I was born on July 17, 1931 in Elberta, Utah at the home of a neighbor. I believe their name was Philson. I had to be born there because our home had burned down two weeks before. I think if the truth were known, one of my eight brothers or two sisters were playing with matches. I don’t remember much about my first five years in Elberta. I recall riding behind brother Eugene on old “Star” and lighting fires out of tumble weeds to scare away the coyotes from the turkeys. I remember brother Harold coming to visit in his shiny new cars. I remember Janis breaking her collar-bone while we were playing “Run, Sheepie, Run!” I also remember Lyle kicking a bottle lid of gasoline and burning his leg.
When I was five we moved to Taylorsville on 48th South where I grew up and attended Plymouth for nine years. We moved next door to the original house and I can’t remember how long we lived there but it was while I attended the early grades. On my eighth birthday I was baptized in the canal behind the house by my Father and his friend, Daniel Tomander. About the time that I was in the fifth grade we moved north on Redwood Road near 50th South, then Dad built his last home across the street.
It was here that I became interested in dogs as there was a kennel across the street. While I attended Granite High School I worked with dogs, learning how to train them to obey and to hunt. After graduating from Granite High in 1949, I trained dogs for about a year. I then moved to Los Angeles and took a job training “seeing eye” dogs and working with the blind. I did this for about 18 months and enjoyed it very much but being a small town boy at heart I really didn’t like living in California. There were too many people going in too many directions at the same time.
Moving back to Utah I started working at Western Optical in Salt Lake City, training and learning to be an optician. All through high school I had dated Dawna Howlett and after moving back from California we started dating again and in July, 1952 we were married. After our wedding, which was held in the new Bennion Ward house, we moved into an apartment in Salt Lake City, on 9th East. We saved our money because I decided that there was more to life than operating a lens grinding machine and I wanted to further my education. I enrolled the following year at BYU. During the first quarter there, Dawna had to have an appendectomy and we had no insurance so this wiped out our savings. It was almost impossible at this time for students to find a job in Provo so we were forced to move back to Salt Lake City.
I went back to the dogs! I got a job at the Radiobiology Lab at the University of Utah. They had a grant from the Atomic Energy Commission to do radiation research on a colony of Beagles. I planned to work there and attend classes at the University, but before I got really started in school, Uncle Sam called.
I joined the Army in January, 1955 for two reasons. I was set to be drafted in March anyway, and I wanted to take advantage of the GI Bill which was going to expire at the end of the month. (This GI Bill later paid for at least half of my education.) I went from Salt Lake City to Ft. Ord, California for a week and then on to Ft. Carson, Colorado for my basic training. Was I ever glad to leave sunny California and get back into the mountains and the snow so I could get warm. After eight weeks of basic training, I was sent to Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana for schooling. This is where I learned to be a personnel specialist. After two months there I was sent once again to Ft. Carson as a permanent station. This permanent station wasn’t very permanent. After four months I was transferred to Germany. I was stationed in Bavaria, West Germany in an old city that was founded in the 14th century, called Nurnburg. Here I spent the next 25 months. Dawna was able to join me after 6 months. Here we were blessed by being able to adopt a little girl that we named Kathrine. We also had another little baby girl named Peggy Ann who died three days after she was born. We really enjoyed our stay in Germany as we had many opportunities to travel and see Europe.
Upon returning home and being discharged from the Army, I went back to work with the dogs at the Radiobiology Lab at the University of Utah. At the same time I enrolled in school there. For the next four years we lived in the married student housing unit called “Stadium Village”. They were old army barracks located just east of the football stadium. Here we acquired our son “James Lee” and also a Bachelor of Science degree in history. I continued working at the Radiobiology Lab for one more year after being graduated and we lived in a little house on 21st East, right behind Highland High School.
I really enjoyed my work at the university, but I decided that there really wasn’t much future there, so I accepted a teaching position at Davis High School. After all, this is what I had attended the university for and had struggled to obtain a degree in.
During the summer of 1961 before school started we purchased a building lot in Davis County above the city of North Salt Lake. We rented an apartment close by so we could supervise the construction and I started teaching. I don’t think that I had ever worked so hard in my life, not building the house but that first year of teaching. Keeping ahead of about 200 teenagers is quite a job. It seemed like no matter what kind of trick they tried I had usually already done it myself when I was their age, so I knew how to handle it!
It was here while we were living in North Salt Lake that I got involved in police work. I started out as a reserve officer, assisting a regular officer one night a week. From there I progressed to working as a regular officer four night shifts a week. Police work is sometimes exciting but most of the time it is very routine. Mainly I worked traffic and set radar traps. Radar was new then and we wrote lots of tickets. I didn’t like accidents and saw enough blood and broken bodies to last me forever. The high point of my police career was arresting the biggest drug dealer in Salt Lake and helping to put him behind bars. I still have his gun, which I took out of his car when I arrested him. This helped me decide that maybe the risks of being a police officer wasn’t worth the money that it paid. I then switched my gun and badge for a pair of rubber boots and a long handled dipper. I still work through the summers for the Davis County Mosquito Abatement.
About this time my marriage to Dawna was struggling. She wasn’t happy, although our new home was nice and we had been blessed with the birth of our little girl, Bonnie. Dawna felt that another new location would be better. We sold our home, moved to Bountiful and rented a duplex on 15th South. After about a year living here we bought our home in Farmington. This was the answer to me; country living, horses, and a mountain to ride and hike on right behind our house. About six months later Dawna wanted to move again and I refused, so we separated. What a hard decision this was to make. I loved my children and missed them so much. I hope I never have to do anything ever again as hard as leaving them was.
Living alone to me is the pits. Single life might be fun for some, but to me coming home to an empty house is no good. I was glad when an old friend called and asked if I had any room to keep her son’s horse. I said yes on one condition – that she would promise to come out to Farmington often to ride her. Well, out she came and we rode–and we had been married a year before I found out that Gloria really didn’t like to ride horses: It’s okay though because I told her that I liked to vacuum!
Gloria and I were married on November 12, 1969 and moved her–no, our family to Farmington. What a struggle at first, her kids were always picking on mine or was it t mine were always picking on hers? Anyway, with a lot of love and prayers and the Lord’s help we were able to join the two families into one. Then when our own little Suzi was born that made it his, hers and ours! Who could ask for anything more?
The last 15 years have been the best years of my life. It’s been great to have a partner who is on my side. The Lord has really blessed me. I have been able to work and earn the money to support the family. Gloria has worked long hours in her beauty salon to make sure we have enough for the extras. These extras, we feel, have enabled us to spend many fun, loving hours with our children. We love to go camping, boating and have taken our children on lots of long, fun trips. Maybe it has all paid off because we have watched our children mature into responsible adults. What a joy it is for a parent to see his children all try to live the Lord’s commandments.
This is my 22nd year at Davis High. Time does fly! Every year some of my students ask me if I remember teaching their mother or father. I guess I’ve become a tradition there. I have been the public address announcer at the football games for the last 20 years. I can’t miss a game without getting complaints that it just isn’t a Davis game without Mr. Hintze on the microphone!
I hope that someone, someday asks us to update these histories. I think that I’m just in the prime of my life, and in a few more years I would be able to add many more pages!