Today I would like to tell you about my Sister. I am the voice for my brothers and sisters as I stand before you today, to honor LaVerne and to express our love for her and for Jean.
We are so grateful to Jean for the loving concern care that he gave LaVerne. For the years of patience and love and devotion to her, meeting and caring for each of her needs. We were glad that they moved to St. George and that they were close enough for us to visit them. Mary and Bob liked the winters in St. George and have been living near them, how blessed they were to have Mary and Bob there, for they have been such a support and a strength to them.. It has been a daily labor of love for each of them.
LaVerne deserved the very best care, for she set the example for all of as she cared for our mother. She indeed honored her parents and set the example for us to follow.
Some of the things I will share with you today will be taken from her own history and some will be our personal memories, my desire is that you will know her better as I share these with you.
One of my earliest memories of LaVerne is walking to church with her and reviewing a two and one half minute talk that she had helped me prepare, she was taking the time with me for the final review.
I can remember when she took, Lola and I with some of her boyfriends and they let us ride in the rumble seat of the car as they drove to the canyon or to the lake… One boy she was with drove onto the ice at Utah Lake and the front end of the car was nose down in the cracked ice How many big sisters want little sisters to tag along?
In her history, she writes “My parents were expecting–perhaps hoping–for a boy when I was born June 1, 1909. Many years later and announcement card of my birth was given to me by an aunt. My father had written on it.”The boy we expected is a baby girl’ Then she added this may be the reason he never told me I couldn’t do a mans work.
She was the first child of our parents and the first grandchild and a great-grandchild on the Harris side of the family and they all we so happy over her. She grew up loving and being loved by all.
Her friends were very important to her and the group of girls that she went with from the Provo 6th Ward organized a club. They called it the Clavell Club. They made us the name using the first letters of their names, Clara, LaVerne, Irene Virge, Lenore, and Lillian. This club is still meeting, as recently as last Tuesday. They had invited Maxine Grimmett to join them when she was 16years old, she was so honored to be invited to join this them and now she is the last one of the early group. They have been meeting every two weeks for 62 years There are now 13 members and 12 of them were at the meeting on Tue.. Some of you who are here today are members of that club. I have had the privilege of going to the club with LaVerne on those special days when guests were invited., she always loved to be there and enjoy your friendship. She kept close touch with her friends now some l have gone before her, others have poor health and cannot join us today.
She loved the church hymns and songs and many times they were a strength to her as she would hum or sing them, When the church changed the Sunday School program she was sure that the members wouldn’t have a chance to learn the words and tunes to the hymns, and she was pleased when they still had the song practice.. She had shared with me how singing these songs had helped her so many times and how much this music had meant to her.
Her early years were full of adventure. How many of us could say that they had lived in the Strawberry valley for three years in a tent? Our father was an engineer on the Strawbery Dam Project and Mother and LaVerne lived there with him. When I think of their living conditions I remember the story from the B of M when Nephi Says “and my Father dwelt in a Tent”. She relates that when the lightning flashed and thunder boomed she would run into the bedroom tent and hide under the bed.. There were two tents joined to together, one for sleeping and the other with a stove for cooking and warmth. There were many days that Dad would have to dig them out after a heavy snowstorm, it was warm for the insulation of the snow kept the heat in the tent. We could share many stories about their experiences.
She was close to our great-grandmother and loved to have her share stories of the treck across the plains with the handcart company, and LaVerne came to realize that in many ways she too was a pioneer. The family moved to Idaho where there many experiences clearing land, herding cows and helping in this rustic setting. She often saw her mother milking cows early in the morning and in the evening and the hours of taking care of the milk. Our father thought it was time for his daughter LA Verne to learn to milk the cows and help out with this chore. He had a hard time understanding how this bright little girl couldn’t learn how to milk a cow. Little did he know that she had made up her mind a long time before that she would never milk a cow, she had seen her mother milking and decided that milking was not the appropriate work for a girl. Her little brother Leonard learned and took over these duties. She always said this was one the few smart things she ever did.
She loved to ride the horse and herd the cattle. Leonard remembers many years later at a family picnic in Provo Canyon when she saw three horses in the field and going over and riding one of them. She loved to ride horses and when they were in Texas they had a horse that they called “Knockem” She called it her horse, but Leonard also called it his. He named it knockem crazy for he would rear on his hind legs and wouldn’t let anyone ride her except LaVerne and Leonard.
She tells that they were always taken to church since there was not an LDS Church in Texas where they lived they visited all the other churches in the area. She tells us that when they arrived in Texas they were wearing long-legged underwear and winter coats and this along with their northern accent and the fact that they were Mormons, they were ridiculed but they never let it bother them.
Finally, the family moved to Provo and she loved school. She and her friends didn’t have money to spend but they had fun times. Somehow Mother came up with the 10 cents it cost for Leonard and LaVerne to go to the theater on Thur evening on this night there were special drawings and contests. between the films. Leonard was often lucky and would win sacks of groceries or other prizes. Often they had a contest inviting girls to come on the stage and model hats .LaVerne would enter this one and the winner was chosen by the loudest and longest clapping for the one girl who looked prettiest in the hat she was modeling.
LaVerne was often the girl to win.
She had a love affair with hats. It began in Texas when she was about 11 years old. She went to the store with our father to shop for the groceries and she saw a beautiful hat that she had to have. Dad couldn’t resisrt his little daughters pleadings and spent $8 of the grocery money and she was a happy little girl wearing the beautiful hat.
It 1922 $8.00 was almost a week’s wages but to Dad, it was worth it. Over the years when she would get discouraged she would often go shopping and buy a new hat, her spirits would be raised and she could face the things that she needed to do.
While she was in High School she worked at different jobs and was thrilled one day when a former
English Teacher Ernest Rasmuson came to our home and asked her to come to work at the Provo Herald, as a proofreader. She felt she had it made. She was very generous with her money and most of it was given to her mother to help feed the family. I know that I was able to have a new bicycle for Christmas and glasses when I need them because LaVerne saw to it that mother had the money for these things.
Leonard was taking woodworking at Provo High and needed money for his projects. LaVerne bought the wood and the teacher let him use the shop in the evening and he made her a beautiful cedar chest, a desk, and a table that she has treasured all her life.
I understand that she wanted one of his children to have the table and desk and she gave them to Martha when she realized how ill she was.
Jean had also worked at the Provo herald. Their first date came about on after an afternoon of delivering extras of the Herald. announcing the kidnapping of the Lindberg baby.
Following a courtship they were married and both continued to work for the Herald.
Doug’s birth was very difficult and it was six months before she could stand up by herself.
Karenina was born in San Louis Osbio and these two children brought much joy to LaVerne and Jean. As a small child Nina had a sweet voice they gave her voice training. Watching the
Tab Choir has been an added joy as they watched to see their daughter singing in this Choir.
When LaVerne had her first cancer surgery Nina had asked to be able to sit in good camera range for her mother was in the hospital and she wanted her to be able to see her. They put the cameras on her several times and how wonderful this morning was for LaVerne.
They were so proud of Doug and all he has done and when he served as a missionary to Finland.
No greater joy came to them than their grandchildren.
They loved and cherished them, and an example of this love was demonstrated as I walked into her hospital room in St. George and found a handsome young man sitting there quietly as LaVerne slept. Randell was just wanting to be near her. She would have loved to be Jeannette’s wedding next week, she may not be there in person but she will be in everyone’s hearts Pictures of he gr grandchildren were on her beside table in her hospital room.
This remembrance of LaVerne would not be complete without a mention of their Berkely years.
They were happy in the church, she was in the R.S. Pres and Jean was in the MIA as Drama and Speech Director, Doug and Nina loved the schools and Church. These were happy years and they
made many friends. Many of these friends moved to Utah and organized a study group that met once a month. Meeting with them was a special time for LaVerne and Jean.
Where ever she lived she planted flowers., In her yard and in her home where there were always beautiful plants and flowers in bloom. Today she will most pleased to see the beautiful flowers sent to her.. and mother and her 2 little brothers in an eternal family unit. Because of our parents Temple marriage, we were all born under the convent and each has the opportunity to be an eternal family and endure forever because H. F. has a plan to help us so we can return and live with him and our families together forever. How grateful I am for this knowledge. I am grateful for prophets both ancient and modern day, I am grateful for Jesus Christ and his willingness to give his life for us. Iam grateful for the temples that make it possible for us to return to H.F. and to be together forever as a family. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ . Amen