Friday, October 31, 2008

Clownin' Around

Principal Louis Butler
October 31, 1977

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Della and Harker - 50 Years Together

ViAnna FiDella Shafer - Charles Harker Davis
50th Wedding Anniversary
October 30, 1939

In his personal history Norman E. Davis, their son, gives us a few details about the marriage of Harker and Della - Lou's maternal grandparents:

"Charles Harker Davis and Vienna Fidella Sheaffer (Shafer on their wedding certificate) were united in marriage October 30, 1889 by Michael Keinan, Justice of the Peace, and witnessed by her sister, Caroline Shaeffer and Mrs. Bell Herbert.

"Father was a cowboy at that time, working around Springer, New Mexico. After some time they decided to make their way to Pueblo, to work and make a home, to start life as a family."

These newspaper articles report some details of the celebration. Note that Charles and Louis Butler (grandsons of the couple) sang "Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet."

Unfortunately, the wish for "many more years of wedded bliss" was not to be. Harker passed away 10 months later in August, 1940.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Best in Alaska

LDS Church Building
about 20 miles from Clam Lagoon - where the naval facility of Adak was located
note the "cars" in the parking lot!

I didn’t get to church very often[while stationed at Adak],because we worked through Sundays if our section was on duty, which was half the time. It was also difficult to get transportation to the Main Navy town where the chapel was located. Our Radio City, as it was called, was set several miles off from the main facilities of the island because of the secret nature of the mission, so we had to go by bus most of the time to get any place except the Army Air Base.

Military Church Group near Adak
I can't find Dad in this picture, but he recorded that this was the group
he went to church with.

We did have about 35 Latter-day Saints who usually attended meetings, and one Red Cross Lady, the only sister.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hegler's Swimming Pool

Delbert (1) and Louis (12) with family pets
about 1935

When I turned 12 years old, I joined Scout Troop #2 at the Bethel Methodist Church with several of the neighborhood boys. Our church did not have a Scout Troop at this time. Piff Wallace was the assistant Scout Master to Mr. Reeves.

An arrangement was made between Hegler’s Swimming Pool and Scout Troop #3 for the troop to work at the pool in the spring to prepare it for the summer swim season. The work had to be done on Saturdays during April and May.

Ray Hegler

The Hegler family owned a farm which included a stream in which they cleared out the brush and built a dam.  This dam created a pool of water about 150 feet long and 75 feet wide which made a very nice swimming pool.  In addition to the pool, the Heglers built a bath house, diving towers and boards, parking area and fencing.  It was a great business!

The pool consisted of a dam across a ravine and a stream working its way down to the Arkansas River. It was about a half mile north of Highway #50 and ½ mile south of the Arkansas River.

The stream would bring in silt from the fields which drained into the stream all summer. So we would wash the silt out of the sand, re-sand the pool bottom, and clear out any trash or growth from the incoming stream.

We would re-sand the area on top of the dam and on the beach on the west side of the pool. We would scrape and repaint the tower, diving boards, fence, dressing rooms, and business area.
  In return for our work, we could swim free all summer.

Just before the pool opened for the public, the Heglers always had a pit barbeque pig for a big meal and party for the workers.

After the first year, our neighborhood boys took over the project, and the Scout Troop dropped out of it. We continued the project and free swimming until we were well into high school, and then some boys stayed on as life guards, etc. The group stayed on and swam free until WWII broke out and most of us ended up in the service.

We often went to Hegler’s on Friday after school and slept there Friday night. We would work and play and swim as soon as the pool filled (even though the water was very cold when it first filled.) Some stayed over Saturday night, but most of us had to come home for Sunday church meetings.

We did a lot of swimming for the summer when we could talk one of our parents into driving us out there. It was about seven miles from our neighborhood.

A little internet searching led me to Ray Hegler's obituary as published in the Pueblo Chieftain:

Hegler, Raymond E.
Raymond E. Hegler, 86, passed away Jan. 20, 2005. Survived by his loving wife of 19 years, Anna Hegler; his children, Alan Hegler, David (Cathie) Hegler, Gail Hegler; grandchildren, Melissa Merrill, Michael Hegler; his stepchildren, Marge (Jim) Penrod, Janice (Larry) Crump, John (Marcella) Mravich; grandchild, Becky Penrod; special niece, Pepper (Bill) Rhinehart. Also survived by numerous nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Mary Hegler; first wife, Jean Townley; brothers and sisters, Pauline, Herman, Frank, Fred, Theodore, Wilma, Anna and Isabelle. Ray was the owner and operator of Hegler Swimming Pool. He raised fish at the Hegler Trout Farm. Ray was a member of the Eagles, NRA, Carpenters Union, Fin and Feather Club. He also loved to dance, have fun and was a kind and loving person.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Friendships, firmly cemented

The first LDS Church building in Pueblo, Colorado
Seventh Street and Fountain Ave

picture dated 1908

The first [LDS Church] meetings (about 1896) were held in the homes of various members for the first few years. The first regular meeting place was in a lodge hall over White & Davis Store when it was located at Third and Main Streets. The next place was the old D.A.R. Hall. In 1903, lots were bought at Seventh Street and Fountain Avenue and a one-room building was erected in which to hold church meetings. The money for material was donated by the local members, and they did the actual work of building the church. Three additions were made to this building from time to time as the membership grew.

This building was where Mable first attended church after she started meeting with the missionaries. This was also the building the family when the family attended when Lou was baptized in 1931. The building was sold in 1940.

Second LDS Church in Pueblo, Colorado
Fourth Street and Kingston Avenue

in use 1937 - 1955

[In 1937] the church building at Fourth Street and Kingston Avenue was purchased. But with the steady growth of the Pueblo Ward, it became apparent that the membership would soon outgrow this building, and a building fund was started [for the purchase and/or construction of a new building.]

Within a few years, the church at 4th and Kingston was in constant need of repairs, and the membership had grown until, even had the building been in perfect condition, it would still have been inadequate.

In the early part of 1950, John Bonforte
, an aeronautical engineer who became a home builder after World War II because he needed a house himself (according to an article in the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper), started developing the Belmont area of northeast Pueblo, and early in 1951 he started building the first residences. Bonforte knew that to make Belmont attractive to the people who would move there, that they would want schools and churches, and he gave liberally of land to the school districts, and he let it be known that certain sites were available to new churches who would erect a building that would do justice as a place of worship and help make Belmont beautiful.

Louis Butler
2nd Counselor in the Pueblo Ward Bishopric

As a member of the bishopric, in July [1954] I got to turn over a spadeful of earth at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new chapel.

By August 1954, he had deeded to the Pueblo Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a plot of ground at Constitution Avenue and Bonforte Boulevard, and construction on this beautiful building had begun.

During August, 1954, the actual construction of the church was started with the labor of the many men, women and children who were members of the Pueblo Ward, and also many who were not members; firms helped by discounting the cost of work and material other members who were heads of construction companies gave freely the use of their time, equipment and employees.

Those who donated the most labor (hours) on the building were Pearl Shaner and Jesse L. Butler. A railroader, Jesse would come in from a run for the railroad and go immediately to the construction.

Friendships, firmly cemented with the laying of each brick, grew as members industriously worked to furnish the building, do landscaping, and pay off indebtedness. many remember the tantalizing odors of baked goods wafting from the kitchen as members, under the direction of Ream Carpenter, a baker by profession, fill previously taken orders each Friday and Saturday.

Completed building
Constitution Avenue and Bonforte Boulevard

On October 12, 1957 we attended the dedication of the Pueblo Ward Chapel. The dedicatory prayer was given by Elder Mark E. Peterson.

The historical narrative, written by Maurice Evensen and Verda Gibson, was taken from a program dated October 24, 1982 commemorating the 25th anniversary of the building's dedication.

Stories about Jesse Butler and Ream Carpenter's involvement in the church construction will be told in a later post.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Task Force Duty on the USS Richmond

USS Richmond
Mare Island Navy Yard
September 1943

One of the things that we all looked forward to was our turn to go out on task force duty. Usually that turn would come after many months of duty on Adak when a change was really looked forward to.

My turn finally came after I was on Adak for about 14 months. We left on July 10, 1945. The Germans had already surrendered and we were pushing the Japanese back toward their homeland and it was evident that the war was coming to an end. I had mixed emotions, I wanted to go home, but I also wanted my turn on Task Force Duty after hearing the guys who had already gone tell about their experiences.

We arrived at Attu on July 12, and left on July 13.
On July 19 we sighted many planes, birds, and a rocky shore land. The Japanese planes did not bother us, but went in retreat to their bases because of our superior firepower and air support. We were not near or in the Ohohst Sea, and we were picking up many radio signals, plain language, oral, and code.

I should back up and tell a little about our situation on the ship. Because we were at that time a top secret outfit, when we went on board the light cruiser, they took all of our radios, special typewriters, and code books, etc. directly to the Captain’s quarters for security reasons. We set our equipment on the Captain’s dining table and conference table. We slept in the regular quarters, but spent all of our waking hours in the captain’s quarters. There were nice chairs and a sofa in his dining room.

Teletype Operator
Army Communications
Antwerp, Belgium

Although this picture isn't representative of exactly what Dad did, it gives us an idea of the kind of equipment he may have used during his time in the Navy.

We had four operators, and worked two shifts. Because we were always in there, with typewriters going and radio signals, the Captain stayed in his other quarters on the upper deck by the control center. They were not as plush as his regular quarters, and he didn’t like being put out of his regular quarters. He was probably near retirement age and would have been retired if it were not for the war.

The Captain did come down to his quarters sometimes during the day and he would shower, shave and get dressed in his regular quarters. One day when he came down to shave, he cleaned out his razor and found very black whiskers in his electric razor. There was only one of our crew who had black whiskers and the Captain’s hair and whiskers were very light grey or almost white. He was furious!

He got hold of our only officer, Lt. Monroe, and told him that one of us had used his razor during the night. Lt. Monroe insisted that none of “his boys” would even think of using his razor. He suggested that probably one of the Captain’s Philippino orderlies had used the razor. They had quite a standoff, but it was finally dropped. We knew it was one of our crew, but denied knowing anything about it. The Captain wasn’t very friendly after that, and he spent very little time with us.

On July 22, 1945 at 0050 we bombarded Suribachi Air Base at Paramuchiro, Japan, which is on the northern most island of Japan. It lasted for just 25 minutes, 510 6” rounds. Each time we fired, it shook the whole ship and our equipment would bounce around and we would have to hold on to it.

We thought that they might retaliate, but to my knowledge there was no resistance at all. So we headed back to Attu and on to Adak, arriving there on July 29, 1945.

Now I was really ready for the war to be over so I could get back home. I had been gone from Pueblo since about April 15, 1944.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Belong to the Church . . .

Lou - 3rd Grade

On 16 May 1931 I was baptized by Elder J. Leslie Hobbs and confirmed by Elder Jay P. Davis into the Pueblo Branch of the Western States Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My baptism certificate was recorded by Sister Amy D. Newton, Branch Clerk and signed by President J.T. Johnson.

Elder J. Leslie Hobbs

Elders J. Leslie Hobbs and Jay P. Davis slept at Sister Maude Myers home down the street from us and took their meals at our house. Sister Myers had gone to work in a restaurant out by the cemetery on old Highway 50 at Blend.

Proof of my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - but they spelled my name wrong, and I am surprised that my mother let it go without getting it corrected!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Have Trailer - Will Travel

The home away from home
unidentified campground

March, 1984 – took a vacation to Port Aransas, Texas with Clark and Carolyn Harriman, (Clark is my cousin). We spent three weeks with them fishing, golfing, and playing card games. We had a great time and hope to make more of those kinds of trips with them.

The 3/4 ton Ford pickup

Shortly after returning from that trip, we traded our car in on a 1984 ¾ ton truck and bought a 5th wheel trailer (26 feet).

Rest stop on the open road

Lou and Leona spent many days and nights living contentedly in their home on wheels. I've heard Mom say many times that when they hooked the trailer to the truck and started down the highway, she never was happier than when she looked behind and saw the trailer rolling along behind them.

Lou studying in the trailer "living room."

Their children and grandkids all have very fond memories of spending time with Grandpa and Grandpa in the trailer. Some of those stories will follow - feel free to leave your memories as a comment.

Monday, October 6, 2008

In Memory - Mable Elsa Butler

Mable in her room at Adam's Place in Ogden, Utah
where she lived from 1987 until her death.

Lou and Leona lived near by and visited her everyday.

October 29, 1987 – we reserved a room for Mom Butler at Adam’s Place, which is an retirement/assisted living facility in Ogden. The cost will be $695/month and include everything except her long distance telephone calls. It looks even better now, and I’m sure it will be good for Mom.

September 29, 1988 – We drove to Denver to be with Jim for surgery on his wrist. The day following Jim's surgery (October 1, 1988) we got a call that my mother, Mable Elsa Davis Butler passed away at 9:15 a.m. She died of a massive stroke, very suddenly without illness or great suffering, for which we are grateful. Leona and I left immediately for Ogden.

We went to Adam’s Place, the retirement home where she had lived, and began to move her things out of the apartment. Her body had been shipped back to Pueblo already.

Mable's last journal entry
September 30 - October 1, 1988
"Louis & Leona in Denver went to Denver to be with Jim when he is going to have his hand operated on. Louis Jr. came in & gave me popcorn [and a] jigsaw puzzle & told me to call if I didn't hear about Jim. His folks will call Louis & he will call me. So I'll wait!

October 6, 1988 – Mom’s funeral was today.

Although these "official" documents list her name as "Mabel", we know from her personal records that her name was in fact Mable. Leona says that's because her sons never could remember how to spell her name!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Day in the Life

Our Radio City, as it was called, was set several miles off from the main facilities of the island because of the secret nature of the mission, so we had to go by bus most of the time to get any place except the Army Air Base. That base was just about a mile walk through the tundra if we did not want to wait for a bus.

Aerial views of Adak
about 1944

We stood watches (duties) in eight-hour shifts, staring at 4 p.m. until midnight. After that shift we would have a snack in the mess hall if we wanted one, usually leftovers from the evening meal, and then we would go to bed. The worst thing about watches was that we had to keep the radio shack from being seen from the air, so the windows were closed and covered and the ventilation was not very good and everyone smoked except me. So the smoke was bad and everyone drank huge amounts of coffee trying to keep awake, especially during the midnight watch.

Picture found on the internet

We would return to the radio shack after a breakfast by 8 a.m. Then at 4 p.m. it was back to the mess hall for the evening meal and to bed or whatever until 11:30 p.m. for a snack and back to the radio shack by midnight. This watch finished the 8 hours on, 8 off, 8 on, 8 off, 8 on and then off from 8 a.m. Monday, for example, for the day and night. Then the next day it was usually some kind of duty such as KP, yard clean up, or road repair. Roughly we worked two days on duty and two days off, except for the second day off with other work. This was also the time to go to the PX, play ball, or work out.

Our schedule on Adak went like this:

• 8:00 a.m. – report to the Duty Officer’s staff for a 4-hour work assignment. It could be anything from cleaning showers and latrines, to putting in new fence lines, repairing the wooden pathways, filling in potholes in the roads around the base, etc.
• Relieve the day watch in the radio shack immediately after 4 p.m. chow and copy code until relieved between 11:30 p.m. and 12:00 midnight


• Relieve the graveyard shift after a 6:30 a.m. breakfast and work the radio shack until relieved about 4:30 - 5:00 p.m.
• Try to get some sleep or go play basketball until we get a snack at about 10:30 p.m. in the mess hall
• Relieve the crew about 11:30 p.m. and work until about 7:00 – 7:30 a.m. (If you had played basketball in the evening, it was a long shift from midnight to 7:00 a.m.!


• Hit the sack after breakfast, until about noon or sometime till late in the afternoon
• In the evening, play basketball, watch a movie or just relax Thursday
• Free for doing laundry, going to Navy or Air Force for supplies, writing extra letters, reading, etc.
• Often there was a need for an extra work project which we had to do


• Start all over again! Work Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

We worked two days on and two days off and had 4 shift crews working.

Movie Hall and Beer hall
Adak Radio City

We also liked to go to the PX where we could supplement our food supply and get stamps, stationery, toilet articles, etc. The big attraction for most of the guys was the beer hall, which was right next to the gym and the PX. Many of the guys spent all of their free time over there, staying as long as it was open, unless they had duty. They would stay until their money ran out, then they would borrow whatever they could. If they wanted something stronger than beer, they had to have some connections to get it either from the Officers’ Club or from some black market from the pilots or others who were part of the flight crew. Either way, it cost a lot of money.

We had mail delivery almost every day, except Sunday, and of course we all looked forward to the truck coming in with our mail. I was fortunate for I got many letters from Leona and from Mom, but not too many more than that. Some guys were lucky to get one or two letters a month.