I was instantly transported to a time 11 years ago when I spoke at his funeral all the emotions came flooding back like it was yesterday. In fact as I sit here typing my eyes are filled with tears and the screen is blurrying before my eyes.
So I am going to embrace those feelings and share with you my Grandpas life.
Dee Jay was born December 4, 1929, he was the first son and second child of 12 to Berton and Rachel Mae. Being one of the oldest he shared the responsibility of gathering firewood, bringing water, starting the morning fire and other such chores.
He attended Malad Idaho Elementary and Jr, High School. During these years he shined shoes and set bowling pins at the bowling alley for dimes and nickels.
Quitting school his ninth grade year he began working. He traveled with a carnival, sometimes hitch hiking between cities because he was too young to be hired by the carnival. Other times the trucks would stop at the state line so he could walk across to the next state, because it was illegal to transport a minor across state lines. At other times he helped farmers by riding the derrick horse or driving wagons. He also worked as a fry cook. One summer while helping his Uncle Stephen on the harrow he broke his leg. They transported him from Kilgore Idaho to Malad before he got medical attention. He spent days in the hospital allowing the swelling to go to down so the compound fracture could be set. He enjoyed showing the scar off to his family. In his youth grandpa tried his hand at various jobs and gained many skills. He never stopped amazing us with the stories of his many experiences.
At the age of 17 he joined the Air Force and spent time in Topeka, Kansas, St. Louise Missouri, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala. He was assigned to a reconnaissance aircraft, the B17, as a radio operator which gave him the training and education which lead to his life time career.
At age 20 he became reacquainted with Hanna Lou. Two months later, on August 8th 1950 the were married in Carlin, Nevada.
Shortly after his marriage he went to work for the State of Idaho Highway Dept surveying roads and testing road materials. During this time his four oldest children were born, Grant in 1951, 11 months later Eunice was born in 1952. Louise came in 1954 and Janice in 1955.
Also in 1955 he was hired by the Federal Government as an Air Traffic Controller. The family temporally moved to Bountiful, Utah for 6 months.
They then moved back to Malad where he continued working for the FAA at the Malad Airport for 18 years. Here he loved his job and co-workers. Three more children were born during these years, Dana in 1957, Natalie in 1959 and Dalan in 1962.
In 1965 Grandpa and Grandma were sealed in the Logan Temple to each other and their children for all eternity.
Grandpa kept busy during these years being active in the Lions Club, The Eagles Club, and serving on the Draft Board. He also enjoyed raising and racing horses. He served as LDS church as the executive secretary, a young men's adviser, home teacher, Sunday school teacher, a member of the Sunday School Presidency and a member of the Elder's Quorum Presidency.
TO better support his family he took other jobs such as spraying for weeds and insects. During lambing he would help sheep ranchers. As payment he brought home the orphaned or "bum" lambs for his family to raise.
In 1973 the airport in Malad closed down and Grandpa moved his family to Boise Idaho. He continued working for the FAA for 12 more years and took a second job as a relief bus driver. Also during this time he was selected to take special training for his job and became certified as a E faus specialist. He also served as stake missionary for his church. In all he jobs Grandpa excelled and earned respect from those around him.
While in Boise and in his fifties Grandpa picked up new hobbies. Although deathly afraid of drowning he endured 3 sessions of swimming lessons until he learned to swim. At the age of 52, Grandpa learned down hill skiing. He also learned the trade of shoe repairing. A skill he hoped to use after he retired. It was also during this time that he became a grandfather a role he enjoyed immensely.
In 1985 Grandpa retired from the FAA and in 1986 he and Grandma returned to Malad, his beloved home and as he would say, "God's Country."
In 1987 he went through surgery for colon cancer. Although the illness altered his life, he won the battle and as a true survivor continued an active and productive life. Grandpa again worked in the young men's program and as a home teacher.
He then took a new job as a manager of the Senior Citizen's Center. He remained at this job for 13 years. He was dedicated worker preparing the monthly meat order for the center from his hospital bed just a day and 1/2 before his death.
After retiring to Malad Grandpa picked up the hobbies of snowmobiling and riding ATVs. He again raised, trained and raced horses. He continued snow skiing into his 60's and always enjoyed hunting and fishing with his children and other relatives.
Grandpa's highest priority in life was his wife, children, grandchildren and other family members. I am very proud to be able to call him Grandpa.