral was on 28 March 1973 in SLC, and she was buried in the City Cemetery next to her sweetheart, Albert…
Etta remembers going to Temple Square as a young girl while the temple was still under construction. One time before the statue of the Angel Moroni and the ball on which the statue stands were hoisted to the top of the temple spire, she stood by one of the half spheres that was lying on the ground. She remembers that the half-ball was much taller than she was, and even when she raised her arm way up high, the ball was still taller than we could reach.
When she was a telephone operator, a certain young man kept calling her to get acquainted with her; he wanted to have a date with her. She didn’t like him, so she would hang up the phone and wouldn’t talk to him… She had occasional dates with Albert Hooper until she started dating Albert Toronto, who soon won her heart and hand.
Her father was quite strict; and she was told to be home from her dates by 11:00 o’clock. One night at a dance she was having such a good time she didn’t want to go home, and her father came to the dance and took her home. She said she was so embarrassed.
Etta’s mother often complained to her, “Etta, these boys (from family and/or the neighbors) are going to eat you out of house and home if you continue to let them snack and pick whenever they want.” But Etta didn’t change, and the boys continued to grow on the good food Etta prepared.
Rosa, Albert’s sister, was quite demanding of his time, and occasionally Etta would bristle at this intrusion. However, Etta was considerate of Rosa, and included her in many of the family outings or dinners at home. The family would stop by to pick her up on their way to an outing somewhere, or one of the boys would drive down to get her and bring her to the home to eat or enjoy whatever activity was going on there; then someone would take her home after it was all over…
Etta was always quite ill when pregnant. The summer before Paul was born on Christmas Day, she was unable to bottle any of the harvested fruits. She and Albert decided they would buy fresh fruits as well as some canned fruits for the family’s needs that winter. This is when her good fruit salad was concocted: she mixed canned pineapple cubes, mandarin orange and grapefruit sections together, then added fresh banana slices to it. Really yummy.
In her later years after she started working as office girl at Toronto & Company, she had a “cleaning woman” come each week to clean the house. Mrs. Kruger, a little German lady, came about 6:00 o’clock each Friday morning, and she cleaned and mopped and scrubbed and vacuumed, and the house really looked great when she had finished. Etta said it meant a lot to her to have that work done so well, and she appreciated Mrs. Kruger’s efficient help.
Etta loved flowers, and in the summer would have arrangements of fresh flowers in several places in her home. She particularly liked the little nasturtiums and petunias that were so colorful.
She felt that love and marriage were very important, and would guide or counsel as she could when asked. There were her Gleaner girls, students at the University, who came often with dating or romance problems; and nephew Bud Keysor and wife Bernice also sought her help and advice at one time in their marriage. She remarked once that she didn’t like the new “bucket seats” that had just come into style in the new model cars of the year. “How can you have any romancing with the boy on his side and the girl on her side? The old style straight seat is best.”
Through the years Etta collected poems or sayings or articles that she liked, and eventually she arranged them to fit a small 4 X 7 inch looseleaf notebook. Actually, there were three different arrangements or notebooks. The first one she typed in 1954 on the Toronto & Company typewriter as spare time from office duties permitted. This book had 87 typed-on-one-side pages: 62 pages of her collected items, 16 pages of letters paying tribute to Albert after his death, and 9 pages of letters or thought saved from her mother’s writings. Each of her children received one of these little typed books at Christmas in 1954, but there may have been others to whom she gave a book … The second one was done in 1960, with 90 xeroxed-on-one-side pages. This book did not contain Grandma Felt’s letters or those about Albert, but it had many more of her collected items. She added a title “Gift With A Lift” and had a short preface … The third one was a professionally printed edition in 1968, with 88 pages, and very similar to the second book. Each of her children’s families got one, as did other relatives and many friends. This was something she wanted to do, and she did it at her own expense…
She also “wrote” several original things: a letter to a newspaper editor about elections and voting, a tribute to Mothers for a ward program, and a fine article about marriage that she sent to “Bride Magazine” and was published in one of their 1970 issues.
After her oldest sister Louie died, Etta “mothered” the children for a period of time, and they adored Aunt Etta. They were Bud Keysor and sisters Alma Mae and Judith who were particularly close to Etta; another sister, Elsa, lived with other relatives. Later, these three married and lived in California, but whenever any of them would come to SLC they always came to the house for a long visit with Aunt Etta. Bud spoke at Etta’s funeral, and some of his remarks are given later.
Mother was such a lovely spiritual person. She worked well with Dad supporting him in his business, and in his Church, and in all the things that he did. She was more of the disciplinarian of our family; remember how she had to be the disciplinarian because Dad wasn’t there too much. If he did happen to be home and there was a fuss going on between or among some of the kids, about all he’d say was “Stop that. Get quiet or go outside and play.”
I remember at times I would get so furious at things if they didn’t go just the way I wanted them to go, and I would fall down on the floor in a tantrum. She would come up to me and give me a whacking that I have never forgotten. Then she’s put me in that old closet under the stairs off the hallway, close the door and leave me in there until I could cool off. I have never forgotten that. And I tell you, she was a good disciplinarian.
Another thing that she used to do that I remember after all these years is the many times she would sit down with us and say, “Come on, kids, let’s have a game of Cardinal Puff Puff” or “let’s have a game of 50 cents” or she’d say “let’s go play crossing the plains.” I’m sure we all remember those games; or she’d teach us a song, maybe “Do your ears hang low” or something like that. I tell ya I look back on that, and I remember that I used many of her little games and tricks ans skits, and so on, in Scouting at Scout camps’ and camp fires many times, and the kids have really gotten a kick out of them. I surely appreciate my Mom for that.
I remember how she and Aunt Irma used to get together and give those comical operettas and opera singing, and little stunts and skits, and so on, and it was great the way she and they would do that.
I also remember how the Gleaner class that she taught loved her so much. Some of the girls in the class were in college and would have troubles in their romantic life or such, and they would come and counsel with Grandma. She was such a great one for counseling with “her girls” that way; she would console them and help them get over their troubles. Many of them lived out of town and didn’t have their mother or father or anybody to go to, so they’d come to Mom. She did such a good job in that Gleaner program in the MIA, and they finally gave her an honorary Golden Gleaner award for her efforts, She deserved it cause she was so sincere in that class, and she loved that work; she just loved it. I think she was in it until she was in her older age years. There were a lot of girls who came back later after they were married and visited her, which showed the impression that she made on them.
I remember, too, that one time Dad came home, and he said, “Mother, I feel I’m a complete failure.” This was just after the Depression came, and he’d lost all he had. She said, “Albert, I want to tell you something. You are the most successful man I have ever known. You have been a success in raising a family of boys and girls who have been outstanding individuals. And you have been a success in your Church and in your living the Gospel. That is a lot more important to me than money, and I just love you for the way you are. I don’t care about the money, for we’ll get by. The Lord will bless us a lot more for being successful in that line of being spiritual and humble and prayerful, than having success in gaining wealth, “the wealth of the world.” I have never forgotten that, and it’s important in my life and has taught all of us, I’m sure, the importance of the Church in our lives, and down-pedaling the gaining of wealth and money.
I know that I made up my mind at one time that when I got married, I was going to find a girl who was typical of my Mother and had the same qualities, or similar qualities, as she had in the way of spirituality, love enthusiasm, getting things done that needed to be done, and so on; and I found that girl. I’m glad I waited as long as I did to find her. Of course, you know I’m talking about my beautiful wife, Clara. She just reminds me so many times the way she does things, and the things she does, and how she acts and so on, and her spirit and her personality; she reminds me so much of Mom, and I just love that and appreciate her so much.
ETTA’S THRIFT AND FORESIGHT PREPARES FOR SANTA A YEAR AHEAD. Yesterday at the MTC, a Sister Brown there said what she remembered about Mother was that she went down late Christmas Eve. (Stores were open till 9, even 11 p.m. with closeout, sacrifice prices. I myself remember going late with Mother to Scott Hardware on Main Street where she bought a sleigh for the next year, now to be put away till then.) Mother would buy and store up in the attic till next year toys, things bought at half price.
ILA SHARES HEART PETALS OF MOTHER. “Grandma was a beautiful example for us to follow, one of these heart petals. On one of our first “dates, Joseph took me to meet his father and mother. She went to the piano and started to play, “I’m Falling In Love With Someone,” and had Joseph come and sing it. These parents, these strange people, but it was beautiful. I am grateful for it. I fell in love with her and with Albert.
We had bought a magenta (deep-rose colored) Chrysler to go back to New York to meet Chris coming home from Germany with all the family. That sweet Grandmother gave me a velvet magenta-colored purse to match the Chrysler for my birthday. It was something she would have liked to have for herself.
Then when she had “There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today” sung at Albert’s funeral, I wondered at it. But she said, “I want to show my gratitude to the Lord for the years Dad and I had together. He died in February, and they would have soon celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Just before Joan was to be married (Mother’s mind and memory were becoming befogged) she came to Ila and said, “Can’t Grandmother come to my wedding? Can’t she come in a wheel chair? Joseph said, “No Joan, I don’t think it would be wisdom to bring her. It would be too hard on her.” Then March 25th as Joseph and I came home from Sacrament Meeting, Joan met us at the door and tears were rolling down her cheeks as she said, “Uncle Alan just called and said Grandma has just passed away, and now she and Grandpa can be at my wedding.” And they were.
Her children had given her a large Bible with big print for Christmas. After she was gone, we went to the Bible and it opened almost automatically to John 14th chapter. Those two pages were adorned with her tears where she had gone for comfort and read these beautiful words, “I will send unto you the Comforter…Peace I leave with you…My peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled. Neither let it be afraid.” These tears showed where she had read and re-read these verses.
One day, from Norma’s she called me up in Spanish Fork and said, “Ila, I want to tell you how much I love you. I love you as much as if I had “borned” you. And this was Minnie Etta. How she loved and praised and sought out the good in people, never criticizing nor finding fault, building people up and loving them with the great compassion and empathy she had for others. We could all very easily follow in her footsteps.
MOTHER SEEKS DILIGENTLY TO FELLOWSHIP JOHNNY. She made it a point to go down regularly to Johnny’s restaurant or invite him to the office. Over the years hers was a remarkable example of compassion, charity and forbearance with John Mageras.
AUNT ROSE, MOTHER AND DAD. Albert Hooper, later of Deseret Book Co., courted Mother then went on a mission. She respected him, but really didn’t like him in that way. “He had such cold, clammy hands,” she said. When Albert came home from Germany and started going with Mother, Hooper’s sister came and said Mother was being unfaithful to this fine missionary in the field, her brother. Mother had no commitment to him, and told her so. Mother on her part would tease Albert about Aurelia Rogers, a good friend of Aunt Rose, that he loved her, and he would get flustered and say, “I did not.” She would say, “Anyway, I’m the one you sleep with, and you’re married to.”
AUNT ROSE. Mother loved Aunt Rose. Still she was somewhat of a thorn in her side, especially when she would like to have been alone with Dad. (Ila’s experience in OUR earlier married years in meeting Aunt Rose was like this, “Well Ila how are you… ?” and all the time her eyes would be on Ila’s tummy to see if she were pregnant.)
MOUTH WASHING WITH SOAP TO PURIFY US OF TELLING BAD STORIES. In those Tenth East St. days, mother discovered our group of boys (and her own) somehow telling, and contaminated with telling/hearing foul stories. She purified her sons by having them wash out their mouths with strong soap and water to become pure again, and to symbolize that which comes out of our mouths must be pure and clean.
MOTHER, THE ACTOR, THE “HAM.” You all know about her sewing her fingers, running the thread through her ears. But she would also sing with good quality, and loud, but only if she felt she was mimicking someone else. She didn’t feel comfortable, posing as a soloist or a singer. Aunt Irma and she would put on the FOUR HANDS ACT, one behind the other the two hands showing. Or she would sing with two long fake tusky teeth, like a gopher, “We are the GO-pher girls. We always GO-fer men. They never GO-fer us. That’s why we GO-fer them.” Mother could play many things by ear. If she could hear it, she could play it. Rigoletto, “WOMAN IS FICKLE,” and “HOME TO OUR MOUNTAINS,” from Il Trovatore, and others.
MOTHER ALWAYS UNDERSTANDING … COMFORTING. I had my puppy-love affairs, my high school dates, and would get disappointed and turned down asking a girl for a date to a Prom. She would always comfort me, saying, “There are always more fish in the sea than are ever caught out of it.”
SHE REBUKES MY IMMODESTY. This summer, I had gone off early to work in Princeton Ave. area to pour cement, without my lunch. About noon she drove up. There I was, hat and overalls, but no shirt–bare under the overalls. She said sternly, “Joe, don’t you ever do that again.” She knew what was right and proper and safe.
HOW WE DID THE SUNDAY DISHES. Sunday, Mother liked to prepare a roast, generally with mashed potatoes, and chocolate cake, or lemon pie. Her family was all together. Sometimes, carelessly (Helen was little, Norma not even born, so clean-up looked to the boys) with full tummies, we went to the front room. There would be mother, deeply disappointed, that look on her face, “They don’t care.” We would get the signal, shamefacedly, get to work on the dishes-the relay from dining room through pantry to kitchen; then washing, drying, and THROWING dishes one to another till the last one set them in place. We didn’t drop or break many. The throwing was fun.
MOTHER’S NURSERY. When we moved from Tenth East to Douglas Street, to the bigger house for the growing family, it was a good location. Vacant lots on both sides of us, good for baseball, pole vaulting, high jumping, digging undergrounds. The upstairs was unfinished. Mother and Dad had three gables built, for three extra rooms. Mother then had it papered, and personally delighted in pasting all the imaginable nursery figures–Jack and Jill, Little Bo Peep-You name it, you could see it. It was precious.
COSTUMES. Upstairs in the trunks was where she kept her costumes, styles, clothes from pioneer days. Ostrich plume hats, gowns, comic dress. She could convert an ugly ducklying into a princess in a moment. And I remember the pistols that had belonged to Guiseppe. A six shooter revolver and a muzzle loading single shot pirate pistol, I thought.
For this you must have a man’s hat–the type with a brim. A drunken bum is staggering down the street and suddenly spies something on the ground. He stops and punches his companion and points to the ground, “fifty-cents” (in garbled drunken tones). “What will we do with it?” So they decide to go to the nearby beer joint and buy some beer. They enter, and in slurred speech inform the bartender they have 50 cents and want to buy some beer. The bartender says, “But you don’t have anything to put it in.” Puzzled for a few moments (the drunk puts his finger on his cheek, closes his eyes, shakes his head or wobbles about a bit showing definite signs that he’s trying to think what to do in this predicament). Soon he remembers his hat and reaches up to get it off his head. “Here, put the beer in here… ” and he holds it while the beer is being poured. Evidently there is more beer than the hat will hold. The bartender explains this: more beer and it won’t all fit in the hat. Again the drunk wobbles his head, googles his eyes, makes sounds as if he were thinking. Suddenly he turns the hat upside down and tells the bartender to put the rest of it in the brine Pleased with his decision, he holds the hat by the brim and returns to his companion waiting outside. “Here is the beer I got.” The companion (also a bit drunk) views the bit of beer in the brim: “Is that all you got for 50 cents? Just that little bit?” The first drunk looks at the beer in the brim, trying to remember what happened in the beer joint and why there isn’t more beer. Again, suddenly he does remember, and quickly he turns the hat upside down to show his companion the rest of the beer is inside the top of the hat … Usually this ends the skit for the audience realizes that he has spilled all the beer and start laughing. The participants (actors) could give a funny reaction, shrug their shoulders, or whatever, and leave the platform amid the laughter. This was one of Grandma’s favorite stunts, and she particularly liked to do it using potato teeth. Cut a slice from a raw potato, about an inch wide and maybe three inches long (just to fit the top teeth and held in place by the lip). Cut one long edge jagged-like witches teeth–and slip them in place. With these funny teeth, a sloopy hat and gooney expressions, the skit could be a real hilarious one.
This was another of Grandma’s successful ones and requires two people and some before-hand practicing. One person stands with his hands clasped behind his back. The other person stoops and tries not to be seen by the audience~ and places his hands and arms through the loop made by the person standing. To all intents and purposes it looks as if one person were standing there. The person standing starts talking~ and the second person (the hands) gestures to go along with the words spoken. He might scratch the person’s head~ take off his glasses and clean them (right in the middle of the speech~ and the talker will have to puff on the glasses~ and stop speaking while the hands wipe them clean and refit them to their proper place.) He will have to search for a hankie~ he might adjust his belt or tie…or if the speaker wants to quote scripture the hands will have to either already have the book in his hands or find it in his coat pocket, then lift his fingers to the speaker to have him lick them so he can turn the pages better; blow his nose–there are lots of funny things you can do. Maybe the speaker could recite a poem~ read a short article~ or actually give a speech–the gestures are what make it funny.
This is a “catch on” game~ and of necessity two people need to know the secret in order to play~ and until someone finds the solution. One of the “knowing” people leave the room while the group decides on a word that will be mysteriously revealed to him by the other “knowing” person. The one “knowing” person left in the room gives the clues to the other person through pre-arranged signals. For instance~ the consonants in the word are given by making a statement–the first letter of the first word of that statement being the clue for the consonant. For the vowels~a tap on the floor by a yardstick, pointer~ broom handle and (or some similar type tool): vowel ~ gets one tap~ vowel e gets two taps~ vowel i gets three taps~ vowel O gets four taps~ and vowel ~ gets-five taps. Suppose “cat” has been chosen. The:-one to do the guessing returns to the room and looks and listens carefully to the writer~ who uses his “stick” to write on the floor. The writer must be very careful and say only necessary things and tap necessary taps or he will confuse the guesser. The writer begins doodling on the floor~ making circles, straight lines or curving lines~ and casually says~ “Come closer so you can see better.” The first clue has been given: the C in “come”–and the guesser must be alert to his clues and remember them. The writer continues to doodle in circles and lines but makes taps on the floor when a vowel is needed. For “cat” he will make one tap for vowel ~ and all the while continue on doodling; soon he will say something like: “There now; it’s all finished. Got it?” The clue for the last letter has been given: the T in there. The guesser should have his word C-A-T. Longer and harder words add lots of fun–if they aren’t too long or the guesser might become confused.
Nose and Ears:
At least one person should be able to do this quite well, for it is a “confuser” like patting your head with one hand and rubbing your stomach with the other, doing both at the same time. The leader asks someone to volunteer for this trick or stunt, and come and stand right in front of him. “Now do you know where your nose is? Okay, grab it with your right hand. Now, put your left hand on your right ear. All set? We’ll go slow so you can get it. Now clap your hands and quickly have your left hand grab your nose and your right hand on your left ear. Fine; now clap again, and change hands: right hand on nose, and left hand on right ear.” This is rather confusing to most people at first, but some can do it quite readily. There is fun in going faster and faster if they are able to keep up.
Have two teams, one on each side of a big table that has no covering (no tablecloth); just the bare wood and formica top. One member is appointed the leader, and only he can give the commands to the other team; if someone other than the leader speaks the other team members don’t have to do as told. A large coin is needed, like our American 50 cent piece. One side is given the coin, and they pass it up and down their line from team member to member (all hands are under the table where the other side can’t see what’s going on). Everyone keeps their hands and arms moving even though the coin may not be in their hands–” this is to deceive the other side, because you don’t want them to guess where the coin is located. At a command from the leader (and remember,” only the leader needs to have his commands honored), all hands must be brought up to the top of the table. Every member acts as if the coin were in one of his hands, therefore, he carefully pushes his fists over the edge of the table, and carefully unfolds his fingers so his hand is lying flat on the table, palm down. There is a real trick to doing this so the coin isn’t visible to the other team, or the coin doesn’t make a clicking sound as the hand is flattened out. All this while the other team is carefully watching the hands to see if they can see the coin or by some awkward movement determine where it might be, or by listening carefully to hear a tiny click of the coin. Then the leader must try to find the coin by telling and commanding certain ones to raise a hand, or perhaps both of them. For instance; Tom, raise your left hand; Mary, right hand; Jane, left hand; etc… until the coin is found. The number of hands still remaining flat on the table are counted and that is that team’s score for that game. So, the leader, in giving his commands should have a good idea where the coin is (or by consulting with his own team members decide where it probably is), then ask all the other hands to be raised before asking last of all for the one where the coin is hidden to be raised. The team with the lowest score wins (fewer hands left down flat).
The person performing this pantomime goes through the actions of taking out a needle and thread, carefully wetting the thread and putting it through the eye of the needle. With the fingers of one hand spread wide apart, the mime takes the imaginary needle and thread in the other hand and proceeds–slowly, deliberately, and very expressively–to sew the fingers together. The needle is put first through the tip of the little finger and drawn out the other side, then through the ring finger which, as the needle is drawn out the other side, fastens tightly to the little finger. The middle and index fingers and the thumb are thus sewn together in succession. The key to the fun of the whole thing, of course, is the comic skill and elaboration of the performer. In other words, ham it up. But good luck–I don’t think anyone can do it like Grandma did.
This is a game of observation and memory skills: no tricks or secret gimmicks are involved. Materials needed are a pitcher full of water and a glass for each person playing. The leader fills his glass with water and says, “Observe me closely and try to remember the things I say and do. When I am finished I will ask you to repeat my actions and words exactly.” The leader then proceeds with the routine to be mimicked:
“For the first time I drink to the health of Cardinal Puff.” Then with thumb and one finger (index), he takes one drink from the glass, places the glass on the table, wipes mouth with right index finger once and then with the left once, and then touches the same fingers, right, then left, to his shirt once to dry them off.
“For the second time I drink to the health of Cardinal Puff-Puff.” Now he goes through the same routine, but using the thumb and fingers–the index and middle–to grasp the glass, taking two drinks, tapping the glass twice on the table when replacing it, and touching the two fingers of each hand twice in succession to both mouth and chest.
“For the third time I drink to the health of Cardinal Puff-Puff-Puff.” Again the routine is repeated in full, except that index, middle, and ring fingers are used in grasping the glass. This time three drinks are taken and it is crucial that the glass be emptied with the third drink. The empty glass is tapped on the table three times when replacing it before wiping the three fingers of each hand three times in succession on the mouth and chest.
One of the observers is now asked to repeat the routine with no mistakes in wording or omissions in the actions. The leader instructs the other observers that if a mistake is made, the player’s glass will be re-filled (after he has finished the routine) and he will be required to try again. IMPORTANT: The other observers must be instructed to remain absolutely quiet and expressionless (if possible) while the player is repeating the routine so that he or she will not know when a mistake is made. That way, more water is consumed before the glass is re-filled; getting “water-logged” is part of the fun. Also, if any mistakes are made, the leader simply says, “Fill up the glass again,” but does not tell what mistake was made.
Grandma Etta’s THUMBPRINT COOKIES:
1 lb. (4 cubes) margarine
1 cup sugar – Cream until light and fluffy
1 egg – Add a little at a time
4 cups flour – Add and mix carefully
1 tsp. Almond flavoring – Add a little at a time
½ tsp. Salt
The secret of these luscious cookies is to keep the batter as light and fluffy as possible; do not beat with hard or heavy movements. Roll small portions of the dough into a ball and put on a cookie sheet, then press thumb lightly on the small mound of dough to make an indent or gumdrop in the thumbprint, or sprinkle nuts on them. Grandma usually left them plain. Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes.
Dear father was a goodly man,
His deeds will live forever,
He loved his family, friends
and all, Good and bad together.
He did so many kind fine things,
And taught “Love one another.”
But the greatest thing he ever did,
Was just to marry mother.
Mothers are the creators of small
Heavens on Earth and where ever they
are they create a lovable place to
live and a livable place to love.
They teach us that our mission here
is to put back into life more than we
have taken from it, and give us the assurance
that we are not mere children of today
but Citizens of Eternity.
God bless our Mothers.
(Etta memorized this poem and performed it many times.)
I am fully aware that my youth has been spent,
That my get up and go has got up and went
But I cannot complain when I think with a grin,
Of the wonderful places my get up has been.
You ask why I say that my youth has been spent,
That my get up and go has got up and went …
Why I cannot complain when I think with a grin…
Of the wonderful places my get up has been.
Now old age is golden, as I’ve heard it said,
But I cannot believe it; when I go to bed …
I put my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup
My eyes on a table, ’till time to get up,
“Till sleep dims my eyes I say to myself…
“Is there anything more I should lay on the
PEACE OF MIND
I set down my inventory of earthly desirables–health, love talent, power, riches, and fame. Then I showed it to an elder.
“An excellent list but you have omitted the one important ingredient, lacking which your list becomes an intolerable.”
He crossed my entire list out and wrote these syllables-“Peace of mind–this is the gift that God reserves for His special proteges,” he said.
“Talent and health He gives to many, wealth is commonplace, fame not rare, but Peace of Mind He bestows charily.
“This is no private opinion of mine,” he said, “I am merely paraphrasing from the Psalmists, Marcus Aurelius, and Lao-tse, ‘God, Lord of the Universe,’ say these wise men, ‘heap worldly gifts at the feet of foolish men. Give me the gift of the Untroubled Mind! ‘”
(This is what Uncle Ed quoted at the beginning of Etta’s funeral.)
– she wrote in a small 2″ x 3″ notebook.
Sunday 1903. Up at 8 A.M. to S.S. Stayed after until 1 P.M. then Agnes and I up to Lorries. Took buggy until 3 P.M. and had a fine ride. Up to Lor house again had dinner there then they went riding while we done dishes. and cleaned up. Agnes had bath and we went to Sears on our way home. Came home did not go to eve. meeting but got lesson for Y.L. meeting. Thought we would be alone all evening but Jess Phenie and Emil had to poke themselves in here. I nearly froze to death but they went at 10 P.M. Agnes would not come in at all but went home.
Monday 12. Up early, work from 7 to 4 P.M. downtown after. Came home had supper up to Freezes awhile. The Mary Freeze family moved Saturday into Lorrie Maus house. Came home and club met here. Arinninta, Helen, Jess and Agnes came and we had a fine time. Went at 10 P.M. and then to bed.
Tuesday 13. Work from 7 to 4 P.M. Came home and fixed my current events for Y.L. Mutual to meeting at 8 P.M. had a good one and home at ten. To bed.
Wednesday 14. Work from 7 to 4 P.M. downtown after and got ribbon and veil. Came home, two of Duss’ band men here. They went at 6:30 P.M. and I had supper and got ready for Nordica’s Concert. Went with Emil and it was grand. After Mrs. Duncan, Miss Lloyd, Emil and myself went to the Royal for supper. Enjoyed it very much. We walked home and to bed at 12:30 P.M.
Thursday 15. Work from 7 to 4 P.M. Mr. A. Thomas at (198) sent me tickets for theatre. Agnes and I went to see “Storks” a fantasy and it was pretty good, but very silly. Home and to bed at 12 P.M. Friday 16. Work from 7 to 4 P.M. Came home had supper and then over to Agnes and sewed awhile. Came home and to bed at 10.
Saturday 17. Work at 7 A.M. Off at 2 P.M. and down to Jims, he fixed my teeth, then Agnes Mama and I allover town to get a hat. Got it at Banks paid $3.50. Got thro at 6 P.M. Agnes and I walked home. I got supper for the folks and after up to Freezes until 10 P.M. Home and to bed.
Sunday 18. Up at 8 A.M. had breakfast but did not go to S.S. Mother and I cleaned up house good. I wrote letter and done several odd jobs. At 4:30 P.M. Agnes and I went up to Lorries and had a bath. There to evening meeting. Over to Agnes after then home here for awhile. Agnes home again at 10 P.M. and to bed. Dr. Ned H. called up.
Monday 19. Up early work from 7 to 4 P.M. down to Jim’s ofc. had a tooth cleaned and home at 5:30 but over to Lorrie Maus ofc. and had supper. Agnes called for me and we went to S.S. Union. Had a fine meeting. Home and to bed at 10 P.M. Saw Mr. Read and others there.
Nov. 1903. Too lazy and busy to keep up writing until New Years but can keep a synopsis. Agnes and I went to every play in the theatre through Bro. Deckers invitation. Emil came up off and on and to Band Concert with him the Sunday after Xmas. Received flower about every other week from the “Big Fellow” and he called me up about every evening. Mrs. Hewett surprised me one evening by calling in to see me and I found her to be a lovely woman. Agnes and I worked in afternoon on New Years and Thanksgiving from 1 to 6 P.M. Came home had dinner here and then to Theatre in evening. Worked Christmas from 7 to 12:30 but was sick would not come home, received many nice presents and made thirty nine gifts of which twelve were hand made. Received a beautiful bell pin from the “Big Fellow” card from T.A. (There followed here a list of all the gifts she made.) From Emil a book D.J. Sharp candy. Sick all day Xmas to bed early home sick next day.
Year of 1904.
Jan. First. For the week beginning Sat. and Friday the first being New Years Day Agnes and I worked from 1 to 6 P.M. Came home Agnes to Christensens with Leo Scheltler and I to bed early. Saturday to work from 7 to 4 P.M. came home cleaned myself up. Sam K. came up and we went skating until 11 P.M. had a fine time.
Sunday up at 9 A.M. to S.S. had a good class home had dinner mama to fast meeting. To meeting at night had a good one came home down to Jessies for awhile then home and to bed. Monday work as usual with nothing of importance happening. Tuesday work with the same. Mother had company during the day. I came home Agnes came over and we had a good supper cleared away done dishes an~ then to meeting. Wednesday, work, came home at 4:30 cleared up house. Charlie Neslen came down to spend the evening and stayed until 11:30 P.M. had my bath and to bed at 12:00. Tom Brighton and A. Gleason shot on car by Shockley that night. Thursday to work, up to Lorries after tel make my hat, home ant to bed at 9 :A.M. Friday to work and up to Lorries after to work on hat. Saturday work at 7 A.M. off at 12 o’clock. Up to Lorries done her work while she sewed my hat. Agnes up at 4 P.M. and had a bath. I got home at 6 P.M. Agnes and I togged up an~ down town for about and hour. Home at 8:40 P.M. Dr. Ned called me up. To bed at 9:30 P.M. Hat cost me $2.00.
Sunday 10. Week beginning the 10th Up at 8:30 A.M. to S.S. W S head of Primary Dept. had a very good class. Had choir practice after, came home had dinner then to Bro. Brightons funeral from 2 to 4 P.M. Was beautiful. Came home Dr. called up at 5 P.M. Talked to him a long time. Did not got to evening meeting. Stayed home had a nap wrote and to bed early. Monday to work from 7 to 4 Came home and up to Lorries, from there over to Ariminta then to see Helen who was sick. Called in Agnes but she was in bed. Came home and to bed at 10. Tuesday to work home at 4:30 fooled around and to Y.L. Meeting. Was no good. Home and to bed at 10:30 P.M. On Wednesday to work from 7 to 4 P.M. Came home cleared up house got ready and went skating with Sam K. Had a dandy time and home at 10:30 P.M. Hen father and all of us played “Pit” until 11:30 P.M. Thursday, work as usual home at 4 P.M. To bed early nothing important. Friday work at 7 home at 4 P.M. fixed my hat made a collar, Agnes came over in evening and we all played “Pit” until 10:30 P.M. then to bed. Saturday work from 7 to 4 P.M. we were dressed up swell so went to town got shoes pd. $2.00 at Davis’. Came home at 6 P.M. Agnes and I got supper and cleaned up house cleared away, done dishes then over to her house. Came home up to Callies played for her and home and to bed at 10:30 P.M. “Big Fellow” called up while I was in town.
Sunday 18. Week beginning the 18th ending 26. Up at 6:30 A.M. My Sunday to work, to work from 7 A.M. to 2 P.M. off from 2 to 6 P.M. had bath, my lunch & a nap. Back from 6 to 10″ P.M. was chief opr. Talked to Dr. Ned from 7:30 to 9:30 P.M. Home alone on car at 10 P.M. To bed. Monday work at 1 P.M. home at 4 P.M. Agnes and I up to Lorries house until 6 P.M. then over to Jim Borders to supper, had a fine one; done the dishes and to Union Meeting at 7:30. Mr. M. Davis home with us at 10:30 P.M. On Tuesday to work from 7 to 4 P.M. home washed ribbons and fixed collars to Y.L. Meeting at 7:30 Good meeting home and to bed at 10 P.M. Wednesday to work at 7 P.M. home at 4 P.M. fixed my best hat, Charlie West came up we had supper. All the folks but Charlie, Josie & I went away. I cleared away done the dishes and straightened up the house good. Then Callie and Gus Washboiler came down and we played “Pit” Later Edyth and Albert B. came in and we played until 10 P.M. I then made the bed put Judy there, got Lamont and Irma off to bed then Charlie & I sat and played “Karem” until mother & father came home from 20th ward which was 11:30 To bed at 12 o’clock. Thursday work as usual came home done some odd jobs. Doctor called up nearly every eve. Agnes and I to a 5.5. meeting up to D. H. Livingstons. Very dry meeting until refreshments were passed. Home and to bed at 11:30 P.M. Friday work at 7 A.M. home at 4 P.M. fixed my hat then Agnes and I to “Babes in the Woods” Opera in the ward, Enjoyed very much, home to bed at 11. Saturday to work at 7 A.M. Got off at 2 P.M. Up to Lorries to tend baby while she went to town, had my bath, washed my head, but baby was very cross and I did nothing but walk the floor with her. Louie came home at 6:30 P.M. then “Big F” called me up and said he would be down to Club before I could get home and distance of four to one blocks in his favor, but I ran all the way and got here just as he called up. Was 7:05 P.M. Got ready and down to S.S. meeting in Theatre at 7:30 P.M. Prof. Paul, Jess, Agnes some girls from the country all sat in the Second Balcony. Was very good, home and to bed at 11 P.M. Sunday was sick all day did not go anywhere, Agnes down to S.S. Conf. all day. To bed at 10. Read, “The Cardinals Snuff Box” and “When Knighthood was in Flower.” Monday did not go to work, home sick all day. In evening all Club girls met up to Jen Baxters, sewed Carpet rags had a nice supper and a fine time. Home and to bed at 11 P.M. Tuesday to work from 7 to 4 P.M. Came home helped clean up had supper and did not go to Mutual. To bed at 9 P.M. Wednesday to work home at 4 P.M. Rec’d my report, much talking on it, was laid off for three days felt very badly. Agnes came over and Vera came up. To bed at 11 P.M. Home all day on Thursday cleaned Dining room good. Through at 1:30 P.M. House looked fine. To bed early. On Friday cleaned up house took Judy up to Louies to tend children while she went to town. She went at 1:30 and got home at 6 P.M. Was very tired and baby was cross. Dr. Ned called me up. Came home and down to Jerries. Mr. Armstrong Wright and Agnes, Jess & myself played “Pit” and had a fine time. Mr. Armstrong home with me at 12 oclock. Saturday up early house looked fine after I got through. Mama & Irma to Theatre. Judy & Elsa here, I got a bite of dinner for Agnes at 5 P.M. then she and I to see “The Mummy and the Hummingbird” by Paul Gilmore. Was fine, saw Emil there with Ettie Lambert. Chas. Neslen called me up, also Big F. Agnes stayed 811 night and’ we got S.S. lesson before going to bed. In at 12:30 A.M.
Sunday 31. To S.S. had a fine class, had to stay after to see about concerts. Over to Agnes after had dinner there. Came home had a nap cleaned up and down to Sears. Agnes, Rie Morris came down after. Had supper there then all to meeting had a fine one. Came home stayed for awhile then Agnes and I up to Jess B. Came home and to bed at 11 P.M.
February. Week beginning Monday the first. Up early work at 7 to 4 P.M. Agnes hours changed from 10 to 7 P.M. so I went alone. All of my people glad to have me back again. Home at 4 P.M. Mont was having his birthday party helped get supper ready for them. Louie, Jim, Judy and Mrs. Fugate here to supper. Agnes and I to see “Mrs Deirinigs Divorce” by Lillie Langbry. Was punk. Home and to bed at 11:30. Tuesday work as usual, girls glad to have me back. Home at 4:30 P.M. Agnes and I to Mutual had a fine one and home alone and to bed at 9:30 P.M. Wednesday work from 7 to 4 P.M. Agnes and I down town after. Home at 6 P.M. Agnes to L.L. dance with Merve Davis. Chas. Neslen down here to spend eve. Wanted me to go to 21st ward dance Friday but could not, played Karem had a fine time he went at 11 P.M. Thursday work from 7 to 4 P.M. Came home cleaned up then to ward dinner as a waitress. Up there from 6 to 9:30 waiting on people but enjoyed it. Fed over 400 people. Jess came and stayed all night with me. To bed at 12 oclock. Very tired. On Wed. Emil had E. Lambert to dance in Ladies Literary Halls. Don’t care: Friday up early work as usual and home at 4:30 P.M. had a nap and then to ward dance alone. Duncan and Emil came up at 9 P.M. and I had a fine time. I danced six times with Emil and let him bring me home. Talked a long time. He was very determined. I liked him very much, but did not let him kiss me good night. To bed 12. Saturday to work until 4 P.M. Came home had supper and a nap. Then Agnes & I to see ”Way Down East” in Theatre. Enjoyed it very much and home with Bro Decker at 11:30 P.M. “Big Fe11ow” called up every night. Sunday to S.S. had a pretty good class. Came home had my dinner cleaned up house. Jess, Agnes, Jean B. & I to Recital in Tabernacle; was fine walked home to evening meeting, good one. Up to A. Hoopers after to meet some of his German friends. Had a hot time and wished I was home.
(Later entry) Feb. 1904 Met A. Toronto
Roy M. home with me at 11 P.M. Was mad at A. for being too sure of me. Goose.
Monday 8. Monday work from 7 to 4 P.M. down to Herald Tribune on business matter rode home had nap. Agnes, I to Theatre to see “David Harum” pretty good. Home and to bed at 12 P.M. Tuesday work as usual, home at 4 done several odd jobs. To Y.L. Mutual good meeting but was very tired and sleepy. Home and to bed at 10 P.M. Wednesday to work as usual. Walked home with Hannah at 4 P.M. in to Jessies to a while. Came home had a nap and down te. her house to a party. had a fine time but boys did not have sense enough to bring us home except Mr. Atwood. Emil was invited but could not come, was very disappointed. See! Thursday to work over to Loreie Maus after had supper there and stayed until 7 P.M. Louie came in and I went to. the car, put her on then went over to office to call for Agnes. Walked home and to bed early. Very tired. Friday to work came home sewed kerchief then to opera in Ward with Agnes & Callie. “The Loan of a Lover” was punk. Home and to bed at 11 P.M. B. Fellow called up. Saturday work until 12. Off for the afternoon. Had bath cleaned up, Agnes and I downtown at 1:15 P.M. Home at 3 P.M. made collar, sewed kerchief, and cleaned parlor and dining room. Bro. Decker & family down to supper and Agnes over. Played Pit until 9:30 P.M. done dishes and to bed. Sunday work from 7:30 A.M. to 6P.M. was a nice day but very busy. Mr. H. (1118) sent me primrose. Agnes and I home at 6:30 P.M. Had supper and to bed at 9 P.M.
Monday 15. On Monday to work as usual. Came home had supper Agnes and I to see Howard Kyle in “Rosemary” Very disappointed in the play. Home and to bed at 11:30. Tuesday work from 7 to 4 P.M. Came home done several odd jobs, studied Mutual lesson, had supper and Agnes and I to Mutual. Had a fine meeting. Home and to bed after a committee meeting. Wednesday to work from 7 to 4 P.M. Came home cleaned parlor. Carlie N. came down to spend evening and brought candy, asked me to go to 20th ward dance Friday. He went at 11 P.M. Sam Keddington had come to walk home with me. Big Fellow called up nearly every evening. Thursday to work from 7 to 4 P.M. down to Sears to S.S. Meeting. Very dry. Bro. Brown home with Agnes and. I at 11:30 P.M. Friday to work as usual. home with Sam at 4 P.M. fixed collar and waist. Went to 20th ward dance with Charlie and Agnes with Alf. Davis. Big Crowd from the office and had a swell time. Before dance Chas. wanted me to go over and meet his father and his wife which I did. Home from dance at 12:30 and he wanted me to go two weeks from then with him. Mr. D. wanted Agnes and I to go to University play “A Scrap of Paper” at Theatre but we could not. Saturday, work as usual, very tired. To town at 3:30 P.M. bought Vera a present and other things. Home at 5 P.M. Washed my head made a collar, very pretty, had my bath, got supper, cleaned up house got S.S. lesson and Mutual lesson ready. To bed at 10 P.M.
Sunday 21. Sunday my 21st birthday. Up at 8:30 ready for S.S. had a fine class stayed to committee meeting after home had dinner had nap, studied lesson, Harry Jones called me up. Callie came down. Big F. called up. Was sick but Agnes and I made signs for the dance she went home at 9:30 P.M. after we had supper.
Monday 22. Washingtons birthday. Agnes and I to work from 7 to 12:30. Was quite sick, over to Vera’s to lunch. Home, Agnes, Mother and I fixed lunch and then up to fix booth. Home at 7:15 my back was breaking, but got ready for dance. Leap year ball and I took Emil. Danced about ten times, most of them with Emil, bought him candy and punch. We left at 11:30 P.M. Came home and talked until 12:30. He told me that he 1oved me and was so manly about it but I did not know what to say. Religion the only thing that stood in the way, but I suppose he will never come up again. To bed at 2 A.M. told my mother about it. Tuesday did not go to work. Sick all day and felt so blue. Dr. Ned sent flowers. Studied lesson for Mutual. To Mutual gave good lecture on “Last Days and Christs Coming” Agnes and I home told her about it and cried my eyes out. Home and to bed. Wednesday to work from 7 to 4 P.M. Came home had supper and nap. Agnes and I to “Chinese Honeymoon”, enjoyed it but very very blue. Dr. Ned sent me candy on a bet we made. Home and to bed at 11:30 P.M. Chas. Neslen called up wanted to come up Friday but I told him I was going out, then he had the nerve enough to ask to come up Sunday but I had a date.
Married in the Temple Wednesday, June 14, 1905 at 8:45 A.M. by Pres. John R. Winder.
Left for Portland on 10:20 A.M. train same morning. S.S. Ensign Stake Board there with rice.
Arrived in Portland Thursday June 16, 05 at 5:20 P.M. Met Percy G. and Andrew J. at depot.
First night spent at Imperial Hotel. $3.00 . To Mrs. Baurlies Friday and stayed there seven nights at 50¢ per night. 406 Van Cowen St.
Saw the fair, Mrs. Fiske, Battleships and many other things while there.
Left Portland for Astoria Friday June 23, 1905 on Steamship “Lurline” at 8 A.M. by way of Columbia River.
Arrive in Astoria same day at 5:10 P.M. and up to “Cole House” to board. There one week for room and meals $10.00.
Friday morning June 30 came to Mrs. Baldridges, a private residence on Franklin Ave. paying $6.00 a month. Meals at “Cole House” 25¢ each.
Albert wrote his first man Mr. Lehy for $5,000 gaining $99.09 net, July 10, 1905. Worked in Astoria for on month and wrote $19,000 earning $380.00, his first months work in that line. Boat ride on Mr. B. boat over the Columbia to Washington side to Fort Columbia and Chinook on the 24 of July through salmon cannery and cold storage. Wed. 26 out to Seaside and bathed in the ocean, back again in the ocean. Home on 5 P.M. train.
Back to Portland on 8 A.M. train Friday July 28 boys came two days before. Up to Mrs. Baurlies the 28 of July. Boys away the 2 of Aug. and I had my meals with Mrs. B. from that date to ____. Albert to Rainer and then to Astoria. He left Wed. morning came Sat. night and away Monday morn. Came back Tuesday Aug. 15 again.
Folks came Monday Aug. 14. Away to Astoria Monday.
Aug. 20 Albert to No. Minnville and we came back Fri. Aug. 25.
September 7, 1885
A Blessing Given by Wm. Smith, Patriarch, Upon the Head of Minnie Etta Felt, Daughter of Joseph Henry Felt and Elizabeth (Mineer) Felt, Born February 21, 1883 at Salt Lake City, Utah
Sister Minnie Etta Felt, I place my hand upon they head, in the name of Jesus Christ, thy Redeemer, to pronounce a blessing upon thee, and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood in me vested I seal upon thy head the blessings of the daughter of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with all appertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, that you may learn celestial laws, and thereby attain to celestial blessings, for I bless and seal upon thy head the second comforter to be thy constant guide and companion even the blessings of the celestial kingdom.
Your years shall be many upon the earth; you shall have power to fill the measure of your creation upon it. The Lord will choose for thee a suitable companion, and you shall participate in all the blessings that shall be bestowed upon him, in the Holy Priesthood. This power shall be upon thee, and upon thy posterity after thee.
I bless you with the blessings of the faithful mothers in Israel. Thou shalt have power to heal the sick of thine own household and to comfort the afflicted in Israel, have the wherewith to feed the hungry and clothe the naked that the needy may not be turned from thy door. You shall have dreams by night to forwarn you, visions of eternity shall be opened to thy view. Thou shalt gaze upon the heaven and behold the glory thereof. Thou shalt converse with Holy Angels as with a familiar friend, behold the face of the Redeemer and be caught up to meet him and be changed in the twinkling of an eye, when He shall come in power and great glory to execute judgment upon the wicked and ungodly who know Him not.
Thou art an elect lady, chosen of the Lord, and the angels rejoice over thee. Thy name is written in heaven in the Lamb’s Book of Life, never to be blotted out or erased therefrom.
I seal thee up to eternal life with thy companion to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection with all thy father’s house to inherit a kingdom of glory that shall never fade, for thou art of Ephraim.
Even so. AMEN.
The home at 239 Douglas Street was a big house, and it was remodeled to fit the growing family’s needs. The attic was finished off for the boys’ bedrooms. There was one bathroom but later a half bath with toilet and wash basin was added in the back hall; and down stairs in the bare cement-floored basement a “shower” was rigged up. It consisted of a shower head only, with no walls or curtains for privacy whatever, but it helped out in a hurried or crowded situation. The machine also emptied into this nearby floor drain. Also in the basement was the wooden-tub washing machine that needed actual manpower to run the clothes agitator and the wringer; there was the fruit room with shelves around the walls; a little further on was a hole that opened into a crawl space under the living room. On the north side of the basement was a coal room and the stoker furnace for heating the house. The basement was a “dirty ole place” that needed cleaning often, so it was hosed down on these occasions. It was always dark in there cause of such tiny windows, so a light was always turned on when you needed to be down there. It certainly wasn’t like the pretty basements in houses of today.
Around part of the basement wall, there was a solid cement ledge of shelf about 3′ wide and about 4′ high. One day Bob got his tricycle up there and was riding it around on this ledge, but Bob and tricycle fell off and he broke his arm and had several cuts … Also remembered was the time Paul was playing with matches in the crawl space and started a small paper fire. It wasn’t large enough to do any damage, but there was enough smoke to filter up through the floor boards and furnace vent to alarm the family who hunted for the source of the smoke and quickly doused the fire.
Not the front room or around the table in the breakfast nook, but the bathroom seemed to be the favorite place for “talking over or re-hashing” an evenings happenings. After a date, or the road shows, or a dance, or whatever, while those involved in that activity were getting ready for bed, Etta would join them, and they would visit about the fun time or not-so-fun time. Bob refers to it as the “conference” room.
A vacant lot to the south of their home afforded the boys a place for ball games, or to build high jump or pole vaulting pits and runways; and they were used often.
The two hundred block of Douglas Street was a long block, as all SLC blocks are. Many of the neighbors along both sides of the street like to shop at the Crystal Palace, a grocery store that faced on 13th East Street directly across the alley behind the Toronto home at 239 Douglas Street and more or less in the middle of the block. It made quite a long walk to go to the end of the street, up a block, and back to the store on 13th East. It surely would help these people to have a “walk through” somewhere in the middle of the block. Albert and Etta gave permission for those who wanted to do so, to go through their yard when they needed to go to the store; the only request was that they use the sidewalk around the house rather than cutting over the lawn, and all of them did. Even with people coming and going all the time, the back door was never locked; the front door was locked most of the time, but the back door was never locked.
The one and only telephone was in a little nook, or closet, in the hall. You could sit on the stool, close the door, and have a cozy gab-fest or conduct business without any family noises interrupting your conversations.
It seems that at some period of time in their married lives, due to conditions beyond their control, several of the children lived with Albert and Etta in this big family in this big family home. As soon as those conditions could be changed they would move to a place of their own … Bob was the only one of the family who lived away from the greater SLC area, but each August he and the family would go to SLC for their summer vacation. Always there would be a big family picnic supper and reunion at Liberty Park, as well as other smaller gatherings during the time he was in SLC. At least the cousins got to know each other, and everyone looked forward for the family fun times in August.
The older children attended the LDS high school in downtown SLC. There were no school buses, so they walked two miles to school and two miles home each day, even walking home at night after a school activity or athletic event, even if it had been an away game or meet. When the Church closed this high school, the younger children went to East High a few blocks from home. All attended the University of Utah, only two blocks away.
Always there were some “goodies” in the little hall-pantry near the kitchen, or pop and Cremo ice cream in the refrigerator for a treat for any of the family when they came. There was a large table in the sunny breakfast nook where most meals were eaten, and there was a large table in the dining room for eating dinners on special occasions. The kitchen boasted one of the first electric automatic dishwashers that was sold. It was bought from a neighbor, Jesse Pettit, who worked for Kohler Plumbing Company. After much use the mechanism wore out, but it stayed where it was originally installed, for it was part of the sink and drainboard … The kitchen cooking stove changed from the old wood range to an electric one, and Etta delighted in how quickly it heated up and how clean her kitchen seemed to be cause there was no smoke to cling to the walls … An ironing board was built in and pulled down from the wall. In later years an electric automatic clothes washer was installed in the kitchen for Etta’s convenience.
Christmas was a special time for the family. They didn’t always have lots of packages to open, but they had fun oohing and aahing as they opened what they had. “Oooh, what a lovely tie” or “ooh, look at the doll Norma got” and everyone enjoyed whatever each one had received. Sometimes some of the Felt cousins would come on Christmas Day to see what the Toronto’s got, and they would be carrying their fine and more expensive gifts with them; but these cousins often wished their Christmas morning had been as much fun as the one at the Toronto house. Of course, Santa decorated the tree as well as leaving the toys, and that was exciting for the little ones. When and as they could, Albert and Etta took advantage of the after-Christmas sales, getting some toys on hand for the next year’s Christmas. And often on Christmas Eve night, Albert and Etta did last minute shopping when many prices had been reduced, thus allowing them to “pick up something extra” that might make a child’s Christmas a little happier.
Aunt Rosa was included in lots of the family events. One of the boys would drive the car to get her, and then take her home. All of the children really like to go to her house on Christmas, after they had opened their own gifts at home, for she had a really nice gift for each of them. And besides, she let them play her “player piano” which was great fun to pump the pedals and have the music come from the holes in the paper rolls. On Thanksgiving they liked to go to the home of Uncle John and Aunt Clara (Toronto; Albert’s half-brother) for they had the biggest olives you could imagine to eat with the dinner. For New Years they would lie on the floor and listen to the Rose Bowl game broadcast on the radio; it was the only Bowl game at that time.
It was fun to board the Bamberger electric train in SLC and ride out to the Lagoon north of Bountiful for a good time there. Another fun family outing was when they would go to the Great Salt Lake on the little train with its open cars. It was a steam engine and would belch puffs of smoke as wel1 as blow its whistle at the road crossings. In either case, you had to be sure and catch the last ride to town, or you would be stranded.
Can’t forget “the store” just across the alley from the backyard of their home. Most groceries would be purchased there, charged or “put on the bill” as they would say, then later paid for when it was determined what the insurance premium would be on the store; any differences in these amounts would be paid for in cash. Crystal Palace had their fire and other insurance with Toronto & Company, so it was “easy” to work out a financial deal between the insured and the insurer. Sometimes Etta would phone her grocery order to the store, especially if she were downtown at the office and wanted some things in her kitchen when she got home. The grocery clerks would gather the ordered items and carry them over to the house and put them on the table or sideboard. Often though, she would go over to the store early in the morning, almost as soon as they opened, and for sure before she went to work. Soon she would come home carrying a small sack or maybe no sack, but a grocery boy would be loaded with two or three sacks filled with her purchases. If something had been forgotten and there was a grandchild nearby, Etta would send the child to the store for those items, and say to the child, “Tell them to charge it to Grandma Toronto” and they would. Must mention that in the summer Etta occasionally would visit the Farmer’s Market and buy garden fresh vegetables, fruits, and other produce. She liked going there early in the morning and smell the good garden smells and hear the bustle of the people coming and going.
The store had a back porch or loading dock. Delivery trucks would back up to the dock and leave their items there; or the store workers would toss out empty boxes or discarded and unsaleable items there. Many mornings Albert would go to the dock and scrounge through the discarded produce for what he thought would be any edible or usable foods and take them home. He also would get wooden boxes to put under his tomato plants to hold them up off the wet ground when he irrigated them.
It was a tricky business and took good driving expertise to get all the family cars parked in the narrow parallel parking space allotted to the Toronto home. If you were too careless, a car whizzing down the alley might make a dent in your parked protruding car, or maybe a delivery truck really needed the space your car was taking to maneuver itself into a parking position at the dock, or the boys would be playing basketball on the hoop attached to the top of the garage and no cars could be parked there. On Sundays, or holidays, or after store hours, some of the visitors to the Toronto home would park their cars in the store parking lot rather than worry about parking in the “alley.
The blessing of Brigham Young promised to Grandfather Guiseppe ” … that neither he nor his family should ever want for bread … ” has literally been fulfilled. Of course, this blessing is determine on the IF we prove ourselves worthy of that promise. At least three experiences follow, but surely there are others” that could be recounted from any of Guiseppe’s families.
During the years that Albert was in the Bishopric, he often would bring someone home to eat Sunday dinner with the family: a visitor at the meetings, a new college student, etc. Maybe there would be two people, or may be there would be five or six extras besides the large family to feed; and of course, they were “unexpected” guests. In such cases the food prepared wasn’t always sufficient for a large group to have all they wanted, so the family worked up a signal code which alerted family members to be on guard. When Etta or anyone whispered “F.H.B.” they knew it meant “family hold back” and their servings were politely small while the guests could have a bit larger helpings, but there always seemed to be enough for everyone.
It was hard times during the depression years. Often during those years a compassionate friend of the family would bring half a pig and buckets of wheat for the family’s use; these were products of his own farm. Also remembered is the “welfare or missionary box” that would come from relatives in California. There would be nice clothes that could be used for someone in the family, and maybe with a few alterations other items would be made usable for still other members of the family.
Peaches from their own three big trees were bottled; and they started raising chickens in a shed they built next to the garage on the west side. They turned on a light at night in the shed so the chickens would lay more eggs. Later, after they no longer had the chickens, some of the boys placed bunk beds under the shed roof and slept outside most of the year, or until Etta thought it was too cold and had them come sleep in the house.
As I think of Grandpa, I always think of a gentle man and a gentleman. I think that is how Grandmother characterized him. He seemed to me to be a tower of quiet strength.
Notes on Grandmother from my journal. June 18, 1966–” Stayed with Grandmother last night. She read her patriarchal blessing to me and told me how each part had been fulfilled. She had it when she was very small and it has served as her guiding light and beacon because she knew she had to live according to the gospel if she were to merit those blessings. She was promised the privilege of the second comforter and she said that this sustained her at the time of Grandfather’s and Aunt Helen’s death. She is a pillar of strength and wisdom in her 84th year.”
September 17, 1966. Grandmother said mothers should be directors–not dictators. Grandmother would say often, “Isn’t the Lord good to us. Look at the beautiful colors of the food we are eating.” She always had lovely flowers arranged in her home–I remember particularly petunias.
Sunday, March 25, 1973. (written Sunday evening) “Today between 4 and 5 o’clock this afternoon our Grandmother Minnie Etta Felt Toronto left us for her homecoming back into the presence of many loved ones and the Savior. She is a great and noble spirit and I’m grateful for the privilege of belonging to her and to Grandfather Albert. In her patriarchal blessing it says, “Thou art an elect lady, chosen of the Lord and the angels rejoice over thee, thy name is written in heaven in the Lamb’s book of life, never to be blotted out or erased therefrom.” Truly she was and is an elect lady.
“I remember how much we looked forward to going to visit with Grandmother and Grandfather when we were little. We would always go up to Salt Lake for Conferences and get to stay overnight. We got to choose who would stay where in the attic. How much fun we would have.
“Grandmother always had fun goodies or “crap” as we called it–potato chips, marshmallows, crackers, peppermint-whipped cream-graham cracker dessert, etc. She would play games with us sometimes using face cards–such games where you would have to say thank you and if you please and you’re welcome or you would loose cards. She also taught us Cardinal Puff-Puff and Hieroglyphics. Grandmother could also sew her fingers, do the story of the two drunks, imitate the poor singers, and play fun melodies on the piano.
Grandmother snored at night. After Grandfather left, when we would go to visit I sometimes got to sleep with her. We’d have special talks about life and living in general.”
A Few Quotes From Letters That Grandmother Sent to Me While I Was In Boston That Express Her Philosophy
Grandmother always ended her letters with –God bless you. Grandma or Grandmother.
September 17, 1966–the Lord has been very good to me as he always is. “I was just tracking down my family and find that 14 of them are in different parts of the globe–some foreign and others here in the good old USA. It is all in the developing stage we go through–to mix with the other children of God and adjust to their ways, so interesting…. God has given us such a beautiful world to live in and so much alive in it that we are ever blessed with the with the wonderment of it all.”
Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1966– “I’m so proud of my family and their desire to live to the very fullest the life they have been given to LIVE. It is so full of beauty and love and all the glorious things that fill the heart with happiness.”
“To be born of Goodly Parents”–what a blessing in itself with all the other attendant blessings. We are surely fortunate to be WHO we are, WHAT we are and WHERE we are.”
“And for all of God’s choice blessings we express our humble gratitude to a most gracious and kind Heavenly Father on this Thanksgiving Day.”
February 6, 1967. “I went to Fast Meeting in my own ward yesterday for a change– I usually go to Alan’s or Wally’s ward with them as I am invited for dinner there. Well–I had a nice young Chinese boy come up and kiss me after the meeting– one of my “M” Men boys was on a mission in China and he is a convert of his. Then when I was going out another neighbor’s boy who was just married came up and put his arm around me and said, “Hello Cutie., I am so happy to see you again.” Just imagine ME, an 84 year old grandmother– great grandmother being called a “CUTIE.” I am going to my meetings of oftener in my own ward now.
I had the “Laurel” girls here Tuesday night as their teacher was going to Arizona and asked me if I would take her class–I did enjoy having them so much. Monday night I have the evening class of the Relief Society here–there are about 12 of them and they are the girls who work and cannot come to the morning meeting. Then I have my Wednesday morning class of about 35–teaching the Social Science lesson. So I manage to keep busy.”
May 3, 1967. “We do have to put our trust in the Lord at all times and we are in good hands when He is caring for us, which is all the time. How fortunate we are to have such a belief and to KNOW we are RIGHT in that belief.”
September 25, 1967. It is a great blessing to be “born of goodly parents” as it is our starting place in life where we lay the foundation for the good or bad. How fortunate I have been and all of my family with the delightful families my children have married into. Also the children and grand-children they have given to me. I am a very PROUD OLD LADY … But I am trying to be very HUMBLE about it.”
A Few Other Thoughts On Grandfather and Grandmother
Grandfather. One of my special memories was going to General Conference and sitting with Dad and Grandpa.
I also remember going to the Atlas Building and riding the elevator up to their Real Estate Office and visiting with Grandpa and Grandma there. They always made you feel so special and welcome.
I also remember seeing Grandfather reading. He loved books.
Grandmother. She was a woman of great faith and optimism. I will always remember her having Uncle Paul sing, “There is Sunshine in My Soul Today” at Grandpa’s funeral.
Grandmother had a great influence with her teaching. Just three weeks ago while attending a Salt Lake Ward, a girl who was one of her Gleaners told me of the special lessons that she taught–how they could feel of her love and the spirit of the Lord that was with her.
The girl is a grandmother now. This experience has happened to me several times as I have met those who were in her classes.
We always had fun riding with Grandmother in the black car. She turned corners fast. I also remember that she had a little prayer-thought by the mirror in the car– so something to the effect that she wouldn’t be the cause of any accident happening to anyone while driving.
It was fun to go with her to the Crystal Palace Market and to see how much the clerks loved her there too.
The memory of Grandpa I have is very vague, as I was only 10 when he died. But he always seemed like a meek and humble man, not ever talking very much, and using a soft voice when he did. On our summer vacations to their home in Salt Lake City, I remember every morning when I woke up, looking out the window there by the breakfast bay-window (that’s another fond memory) and seeing Grandpa hoeing his tomatoes–I’m sure that’s all that grew in that garden because that’s all I remember ever eating from it. And he raised the biggest, most beautiful tomatoes, too. (Dad sure isn’t the farmer his Dad was.) It seems like he’d hold us kids on his lap and talk quietly to us and give us a big hug, too. But he was a great and good man.
Of course, Grandma lived longer and I remember her better. She was such a jolly, outgoing, and loving person. She loved her grandchildren very much as she would show by the way she’d welcome us, give us big hugs, bake cookies with us, always send us a dollar in one of these money cards on our birthday, and especially the enjoyment she got out of playing games with us: Cardinal Puff-Puff, Fifty cents, Donkey (spoons), The Rooster-The Rooser, all card games she taught us, and a11 the fun group songs she’d teach us. I remember how faithful she was at setting her burglar alarm every night before bed– a chair piled with pots and pans under the doorknob on the back door; how intrigued I was with that huge house in genera1– from the large attic bedroom with dormer windows jutting out in about four places; all the costumes in the closet at the top of those dark stairs (and especially that sword in a scabbard impressed me).
I remember the stairs leading up to the attic bedrooms. I did not like those stairs, for they did not go up in a straight line, nor were they in a naturally lighted area of the house. Instead, they were enclosed, like in a tunnel, and it was dark in there for there were no windows; and besides, there was a turn in them. You’d go so far in one direction (south), make a quarter turn to the right for a few steps (west), then another right quarter turn (north) until you got to the top of the stairs. One good thing about those stairs, though, there was a light switch at the bottom of the stairs and another one at the top of the stairs, so you could have a lighted passageway either coming or going, up or down. It was worth the climb, for near one of the bedrooms was a big walk-in storage closet where a curved-top old-fashioned wooden trunk rested. In this trunk were parts of lots of would-be costumes: long fancy dresses, trousers of bygone styles, a big plumed hat, high heeled shoes, beads and jewelry, and other items to delight a child’s heart in the world of “make believe.” And on the wall nearby hung a long shiny sword, another memento for a “let’s play” experience. I liked to dress up and “pretend” with my family or any cousins who might be there.
I remember the cozy little telephone closet in the hall with the phone number I always liked to repeat because it sounded so poetic– Empire 4-1605; the grand dining room I just loved even though we didn’t eat too many meals in there; the pantry where Grandma could mix up all those delicious cookies; that old-fashioned dishwasher right next to the kitchen sink; the old white bathtub, with legs; right on down to the basement that, was so dark and dingy with spider webs everywhere and where Dad showed us the coal room where they stored their coal for that old coal furnace. But the thing I still remember the most is the smell of vinegar. Occasionally I’ve smelled that at Mom’s house and it reminds of Grandma so much. I was so thrilled when she was able to come down to my wedding and be in the Temple with us. And she was the one who made and concocted the delicious pineapple and banana punch for the reception, too, It was hard for me to watch her get old, but it never dimmed my memories of this wonderful Grandmother. And now as I hear more stories of her sterling character traits from others who knew her, my respect for this grand woman increases more and more for the heritage she has given me, and I am so proud to be called her granddaughter.
Arriving late at night at 239 Douglas St. after an all day drive from California and having to pound on the back door so that Grandpa would come and “disarm” his burglar alarm made of pots and pans carefully and precariously stacked on a chair, which was wedged against the door so that if anyone tried to sneak in the whole house would be alerted.
Grandma saving all of the free Lagoon coupons off of the Clover Club Potato Chip bags so that her California Toronto family could visit the Lagoon when they came to town.
Grandpa puttering around in his small flower and vegetable garden paying special care and attention to his tomato plants of which he seemed to be especially proud.
Receiving birthday and Christmas cards from Grandma usually with the engraved portrait of George Washington on a one dollar bill peering out of the picture window in the card.
Going downtown in SLC to the Atlas Building to the offices of Toronto and Company where Grandma was still working even many years after Grandpa had passed away. The recollections in the door of the office with “Toronto and Company” printed in black. Also there was a large roll top desk. Along those same lines, after Grandma had retired, she still took calls at the house, in her little telephone closet where she still conducted some business. She maintained a box with file cards containing business records which she would flip through whenever anyone called.
I cannot recall any special foods that Grandma prepared, except for the cucumbers and red onions in vinegar that always seemed to be in her refrigerator. It seems that there was also a variety of Barq’s soft drinks being chilled in the ice box too.
As I recall, Grandma liked to impersonate people. The one that sticks in my mind is her impersonation of an old man in her ward singing, “Come, Come Ye Saints” in a deep, wavering voice with pronounced shaking of the head and tapping of the feet to give emphasis at crucial points in the song.
When I was a child, going to Grandma Toronto’s house was an absolute adventure. Her roomy house seemed to invite exploration and hours of imaginative play. The telephone closet, the free-swinging pantry door, the two oriental vases on the living room bookshelves that Grandpa and Grandma in their younger days brought home from the World’s Fair, and the dark creaky stairs that led up to the attic, still in my memory retain some of the mystery and allure that they did in my childhood.
The attic was my favorite spot. Not only did it possess all of those secret, dusty qualities that all attics have, but it housed the “dress-ups”– the feathered hats and slinky gowns that we would dance in while Grandma pounded out a tune on her upright piano.
Even more inviting than her house, was Grandma. I was born when she was in her early seventies, and my sisters and I were at the end of a long line of grandchildren. You’d think that by the time we came along, she would have been rather tired of being a grandmother, but I never noticed that she ever became weary of grandchildren. I knew that I was her favorite grandchild, for she told me that I was every time she gave me a hug and every birthday card she sent to me was inscribed, “To my favorite granddaughter, Ann xxxooo.” Knowing that she wrote, the words, “To my favorite granddaughter (or grandson)” on each of my sisters’ and cousins’ cards never lessened my belief that I was her favorite.
Grandma knew what children liked, and she delighted in catering to those likes. A bank-roll of shiny nickels for Christmas when we were very young, and a crisp, new dollar bill when we were older, thumbprint cookies, pancake breakfasts at 6:30 on a sunny morning, watermelon and cantaloupe balls, and her sewing-the-fingers-together pantomime were among the pleasures she provided for us.
The most sought after event for me and my sisters during a stay at Grandma’s was a turn sleeping with her in her brass bed. When it was my turn, the excitement of having Grandma all to myself and of being privy to the removal of her false teeth, was often so stimulating that I would lay awake long after Grandma was asleep watching shadows play across the bedroom wall and listening to Grandma snore. Grandma’s snoring was so intriguing that my sisters and I used to try to imitate the range and variety of sound and tempo that Grandma’s orchestral slumber could command.
If you were especially lucky when you slept with Grandma, she would tell you a story before she drifted off to sleep. Whenever we caught her in a reclining position or sitting position, we would beg for a story. Whether about great-grandma Alma Elizabeth’s pioneer experiences or her childhood on the run from the U.S. Marshall’s hunting her polygamist father or her courtship with grandpa Albert, her stories were always spellbinding. Often she would take a “few winks” in the middle of telling a story, but we would patiently, or at least semi-patiently, wait until she roused herself after a few minutes, for hearing Grandma tell a story was worth a few delays along the way.
Grandma with her warmth and love and ability to make the most simply things fun, was the fairy godmother of my childhood. As I grew older, I began to realize that she hadn’t limited her “magic” to her immediate family. Grandma was claimed as mother and grandmother by many beyond her own children and grandchildren.
During their lives she and Grandpa Toronto, whom I never knew, opened their hearts and their home to even the most friendless of people. My mother has often told us that whenever Grandpa in his real estate business sold a house to anyone, that person and his family ended up at the dinner table the next Sunday.
What has come to impress me most about Grandma, is not only that she was so good to people, but that her generosity, her graciousness, and her loving acceptance of everyone was not calculated or forced. It was genuine. I remember Grandma during the last nine months of her life when she lived with my family. Her physical and mental activity deteriorated as she reached 90 years of age, and her old age was difficult for all of us, and especially for Grandma. Yet the burdens of her aging never erased the respect and kindness with which she treated people.
Although her physical condition was demanding, she was never demanding. I don’t recall that she complained, that she was ever cross, or that she ever failed to say, “please,” “thank you,” or “you are welcome.” I’m sure that all of her grandchildren remember her saying over and over again, “There are three magic words. They are please, thank you, and you are welcome.” I now repeat this line to my children, but when I become irritated or overwhelmed, I get cross and often forget those “magic” words.
Grandma, however, was a truly gracious woman.
I would like to start out by writing down some of the things that I remember about Grandpa and Grandma Toronto’s home:
Outside. We would park our car in the back alley. There we would see the old black Ford parked in the garage. In summer time we would walk under the tree with white flowers on it; I call them snowballs. Violets, pansies, and other flowers were in the garden. The “steep” little hills in the front yard were always fun to roll down. The front porch and stairway were also a place of adventure.
Inside the home. We enjoyed sitting on the bench and eating around the table in the back room.
Grandmother always had pansies, violets, or some other flower as a centerpiece on her table. What yummy food we would discover as we peeked on top of the refrigerator, inside the fridge, or in each of the pantry cupboards: A pan of marshmellow squares, or soda pop, or potato chips, cupcakes, or thumbprint cookies. Remember the little room the telephone was in; we called it the telephone booth. I remember the sliding doors between the dining room and living room. It was fun to sit at the upright piano to plunk out a tune. I loved to look into the china cupboard. Grandmother had some pretty pieces on display that were treasures to her. Upstairs, what an adventure. How much fun to sleep overnight. And the costumes, the hats with feather plumes in them. In the evenings we would sit around the card table and play “Ghost” or “Cardinal Puff Puff” or “50 cents.” I enjoyed sitting in her big easy chair in the living room. Albert’s picture was on the wall just above the chair. Remember Grandmother sewing her fingers together; or repeating the poem, “My get up and go has got up and went” or singing “Old Robin Is Dead” and “We are the Gopher Girls.” She knew how to make leftovers of food taste just as good as the 2nd and 3rd day.
I’m thankful for Grandmother’s book of thoughts she collected, typed, and gave to all of us. I still treasure some of the birthday and Christmas cards that she sent to us with a dollar tucked inside. Perhaps these lines of poetry will remind you of some of the cards you received.
Our dear George Washington said (And these are the words he spoke):
“As long as you keep my head, You never will be broke.”
I love you, Grandma
Joan, my favorite granddaughter, hello:
You know that I love you
And think you’re a Dear
And I’d like to be with you
On your birthday this year.
But it cannot be– Ah me. Ah me.
But I’ll see you just as soon as can be.
I love you, Grandmother Etta
Just a bitsey piece of paper for you to be cherry with-
I love you very much. Don’t say a word, but you are my favoritest granddaughter.
From a 1966 Christmas card:
“Jingle Bells” to remind us it is another time of the year to remember the significance of this joyous time. So much to live for and so many
to love and to give thanks to God for his Son’s gift to the world.
We have so much to be thankful for, and happiness is ours always if we so wish it. A beautiful world, so many lovely people in it, and so much love to give.
I love you, Grandma
An outstanding trait of Grandmother was her positive attitude. I don’t believe I ever heard her complain. Not a day went by with Grandmother that you wouldn’t hear her say: “Isn’t the Lord good to us.”
I remember that we didn’t have home evenings as such then as we have them now every week, but I remember Mom would gather us together and say, “I want to tell you the story of Jesus” or “I want to tell you the story of Noah” or “I want to tell you a story of some of the prophets” or of “the prophet Joseph Smith” or “I want to tell you some of the stories that my own mother told me about crossing the plains or about joining the Church. She’d tell us different stories like that, and I’ve never forgotten them. It has been such an inspiration to me to have such a wonderful Mother that really gave us spiritual instruction and blessings, as well as a wonderful Father that did so when he was home with us. He would chime in with us; they both are such wonderful spiritual lovable persons. I don’t know; we are so fortunate to have had such great parents to bring us into this world. The Lord blessed us by letting us come into the home of Albert and Etta Toronto. They have been wonderful parents, and I hope I can live up to the things that they have taught us, and strive to be as spiritual, humble and prayerful, and successful in that line as they were. They are just super.
I asked our son Rick who was here over the weekend for this President’s Day holiday what he remembered about Grandma and Grandpa, and he said he didn’t remember too much about Grandpa. I guess he was a little too young when Grandpa died to know him too much. He said the thing he remembered about Grandma was “Cardinal Puff Puff” and that little thing she used to do where somebody would stand up and read a story or give a reading of some kind, and Grandma would stand behind them and move her arms around and be the arms of the person who was telling the story. He said he enjoyed that. And he always knew that when we went to visit Grandma there would be plenty of root beer and soda pop in the refrigerator, and plenty to eat, and he sure loved that.
I also asked our daughter Ruth who lived here in Snowflake, what she remembered about Grandma and Grandpa. She said, “Well, one thing I remember when we used to go visit them was the good smell in the kitchen. As soon as we went in that door we could smell the smell of red onions, cucumbers, and vinegar: that delicious bit that Grandma used to make when we came visiting.” Ruth also said she loved those games and the things she used to play with them when we went to SLC each summer; also the songs she taught them, and the stories that she’d tell about the pioneers coming across the plains and when she was a little girl.
So you see, our wonderful parents not only influenced us in our lives, but they are influencing our children, their grandchildren, as well and giving them a love for the Gospel, for the Church, and for the many things that are so important in our lives.
In conclusion, I want to quote from an editorial that was written in January of 1971 on the occasion of Mont’s passing away; this refers to him, of course.
“Conscientiousness in public office, love of family, service to the Church, loyalty to friends, honesty in business dealings. These characteristics were very much a part of the life of Lamont F. Toronto, Utah’s former Secretary of State and former Canadian Mission president, who demonstrated his popularity recently by winning election to the State Board of Education against strong opposition.”
Now I would like to say this; listen to this next part, for it is important as it pertains to Dad and Mom. “His parents saw to it that a firm foundation of character was laid when Mr. Toronto was growing up, for a family of six sons and two daughters must be governed by kindness, gentle persuasion and love if the children are to succeed in life.”
Both Albert and Etta were very humble, Church devoted, God loving, neighbor loving, family loving, true Christians. They loved a good time, Mom more than Dad, for he was of the more reserved, serious type. I remember that when Uncle Mont and Aunt Vera, and Uncle Roy and Aunt Irma, and Uncle Joe and those would get together to play a game of “500” or other card games or something, Dad would sit by and read. He’d be reading Church books. He always read the Church News and then hid them under the mattress so he’d have them to read at night. He thought Mom wouldn’t find them there, but every once in a while she’d go through and secretly throw them out. He didn’t want her to throw them out, but he didn’t read them all the time, so she finally got rid of them that way.
He did love the Church; they both loved the Church. They loved their children; they wanted their children to be true to the Church for time and all eternity, that we’d all be there with them in the hereafter to live with our Father in Heaven. It is my prayer that we will all be there with them, all of us in our family, and our children, and our children’s children, that we may be one big happy family in the presence of our Father in Heaven in the hereafter. I pray for this in the name of our Father which is in Heaven, and in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
OUR DEBT OF GRATITUDE. To the Tarantos, the Johansens, the Felts, the Mineers, and Ila’s and all of our other lines. We must pay that by passing the torch on to our children, their children and grandchildren. OUR testimonies, OUR lives, Albert and Etta knew, and their lives testify to the truth of the things they believe, testify to their love of the Gospel– to the actual existence of this unseen world, that angels do speak to men and women on earth today. A voice did come to Mother’s ears at a time when she was wondering how unschooled Etta could stand up against giants of worldly learning in our University Ward, when they said, “Joseph Smith didn’t really have those experience. He just THOUGHT he did.” In her extremity, a voice came to her confirming her faith, and her knowledge of the truth of these things.
DAD STANDS OUT AGAINST THEM. As a young man, I can remember these same doubts being expressed in our University Ward Priesthood meetings. “Joseph Smith just THOUGHT he saw and heard these things.” Albert would take it as long as he could. Then stand up, and in a firm, but gentle voice tell them that he KNEW these things were true. How faithful and undaunted they both were.
MOTHER COMFORTED DR. VIKO. When she went to take the telephone. a premonition came over her. She said. “0 God, comfort me, strengthen me in the word I am about to receive.” And like a mantle, a Spirit, a Peace enveloped her, and she went up to the hospital. Dr. Viko came to comfort her, but she comforted him to his amazement.
THE BURDENS OF DEBT. When I came from my mission, an almost unending line of bill collectors, phone calls MONEY ..MONEY ..MONEY ..and there was no money. I would be so depressed by it that I would be glad to get in my auto-parts truck, and head for Southern Utah, away from the pressure and despondency of bill collectors. When Wally had left on his mission, I was still helping to build, saving money for my mission. Business was good. I left the next year. Then the Depression hit: buyers couldn’t make their payments to Dad. Dad couldn’t pay the material men. Bankruptcies were everywhere. But not Dad, although it nearly killed him. He would pace up and down at home, in the office, “How do I get out from under this?” He went once to see President Grant, if perhaps he could make him a loan to fend off the collectors. I think the President did help Dad. But Mother always sustained him, “Albert, we can do it…hang in there.” He said many times, grateful from the bottom of his heart, “I haven’t been very smart in this life, but boys, the SMARTEST THING I EVER DID, WAS TO MARRY YOUR MOTHER.”
They both maintained the Real Estate and Insurance office. Payments would come in on contracts and on policies. In desperation, money would be used to feed the family. What could they do? Their family couldn’t starve.
From Wendell Mabey: (A very good friend of Lamont’s)
A Letter Written to the Family After Albert’s Death
February 27th, 1954
Dear Mother Toronto:
It has never been my good fortune to hear a tribute paid to any one such as I heard today. Yet, had I meditated a moment. I could have ratified everything said before it was spoken.
Fate caused Mont and I to rub shoulders in theLegislature of 1947. Since then you and the “Boss” as I affectionately called him, have been a tremendous influence upon me. I came to you at a trying time in my life, as you know, and you helped me so much to steady my ship. You made me feel that I am almost one of the family.
Today, as tributes were paid, I was bursting with pride that I am associated with you, and I hope loved by people such as you and the “Boss.”
While sitting in the Chapel, I couldn’t help summarizing your contribution to society; five missionaries spreading the Gospel of good tidings to the people. This alone is the greatest contribution any parent can make. One son, twice a Mission President, directing the emissaries of the Lord in promulgating the Truth. This same son a diplomat.
A statesman who is respected and loved by all who know him and serve with him in the Affairs of State. A Scout Executive whose influence on the youth may never be measured. A member of a Stake Presidency going about “doing good.” A medical doctor ministering to the ills of his fellowmen.
A son whom I have known for several years and yet did not know he could sing, today caused tears to roll down my cheeks as he thrilled me with such sweet music. A daughter, who following in your steps, is rearing a fine family. Then your baby, a wonderful girl with high ideals, is an outstanding woman.
Now, may I add my tribute–by extending to you my love, respect and admiration. May I pose the query– “How could two people in such a short time accomplish so much?”
Click on any photo to view or download a full size original.
Albert Toronto as a youth and a young man.
Minnie Etta Felt as a little girl and a young woman.
Albert and his mother before his mission. Albert and Etta, date unknown.
Minnie Etta Felt Toronto
Albert, Mont and Mont’s friend fooling around.
4 February 1878 -22 February 1954
Funeral Services held in University Ward February 1954
The devotional music played on the organ here in our chapel has been rendered by Dr. Alan Toronto, son of Brother Toronto, and it’s been lovely to hear, and we appreciate this very much. As you know, this is our service in honor of the life of our dear friend, brother, father, and husband, Albert Toronto. And it’s an inspiration to see you all here. Sister Toronto, the chapel is filled to overflowing with your friends and the friends of Brother Toronto, It’s an inspiration to behold. And the people coming from their homes; lovely people, your friends have come to express their love to you in honor of your husband and your father.
The invocation will be offered by LaMont Felt, a brother-in-law of Albert Toronto, after which the bishop will make some remarks and at that time announce the remaining numbers on this service. We’d like to have those in the back remain for just a few minutes, and after the invocation we will invite you to the front.
Our wise and righteous eternal Father in Heaven. We a few of thy children, friends, and relatives have met together this afternoon on this solemn occasion to pay honor and tribute and our respects to the life and memory of this thy noble servant, Albert Toronto, who thy in thy mercy and providence’ has seen fit to call home. And dear Father, we pray thee at this time that thou wilt bless the speakers. Bless all those who have part on the program here this day that thou wilt guide their thoughts; thou wilt inspire their minds, that they may speak words of comfort and cheer to those who are left behind. Father, we feel thankful that it has been our lot to be related to and be acquainted with this thy fine and noble man. Thou knowest the desires of his heart, and thou art aware, Father, of the great service that he has rendered in thy Church and among thy children in the administrations throughout his life; the example he has set, the fine family he has reared, sent on missions, the administrations that he has made from home to home, and the visits where he has cheered up thy children who have been downcast and ridden with grief. Dear Father, we ask thee to bless his memory, that his life might be a shining example to his posterity, to his sons and his daughters, his grandsons and granddaughters, and to his in-laws, and to the great-grandchildren that might come throughout ail generations, that they may increase in knowledge and they may look to him as the beacon, the guiding light, and the example that he has set for them. And Father, at this time we are thankful in our hearts that we can meet under such favorable circumstances, in a chapel where peace and comfort reigns; that we are living here in the valleys, in the tops of the mountains. Father, we ask thee to bless us at all times that we might go forward and be an example; we might live thy gospel; we might teach and administer, and set an example as this thy son, Albert Toronto, has set. Father, we ask thee now to conduct these services and guide thee, and in the minds of those who might speak, inspire them with thine words that we might feel that this has not been a day, a moment of sorrow; but has been one of rejoicing, and that we may all feel that thy will has been done here upon earth as it is done in Heaven. These favors and blessings we pray for at this time and we do so in the name of thy son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
BISHOP HOOD: (Douglas)
He encouraged those to come forward and take these seats here in front, in the choir.
As I have gone in the home of the Toronto’s on Monday night ,and since and met with them at the mortuary, I have felt the spirit of this occasion is the spirit of family night; the spirit of home night. Brother Toronto has been too busy to be at this home evening, but the family is here and has gathered to visit one with another. I guess it is probably just as well that he isn’t because we want to talk about him, and he might feel that we were saying things that weren’t true that were beyond his delicate nature, but we are going to talk about Brother Toronto today and honor him and his family. In this home evening, some friends have come in and they will participate with us during this hour. We are glad that they are here because they are friends of the family, and they have played with the boys (basketball), they have been in the home, and they have been associated with him in counsel under the inspiration of the Lord and the bishoprics of the past. They are going to sing to us and we are grateful that they are here that our home evening may be full.
When Brother Toronto was encouraged to go to the hospital Monday he said, “I don’t have time to go up to the hospital and lie down. I have too much to do.” And joking with the Secretary of State as they drove to the hospital the first four blocks, he was concerned about his ward teaching reports. I might let you know that he has been our chief ward teacher supervisor here, helping us to gain a large percentage of visiting. When he went to visit Dr. Alan down in Oklahoma he kept after his daughter Norma until she mailed his ward teaching report back, and we got his report from Oklahoma that he might feel the spirit that he was not neglecting the bishop in his request here in his work and responsibility in the ward. So he was concerned with the Secretary of State as to his reports, and he was giving him advice and counsel about them.
If I might recollect some of the things that transpired here Sunday. In the morning after priesthood meeting he took me by the arm, and as we walked along here he said, “Now I want you to know that you are the best bishop in the ward.” Well, as you know there is only one bishop in the ward, but that was his way of jesting and kind of passing on a little encouragement, and I nudged him and I said, “Yes, the best bishop in the ward.” But I said, “But not in the Church, because you have a son down in Duncan Ward, haven’t you?” And he said, “He is, and he is a fine one.” Later on in the day he was talking, as he does quite often, to our custodian who is recently from Germany. In his conversation he said, “I feel like I’m going to be called on another mission.” And then he said, “But I’m too old and I guess I won’t be.” That was a passing remark which we were able to detect during his closing hours. He was called on a mission and he wasn’t too old.
On Sunday he remained to spend his anniversary with his sweetheart wife who had a birthday Sunday, and being invited to Helen’s home they had a family dinner and enjoyed and associated there, and it was restful and peaceful. So they enjoyed the day together in quiet contemplation, and I’m sure that there was nothing in their hearts as to whether life would end or continue; they were just loving each other. It has been an inspiration to see this couple love each other in our ward. We become inspired as young people seeing the kindness, the devotion, and the closeness they express.
Sunday night Brother Toronto came in after services and said, “Bishop, how do I stand?” I said, “Well, let’s open up the books.” And so we got the books with his individual account and opened it up and looked at it and he saw his tithing there. He didn’t have it added up as much as it should be and so we added it again. He was a little surprised that he had paid as much tithing as he had. He was also checking on his budget. So we went over his other accounts; the donations he had made in the ward and which showed up on the records of the Church. I complimented him on it and he said, “Well, I will be getting you some more.” He was always rendering service, always had something in the future to give.
When I talked to Henry Volker, the president of the high priests quorum, here in the ward with his counsel, they wanted to say something about Brother Toronto that would express their deep gratitude for his association. They asked Brother Walter Kerr if he would write a tribute to Albert Toronto, their brother in the high priests quorum. Walter Kerr, who has been under the direction of Albert Toronto in three bishoprics and knows him probably longer and better than most men, has written something here which I think is lovely. I would like to read it to you as a message from the high priests of the University Ward.
The length of life of some people is counted by the number of years they live; the life of others by the things they do. The life of Albert Toronto was one of length, over three score and ten (he was 76), as well as one full of great activity. The high priests of the University Ward honor this fine and noble and good soul. Brother Toronto’s father, Joseph Toronto, a native of Sardinia accepted the gospel in Boston and came to Nauvoo shortly after the death of Joseph Smith. Brigham Young spoke at a conference of the financial part of the Church and Joseph Toronto had in his possession $2500 in gold coins. He gave everything he had to the Church. His son Albert, like his father, has placed all he possessed on the altar of the Church.
Albert Toronto was born on 1st Avenue and “A” Street opposite Roland Hall. As a boy he was active in the 18th Ward in the various quorums and in Mutual. As a young man he attended the University of Utah for two years where he studied German, which helped him greatly in his mission in Germany. The Ensign Stake was organized in 1905, and Brother Toronto was made a member of the stake Sunday School superintendency and Sister Toronto the president of the stake Primary association. Later Brother Toronto was in the superintendency of the 11th Ward Sunday School; after that, counselor to Bishop William Armstrong, and then a counselor to Bishop George McAllister. When the University Ward was organized in 1924, 30 years ago, Albert Toronto became second counselor to Bishop Frank Pingree with Orvill Adams as first counselor, and they served for many years. And under their direction, the ground on which this chapel has been erected was purchased and this chapel was built which is truly an honor to the service of these brethren. (Brother Adams, who was so close to him, will speak to us in this service, and we are pleased to have him here.)
Twenty-two years as a member of three bishoprics show a great devotion to his Church. The Toronto family is an honor to the ward, to the city, and to the state. Five sons have been on missions; Wallace on three, twice being president of the Czechoslovakia Mission. The sons served their country during World War II, and the daughters have been most active in the ward. Sister Toronto’s influence over the young women in the ward and in the stake is an inspiration to all. The high priests will miss Albert Toronto on Sunday mornings. He was always in his place, he was always ready and glad to give his testimony. He never hesitated. We loved him for his deep religious convictions and his beliefs in the divinity of the mission of Joseph Smith. His testimony never faltered. Just last Sunday morning, the day before he died, he was at his quorum meeting and bore fervent testimony, a testimony kindled brightly while on his mission in Germany and kept aglow during his whole life. May the Lord bless Sister Toronto and their sons and daughters that they may always have the divine spark of truth in their souls as he had in his great soul. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Written by Walter A. Kerr, neighbor and close friend.
It seems that the great honor that Brother Toronto has given the community, or one of them at least, is his family. And I would like to just introduce them to you. We are here in this family evening and I think there are many who would like to know a little bit about them, where they are. Wallace, of course, is here and he is executive secretary of the Utah Cancer Society. He’s on the general board of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association. As was mentioned here, he had three missions and two of them as president of the Czechoslovakia Mission, and he was expelled twice under the Nazis and under the Russians. He has served twelve years in missionary service. He graduated from the University of Utah, and has a family of five. Joseph is owner and manager of the Christensen Department Store in Spanish Fork. He is a member of the stake presidency of Palmyra Stake, was a missionary to Germany and Czechoslovakia, and has a family of six. Robert, known to most of these young fellows as Bob, is a scout executive in Indio and Palm Springs in California. He is active in the branch and the Southern California mission. He and Joseph and Wally were all champion swimmers and on the swimming team of the University of Utah. He also filled a mission in Germany. He has four children. Lamont has been bishop of the Duncan Ward for eight years and was recently elected Secretary of State of the State of Utah and serving well in these capacities. He was a legislator formerly. He served as a missionary in New Zealand, was in the service for 2 ½ years, and has a family of four. Paul is in Hill Field, and working there, member of the Tabernacle Choir, a lovely singer, and he will render a number for us. Active in the Bountiful ward in which he lives. Served in the Central States mission; University of Utah graduate. Helen Mageras is a housewife and mother of four and has her hands full; very close and has been lovely to her parents in the care of them. Dr. Alan, MD, active in the LDS Serviceman ‘s Organization at the fort in which he is located out of Oklahoma City in Oklahoma. He is On active duty in the Air Corps, as a doctor served three years in World War II and is currently serving a year and a half, and has some service to render. Graduate of Marquette University Medical School. He interned at the LDS Hospital. He is married and has one child, and he plays the organ beautifully, which we listened to. Norma is in our ward here. She is the president of our Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association, and they don’t come finer than this most lovely charming girl. She is a director of the nursery at the LDS Hospital and her father drove her to work at 6:30 every morning. Lovely, isn’t it? Rosa Toronto Armstrong is the only survivor of the Joseph Toronto family. She is here with us today, and we are pleased to have her. I thought you would like to become acquainted with this family so that in our family get-together today we may understand why Brother Toronto shall be so honored.
Now our service shall proceed as follows: a vocal selection by Vern Miller, a grandson-in-law. He will be accompanied by Thelma Riser and he will sing, “There is Sunshine in My Soul Today.” After he sings to us, Orvill Adams, who has associated closely with Albert Toronto and a member of the bishopric in the original bishopric of the University Ward will speak to us. He will be followed by a selection again by Vern Miller, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.” After this selection Dr. G. Homer Durham, vice president of the University of Utah and a very close friend of the family and the boys, will address us. This will be followed by Paul Toronto, a son, and he will sing a solo, “The Lord’s Prayer” by B. Cecil Gates. He will be accompanied by Thelma Riser. The benediction will be given by Joseph H. Felt, a brother-in-law, after which the bishop would like to make a few remarks.
“There is Sunshine in My Soul Today”, sung by Vern Miller
My brothers and sisters, I am honored in having been invited to pay a eulogy to one of my best friends on this occasion. And I can pay that eulogy in the superlative without any fear whatsoever of exaggeration. I am going to, after what the bishop said, change the order of the words that I had intended to use as vehicles to try to appraise this man as he should be. I pray that the Lord will bless my efforts. But before launching into what I shall say, I want to bask in the after glow of some wonderful memories.
As has been said, Bishop Pingree, Albert, and the speaker were the first bishopric in this ward. Our duty first was to plan and raise the funds to construct this beautiful chapel. That was some considerable task. No one rendered greater or more efficient service in the carrying out of this program than did Albert; never failing in any assignment that was given to him, never complaining. So the task was completed, and this building is a monument in a considerable part to the work of Albert Toronto.
I said this was a time to bask in the afterglow of wonderful memories. It is also a time to recount. And in that recounting we mustn’t forget the lovely women who are responsible for bazaars and dinners and what-not in order to raise money to carry on in this endeavor. Sister Pingree, Sister Toronto, Sister Adams, my wife, many others; the Relief Society women (bless them), people who organized the Sunday School. And if my memory serves me right, in that first Sunday School organization there were, I believe, Brother Taylor and Brother Kerr. If I fail to mention some of those who were responsible for the carrying on in the early days of this ward I trust you will pardon me. There are a lot of people in the audience I recall who made an outstanding contribution. I pay today a tribute to Brother Pate and his good wife. And Sister Toronto, bless you and your family. As you know, brothers and sisters, that work is the blessing of voluntary contribution. Maybe they did it because those who did the pioneering in this ward had testimonies. They carried on as many of you people have done while they have been doing their Church work in the activities to bring bread home. Now I am most happy that the bishop said something about this marvelous family. It is a marvelous family, all of them extraordinary folks. A great civilization and world peace will not come to pass until the world recognizes, such as the Mormon philosophy does, the importance of the eternal nature of the family union. Sister Toronto, the mother of nine children; that’s some contribution Sister Toronto, bless your heart. And what a reward you will already enjoy and will be added upon in the great days to come. Albert will already have considerable more understanding than he had previously. But I can’t refrain from reading what is called the blueprint or a perfect state. Confucius , the great Chinese philosopher, uttered these words, I don’t know how long ago, but many many years. I am sure it is appropriate to this occasion, particularly after the bishop has told us about the individual members of this family. Now here are those paragraphs. “The great learning is a book,” (left by Confucius; yes, it was 551 before Christ these words were given) “and forms a gate by which first learners enter into virtue.” Here is a sample quotation. “The ancients who visited who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the empire first ordered well their state, their own state. Wishing to order well their state they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things.” Just pause for a moment and call to mind Joseph Smith’s philosophies that men are saved no faster than they gain knowledge. “Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated. Their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole empire was made tranquil and happy. Sister Toronto, if all the families in all the world had but a percentage of the kind of regulation and standing that your family has, I should say your family and Albert’s family, the state would be rightly governed. The whole empire, the whole world would be made tranquil and happy and the first step toward peace on earth, good will to men would become a realization. Thank the Lord for the Mormon philosophy that stresses the eternal nature of the family unit.
Now, this appeared in the Deseret News as an editorial not too long ago.
Juvenile delinquency in the United States (and these figures do not apply in most respects to the Mormon family and we as Latter-day Saints know that reason.) Juvenile delinquency in the United States last year increased five times faster than did the population of the nation. It so alarmed police, schools, and other officials, that an immediate and careful study was made by a number of interested groups. Harvard Law School recently published the result of their studies of this amazing condition. Here is what it found. First, most of the difficulty was traced to the home. There’s no difficulty that would be traced to your home, Sister Toronto, and we know why. Many apparently unimportant items and home rootings contributed heavily to the downfall of the children of those homes. Second in 80% of the cases of juvenile delinquency there was no team spirit in the home. There was team spirit in the home of Albert Toronto. (Tape was turned, so a couple of sentences are missing here.)
Twice as many delinquents came from broken homes as from homes in which Parents lived together. Fourth, in 75% of the cases there was no fixed routine in the homes; no regular meals, no regular bedtime, no specified time for homework. Mother was either not at home or allowed their children to come and go and roam the street as they pleased. Fifth, in 75% of the cases the parents did not love each other. Love in large respects and to a large degree is a result of people who understand the eternal nature of the home. I am not berating all the homes because I wouldn’t be responsible for that statement. There are many homes, and not Latter-day Saint homes, that are good homes; who look after their children. But I am talking about a group. Sixth, in 80% of the cases the delinquents said their mothers did not care what they did, and in 75% of the cases the youngsters said their fathers did not care either about the welfare of their children. (Now, remember I’m reading from a Harvard survey.) Eighth, 75% said their parents were indifferent to them; that is, there was no parental love for the children. I know how you Toronto boys and girls feel about your mother and father, and how that unity has come in a large degree by reason of your testimony, by reason of your knowing as a result of your training, the eternal nature of the Mormon home. Ten, liquor used by parents is a factor in more than 80% of delinquency among children.
I shall not read the conclusions of the Deseret News because you may draw them yourself. But I made up my mind not to stress those points until after the bishop introduced and made some comment about this wonderful Toronto family.
It has been said that Albert spent 22 years in ward bishoprics.
Mormon funerals are unique, my brothers and sisters. Time for the gathering of old friends. Many of them are here today. What a wonderful thing it is to meet and eulogize and praise and rededicate and reflect and express appreciation and gratitude, not only for our love that we hold for one another, but for the fact that we live in this choice land, blessed above all others. Albert Toronto believed Joseph Smith (I will go stronger), knew that Joseph Smith told the truth. I tried to tell you that what is needed to prevent world chaos is the kind of a home that the Toronto father and mother has. It’s already a success. It is matured, the annuity is paid up.
Now we shall remember Albert for his faith, it was of granite; for his unselfishness, he was not envious; for his righteousness, never questioned; for his testimony, he knew that Joseph Smith told the truth; for his usefulness; for his patience, I don’t know of a more patient quiet fellow than was he; for his control of self, he knew that there is no freedom without that control; for the sweetness of his spirit. We shall remember him for his uncompromising stand when fundamental principles were the issue. He knew that just to be a member of a church without doing his part actively to keep alive, because I think the genius of our church, one of the great concepts, is activity (I call it vitamin A in the Church), for something more, brothers and sisters, than just a group of organized listeners. As I said before on many occasions, many of the other churches are not much more than that, yet at the same time I am not berating them because they do good. But we are doers of the work, many of us, not all of us. Albert knew without any question of a doubt that men’s affairs will not prosper when God’s service is neglected.
We will remember him for his unmatched kindness; for his integrity and honesty, unquestioned always; for his modesty; and as I said before, his love of home and family. There is one place, Etta, where you and your family will always be able to find healing and consolation in your great hour of grief, and that is to turn to Him who gave his life that all of us might live again and who said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let your hearts not be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
My testimony to you, Etta and family, is; that man does not stand alone.
“I Know That My Redeemer Lives “, sung by Vern Miller
DR. G. HOMER DURHAM:
My dear brothers and sister, I have always felt very humble in the presence of this family and extremely so today because of the honor which has come to me in being asked to say a few words at this service, and also to recognize that there are many here today and many throughout the world, in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, where members of this family have gone and served, and in this community, who can speak out of intimate experience of this fine family that we have heard much about today, and who could represent with observations and testimony of the great influence which they have exercised in their lives. I hope that I may have strength, inspiration, and the spirit of this occasion and the spirit of the Lord to sustain me in this assignment, that what I may say may bring added comfort and assurance to those who mourn here and elsewhere this day. If I speak in a personal vain, I hope I may be forgiven, but I feel that one can speak from experience, perhaps be pardoned, upon occasions such as this time, and I do it in the spirit of trying to give a testimony about what the life of Brother Toronto has meant to me. And I hope and pray you will find echo in your hearts and serve as a representation of what life such as his means to all us as brothers and sisters and friends. I have been trying to think when the first contact of this family came, because I knew Brother Toronto first through his children and his wife. But the last ten years I’ve had more contact with him than I’ve had with them. A sort of benediction to the experience and the great contribution he made through them to me when I was a teenager, trying to help my parents help me grow up.
I’ve decided that the first time I saw them go about as a family was down at Deseret Gym in a Boy Scout swimming contest. A lot of little shavers around there, trying to do a graceful dive or swim 20 yards in a relay. There was a very well proportioned young fellow that stood out among them; it was Wally. Wally had the capacity for somehow swallowing air that he could stay underwater a long long time. He dove off the bank and everybody cheered to see if Wally could plunge the length of the Deseret Gym pool. He didn’t quite make it, but the way he hung on and stayed under you could tell there was character and grit and determination, fortitude. And it had an influence I am sure on all the 12 and 13, 14-year-old youngsters there.
About the next autumn we entered high school. One of the best friends of my life, and one of my best because he brought the Toronto family closer, the man who now lives in Corvallis, Oregon was neighbor to the Toronto’s; Brother Lynn Pettit, he and I in knee pants; 14-year-olds when we entered high school. And from Lynn I learned about Bob, and Morgan Sorenson; other fine boys in this ward. In short, the experience that came to me like the experience that comes to all of us in these fine Mormon communities, was in addition to having one set of parents and your own brothers and sisters; you had half a dozen parents and dozens of brother and sisters. You could go to their homes and have their influence and be blessed by it.
These sons of Brother and Sister Toronto rendered service then, as I am sure they are rendering service today, all of them, and these daughters, as Bishop Wood described their positions of responsibility and trust they hold in American life in the Church. There may be families who are doing as much, but I don’t know where you could go and find a family of eight children on general boards and stake presidencies, as bishops, as officers of state, serving in the institutional care for the helpless, the needy, helping youth, and rendering the human service that we have here. I think there is a great lesson in here and a great challenge for all who mourn today and meet here to pay their respects to the father of this wonderful family.
If I might offer one or two more examples about the power of their example. I think it demonstrates how much the individual can do to affect a course of events and to bring about the destiny of civilization that Brother Adams referred to. Because it’s only in the example that the human life represents the things after all events. We are all engaged in individual enterprise.
It meant a great deal to me in growing up to see Wallace called on a mission, It is a great example; it is the right example. He was the Student body president of our high school. I remember one day when he was president of the senior class he came in on roller skates into Barrett Hall. But I also remember when he was student body president in 1927, how Brother Arthur Welling, who many of your remember, one of the fine teachers down at the old LDS, said to his class, “We have a real man in our student body president.” And it meant something to the rest of us to have that kind of example. Joe was the kind of a young man that you could trust with all the money. On a glee club trip through the Idaho towns he paid the bills, managed it and did it well and ably. Dependability was there. And Bob, bless him. We crossed the ocean together more than 20 years ago now, in charge as a missionary company under the direction of President McKay, and I shall be indebted to him all my life.
And the rest of the family; Mont, Alan, Paul, Helen, Norma, all of them. They exhibit the teachings of the gospel in their lives. And that’s the long and the short of it. As Brother Adams said, “Much goes into the making of a state; in a civilization, much goes into the making of a church.” And it’s the family which is the root of all these things.
The last ten years it has been my rare good fortune to meet with Brother Toronto before the ward was divided. We were in the same quorum, same group. After the ward was divided, I would see him nearly every Sunday here in the building, and receive his quiet honest encouragement, the stimulation of his judgment, the steady influence of his calm demeanor. These have meant a great deal to me and especially as my responsibilities have grown in the state and the community.
Brother Toronto had an intelligent faith. His faith was not blind; it was intelligent. Their home was a home of prayer. Bob used to say it was the corn flakes that made him so strong. We had lots of corn flakes there, lots of other good things, and there was comfort, there was encouragement, there was inspiration. It was a house of prayer. Sister Toronto one day during the Depression was struggling to send these boys on missions. Toronto and Company had built a few houses in the late 20’s. They had built them at high prices and had to sell them at low prices; went through a lot of trials. I remember Sister Toronto one day in the kitchen saying, “We live on prayer in this home.” And I am sure it had much to do with the results that have been described here today.
You know, young people can get into a lot of trouble with automobiles, and the Toronto family always had two around. They had a famous old Rio which they all remember, and the Ford. The skill with which Brother Toronto or Sister Toronto would either deny the use of the car or permit its use to a Bunch of teenagers and the quiet advice and judgment they would give in departing has come to mean a great deal to me as I now watch my own teenagers go off in automobiles. I hope that all of us can have as good results in safety and good times as we found in that family.
I think we ought to say a word here about: Brother Toronto and his business. I have been in his office. I know how Sister Toronto would go out and help him in the car and have an open house when a new house was built. I’ve been to a few of them. I don’t think Brother Toronto was in business to make money. I think he looked upon his real estate business as a mission, an opportunity to try and help people who needed a home, find a home where they could have a family. And if he didn’t make a lot of money, I’m sure he contributed to a lot of homes. I know some people who have benefited by that. And Bishop Mont follows in the same footsteps, and he’ll have to work awfully hard to keep up to that reputation and tradition of his father. I know that the Lord will bless him in it.
We could talk a long time; those of us who have been the participants, the recipients of the kindness, the hospitality, and the intimate healing, comforting, encouraging influence of his household and its members.
I think in conclusion that all I can say and should say is that in the life of Albert Toronto we see the builder at work. He built homes and he helped build the kingdom of God. He was a Latter-day Saint; a saint, if there are any saints among us. If there are any saints among the Latter-day Saints, he was a saint. He was a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. He had that testimony and that influence in his heart. May God bless his memory, bless his dear wife with health and strength, bless his family with the power to go forward and build as their father built. And may the rest of us take encouragement and inspiration from it, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
“The Lord’s Prayer”, sung by Paul F. Toronto
Father in Heaven, we thy children come with grateful hearts at the close of this beautiful inspirational service. And we thank thee for thy spirit that has been with us, for the testimony that we have. And we ask thee to continue to bless us with thy spirit that we may so live that we will meet our brother Albert and be happy with him. Bless us as we go to final rites of this occasion to the cemetery, that we may continue to have thy spirit, that we may be able to go home to our places of abode and continue to live as we have had the example set for us. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. (by Joseph H. Felt)
In behalf of this marvelous family, I’d like to express for them their thanks unto those who have participated this hour to make it an inspiration to all of us –Brother Adams and Dr. Durham for most inspirational talks reminding us of the events that have made this family and Brother Toronto so meaningful in our lives. Brother Vern and Paul for those inspirational songs and for this lovely organ music, Alan and Thelma. We appreciate this hour. Now these flowers are beautiful. And we want to express on behalf of the family their thanks to you for sending them because they are surely your expressions of love to them and of your appreciation for the life of Brother Toronto. I observe in the audience many of his profession –many who are not of his faith and many who are, and we’re grateful to have the Realtors of the Salt Lake Real Estate Board ,here in attendance to express their appreciation for their contact and association in business circles with Brother Toronto.
We want to express our appreciation for those who have taken things to eat over to the home and have called on their home to express their sympathy and love to Sister Toronto and the boys and girls and for the Relief Society for preparing a luncheon for them after this service at their home and for their participation in handling these most beautiful flowers. This has been an hour of dedication, an hour of lovingness, an hour of family home night and I’m sure we’ll remember it and it will be an inspiration to us continually. The prayers that have been offered by these brothers-in-law and the dedication of the grave is to be pronounced by a brother-in-law, Brother Roy H. Bitner –a member of the family and a fellow Realtor. The interment will be in the City Cemetery and the family is continuing to serve their father – Wallace F. Toronto, Joseph Y. Toronto, Robert F. Toronto, Lamont F. Toronto, Paul A. Toronto, Alan F. Toronto –all sons and joining with them John Toronto, a nephew and John Mageras, son-in-law will be the pall-bearers. I think this is lovely.
These services will be concluded here and we’ll adjourn to the city cemetery and we ask those who go with us to go carefully with their lights on and stay close to one another and we’ll greet you at the cemetery.
MINNIE ETTA FELT TORONTO
21 February 1883 -25 March 1973
Services held 28 March 1973 at Larkin Mortuary
Salt Lake City, Utah
Officiating: Bishop Edwin B. Morrell
I set down my inventory of earthly desirables –health, love, talent, power, riches and fame. Then I showed it to an elder.
“An excellent list but you have omitted the one important ingredient, lacking which your list becomes an intolerable.”
He crossed my entire list out and wrote these syllables –“Peace of Mind –this is the gift that God reserves for His special proteges,” he said.
“Talent and health He gives to many, wealth is commonplace, fame not rare. But Peace of Mind He bestows charily.
“This is no private opinion of mine,” he explained, “I am merely paraphrasing from the Psalmists, Marcus Auerlius and Loa-tse, ‘God, Lord of the Universe,’ say these wise men, ‘Heap worldly gifts at the feet of foolish men. Give me the gift of the Untroubled Mind! ‘”
As many of you know, this is a quote from Etta’s own book that she compiled during the 1960’s –something that was very close to her heart of sayings that inspired her, and that she inspired many of us by sharing it with us and having it printed. I feel it a personal privilege and great honor to be able to conduct these services as a bishop in the ward where Etta has lived these past nine months, and as her son-in-law and Norma’s husband.
The family prayer has been offered by her son, Alan Toronto. The only immediate member of her family who wasn’t able to be here was Robert from Arizona, who is too sick to come, and whose good wife is here even though her own mother passed away just last Saturday and her funeral was just this week also.
Minnie Etta Felt Toronto, 90 years of age, formerly of 239 Douglas Street, died March 25, 1973 in Bountiful. Etta had lived in our home since last June and had only very recently in the last two weeks become almost totally confined to her bed, and when Norma and our children felt really unable to give her the kind of care she deserved, the family decided that we would place her in a home. It was a lovely home, and we felt that even though she wasn’t cognizant of what happened Saturday as we drove her there and took her inside that she would have good care and that she would have peace of mind in her condition. The next day, rather quietly, she passed away, and we all felt it was a very great blessing for her.
She was born February 21, 1883 in Salt Lake City to Joseph Henry and Alma Elizabeth Mineer Felt. She married Albert Toronto on June 14, 1905 in the Salt Lake Temple. He died February 22, 1954. He was a former real estate agent, and Etta, of course, worked with him for many, many years. She served in the YWMIA, the Relief Society, and eventually she was co-owner with her husband in the Toronto and Company Real Estate and with their son Lamont. She also has the honor of being one of the first telephone operators in Salt Lake. She had been preceded to the other side by her oldest son, Wallace, Czechoslovak mission president, and by her son Lamont Felt Toronto, who was Canadian mission president, and by her daughter Helen. Survivors are Norma Morrell, Joseph Y. Toronto, both of whom live in Provo; Dr. Alan F. Toronto of Salt Lake; Robert F. Toronto of Snowflake; Paul A. Toronto of Bountiful; and some 44 grandchildren, 5l great-grandchildren and her brother, C. Lamont Felt from Salt Lake City. The prelude music has been offered by Thelma Riser. The invocation will now be offered by John Toronto, Etta’s nephew.
Invocation: John S. Toronto
O God, our Eternal Father, we have gathered here this day to honor Etta Felt Toronto, and in some way bring comfort and strengthen the faith of those of us who have gathered here to honor her memory. Father in Heaven, we are grateful for the privilege that we have had of knowing this wonderful woman. She has been a great influence in her life. She has been a wonderful mother to her family. She has been a wonderful wife to her departed husband, and we are grateful for the example that she has set, not only as a mother, but as a friend, as a relative, as a neighbor, and as a citizen in this community. We’re grateful for the example that she has set, not only to her family, but to those who have been associated with her in a business way. Father in Heaven, at this time we would ask that thy Holy Spirit might be here, that those who are called upon to speak may in some way, though it be inadequate, express their love for this wonderful woman, and express to a limited degree the wonderful accomplishments of this wonderful woman. Her life has touched many. It has been for good; a wonderful influence, and we are grateful that we should be among those who have known Aunt Etta, that we have felt her love, that we have seen her example. Now as a result of this service, may those who have gathered here find their faith strengthened, and may they feel a spirit of love that they have never felt before, a spirit of love for this wonderful woman, and for the wonderful life she has led. Father in Heaven, we would ask that thy holy influence might surround those of the family today, during this service, as we go to the cemetery, and throughout the day. We are grateful for the privilege that has been ours to be associated with Aunt Etta and to know her. We now dedicate this service unto thee and we do it humbly in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Bishop Edwin B. Morrell:
Brothers and sisters, I am pleased and I think it is particularly fitting that the family chose to make this a funeral with the immediate members of the family participating, because I think that’s the way Grandma would prefer it. These are those with whom she spent her life and devoted so very much to make them better and to make life worthwhile because of her very, very, very, significant influence. I’d like to now introduce the services as they’ll proceed until just about the end. Wallace’s daughter, Marion T. Miller, will sing, followed by remarks from James Bud Keysor, who is a member of the greater Felt family, who has been very close to Etta – both have had very great influence upon each other. Bud now lives in California. Dr. Alan, Etta’s son, will then play an organ solo, followed by remarks by Etta’s son, Joseph Y. Toronto, who now serves as a counselor in the Provo Temple presidency, and has been a recent stake president. And then Etta’s son Paul will sing a vocal solo, “The Lord’s Prayer” by Gates, and he will be accompanied by Thelma Riser.
Song: “The Lord is My Shepherd,” by Albert Hay Malotte (Marion T. Miller)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, tho’ I walk thro’ the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Remarks: James Bud Keysor
I’m grateful to have been asked to speak at this great one’s funeral. My mother and Aunt Etta were sisters. They were really close. My mother died when I was 10 years old, and at that time I had gone to live with the Toronto’s as they had taken my mother to the hospital. And I believe that as far as a mother, she had a great influence on me. I know that there are people here that are not members of the family that she had a great affect on their lives. I picture Aunt Etta, always, with her delightful sense of humor that she had – family reunions, family get-togethers. The “ham,” I guess you could call it, that I know is in all of the family of her descendants and all of us which certainly came through her. I remember Aunt Irma –and time and time again, I guess when we were just children, why we begged the two of them to do the grand opera singing that they would do –and Aunt Etta in that low falsetto voice of hers, would sing and Aunt Irma treddling along there and the wonderful times that we had.
I know that this is a reunion time for her. It wasn’t too many years ago, or I guess it has been some time that Wallace stood here, Wally, when we buried Alma Elizabeth Mineer Felt, her mother. And I remember the remarks that he said. He said at that time, “Grandma loved a reunion. She loved to get together with her children, with her in-laws, and her ‘out-laws,’ as she called the ones that married into the family.” And right from this rostrum here, Wallace read some of the letters that Grandma had had. And this has been carried over with Aunt Etta. She had a great rapport with everyone. I guess in the modern vernacular it would be, she related to people in a great way. I know I have talked to some members of the family before we went to California, and they made the statement that they thought that it was possibly easier for them to communicate with Aunt Etta than their own mother. And I thought, what a great woman.
The cousins lived for some time with the Toronto’s. And when we talk about relating, there’s one thing that stands out in my mind, and that’s when the cousins decided that we’d like to build a swimming pool in the Toronto backyard. Now in most cases probably the mother would have said, “You’d have to be out of your mind,” or something like that, and of course in these times there weren’t many pools. I don’t think there were any swimming pools, at least outdoors in Salt Lake. But not Aunt Etta. She said, “I think it’s a great idea.” And so she got us together and she said, “We’ll have a little meeting before you build this swimming pool, and we’ll have some rules that go along with it, and I’ll see the neighbors and we’ll get the picks and shovels from the neighbors and we’ll make everything all available so that you can build this swimming pool. So we involved some of our friends, and we agreed to the rules. And I don’t think any of us listened too closely to what the rules were, but there was one of them that if this didn’t work, the swimming pool was to be filled up and the lot was to be restored in its original condition. And so away we go. We got up early in the morning, and we worked ’til late at night, but our curve as far as our interest in that swimming pool had kind-of a downward slope. It wasn’t long before we had given it up, or we were in hopes to. We were putting water in there to try and soften the ground and everything. We would have given up but she reminded us at that time that we were to restore that lot to its original condition which we did.
I think that she went the extra mile when she let us do things that were rather dangerous. Joe has some scars that are left over from those days that I’m talking about. And at that time when Douglas Fairbanks was in his prime. she let us build some jumping boards –diving boards I guess they would be –out from the front of her house there that we’d run and jump and try and imitate these movie stars that we liked very much.
She related. She loved people. I don’t think that she ever hated anyone in her whole life. I know that she had plenty of reason –involvement in my own family, but I know that the solace and comfort that we got from her (she was practically the only member of the family that supported us at some times) were really a great stimulus to us.
She came from a polygamist family. My grandfather … I might just say by word of passing that I was president of the Central States Mission, and they are the Reorganized Church back there. Their big point is polygamy, and how horrible polygamy was. I had an opportunity when I was back there; I belonged to Rotary, and at the time I went to the Independence Rotary Club. They gave me a chance to give my craft talk and my background, and I told them at that time, I said, “It might be of some interest to some people here because I have seven grandmothers.” I said, “I have three on my mother’s side and four on my father’s side.”· It was a luncheon meeting, and you could have heard a pin drop after I got through.
Anyway, I want to get back to Aunt Etta and the fact that she was a member of a polygamist family. Grandpa Felt had three wives; Louie B. Felt, who was president of the Primary, was the first wife; the second wife was Alma Elizabeth Mineer Felt, and the third wife we called Aunt Dell. Aunt Etta, when this great woman was being developed by the Lord, was a young girl just about at the time of the Manifesto when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ property in this town had been seized by the government, and they were being charged a rental fee for the temple block and for all of the things that they had. They were renting them from the government, and the government had seized them. This, of course, had come about by the lies and the things that people had told the President of the United States, and of course they had reacted in this. At that particular time, they had deputized deputies of some sort, and their whole purpose was to find out who was living in polygamy, the polygamist wives, and to be able to locate them to substantiate that they were polygamist wives, and then of course the polygamist husband was sent out to the penitentiary. Two of Alma Elizabeth Mineer Felt’s children had gone to stay with Louie B. Felt, who was the first wife, and Grandma Elizabeth Felt (or Lizzie Ma, they called her; they all had names. If you were a direct descendant you’d call them Grandma; if they were someone else you’d call them by some other term. The other children of the other wives called her Lizzie-Ma) went into the underground. She had to just disappear as far as the deputies were concerned. And she, of course, wanted to maintain some connection with her family and everything. Aunt Etta I guess at this time would be somewhere around 7, 8, 9, or maybe 10 years old. And she took care of the children. And those of us in the group of the family, in the early reunions and times that we have had, heard Aunt Etta tell this story, of how they used to accost her. And before she ever went out with the younger children she’d pick out some name that didn’t sound like it was just Jones or Brown or something that would pop off the top of your head. And she in turn would protect these children, and she would protect Alma Felt, her mother in this. She was learning, at that tender age the empathy that she felt, this touch that she has had in her relationship with her fellow men. She had a perfect record of not disclosing, and she did a brave job there.
I think that in speaking of her little book that she organized of the poems and other things that were so dear to her heart that she gave to her immediate family, and she sent Bernice and I a copy of this book. It’s been touched on and probably will more here, but the part that I want to bring out is her approach. She says, “Sunday, March 17th 1968.” And then it’s printed. “A gift with a Lift.” and underneath she has printed, “God will have his arm around you always.” And then she wrote a preface here where she said, “I have been gathering these poems for years and they are some of my most priceless possessions. From them one can glean thoughts for a sermon, solace for sorrow, a lift for the day and programs for pastimes. I hope you will enjoy this little book as much as I have, and that it will be an inspiration to you and your family.” And then it’s signed, “E. F. Toronto, 1967-68.” Then she writes, “Dear Bud and Bernice, I am so happy to belong to you. I love you very much. Etta.” To belong to us. This part that we’re talking about. I think that it would be, well, I want to touch on a reunion that we had out at your place which is the last time that Hom and I saw her. And I thought. true to form, she took some part in the reunion and she gave her little poem. “My get-up-and-go has got up and went; my get-up-and-go has went.” And I thought that she did a real good job there. I think one of the things that I might touch on that I believe she’d like is by Benjamin Franklin when he wrote, “We are spirits that bodies should be left us when they can afford us pleasure. assist us in acquiring knowledge, or in doing good to our fellow creatures is a kind of a benevolent act of God. When they become unfit for these purposes. and afford us pain instead of pleasure, instead of aid become an encumbrance. and answer none of the intentions for which they were given, it is equally kind and benevolent that a way is provided which we may get rid of them. Death is that way. Our friend and we were invited abroad on a party of pleasure, which is to last forever. Her chair was ready first, and she has gone before us. He could not all conveniently start together, and why should you and I be grieved at this since we are soon to follow her. and know where to find her.”
I would like to close by saying something a little about Grandma Felt, and which ties in with everyone. I think there’s a lot of us here that know that Aunt Etta sent an article to the magazine Modern Bride, which they published in 1970 in their editorial. I’ve taken this sheet out of it. Aunt Etta was really tickled about that; they sent her, I think $100 for the article. and she said that this was a letter that her mother. Grandma Felt, had left her. I think all of us have it; Joe has his, I have mine. Grandma Felt wrote a lot of letters, and there’s a lot in this when I read it to you that is, Grandma Elizabeth Mineer Felt, but there’s a lot in this that’s Etta Felt Toronto too. I might say that she gives a brief outline of Alma Elizabeth Mineer Felt here where she says, “Born, Alma Elizabeth Mineer, in Sweden, May 1, 1855, she came to America with her father, mother and older brothers – all converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The vessel they sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, in 1861, “The Monarch of the Sea” sank in mid-ocean on its return trip.
“Landing in New York, they rode a cattle-car train to Omaha, joining there a wagon train going West. Through the three-month journey she walked with the other children across mountains and wilderness.
The Mineer’s settled in Utah, colonizing one of the smaller communities near Salt Lake City. In 1875 Alma Elizabeth married Joseph Henry Felt, rearing six children.
Alma Elizabeth Mineer Felt passed away in 1950 at the age of 96 years. She is an example to her surviving grandchildren and great-grandchildren who number 66 all told. The advice offered in her beautiful letter is being shared through the courtesy of one of her daughters, Etta Felt Toronto.” I want to read this, but I want you to know that this in my opinion, is 90% Etta Felt Toronto and 10% Grandma.
“My dear children, You are starting on a long journey that will last throughout time and eternity if you are true to one another. Marriage is one of the most important events in your life, therefore it behooves you to be very wise and prayerful each day, asking God for wisdom to direct you in your thoughts and actions – that whatever faults you see in each other you will cover over with loving forbearance, remembering you must always make ‘A lovable place to live and a livable place to love, too.’
“There is nothing in all the world that will bring you such true happiness as a marriage to a good man and a loving wife. Never let a third party come between you, nor make a confidant of anyone but each other. Try to pull together as one, no matter what comes, adversity or prosperity. Save a little as you go along.
“If you disagree, as young couples do sometime, close your door and there within your four walls talk things over between yourselves – listen, think, reason and go more than half-way to be considerate and helpful to each other. You will surely have an over-lapping of loving kindness to draw from when the going is hard. The spirit of love cannot live long in a house of contention and strife.
“Remember each other on those very special days – Christmas, Birthdays, wedding days; even though it be just a flower or some loving thought. This is one of the little things on which to build a strong foundation for happiness and mutual love.
“The greatest gift you have is the creative power God has given you -see that you keep it sacred. To be father and mother of beautiful beings who come from the presence of the Eternal Father makes you co-creator, with God. What an honor: what a privilege to rear living monuments to your name.
Your posterity, your children who will grow up to call you blessed. Home means father, mother and children.
“The making of a house into a home is the greatest undertaking in marriage – and creating a happy one the greatest achievement. The sacredness of home and family relationships are as eternal as life itself.
“When I think of the joy I have had throughout the years with my family, I know I have touched the rim of Paradise with the protective love my children have given me. Retain the Romance of Life and carry it through to the end of a finished and beautiful life. Feed and cherish love as a precious possession it grows by loving.
“Now at 86 years I can thank God for a beautiful, long life made more glorious through a happy marriage to a good man and by our adorable children. Live close to God and remember –
Where there is Faith there is Love,
Where there is Love there is Peace,
Where there is Peace there is God,
Where God is there is no want.
“I love you both very much.”
I want to bear my testimony of the effect that this great woman has had on my life, on my sisters’ lives and their husbands, on my good wife’s life, on our children, on our grandchildren, and I know that the things that she taught are true. And I know that I’m a better person for her, because of her, and my family is better because of her. And I know that God lives, and that He is real, and He is a person of flesh and bones, and that He loves us, each and every one of us individually, and I know that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. He who has been sent to redeem us back into the presence of God, and I know by what I’ve seen in this great woman’s life and the effect that she’s had on my life and the people that are close to me, that the gospel is true; that it works, and that it is the ways and means by which love and joy and happiness can be brought into our lives, the lives of our families, and the lives of those people that we love, and I bear this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Organ Solo: Alan F. Toronto; “Meadow Song,” opus 114, by Frederick Groton
The piece that I will play is one that was very dear to mother. It was the very first organ piece I ever played, and when I did it I was just as scared as I am now. I was about age 15. This was one that she always loved to hear.
Remarks: Joseph Y. Toronto
This last Saturday the fog was beginning to get into our beloved mother as Brother Ed and I gave her a blessing as she started out in this journey to the home. Brother Ed anointed her and I sealed the anointing. She could always spare a little story on her. This will just be a little phrase, but when Ed got through, the fog that this wonderful bright brilliant personality was entering into was lifted; she repeated “Amen” a number of times. And I don’t really suppose that she heard the blessing that I pronounced upon her. And I feel that the blessing that was pronounced upon her was answered on the next day. Within 24 hours she did get this great privilege of graduating (some kind of n fancy Latin term they use “Magna Cum Laude” whoever that is, but whatever it is I’m sure that’s how she graduated) and went on into the next room.
Many of us here have seen this beautiful film, “Man’s Search for Happiness.” I think it was following Wally’s services that we went down to the Visitor’s Center with our children, and we reviewed the story of the father as he slept away. Do you recall these steps that you take through the darkness, and then coming into this beautiful light. And I’m sure this is what happened Saturday. You know we couldn’t be born into this world without families without others to orient us here. Here’s brother Wally’s and Martha’s grandson Aaron just taken out, and he’s just five weeks old. And he and everyone has needed this orientation of family to come to and a mother to care for him. Well, I believe that our birth into this next room will be by families. And I think that the beginning or ending of this channel will be just through that group – her sweetheart. Albert, and then Lamont, then Helen, then Wally, and Ruth who we didn’t know. This would be our oldest sister who was six months old when she was taken home. And of course Grandma Felt and Grandfather and the Torontos –this Giuseppe Efisio Toronto, whom we call Joseph Toronto, the Italian sailor, that Brigham Young said would stand at the head of the Italian nation because of his faithfulness.
It’s an interesting thing to me, too, that I have thought about as I have worked in the temple, we got a great impetus and blessing to get Brother Brian Lease to begin to do work on our genealogy in the islands of the Mediterranean. In a very short time he returned to us several hundred family names, and of course many many individual names. upwards of 1,000 I suppose to begin with. After a period of sort-of fasting and prayer we went to the temple one particular day in May. and shortly thereafter came these names back. And it seemed that in very close sequence to that – it was either before, I’m not sure of my timing, but father Albert was called home, and I think he was called home to help Grandfather Toronto. And then Wally was called home. And then Lamont, both great mission presidents, great lovers of men. And I read just the other night in this great vision of President Joseph F. Smith’s when he said that he was allowed to look into the great world of spirits. He saw there how the Savior organized his forces, and the great prophets were there of Old Testament times. and the great prophets among the Book of Mormon prophets and also Joseph and Hyrum, Brigham Young, John Taylor, these great latter-day prophets. Also I know this gives you girls, if I may call each of you a girl, a wonderful feeling when he said, “And I saw our glorious mother Eve and her faithful daughters – all organized in this great work of taking the gospel message not to the dead, but to the living dead, for they’re just in the next room.” (Joseph F. Smith, Vision of the Redemption of the Dead, Pearl of Great Price) So I know that just as soon as Albert and Wallace, Helen, Lamont, and now our mother has stepped across to that next room, whoever might be the bishops or those in authority would call them in and put the harness right on them. And I suppose it’s the patriarchal order that Grandfather Toronto possibly said, “Here you belong to our family, and there’s a lot of these rambunctious enthusiastic singing Italians and Sicilians who need this work and get to work.” I guess if they have presidents of Relief Societies over there, mother Etta’s probably a Relief Society president right now.
I do know from being in the temple not from any direct experiences that I have had that occasionally the veil is lifted. We’ve had reports in our baptistry, sealing rooms, the veil of the temple, anybody can look in a book and know that temples have veils, so I’m not telling you anything you can’t see in any book that’s published. You want to look in Talmage’s The House of the Lord or Meet the Mormons – you’ll see that the temple has a veil. Temple workers in Provo have seen those just across the bar. So I feel today that if our spiritual eyes were opened, and we could see in this room in the right place, that here would be Albert, Etta, Helen, and Mont, Wallace, and Ruth, probably our Grandmother Alma Elizabeth. Where else would they rather be for just look at the posterity here before us, those that they love. You know, they talk about kingdoms on the other side, and I ask the question of who are going to constitute those kingdoms. It is the children, you children. If Albert and Etta are going to be kings and queens in eternity, where is their kingdom if today it isn’t right here.
This morning early I needed to be at the temple. President Clark had accepted an assignment to go back to Washington and meet with the educators on special assignment, so I’ve had every morning early – about 5:00, about 20 minutes to 5, I got out of the car, and if you could have seen this morning our Provo Temple, this white jewel of a building with a golden spire that goes right up into the heavens. It was snowing; you could just see against the lights of the temple these showers of snow buffeting against that tower. And truly the temple did look like this golden candle of the Lord. President Harold B. Lee said in one of his comments in a recent conference, that the Manti temple president had turned to him on one occasion and. said, “You know, President, our Manti Temple is never more beautiful than in a storm.” And I thought of our mother in this regards, that storms buffeted her; there were the storms of depression. I remember rows of almost an unending line (it seems at times) of bill collectors seeking to collect on debts that we as a family had incurred in subdividing just before the great Depression, things being good, Wallace had been called on a mission, and then the next year I went out on a mission. He completed those missions, but we did come back into these storms of depression. Albert, bless his memory, he never would, against the counsel of friends, take out bankruptcy, but he retired these obligations. His strength there was mother Etta. She was the one on whom he leaned. It seemed like nothing could buckle her. There was no pressure that could come that could buckle that faith. She had this faith that follows in that great verse that led Joseph to ask of our Heavenly Father, where it says, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” (James 1:6) When Albert did pass away, she had gone home leaving him at the hospital. When the phone rang, she felt the news would be of his passing. She uttered this prayer, “Oh Father, bless me to receive and meet whatever this message may portend.” And so she was told that she should hurry to the hospital to see her beloved Albert before he passed away, but he did pass before she got there. Doctor Viko was there to comfort her, and she sat down with him. In amazement he said, “Mrs. Toronto, I came out to this hallway to meet you and to comfort you, and you are comforting me.” So she did have that peace that passes understanding. And she testified to this, that as she sat there in that telephone booth that an overshadowing power did come and envelop her like a mantle.
One other instance of her great faith happened at our beloved University Ward. Some of you are here. Well, we know that with the worldly learning up there all didn’t have the testimony of Jesus Christ. He did hear the words in a priesthood meeting up there, that, well, Joseph Smith really didn’t have that vision, he just thought he did. I remember when for a short period Brother LeGrand Richards was the bishop there that he called all the priesthood together and gave them a great sermon testifying to us heathens up there, so to speak, that the Lord did live, that Jesus was the Christ, and I remember, being his ward clerk, afterwards, sitting at my desk and he over at his desk, after giving this great testimony – “Oh, I’ve lost them; I’ve lost them. I’ve spoken too strongly.” Mother Etta felt (pardon me, now that isn’t a name –I’m using a verb) felt a little inferior in this environment of learning. And after a meeting in our home, someone said, “Well, Sister Toronto, you don’t really believe all these things, do you?” And she said, “I do, I do believe them.” And then after they had gone, she began to say to herself, “How can I question? Here are these men who got out and acquired this great learning; what is my testimony against this learning? How can I, little Etta, be right, against this skepticism and against this learning of the world.” And she prayed about it. And she testified later to us that a voice spoke peace to her, an audible voice, that she was right, that her testimony was founded on truth. And she did have a patriarchal blessing that said that angels would be her companions. And I feel that in these instances that I’ve mentioned these angelic personages were not far away.
Well, to our mother Etta, the things that were in her life, “my Heavenly Father, my Savior, my sweetheart Albert, my home, my family, and then from there on go out into the entire world.” She lived and believed this great scripture, “The worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” (D & C 18:10) And she, one way or another, labored all her days, and she had a way of feeling, making each soul feel their worth. Not too long ago in a wheelchair when she was still quite lucid, on a Sunday morning, I had taken her for a ride, and we stopped by the temple and I got a wheelchair and we went on a tour of the temple. Don’t tell President Clark, but we looked in various rooms, and then she sat in my office and she said, “Oh Joseph, I’m so proud of you.” Just like she’d say to each one of you children when you would come to visit her, whether it’s Russ or James or whoever it might be, “I’m so proud of you.” She had this way of relating. You know, as soon as I got married, I almost got cut off from the family. All the letters that she ever wrote to the Joseph Toronto’s were addressed to Mrs. Ila Toronto; she got all the mail. She had this way of getting close to those that she loved.
As Bud has said, our home on Douglas Street was a haven of rest and comfort, and she was home. Just a challenge now to you younger mothers, and you girls who will be mothers. She was home, where the nieces, nephews, her children, the wayfaring man, or the person needing help could come and cry on her shoulder. How can anybody cry on your shoulder if you’re not at home? I just say that against the wave that’s sweeping the world. Elder Boyd K. Packer told us this some years ago in our stake conference. “If the fortress has a front door, a back door, and you have two people to guard the door, where do you station your guards? If you take one of the guards away from the door, where does the enemy attack? If Mother is not at home, where does the enemy attack?” Our mother Etta was a great example of this that I’m talking about. With all these things I’m saying I feel deep in my heart that she was a great and a noble spirit; perhaps we don’t know of the real greatness and valiance of this woman even right now.
Well, I’d like at this time to express an especial thanks to Ethyl for her love and care and devotion, the time that she spent with mother; to Lamont’s Helen and their family, who took Mother as we got rid of the Douglas Street home which was that great stopping-place for all of us. Helen and Lamont and after Lamont’s passing, Helen continued with our mother and with her own mother, caring for her. And finally in these last months, Norma and Ed. Ed, following this assignment of taking mother became a Bishop with all the demands of interviewing, and things that are put upon the shoulders of the bishop. How nobly, how wonderfully, Ed and Norma and their girls showed compassion and their affection. I’ve been there when the little ones and the older ones would say, “Grandma, how are you” and kissed her and loved her, and she would just respond and say, “God bless you. God bless you.” She loved to be loved. So I feel to challenge each one of us young and old, in-laws and I’m one of the outlaws, to seek to follow her example. We can do that through obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ, and through activity in the Church and kingdom of God, which was established by the restoration and by the laying down of the life of Jesus Christ; in our dispensation, of the life of Joseph and Hyrum and these great prophets.
Just suppose now, we’ve seen these pictures of these astronauts, that they’ve taken, they’re here on the moon in this barren waste of a landscape; rocks, not a living growing thing on it, and then in the background they’ve taken a picture of a glorious beautiful colorful earth, back here with the blue of the sky, the red or orange of the continents, and the flight of the clouds. Now we know by a prophecy, by revelation that this earth is to be our celestial dwelling place after things culminate. And those who are obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ will have an inheritance upon this earth, where our mother Etta and Albert, and these other ones we have mentioned will be. Now suppose because our hearts are hard, our ears are dull of hearing; we are rebellious and we say “No, my light is my own; I am a law to myself; I’m going to do what I want to do.” And so we don’t heed the inner voice. Remember, Amulek said that “I did not know anything of the gospel, or rather, I did not want to know anything in the gospel. The Lord spoke to me again and again, but I would not hear.” (Alma 10:5-6) Now here we find ourselves irrevocably on some place like this barren waste of moon, and here’s the ones we love. Up here, irrevocably, eternally, in this celestial kingdom, and we irrevocably, eternally cannot get to them because we have failed to live up to the things that we know we ought to do. Now I testify to each one of you members of mother Etta’s family, you young men, that the Lord has sent you here into choice families to be missionaries of the living God. Our prophet leaders have said that it is our obligation to proclaim the gospel to the nations of the earth. And if we don’t do that, we’re not living up to our obligations, the thing that our Heavenly Father wants us to do. And you remember how again and again mother would say, “I can’t afford to disappoint my Heavenly Father. I hope he’s not displeased with me today. I’m a bit discouraged. I’m going to try not to be discouraged.” So I give us all that challenge; that we will follow this great example of forgiveness, of compassion, of love for the wayfarer, of faith nothing wavering, of peace, and Ed quoted this verse on peace, and I’ll bear a testimony that she, I know, would bear with us, of Jesus where he said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25-26) I forgot the rest of that; I can’t quote it so I won’t. Then the angels at the tomb of Christ said, “He is not here; he is risen.” (Luke 24:4-5) That tomb was empty, and so will the tombs of our loved ones be empty again because of Jesus Christ. This great declaration of Job, “I know that my Redeemer liveth; that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, and though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” (Job 19:25-26) Christ to the Saducees, “God is not God of the dead, but the God of the living.” In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Song: Paul F. Toronto, “The Lord’s Prayer,” by B. Cecil Gates
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil;
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever.
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Bishop Edwin B. Morrell:
The benediction on these services will be pronounced by Tom Felt, Etta’s brother Lamont’s son. Pallbearers include six grandsons, Lamont’s David; Robert’s son James, Alan’s Russell; Wally’s David; Paul’s Wesley; Joseph’s son John. The procession will leave from the east end of this chapel and will proceed to the Salt Lake City Cemetery, where Etta’s sister Erma’s son, Robert F. Bitner, will pronounce the dedication on the grave. The family is invited, following this, to go to the Parley’s ward, Lamont and Helen’s ward on 23rd South and 21st East for a luncheon which the family themselves have prepared.
Etta was such a wonderful mother-in-law I don’t know that I can pay her any greater tribute than to say what a privilege it was to be part of her family. I came into the family at that point when Albert had passed away; Norma was the only other one home. In all these nearly twenty years I was never made to feel anything but a son in Etta’s very charming and wonderful way. We enjoyed her home so much. We spent many months there on and off with all of our travels, coming to and from, but it was just a wonderful place. In closing, I’d like to just share a bit of humor and a bit of thought with you. I guess Etta’s smiling about this. I don’t know if it’s the first thought she had when she got there; I’m sure there were more important ones, but maybe by now she’s thinking:
When you get to Heaven
You will likely view,
Many folks whose presence there
Will be a shock to you.
But just keep very quiet,
And do not even stare-
Doubtless there’ll be many folks
Surprised to see you there.
Then of her great faith – her favorite scripture, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) And then finally, her tribute written by herself to Dad, the closing phrase of which I think is the most fitting thing that we can say on her behalf at this moment. She wrote this a year after Albert’s death.
“To our children: Here was a great man. In his own quiet way he lived the life of a true Latter-day Saint.
“I told him many times why I first loved him – he was a gentleman, and I was always proud to introduce him as my husband. Immaculate in her attire and clean in mind and body.
“During our years together he was not only a gentleman in the courteous sense of the word but always a gentle man with me and with his family.
“There was always a leak in our financial bag and a gradual dribbling away, but some man or woman was befriended and made happier in the passing of the ‘dribble.’
“‘With charity for all and malice toward none,’ he loved all mankind and was beloved by many.
“May you all seek to develop the qualities of your Dad. Love and Service above everything else to God, our Heavenly Father, and lovingly understanding your husbands and wives and gentling your children.
“It was an honor to have been his wife and a privilege to have mothered his children.
“Looking forward to the endless years of Eternity I shall have with him, I am indeed greatly blessed.”
Benediction: Thomas L. Felt
All wise righteous Eternal Father in Heaven, at the close of these services for one of thy beloved daughters, Etta Felt Toronto, we give thanks to thee, Father, for the opportunity that we have had as family and friends to have known such a fine person, and to have a little bit of Aunt Etta rub off on us, which is truly our great blessing. Her love for mankind, her testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, her exemplary life she lived here on earth, will be a trumpet for us and something for us to follow and remember. The words spoken this day, Father, the vocal selections which have been rendered, the organ selections, are a tribute that touched our hearts in accordance with what Aunt Etta would love to come to pass for us. He thank thee for this family who is talented in this respect to have given these fine things for this service. At this time as we leave for the cemetery, we pray that the cortège might ride in safety, and as we go our various ways after the services there, we might have thy spirit to guide and counsel us, that no harm or evil will befall us. Again, Father, we are indeed grateful for knowing this fine woman, and for the gift that thou hast given us of eternal life, and having the satisfaction of knowing that she is with her beloved husband and her loved ones. We say this prayer humbly in the name of thy son, Jesus Christ, Amen.