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Florence Gertrude White – Marjorie White’s Aunt

I was born at 225 Iowa Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, eighteen days after the death of my bother Alfred Thomas White (born October 7, 1889). Ruth Evelyn was born on January 19, 1895 and died February 11, 1896. When I was four years old I had bronchitis, bordering on pneumonia. Because of these facts, I was watched very closely. Father would say whenever I was sick, “Well, I suppose we will lose her, too.” Besides the long underwear which every child wore, I usually had a red flannel on my chest in the winter—I caught cold so often. When I was in room seven of the Webster School, father wouldn’t have me vaccinated, so I had to stay out of school for several weeks. Regardless of that, my teacher, Maud Paul, gave me a special promotion. I kept up with the various classes, but had had to study a little harder, due to the fact that my adenoids and tonsils were so large that I couldn’t breathe through my nose. I remember at one time Fred said, “If you will keep you mouth shut for five minutes I will give you a dime.” I didn’t get the dime. The school nurse kept sending notes home, requesting that the adenoids and tonsils be removed, but father said his dried up and so would mine.” I didn’t have them removed until John Wells, then Chief Clerk of the P.B.O., for whom I was working, told me to take time off and arrange to go to the L.D.S. Hospital (he was Superintendent of the hospital). There was no charge for the room—There was space in the maternity division, at that time there was a baby crib in each room. A few years later Dr. Stauffer performed this operation a second time. How different my life would have been had this been taken care of as a child. Not being able to speak distinctly, I developed an inferiority complex, and shyness, which was hard to over come. I graduated from the Webster School and from the L.D.S. Business College.

I worked for a week at the West Mail Order House, but left to take a position at the Presiding Bishop’s Office, 40 North Main Street. I enjoyed the people with whom I worked. After being there three years, I had an appendectomy. Because of the peritonitis, I, at Dr. Middleton’s insistence, stayed home for about nine months. Although another stenographer had been hired, John Wells took me back because he had promised me that he would. The President of our Ensign Stake, Major Richard W. Young, in talking to Brother Wells said, “John, haven’t you an extra girl that you can spare?” He said, “as a matter of fact, I have.” I went to his law firm, Young, Ashton & Young and was hired. While in school, I had made up my mind that I wouldn’t work in a law office or do bookkeeping, both of which I had to do, and loved it. Richard W. Young became a General in the First World War and later died; Ashby Snow left the firm, and is now deceased; Conway Ashton was killed in a mine while investigating a case. This left Richard W. Young, Jr., who took as his law partner Ashby D. Boyle. Mr. Young dissolved the partnership to accept a position as General Counsel for the Federal Land Bank at Berkeley. Prior to this, however, Henry D Moyle, who is one of the First Presidency of the Church, was taken into the firm, Young, Boyle & Moyle. It than became Boyle & Moyle. Margaret Newman, who later married John Wells, at my request, became secretary to Henry D. Moyle. (I had worked with her at the F.D.C. and spent weekends at her home in Holiday, which were very enjoyable, as was my association with her. We have been friends throughout the years.) Boyle & Moyle dissolved partnership; Mr. Boyle and I then went to the Beneficial Life Building where his corporation clients were located. Robert Bowen became Br. Boyle’s assistant in the legal department of the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company for about three years. Mr. Bowen was President of the University Stake Y.M.I.A. It was during the Second World War when young men were scarce, that he asked me to be Stake Secretary of that organization. The General Secretary said he wished all the secretaries were women. Mr. Bowen later accepted a position in California. It was found that Mr. Boyle could handle all the legal business. I enjoyed my association with him. In 1955 after we had worked together for thirty-five years he gave me a dollar for each year. The Sugar Company retired me when I was sixty-five, but Mr. Boyle said I could “work for him until my teeth fell out!” However, he died May 5, 1960, which necessitated my retirement at sixty-eight, with all my teeth. A finer man never lived than Ashby Boyle. I liked his wit, his honesty—He would not accept a case unless it was legitimate, and he was honest in every sense of the word. He didn’t charge for his services, if he felt it might be a hardship. He always undercharged. Through long service I came to know him better than I did the other men for whom I worked, but I felt it was an honor to serve under each of them.

My first position in the Church was Secretary of the Theological Class in the Eleventh Ward, which met in the basement of the old rock Chapel. Daniel Livingston was teacher. He was so full of the spirit of the Lord that tears would roll down his cheeks as he gave the lessons. He was so outstanding. Among those who followed were William H. Folland, Brother Dalby and Bishop Joseph Lloyd. Our attendance was around two hundred. I became so familiar with the faces that it wasn’t necessary for me to pass the roll around. I later became Secretary of the Sunday School, which position I held to ten years. The Superintendents during those times were Richard W. Madsen, Jr., W. Mont Timmins, Louis H Callister, John Daynes, Karl McCallister and Raymond Eldredge, respectively. Our Sunday School was very outstanding, and I was happy to be part of it. Cicely, as Special Feature Director and I met with the Superintendence at their homes every month, at which time refreshments were served. During this time I was active in the Genealogical Society as Secretary or as Supervisor of those who visited the homes, trying to interest families in starting their records. We had forms which we helped them to fill out, but it wasn’t very successful since at that time the Society didn’t have the program which they now have. This was about 1927. Nels Larsen was the Chairman of our Ward.

At various times, while Cicely was President of the Mutual, I acted as Assistant Secretary and as Secretary, and years later when Alice Bailey was President, I was her Secretary for about two years. During this time Cicely was feeling so poorly that I didn’t feel good about leaving her, but Alice was so insistent that I finally consented, although my thoughts were at home most of the time. In spite of that Sister Bailey complimented me on my work and was reluctant to have me leave.

When I was a little girl, probably seven or eight years old, we had a Sunday School Choir which at that time was directed by Henry Tuckett and Harry Hulbert. I sang also. As I recall, there were between forty and fifty in the Choir. We sang every Sunday, while it lasted. I believe the Sunday School Board objected to it. Cicely had been a member before my day, that is, before I joined. I remember singing with a Primary group at Saltair, and entering a bean guessing contest on the Dance Pavilion. I guess within two of the right numbers and won a doll. Many a happy day was spent at Saltair and Lagoon with the Hulberts. How thrilled I was when the Twins, Ione and Leone, would tell me that their mother said I could go with them. But, we couldn’t go if it looked like a storm in the west and the seagulls were flying overhead—Mrs. Hulbert was so frightened of a thunderstorm. It was with the Hulberts that I saw, and marveled at, the ascension of a man in a basket attached to a huge balloon at the Fairgrounds. This was before we had ever seen an airplane. I shall never forget this family, for they meant so much to me. After they moved to Ninth East, they buried their little Helen—I was one of the pallbearers. It was to Mr. Hulbert that mother turned for advice when father died. Throughout the years they have been among our dearest friends. My father very often took me for a street car ride to the end of the line, sometimes we would transfer to another car and go as far as Farmington, on Sunday mornings. There weren’t any houses at that time, so we could wander around, picking wild flowers and watercress along the ditch banks, watching birds and listening to their calls. I wasn’t too robust and dad thought the fresh air would be good for my health. Many a time he took to family to Tabernacle, which convened at 2 p.m. on Sunday, carrying Grace or me (before her birth) all the way down and back again. We were taught early in life to love our meetings and to be in attendance whenever possible. Though at that tender age we didn’t understand, we seemed to feel the spirit of it. Mother never missed Church and she always insisted that I sit next to her. My playmates and Sunday School friends would coax me to sit with them, but mother would always squeeze my hand and say, “I want you to stay with me.” She would look so lovingly at me that I couldn’t leave her, and so it was even after I grew up. I often turned down a party so she wouldn’t be alone, after dad died. I was referred to as the “nurse” in our house, that is, by mother and Cicely. I wanted to be one, but mother said I wasn’t strong enough or tall enough to lift people. However, I fulfilled that desire by taking care of them when they were sick, from which I derived a good deal of satisfaction, since I loved them so dearly.

On February 29, 1924, I received my endowments. Until mother was unable to go, the three of us went to the Temple quite regularly. At Joseph Green’s invitation, I joined an Eleventh Ward group for sealings for 1950, 1951, 1952, and other times. I haven’t kept track of the many times I have been to the Temple, while residing in the Eleventh as well as the North Thirty-third Ward.

In 1924 I decided to do research on my father’s line. Nothing had been done, so far as we knew. I went to the Genealogical Society, and while there Nell Sumsion, who had worked with me at the Presiding Bishop’s Office, showed me a list of Whites and Whytes who were doing temple work, and suggested that I write to G Gordon Whyte of Canada. Just as I was writing his name, Sister Taylor came in with a letter which she asked Nell to read. Before look at it, however, she introduced Sister Taylor to me and asked her if she would talk to me about the White family. She said she would be glad to inasmuch as the letter she had just handed to Sister Sumsion was from G Gordon Whyte. She said the White family was very much in need of temple work; that this person had recorded ten thousand names. She said she thought there was a connection, even though his name was spelled “Whyte”. The strange thing was that when I reached home, mother handed me a letter from the same person, addressed to her. Another remarkable thing was that before I reached the office I turned back twice, thinking I should have further information before going in, but something urged me on. I answered the letter, giving him what information I could gather. He wrote me that his father had changed the “White” to Whyte”. Our English cousins were of no help in supplying the missing link between his family and ours, although we are both sure that it will yet to be found. We are both working to that end.

Since a week before our dear Cicely’s death I have been living with Grace. She and Ralph took me into their home, and they have been wonderful to me, making me feel a part of their family. Richard, who was on a mission at the time, on hearing of Cicely’s passing, wrote his parents offering me his room—He to take the smaller bedroom. For this, and all other sweet, kind acts I shall always feel very close to him; besides, he was born on my birthday! Every one of them, Grace, Ralph, Laury, Paul, Helen and Dick, together with Kay, Kay, Jack, and Janice, have been very thoughtful and considerate, for which I love them with all my heart. Cicely’s passing would have been unbearable, except for them.

I became a member of the North Thirty-third Ward and joined the Relief Society on May 5, 1959. In May I became Myrtle Jensen’s companion as a Visiting Teacher, and took a small part of the lesson that month. In February 1960, I was set apart as Secretary of the Relief Society. While Aliene Bowen worked in an accounting office, she had two children in the mission field. After a few months another secretary was appointed; I felt it was too much for me. Until I fell and broke my leg on November 19, 1962, I went to the Library and Archives, while waiting to hear from my researcher in London. In the meantime I have sought help from other sources in England, with a little encouragement.

Written by Florence White

Florence died on January 16, 1978, in Salt Lake City, after having nursed her sister Grace who died a year earlier.

Florence and Sarah (her mother) on the front porch of their home
Florence and Sarah (her mother) on the front porch of their home
Florence Gertrude White
Florence Gertrude White