Edward D. Sr. Family Story Home
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The Edward Durtschi Sr. Family Story
Chapter 10

THE 1950's AND AFTER

        The fifties, sixties, and seventies brought an added refinement, a greater sense of inner peace, and a greater feeling of well being for the children of Edward, Sr., and Rosina Durtschi. If Edward and Rosina were counted as the first generation, the fourth and fifth generations were rapidly coming into being. Old age was gradually creeping up on the second generation. One by one they passed from this sphere to a much better one. But wait! We are getting ahead of the story.
        As mentioned before, a general authority told John he should stay home from a mission and marry again. "The Lord opened the way, and I met Alice Bollinger," John related. "She had a 15-year-old daughter named Helen. They had come from Switzerland one year before. They had accepted the Gospel there and were baptized. Alice and I were sealed together in the Salt Lake Temple on November 29, 1950. Our marriage took place only a month after I met her. We were married by Matthew Cowley, the same apostle who had given me the counsel to remarry. Alice was also a wonderful companion to me. She was a great worker and faithful in the Church. She was like my first wife in that she never complained about paying a full tithing, and I always paid it. She also took good care of Don and helped him get off to the mission field when he was called.
        "After we were married, Alice helped me establish a Grade A dairy system. We ran this dairy for a number of years. When we finally felt we were in good enough condition to rent the place, we did. After that, we spent the winters working in the temples. We worked three winters in Mesa, and one winter in St. George. Then we bought a house in Idaho Falls and started working in the temple there.
        "I have always been willing to accept positions I was called to in the Church. I enjoyed serving the Lord. While in Midway I was ordained a Deacon, a Teacher, and then a Priest. I was ordained an Elder at the time of my first marriage. After that marriage, I was made president of the YMMIA and Luella was made president of the YWMIA. I later served as Sunday School Superintendent. In the early '20s I was put in as first counselor in the Teton Stake Sunday School Superintendency. At the same time, I was put in as one of the seven presidents of the 144th quorum of Seventies. I served in both of these capacities with Walter Durrant. In 1926, President Albert Choules called me to be on the Stake High Council. I served there for 32 years. While serving in this capacity, I enjoyed visiting inactive members in the different wards more than I enjoyed the preaching.
        "I have worked hard all of my life. The thing which brought more happiness than any earthly gain was the joy of raising my family. The Gospel has been great for me. It is a wonderful thing which I have always been thankful for. I appreciate the missionaries who came to our home and brought the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ."
        It should be mentioned that Fred Durtschi's brothers, Alfred and John, as well as other relatives and friends, showed many acts of kindness toward him and his family. Fred, of course, was a nomad and often without work. And Ruth's relatives and friends should not be left out. John Young, of Salt Lake, often helped. He also helped us build the East Mill Creek home. Belden gratefully related, "Where would we have been without the loving kindness of such good people who really cared about us and translated their concern into actions? It is hard to say."
        Fred said, "Fortunately life goes on, even after the misfortune and tragedy that brought on our divorce. When away from my brother Alfred's home, I usually lived alone in Salt Lake City. I continued to do the things I felt I knew best: drafting, building, farming, and writing.
        "In the early '50s I spent quite a bit of time helping my brother John build a new milk barn and loafing shed. Much of the work was done in the winter months in miserable weather. But anyone living in Teton Valley is well-hardened to bad weather."


        Alfred was released 25 years and 4 days after he was called to be Bishop of Pratt Ward on March 25 1951. Alfred gratefully acknowledged, "My wife has been a wonderful bishop's wife. She faithfully stood by my side through all the years, helping in every way she could. She was a wonderful mother to our children and always active in the Church. She spent hours teaching our children music, especially singing. Those were some of the happiest days of my life. I loved to hear them play their instruments and sing together."
        Alfred was called on a mission to Switzerland in October of 1953. He recalled, "I entered the mission home on November 4th. While I was on my mission, we not only taught the gospel by word of mouth, but by deed. We helped a sick farmer get his hay harvested when he was unable to do it himself. In Interlaken, we helped the members put up their hay. We cut the hay with a scythe and raked it up with a hand rake. A widow needed help to plow and we helped her do it. These acts, and others, helped us in our missionary work." Alfred was released January 15th, 1955. On January 19, 1956, he was called to another stake mission and was released from that on January 22, 1959.
        Fred Feuz had a massive heart attack which took his life in August of 1951. He was buried in the Jackson cemetery, far from the land of his birth. But he is at home under his beloved Quaking Aspen. His love of nature and philosophy of life sustained him to the end.
        Fred's death left Caroline alone to make arrangements for the move from their old ranch on Spread Creek to the new home up on the Buffalo River. Before these plans were finalized, her brother, Alfred, and an old friend, Conrad Gertsch, came for a visit. It was Conrad, who years ago converted Caroline's family to the Church in Switzerland. She had also become a believer at that time, even though she did not formally join the Church with the rest of her family. On his return from his mission, Conrad had married Caroline's cousin, her Uncle Fred's daughter. He had raised a family of his own, and then been widowed.
        The old spark was re-lit, and in a short time they decided to be married. Caroline was baptized in the LDS religion. Then she and Conrad were married in the temple in Idaho Falls in January, 1953. Caroline was sealed to her father and mother at the same time. And it was a great comfort and joy for her remaining brothers and sisters to know that with Caroline's sealing, the entire family now might all be together again if they lived worthily.
        Lena, Fred and Caroline's oldest child related, "Mother was so eager to embrace her new life that she left the now deserted old Feuz ranch without even taking the little Singer sewing machine. Conrad took her to Utah, where he had spent most of his life. At one time or another, all of her children visited her and her new husband. They were amazed at how happy she was with Conrad. However, it wasn't that amazing when you remembered how adaptable she had always been. She always met every situation with a happy sense of humor. She had longed for years to be part of the LDS religion. She enjoyed 10 years of this life, so different from the busy, hard years on the Wyoming ranch. Conrad's children made her so welcome, and many of the Durtschi family lived close by. She had time to enjoy this, plus the kinder climate of Utah. These were her happiest years. She passed away in peace, in September of 1963, and is buried in a beautiful cemetery above Heber."

* * *


        Elise had begun to grow old. She had worked long and hard throughout her life both at home and at Church. Among her many other callings, Elise especially enjoyed being a Relief Society visiting teacher. "A member in my ward passed away, and an assignment came to me to contact some families to take up a collection for flowers," Elise remembered. "The sister in charge called me and asked if I could bring the money to her house early the next morning. During the night it had rained. By morning puddles of water were frozen. As I went to deliver the funds I slipped on a slick spot. The fall caused my hip to separate. The hip was pinned together. I was never able to walk without help, except from room to room. But I was still happy and enjoyed visits from my grandchildren and great grandchildren. I appreciated these visits very much."
        After living a long and full life, Elise died on Sunday, December 2, 1962 at age 82. Her children have always remembered her as a good and loving mother and she will always be missed.

* * *


        Rudolph suffered two serious illnesses. In 1951, he suffered a ruptured intestine, which was corrected by surgery. In July of 1955, he developed hardening of the arteries to the brain, and for most of the next two years he required much care. In 1959 his health improved and he again visited his family in Star Valley, Pocatello, and Boise Idaho. He became known to his newfound friends as "Dad," and was also enjoyed and admired by them.
        Beginning in 1960, Father's Day became reunion day for the Kaufman family. Many happy gatherings were held at the home ranch in Alta. Thanksgiving Day was frequently celebrated at Frieda's in Idaho Falls, and all of the family was invited. Rudolph enjoyed being with his children on these occasions and seldom missed one.
        In September 1966, while visiting at the home of his daughter Rosa, Rudolph fell and broke his left hip. He was taken to a Pocatello hospital, where he died on September 11, 1966 at the age of 90 years and 5 months. In his last years, Rudolph sometimes remarked that he could not understand why he lived so long. No deceased member of his family had attained his age. But his family who remain feel that the Lord permitted him to linger, to be a continuing example of a humble and honest man. By this extended association of Rudolph's life, his family were influenced to develop more of these sterling qualities within themselves.
        And thus, Rudolph's great life ended. Although his children did not surround his bedside, they did surround him with their love as he entered into his eternal home. God rest you, Rudolph Kaufman, and keep you in His care.

* * *


        With all of Clara's children being married, she was now also living alone. But she spent a lot of time helping her children whenever they needed assistance. She often took care of her grandchildren while their parents were gone on vacations and at other times.
        "On Mother's Day, 1954, I had the most wonderful surprise," Clara related. "I went to Sunday School, not expecting anything unusual. When the preliminaries were over, the Superintendent got up and said they had chosen me as the most honored mother. They asked me to come on the stand with my daughter, Lily. They showed some beautiful pictures of Switzerland, my homeland, on a big screen and played Swiss music. Then Brother Crandall read part of my life history, the part about my conversion to the Church and trip to Utah. Then came the grandest surprise of all when my children walked in with their husbands or wives one after another as their names were called. One from California, three from Idaho, one from Talmage, one from Heber, and four from Orem. One from California was unable to come. Four of my sons and one daughter gave short talks. Twenty-four of my grandchildren came in and sang, 'In Our Lovely Desert'. Then prayer was said. When we got home, we found two High Councilmen had chairs already set. All the families enjoyed a good dinner. We took pictures and had a wonderful visit together.


        "I wanted to see my old home again, the one I was born and raised in. I wanted to see more of Switzerland. I hadn't had a chance to see much of it when I was a girl. In 1955, I went to Europe with a group of 21 people." Clara continued, "Before we left on our trip, the people of my ward surprised me with a nice party and dinner program. They gave me nice presents, things I would need for the trip. My children also had a dinner for me and gave me clothing I needed and then they took me to Salt Lake to catch the airplane. I went to the dedication of the new Swiss Temple. It had been built not far from where I grew up as a child. That was surely a thrill. I was gone five weeks on a most wonderful trip. I enjoyed it immensely. Being a widow of many years, the thing that made me feel especially good was that I could pay for the trip with my own money and didn't have to beg."
        From Clara's home in Linden, she had a beautiful view to the west, looking down over orchards and farms. Beyond this were the lake and mountains to the west, and beautiful Timpanogos on the east. Clara remembered, "In the evening, I enjoyed looking down on all the lights of American Fork, Lehi, and part of Pleasant Grove. I also had space to make a garden and have flowers.
        "I have been a visiting teacher for 42 years," Clara continued, "While I lived in Idaho, I was counselor for eight years and Relief Society President for a few months. I never worked in Primary. My service for this organization was taking care of little children so their mothers could fill responsibilities as officers and teachers. I have also tended children for the Mutual officers.
        "I hope I am worthy to receive the wonderful blessing which Christ promised to all in the 19th Chapter of Matthew, 29th verse: 'And every one that has forsaken father and mother or brethren or sisters or houses or lands for my name sake shall receive one hundred fold and shall inherit everlasting life'. I left them all for the Gospel's sake. In all these 50 years of trials and sorrow I have never doubted for one minute that this was the only true Gospel. My testimony is that the Latter-day Saint Church is the only true Church, that God lives and watches over us and that Jesus the Christ is our Savior."
        Clara died from pneumonia on November 27th, 1969 at home in Linden, Utah. Funeral services for Clara were held Sunday, November 30th in the Lindon Ward Chapel and December 1st at the Teton Stake Tabernacle, in Driggs. Interment was at the Pratt Ward Cemetery, Alta, Wyoming.

* * *


        Fred had now lived for many years in an apartment in Salt Lake City. Still, he continued to make his spring trips to Teton Valley where he usually spent the summer with his brother and sister-in-law, Alfred and Ida. One fall after he had returned to Salt Lake City, Isabel, Alfred's daughter, and her husband Wilson Walker went to pay Fred a visit. They didn't have the address quite right, and stopped to ask a man if he knew where her Uncle Fred might live. After describing him, the man recognized who they were asking about and said, "Oh, you mean the old gentleman who jogs by here every morning. When he passes this spot, he jumps up on this limb. Then he chins himself several times, jumps off and runs up that steep hill." After this comment the man explained to Wilson and Isabel where Fred lived.
        "Physical fitness was very important to me," Fred explained, "and although I was often plagued with less than perfect health, I tried to do a lot for my body. Running and chin ups were perhaps my two most famous forms of physical conditioning. And I have run most of my life. Once in Salt Lake City, a newsman observed me running/chinning during my daily ritual. The result was an interview and a subsequent article in the Salt Lake newspaper. This pleased me greatly and delighted many of my friends and family.
        "In addition to physical exercise I felt sunbathing helped my vitality. In fact I was a great proponent of sun baths." Fred added, "More than one person have surprised me in the midst of one of my sun baths. This was usually to the embarrassment and/or delight of both of us.


        "If I had any vices at all," Fred continued, "surely one was the worship of food. Many people have been accused of worshipping their bellies more than their god. Now I don't believe this was the case with me, but food probably came in a close second. One of the little things I did while writing in my journals was to mention what I had to eat on a particular day. I really appreciated good food and was extremely grateful when I was permitted to partake of some special meal.
        "One of my famous concoctions was my mason-jar beverages. Just about anyone who ever visited, particularly during my later years in Salt Lake, would get one. I'd usually begin by juicing some lemons and oranges. Then I'd pour the entire juicings, seeds, pulp, and all into the jar or pitcher. Then came the other ingredients such as a package of Jello, some brown sugar, maybe some honey, perhaps something else, and finally a dab of water if there was room. Then came the search for some glasses to serve the drink in. Usually the glasses would be of the enormous variety holding about 24 fluid ounces. (I didn't want anyone go away thirsty.) The guests reaction to all of this was mixed. But usually everyone agreed that the end result was quite palatable and surely healthy.
        "Two of my favorite food substances were whole wheat flour and olive oil. These two things were often mixed together with a few other ingredients to make a sort of salad. I had a bad stomach, and many of these new dishes I developed helped. Others wondered if they were not the cause of some of my digestive problems when I suffered with a stomachache.
        "I fasted frequently, and often for long periods when it was warranted. Most of my fasts were in someone else's behalf. If I knew of someone in need of a blessing, I would usually fast for them. Averaged out, I fasted about weekly. I have fasted many many times for my children, in times of illness as well as health. Often the Lord showed me someone in need in my dreams. So I would fast for that person. There were some people who sometimes chided me for such frequent fasting, telling me that I was unwise in doing it so often. But I fasted for personal reasons and am convinced of its value. It was a very real part of my religion.
        "Both Ruth and I often expressed the hope that in the next life our differences could be worked out. We had always truly loved each other. I suppose we will until the day we die, and then surely, thereafter. Ruth spoke in her last years of a dream and hope she had. She hoped I would be waiting for her on the other side of the veil in a Swiss chalet of just the type I had always desired to build for her. Those years during the fifties and sixties were lonely years, and often a time of great sadness for me. After many years of dreams and seeing what the fruits of them were, I started to pray and fast more than ever to find out what the truth of them was. I found disturbing passages in the Bible. A good example is in the book of Luke, 'For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather grapes.' My dreams had not always brought sweet fruit unto the Lord, but at times thorns. Had I possibly misinterpreted some of my dreams? But I was so sure I knew what the Lord was trying to tell me."
        In 1973, Fred Durtschi moved in with his son, David, and David's wife, Mary, at Shreveport, Louisiana. "My grandchildren were very dear and a source of great pride," Fred recalled, "so I had a fine opportunity to spend some time with at least some of my little descendants. Grant was my favorite, I suppose because both Grant and I came to the David Durtschi family at about the same time. Even though I was quite hard of hearing, I would awaken immediately when Grant would make just a peep. Then I would help Mary out by changing his diaper. We both slept in the same room so in the morning Grant would carry on a one-sided conversation with me when he awoke."


        Fred stayed in good physical condition until that Christmas Eve in 1974 when he was taking his second walk of the day. He was on the way to the store to buy some Christmas gifts for his grandchildren. He fell down, and was gone. The coroner said he probably died virtually instantly. It is a great blessing that after all of the hard times and disappointments of his life, he was spared the final agony of a long period of declining health and confinement to bed. Fred's children took him to Teton Valley to be buried with his family. He rests near his other family members in the Pratt Ward Cemetery.

* * *


        Alfred and Ida had been looking forward to the time when they could spend their winter months doing temple work. "The time arrived and we spent the winters of 1965 and 1966 in the Logan Temple." Alfred explained, "Since that time, we have spent our time in the Idaho Falls Temple. Ida wasn't well and she got so bad, that in 1972 we had to stop going.
        "In 1966, we bought a trailer home and put it on the south side of Isabel's home in Sugar City. We enjoyed living in the Sugar Ward. There are wonderful people wherever you look for them.
        "We have raised five children who have been an honor and a blessing to us," said Alfred. "We are proud of them. None of them have caused us sleepless nights or heartaches. They learned to work when they were young and have been a great help to us in running the farm. They have all filled missions: Arnold to the Switzerland Mission, and Isabel went to the Spanish American Mission. Walter went to the Eastern States Mission, and Lucile and Lucy went to the Northern California Mission. For the success of raising a good family, the credit all goes to my dear wife, Ida. She has been the able, loving mother who could, by gentle persuasion and love, rule the children, yet reproving with sharpness when needed. We are happy that our children all married well. We are proud of our sons and daughters-in-law and we are so very happy that they were all married in the temple.
        "I regret that we did not put forth more effort to give them more college education. On the other hand, we have a feeling of satisfaction that their teaching ability has been recognized, and that they have been able to render service as teachers and leaders. They were loaded almost continually with teaching positions wherever they were.
        "One of the most shocking things that happened to us in our lives was the flood we experienced on Saturday, June 5th, 1976. The day began as any other; all the valley was peaceful. Our daughter, Isabel and her husband, Wilson, and their children came home from a trip to California, about 11:30 in the morning. Almost as soon as they got home they heard on the radio that the Teton Dam was breaking. Everyone was instructed to evacuate to high ground. Wilson and Isabel took Mama and me to Rigby to our daughter Lucile's home. We stayed there for almost three months before we were able to move into a trailer that the government supplied to the victims of the flood. The 15-foot wall of water which swept through the valley demolished our Sugar City home and destroyed many of our books and treasures -- the accumulation of many years -- was gone.
        "After our return to Sugar City, I did what I could to help others who had lost their homes as well. Isabel packed me a lunch and early in the morning I went out to work with a claw hammer and cold chisel. Often, Isabel and Mama didn't see me again until after dark. I took upon myself the job of knocking mortar off bricks. I took the bricks from Wilson's home and Phil Sornsen's home so they could be reused. In this way, I was able to provide a service, meager as it might have been. I worked at this many days and cleaned thousands of bricks for the bricklayer with my tools." Alfred's work becomes astounding when it is realized that he was in his 90th year during the flood. He may not have worked fast, but he was steady and saved thousands of dollars for those who he helped in their rebuilding efforts. Many a night Wilson had to get him off the brick pile to come home for supper. He didn't want to quit. After the bricks were all cleaned, and Wilson and Isabel finished building their new house, life got back to normal. This consisted in puttering around the garden, helping around the house the best he could, and reading.
        "My eyes had been giving me a little trouble," Alfred stated, "so I have not been able to read like I would like to. So in April of 1978, at the age of 91, I had a cataract taken off my left eye. In June, the other one was done. So now I must get used to wearing glasses so I can read again, which is one thing I really enjoyed.


        "The children came to visit as often as they could and sometimes some of the grandchildren stopped in to see me. It was nice to know they thought of an 'old grandpa' once in awhile. As of 1978, Ida and I had 43 grandchildren, and 21 great grandchildren. It was quite a posterity.
        "My precious wife, Ida, was finally taken home after many years of poor health. She passed away on the 17th of February, 1978 at Isabel's home, where we have been living since we came back from Rigby after the flood. Isabel took such loving care of Mama for so long. I have missed her an awful lot but it won't be long until I will be reunited with her. That will be a very happy day for me."
        By 1980, Alfred was becoming more and more amazed at how old he was getting. His patriarchal blessing stated that he would live as long as he desired here upon the earth. The time now approached when more than anything in the world he wanted to go and be with his sweetheart, Ida. In his last, years he looked at life as a bondage. He was prepared to go. He even had his funeral paid for and some of the other arrangements made. Then on the 8th of March, 1980, four months before his 94th birthday, his prayers were answered. That morning, he took extra care in cleaning his room. He picked up his books, papers, and put his room in order. After he finished, making his bed he went and took a bath. After he had finished he collapsed and was gone. A great man once said, "I look upon death as the greatest adventure of this life." And no doubt it was so for Alfred, as his beloved Ida waited in anticipation to welcome him home on the other side of the veil. Alfred was buried beside his sweetheart on that hill overlooking a small valley, nestled in the heart of the eternal Tetons, in the Pratt Ward Cemetery.

* * *


        Now only John Durtschi was left out of the original family. In the spring of 1975, John and Alice moved to Ogden, and bought a house across the street from his son and daughter in law, Don and Ann. In Ogden, they continued to do temple work for several years. And it was nice for them to be near their children. Alice had diabetes and as she grew worse, she was continually in and out of hospitals. As John was old and feeble himself, he found that it was impossible for him to care for her. Sometimes, Alice stayed with her daughter, Helen, who took care of her. Often she was in a nursing home. This left John alone. He spent the main part of the evening at Don and Ann's home. Then a bit after supper John went to his own home to spend the night. After being alone for six months, Don and Ann invited him to come and live with them, so in the latter part of 1982, he sold his house and moved in with them. John lived about a year with them. Old age was taking it's toll, and John needed professional help in his care. So in November of 1983, he was moved into a carefully selected nursing home in Logan, near his son Reed's home. He was often visited by Reed's family who ensured he was getting only the very best of care. Old age continued its course. Alice passed away on February 1st, 1984. With sadness to his children, John slipped away at the age of 91, on the 17th of June, 1985. He also was buried with the rest of his family in the Pratt Ward Cemetery.
        As John was the last member of his family to die, no doubt there was a very joyous reunion when he joined them in the realms on high. The entire family was together again. They had passed through life's joys, heartaches, and trials with honor and fortitude. Now, with God's blessing, they would not be separated again.

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This work Copyright 1987 for the Durtschi Family by Mark Durtschi.
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