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Chapter 14: Lola Francis Clevenger White

The Augustus Barto O'Barr and Lola May Peppers Family

HTML Version 2.0

copyright 1995 by Gerald L. O'Barr

Written 15 September 1995 by Lola White, Payson, Arizona. Typed by her Nephew, Gerald O'Barr.

I was born April 1, 1916, in Cedar City, Utah. I was the eleventh child of my Mother's, the sixth child of my Father's, as both had been married before. Mother was left a widow march 6, 1910, with a little baby boy only six months old. She had a terrible time, but with the help of her older children, doing washing, ironing, and house work, they made it somehow.

Three years later she married my Father, Andrew Benton Clevenger, January, 1913. They had a little girl born to them March 30, 1914. She only lived 1 hour. There was no temple in Mesa at this time. My father had been to the temple years before. Mother was very desirous to have her temple work done. So the home and little farm was rented out for two years and they prepared to go to St. George, Utah, where Mother could have her temple work done.

Two other families joined them, the Kazes and the Merrills. So they had quite a wagon train. It was a hard trip, but finally some six weeks later, April of 1915, they went through the Temple in St. George.

I was born April 1, 1916 in Cedar City, Utah. They didn't like Utah for a home, so came back to Arizona. Cotton farming was good, so Father found land in Laveen, Arizona, moved an old house on the land and made a good cotton crop. But sadness came to them here. Typhoid Fever came to the family. Lewis, Parley and Dora were terribly ill. Lewis died May 6, 1917. He was 19 years old. Parley and Dora recovered, but such a sad thing, to lose a son in the very prime of life. Soon after this tragedy, when the cotton was all harvested, they moved back to the home place in Mesa. They made money with the cotton, paid up the bills, and bought a car. Mother said I loved the car so much, I wanted to sleep in it.

Some three and a half years latter, Mother gave birth to a little boy, Ernest, on December 25, 1919. This was Mother's 12th child. She was now 45 years old, Father was 69. But they loved us dearly, their age didn't make that much difference. I was close to 5 years old when Earnest and I both had whooping cough. My it was hard on us, so glad children can be vaccinated and not have to have whooping cough.

I started to school in September 1921. I was five years old. Went all 8 years, graduating in May, 1929. I loved school and my teachers. I had the same principal all 8 years, a Mr. Jones. We always attended our meetings, and loved the Gospel. Most of the time we had to walk but it wasn't far, maybe a mile.

While in the 7th grade, Mother and Dad sold the old home place, bought 15 acres over on Alma School Road, and a much larger, better home. It was here Mother began to grow many beautiful flowers. Our Mesa Temple was going to be dedicated. Mother wanted lots of flowers for this wonderful occasion in 1927. The flowers seemed to know where they were going because they grew big and beautiful. the Temple was open to the public for a few weeks, then dedicated to the Lord for His work.

I wish I knew how many names my dear sweet mother did the work for. She gathered names wherever she could, going back to Oklahoma to get all she could. We didn't have a car then, as my Father was getting old, but some of my brothers did. She would get them to take her to the temple when they could, walking a good lot of the time. I guess it was two and a half or three miles to the temple from Alma School Road. A long ways for dear Mother. I worried so much about her.

Mother worked so hard, especially in the Summer during canning time. We only had a wood stove to can on. Mother would wear tennis shoes, cross the road to a ditch, go in the ditch, get wet all over, drip a little and come in the house and start canning on this old wood stove. Her face would get so red and hot, I worried all the time I might lose her. We always had lots of canned fruit, jams and jellies. Our fig jam was so delightful. I helped what I could, washing bottles, and peeling the fruit, but never allowed to can the hot fruit.

My Dad was busy all the time, he had a blacksmith shop back of the house under the umbrella trees. He made all kinds of tools, shovels, hoes, fire dogs, horseshoes. For us and anyone else. He also mended shoes, putting new soles on them, again for us and neighbors. He farmed the land with a one horse plow, hours upon hours. He grew feed for the cows and horses, as well as melons, corn and garden vegetables for us. Mother loved to go to the garden and work, she loved to be outdoors, also loved to gather the vegetables.

Dad also was a bee man, he must have had 25 hives of bees. He would rob the bees of the honey maybe twice a Summer. We then had to extract the honey and get it canned to sell. This is where I got my money for school. The extractor was turned by hand, many hours I spent helping my Dad and turning this old extractor. Mother was always out in the bee house helping too.

One time when I was a little younger, back at the old place, I asked my Father to make a banjo. A friend had a banjo and I heard him play and sing. First my Dad found at the store a small cheese hoop. He then went out at night and killed a stray cat. He tanned this hide, soaking it in ashes and lye, stretching and pulling it, and finally tacking on the cheese hoop.

He found the kind of wood he wanted to make the stock. He whittled out the keys, found strings at the music store. Tuned up this crude old banjo, as we began to play, I was so excited. It sounded beautiful to me.

My dear Sister Alice, I loved so dearly, had just finished College. She worked her way through College living with a school teacher in Tempe and doing the house work. also the washing and ironing. Her first school was down on the Mexican border. living with our Sister Dora and husband, George Smith (a border patrol officer.) The second year while home for Christmas, Dora and George had to move. So Alice set her up living quarters in the school, no white families living there. She had good and bad experiences that four and a half months. So she got a school the next year at home, at our old Alma School. There she taught eight years, I believe. I was in High school, so I never had my Sister for a teacher.

In my Sophomore year in High School, I began to have boy friends. That Summer I met Geddis White, a curly blond, We went together some. I also had other boy friends. By Christmas, Geddis was the only one for me, so June 8, 1932, we were married. I was only sixteen. All my girl friends were older than I, and a year older in my school classes. So guess I thought I was old enough to get married.

We had been married a little over a year, July 7,1933, when a little son was born to us. We loved him dearly, he drowned in a canal. This was such a sad experience for Geddis and me, and also for dear old Mom and Dad. I went to work with Geddis, to drown my sorrow. About Christmas time I went to work packing citrus.

On October 22,1935, a baby girl was born to us, we named her Lela May. In 1937 we bought a new car, and prepared to go to Alabama. Geddis had not been to his old home in Alabama, since he was 16 years old. We had a safe trip, but while there, Lela got the old diarrhea. Children were dying all around with it, so we headed home. No way could we lose this beautiful little blond girl. We drove night and day, arrived home in 2 days and 2 nights. Dr. Truman soon had her well again.

Geddis had built us a beautiful home, on Alma School Road, Second home from Alma School. It was here our third child was born. December 28, 1938, Philden Isom. Geddis was happier now he had a little son, he had golden hair and blue eyes. Before he had discarded his diapers, Pop was taking him to work with him changing him on the job. My Father passed away two months before Phil was born, Oct 31.

Geddis had worked for a wonderful man, Wallace Bond, for many years. This was the building business. He learned the trade well. When Mr. Bond went to get his Contractor's license he got one for Geddis too. Saying, you might want to go out on your own sometimes. He did contract on his own. In about two years, Mr. Bond got very ill, and was unable to work. Geddis finished all of his jobs, as well as his own. Mr. Bond passed away, Pop loved him like a Dad.

Justin Durand (Randy) was born 28 November 1945. Lela was ten years old, and was happy to have a baby brother. In 1949 I was called to be the Relief Society President. It was easy to take Randy with me, as he loved books and could entertain himself. In our R.S. nursery, they thought he should be in the movies.

Geddis was very supportive of me as the R.S. President, never complaining how much I was gone. His business was good, he always saw I had a new car, and my tank full of gas, for any emergency that might arise: Going with me to the sick at night, or to the depot to send a telegram telling of a death, maybe at 2 o'clock in the morning.

Geddis loved the church, and did all he could, all but preaching and praying in church. He was Ward Teaching Supervisor for over 30 years. Always furnishing transportation for the Scouts. One time the Scout bus stopped on the big Ox Bow hill coming into Payson. Pop had just bought a new pickup, he burned up his motor pulling the bus on into Payson. But load by load he got all the Scouts to camp. Pop saw all the widows in our Ward, had a little extra for Christmas. Also putting on a new roof or steps for a trailer.

The 28 May 1950, Robert Lyman was born. He was a very active little boy, so I had to resign as R.S. President. But they put me on the R.S. Stake board, where I served for 9 years. Pop bought me several new cars in this 9 years, and insisted I use my car for the many trips to Salt Lake, and please don't charge the Sisters that go with you.

Lela married Leiland Overson, a newly returned missionary her seminary teacher had introduced her to, May 8, 1953. They had 9 children. I don't know if it was the pressure of too many jobs going at one time, or the marriage of our daughter. Pop had a nervous breakdown. He suffered many relapses of this, but would go right back to work. He was never real well after these, but kept on working.

Philden married Peggy Ellsworth 29 January 1960. They had two children and divorced 25 October 1963. His children were given to him in Court. On 8 February 1964, he married Judy Rogers.

In this same year, Justin decided to go on a mission, which made us happy. He went to the N.Y. Mission, and got to be in the Hill Cumorah pageant both years he was on his mission. Justin was released I believe December 1966, didn't take him long to find a wife. On 23 March 1967, Justin married Patricia Scott. Seven children were born to them.

We moved several times, as Geddis loved to build us a new home, but only in a two mile radius. Always in the same Ward, the children in the same schools. January 1968 my mother fell and broke her hip. She never recovered from this. Mother passed away August 7, 1969.

Our Robert was wanting to go on a mission, but we could only send two from each Ward while the war was on. He registered and waited. One Sunday President Layton called, told Bob to come to the church, now! A boy from another Ward was turned down for a mission, he was going to send Bob in his place. So a letter was written to Mission Headquarters, for Bob a deferment from the services, and put on a plane that night. His deferment was granted. He was called to the Ohio Mission in 1969, just before the passing of my dear Mother. She had prayed so hard, along with all of us, that Bob could have his life long plans and get to fill a mission. Mother passed away soon after this.

Geddis was in the middle of a big subdivision. There was so much head ache as he was trying for AA. He built many homes for others, and speck homes. The speck homes were large and beautiful, but did not sell too well. Worry got the best of him, and he acquired sugar diabetes. The Doctor put him on a diet, had him go from 220 pounds to 140 pounds, also to quit building and move out of town.

I finished the subdivision selling the houses already built, and the lots. We moved Pop to Tonto Village in Payson where we had a garage built and a cabin staked out for a Summer home. I told him to work on the cabin as he felt like. I would sell our home and finish the subdivision and come as soon as I could. I was selling Real Estate for Cummards. Every Friday I went to Tonto Village and took food Pop could eat, also supplies for the cabin. On July 3, 1971, I moved to Tonto Village and Pop began to mend: With no worry, all lots in the subdivision sold, all our bills paid; all this was accomplished by faith and prayers.

Bob brought a beautiful girl to visit us. On 27 December 1972, Bob married Pam Christenson. They had five children and a pair of twins that came early and they lost them. Bob got a job at the Hatchery, about five miles from us. We was so happy to have them close.

This first Winter we had lots of snow, we would slip and slide. I didn't like that. We were some 14 miles from Payson and our church meetings, so we bought a little home in town. Pop was feeling better, he planted trees and made a beautiful garden that Summer.

Phil thought he would like to have a Chevrolet dealership of his own. So he applied for one and got it. Pop was so much better now, he even helped Phil draw the plans so that OHSA amd the Chevrolet Company would accept them. Then he helped Phil oversee the building. In early 1975, they were open for business. Bob quit the hatchery, and began working for Phil as his general manager. Justin had been with the Telephone company over ten years, then got transferred to Payson as Field manager. We were so happy to have all three sons in Payson. Not for long. Not two years had past and Randy got transferred to Flagstaff. Right in the middle of his move, Pop got real sick, a pain in his chest. The large artery had a rupture in two places. So emergency surgery was setup about 10:30 at night. The doctor said, pray very hard I can get in there before it bursts. He didn't know Pop had already had a blessing, and we were already praying. Pop recovered nicely.

We were in the process of building a home over close to Bob. In fact, on his acre, as Pop was never well anymore. I felt we should be close to one of our children. Pop's health began to deteriorate fast. One lung began to fill up with fluid. After many tests in the Good Samaritan Hospital, they decided to operate. In May 1985 they found what we dreaded, cancer.

Pop did not want to have all those treatments, chose to go home. Our home was finished by now, Bob and Pam had worked night and day planting shrubs and trees to make it look nice to Pop. Geddis was so humble and able to endure the pain. Sometimes when our sons were bathing him, he would tell them how much he loved them. August 9th Pop slipped into a comma, August 10th about 7 AM he left us. We found his note book he carried in his pocket, he had planned his own funeral. It was in Mesa, Arizona, buried in the old family plot. Well life must go on for us left behind. It is hard going on without Pop, but 10 years has gone by, and I am still here.

Phil wasn't feeling too good by now and decided to sell the Chevrolet dealership in 1988, and just rest, to get to feeling better. Bob and Pam made them a business. They called it "White's Enteriors" and did real well financially. Pam didn't like being away from home and her children, so they decided to sell.

Phil was now tired of resting, and wanted some kind of a business. The telephone Company began to lay men off just before retirement. Justin's job was shaky. Justin made a suggestion to Phil to try for a Ford dealership. He did and it was granted. Justin (Randy) sold his beautiful two-story home he had built in Flagstaff. He put just about all he had in the business, making him owning one fourth of the business and moved to Payson.

"White's Enteriors" sold, so while waiting for the Ford Agency to be built, Bob built him a nice home in Wonder Valley. Justin and Phil had lots of spare time, so they helped Bob a good deal. They were also doing all they could in the building of the Ford Agency. This was 1992. A Ford Agency was being built in Star Valley, four miles from Payson.

I was happy my three sons would be working together, but very humble and prayerful. They all three loved the Gospel, they tried to remember Heavenly Father, also where all blessings come from.

Phil, since moving here, has held a few offices in the church. He was President of the Elders, High Priest group leader, back in the High Priest's group as a Counselor.

Justin (Randy) has been Elder's President, on the high council, now First Counselor in the Bishopric. Sent his oldest daughter, Sophia, on a mission to Africa. He now has two in the mission field: Justin II in Tennessee, Crystal in Independence, MO.

Bob was in the Bishopric, Elders President, now on the High Council, he also taught Seminary for one year. He sent his oldest son Denver, on a mission to Japan. Weston will leave on his mission on October 25.

Randy bought a home behind the Ford Dealership, has been remodeling it the past year. No one lived close to me, so Randy let me put a double mobile home beside his home. I love it here.

Lela, my only daughter, lives out close to Apache Junction. She had 9 children. Was a R.S. President while living in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She has been a Primary and Sunday School teacher also a visiting teacher as of now. She tried to kinda have the children, and take the back seat, as her husband Lee was very much involved in the church. He was Bishop in Cotton Wood, Bishop again in Vegas. He was branch President in Maricopa for many years, always having a job in the church.

I am sure I have left out many important events, for this short life history for Gerald to put in his book. But he is only doing one book, all of mine would be a book in itself. I do love my Heavenly Father, and our dear Savior, with all my heart. I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I thank him for his wonderful endurance, the great man he was. Most of all for the Book of Mormon and the gospel.

Lola White
Sept. 15, 1995
Payson, Arizona
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