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Summerhays, Richard Stirling





Richard S. Summerhays

December 27, 1908: I was born at 519 South Pleasant Street in Independence, Jackson
County, Missouri, the first child of Richard Berrett Summerhays and Eliza Searle Stirling.  Father had served his mission in the Southern States.  After his release he made a short trip to Salt Lake City to marry mother.  They had been sweethearts prior to the time he went on his mission.  They were married in the Salt Lake Temple August 7, 1907.

October 6, 1912:  My brother, Donald Stirling Summerhays was born also at 519 South Pleasant Street in Independence.

November 1914:  We moved from 519 South Pleasant Street to 418 North Grand Avenue.  This was a real event in our lives.  We called the new home our “Rock House” because it was built largely of stone and had a large stone fireplace.  Some of the most pleasant memories of my childhood are associated with this home.  I remember the large walnut groves which were over in Dodd’s pasture.  All of the kids had free access to them, and we would gather the black walnuts in the fall and hull them for our winter supply.  Al and Jen came to live next door after his mission and marriage.  I remember the croquet games that we used to have at our place.  I attended the George S. Bryant School.  I started in the first grade because mother had taught both Don and I the things that we would have normally learned in kindergarten.  I did not start school until after I was six but skipped to the second grade.  Independendce is a headquarters of the Reorganized LDS Church.  I was the only Mormon boy in school.  We had several rabbits, and it was my job to gather their food each day.  I well remember going to the temple lot for this purpose because the dandelions grew there in abundance, as they did on some of the adjoining property.

During the time that we lived in Independence father worked as manager for Zion’s Printing and Publishing Company, a church printing plant, which printed the Books of Mormon.  The Liahona, the red song books and the missionary literature.

January 14, 1917; I was baptized by my father, Richard B. Summerhays, in the baptismal fount in the Central States Mission Chapel.

June 15, 1919: My brother Lloyd Stirling Summerhays was born in Kansas City, Kansas, at the hospital there.

February 22, 1920: On this day we arrived in Salt Lake City.  We moved there from our home at 418 North Grand Avenue in Independence because of a business opportunity that father had at Salt Lake.  We lived for a week or two with my uncle, Lorenzo B. Summerhays, and his wife, Arlene, and then father purchased a home for us at 1373 Browning Avenue in the Wasatch Ward.

January 17 1921: My brother Keith Stirling Summerhays was born in our home.  He was the last of their four childeren.

I was in the sixth grade in the Uintah School.  At that time there were very few houses between our home and the Uintah School.  We used to cut across the lots to go to school.  This was on the East Bench.  In the winter when the wind came in from the canyon it could be cold..

Our home was a two-story place.  On the second story there was a large porch where Don and I used to sleep.  It was screened but had no other protection from the weather.  Although it was cold we enjoyed sleeping there rather than inside.

I have an abundance of pleasant memories associated with this home and the eight years that we lived there prior to the time that I was called on my mission.  I had my first date with Maureen Day when I was in the eighth grade, and I was a close friend of her brother, Dan.

I joined the Scout Troop at the Ward.  Neil White was the Scout Master and did a good job.  Bishop Marvin O. Ashton was the Bishop and freely loaned the use of his truck from the Sugar House Lumber Company for our scouting excursions.  During my scouting days I was also a close personal friend of Wayne Brown.  We both got our Eagle badges at the same time.

After graduation from the eighth grade at the Uintah School I attended one year at the Roosevelt Junior High School before going to the Latter Day Saints High School.  They had, at that time, just started junior high schools so that I had attended seventh and eighth grades at Uintah.

I entered the Latter Day Saints High School in September 1923, and graduated in May 1926.  I have equally pleasant memories of my high school days.  I did not go out for athletics primarily because I worked after school to help pay for my own expenses.

In December of 1925, when I was in my senior year at the high school, Paul Stirling, my cousin, and I made a trip to California to visit his mother and see the Rose Parade.  That was a memorable trip and my first extended visit away from home.

May 1926: The same week as my graduation from high school I was approached by Sister Bitner to take part in an opera which she was putting on in the ward.  I was to be one of a number of young men who, with an equal number of young ladies., would make up the chorus.  Wayne and I went over to the first practice with some misgivings, but I was paired off in the chorus with Miriam Maxwell and Wayne with a girl by the name of Georgia.  We took the girls home from the practice that night and we went with them rather steadily that summer.  I was still going steady with Miriam when I was call on my Mission.

In the summer of 1926 I secured a job with the Smith-Faus Wholesale Drug Company as a posting machine operator in their accounting department.  I enjoyed my work.  The folks were limited financially that September and so I did not enter a university but continued on working with Smith-Faus until the fall of 1927.  I quit at that time to enter the University of Utah in the School of Business, and worked after hours for dad in his letter shop.

May 21, 1928: I received my call from President Heber J. Grant to serve in the Northwestern States Mission.  William R. Sloan, the Mission President, requested that I go directly to Missoula Montana for my first field of labor.  I arrived there on July 7, and was met by Elder Fishburn, my companion.  That first summer we worked between Missoula and Polson Montana, Including the Flathead Indian Reservation, part of the time without purse or script.  In the fall I was transferred to Spokane for a short period, then to Portland, Oregon, where I was mission clerk until I was transferred to Tacoma, Washington where I served as District President until my release at the Cardston Temple on July 17 1930.

When I got back to Salt Lake City I went to live with my grandmother Sarah B. Summerhays who lived on Bryan Avenue.  While I was on my mission, my folks had moved back to Independence and later to California.  I wanted to stay in Salt Lake because Miriam and I had corresponded regularly while I was on my mission, and we both wished to continue our courtship.  The depression had started and jobs were hard to get.  Ren helped me look and eventually I secured a position as office service clerk (office boy) with the Salt Lake Branch of the Retail Credit Co.  Werner P. Jerrell was the manager.  The office force had been cut to effect economies because of the depression.  My starting salary was $60 a month.  Both Mr. Jerrell and I got down to the office before 7 a.m. and it was almost always after 7 p.m. at night before we left.  Shortly after I was employed I was made an inspector and given an increase in pay.  Mr. Jerrell gave me every opportunity for advancement, and I enrolled in all the company correspondence courses.  In May of 1932 Mr. Traffert, the manager of our Butte office, was transferred to Spokane and I was given the opportunity of taking his place as manager of the Butte Office.

I had given Miriam her ring in December 1931 and now that I had this opportunity to go to Butte.  I wanted her to go with me.  She consented and we set our marriage date for May 23rd.

May 23 1932: I was married in the Salt Lake Temple by Joseph Christenson, the Temple President to Miriam La Nola Maxwell, the fourth child and third daughter of Thomas Hird Maxwell and Annie Louise Burton.  We had our reception at their home and left the next day for our honeymoon and my assignment in Butte, Montana.



Last modified: November 10, 2000