Tribute to Will Olds


by Shirley Olds Bauer

Given at the Olds Family Reunion
28 June 1973
at Fairmont Park, Salt Lake City, Utah

Many times we leave unsaid today the things that tomorrow are too late to say. My special Valentine goes to someone both near and dear to us all. He always has a twinkle in his eye, a smile on his face, a kind word for all on his lips, a hearty handshake for those he meets and a gentle pat and hug for the young ones.

He has a rare sense of humor that is appreciated by all of us. He fits into any group -- keeping everyone laughing and in stitches. In other words, he is a regular cut-up. Uncle Will we salute you.

Will is the fifth child of Thomas and Eliza Jane Olds. He was born 8 August 1891 at Lyman, Wayne, Utah. To quote Uncle Will, "Mother told me that if I would be a good little boy she would let me play with the other kids, but I wasn't, so I have been a lone sheep ever since."

His schooling was very limited. He never had the opportunities or advantages that our young people have today. But this did not stop him in his desire for learning. He was always studying and reading to better himself and he still is today. He went out on his own at an early age working wherever he could find employment. Was dependable, reliable and responsible and always gave an honest day's work for a day's pay. He is a man of the highest integrity, has always been honest, trustworthy, loyal as well as a deeply religious person in his beliefs. He had inherited from his ancestors many beautiful principles and characteristics.

Uncle Will comes from a family of great strength and courage which was typified by his grandmother who had the desire and determination to better herself and the lives of her children. Thus joining the church, crossing the ocean and then crossing the plains, a lone woman with her small children, pulling a handcart to get to the land of Zion. Her legacy to posterity was not in the form of money and material things, but rather she left to them the knowledge of the truth-fullness of the gospel as well as the desire to live honorable lives so that when the time came they would once again join with her as a family beyond the veil.

Imagine if you can this family crossing the plains with their few worldly possessions in a handcart going to their new home - never dreaming that less than one hundred years later this same trip could be made in three or for hours by air. It was in the evenings that the greatest lessons were taught. Here Thomas learned the things that helped develop his character. Years later he would teach his own sons these same lessons, tell them of his ancestors and their search for the truth.

Thomas was a freighter in both Wayne and Washington counties and always took one or more of his sons with him. He took advantage of the long hours and dreary roads to teach them of the things he knew. So with a background like this is it any wonder Uncle Will has earned the love and respect of family and fellowmen.

He married Elizabeth Rebecca Williams 29 July 1913, later their marriage was solemnized in the St. George Temple. They had three beautiful children born to them. Only one, Owen, is living at this time. He and his family have lived in the states of Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Oregon, and California. He was always able to get employment because of his good name and the manner in which he conducted himself. He has worked at many jobs. Started out as a small boy hauling peaches out of the orchard for ten cents a day, herded sheep, has his own horse and dog. Has been a rancher, done gold, silver, coal and copper mining, has worked highway construction. Been a water-master, worked in a sugar factory among other occupations.

It was the mining business that took him from Idaho to Barstow, California in his later years. After leaving the mine he got a job as custodian of an elementary school as well as custodian of the post office. It was at this time that Aunt Beth started tending the three small girls of Fern Oviatt, who was teaching school. They both loved these little girls as their own granddaughters. It was then that Mina, having completed her second mission in southern California, stopped over in Barstow to visit her daughter Fern and family. She met both Uncle Will and Aunt Beth.

For a good many years Aunt Beth had very bad health, in and out of the hospital and in and out of bed. Uncle Will was the chief cook and bottle washer. Taking full charge of both the house and children as well as doing the things for Aunt Beth that would make things more pleasant and easier.

After Aunt Beth passed away, "Bless her heart." Will remained there, working to pay the medical and hospital bills and they were staggering. Several months later, he suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire. He decided to return to Cedar City where most of his brothers were.

On a trip to Salt Lake to visit more of his family, he met Mina again and they had a short, but beautiful romance and then were married in the Salt Lake Temple for time.

They have had a lovely life together thus far. Their lovely little home with its beautiful yard is a sight to behold. It's the next place to heaven. He has been accepted by Mina's family as our family have accepted her. We love them both very dearly and want them to know this. Life hasn't been easy for them, for both have had many disappointments, sorrows, troubles, and sickness. But through it all they never complain, are always cheerful and grateful for the blessings the Lord has bestowed on them.

Uncle Will has been part time custodian in the ward house they attend. He is admired and loved by neighbors and friends, always doing nice thing for others. He holds the Melchizedek Priesthood with dignity. He has held many responsible positions in the church, to name a few, Secretary of High Priest Quorum, genealogy chairman, home teacher for many years, as well as chairman of the Aaronic Priesthood. Has done temple work and genealogy work. He has served two stake missions, one with Aunt Beth as his companion and by himself with another companion.

One of the redeeming features that I remember is his ability to story tell. He is either a darn good storyteller or a great prefabricator. I think he and my dad had the same teacher. Regardless, we all love and believe every story he tells us.

Uncle Will enjoys working in his yard. He is quite the artist, first drawing the figures on wood, cutting them out, then painting them. He makes many unique and original figures to beautify the grounds. He grows a very fine vegetable garden. I think this is his big hobby.

He loves western and cowboy music and songs, always enjoyed "singing with the boys" as he called it. One favorite song is "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?"

Uncle Will, we appreciate and love you dearly and are so happy that you and Aunt Mina were able to share this day with us. Your sweet presence always makes our reunions so much better.


This history is copyrighted and is offered for personal use and research only.
It is not to be reprinted or used for commercial purposes without written permission.

Copyright 2000 by Shirley Olds Bauer



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