FUNERAL SERVICES FOR UNETA PAULINE STOCKS LAST
March 1, 1983 in Gunnison, Utah.
Family Prayer by Garth B. Last, a son
Opening Prayer by Ronald W. Last, a son
Tribute by a granddaughter Mary Ann Last Young
Birth is an unconscious moment. We live on this Earth many days and take countless breaths before we even realize we have been born. Perhaps this is the first of many important events that we don't recognize at the time we experience them.
So it was on February 10, 1906, when Uneta Pauline Stocks was born in Lewiston, Utah to James Halley and Lettie Hendricks Stocks. Uneta or "Neet", as she was affectionately called by many, was one of six children born to James and Lettie. Grandma grew up in Lewiston, Utah and in 1925 she graduated from North Cache High School. A short time later on June 23, 1926 she married a high school friend, George Beaumont Last- otherwise known as "Gorgeous George". Grandma was 20 when they were wed and George was 18.
Times were very tough when they began married life. Jobs were difficult to find. Love managed to see them through many a cold morning when water on their pot-bellied stove in their one room house was frozen solid. Grandpa picked up odd jobs trying to prepare for a family. Their first son, Halley, was born in September, 1927. He lived only eight months and died of pneumonia. A second son, Garth, was born in Lewiston in 1929.
That same year the family moved to Spanish Fork where Grandpa was able to secure work with Skaggs for a few months. In 1930 they moved again. This time to Gunnison and grandpa worked for the J.C. Penny Co. for two and a half years. The depression found them with a meager income but a fighting spirit and a strong desire to make a meaningful life for themselves. They were again without a job and so a return trip to Lewiston. 1932 finally brought the chance that they had been working for. Christensen's in Gunnison offered grandpa a job and so they returned to make a home- a home that would be theirs for 32 years. Not only did grandpa work for Christensen's, but he eventually managed the store and became it's owner where he worked until retirement.
Three other children came following this final move to Gunnison- Ron born in 1932, Gwenivere in 1937, and Janene in 1941.
In 1938 a dream came true when grandpa and grandma completed a new home. A home which was to see many love-shared years as it was filled with children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren.
On March 1, 1983, just a few weeks after her- 77th birthday after many repeated hospitalizations and a determined fight to live until she had completed all that she had set out to do in this Earth life, Uneta Stocks Last passed from this Earth. She was preceded in death by a sister and two brothers. She has two sisters currently living.
It is a great honor for me to be asked to speak today as the oldest grandchild of grandpa and grandma Last to represent their four children, 20 grandchildren, and thirteen great grandchildren who loved grandma so very dearly.
As I started to prepare for this tribute, I remembered a time many years ago when I had made an entry in a personal journal about grandparents. I looked to see if I could find it and I did and I wanted to share that with you today.
"Not every child has the blessing of knowing their grandparents in this life. Mine have certainly added a dimension to my life and I am thankful that we have been able to spend time together." I didn't date the entries so I don't know when I wrote it, but I feel very certain that it was after one of those special days when we had either been to Gunnison to visit grandpa and grandma or they had been to Provo to visit us.
My mind is filled with memories of grandma Last and those memories of grandma are the treasures that I would like to share with you today.
One of the very first things I ever remember grandma telling me as a child was that I could never say the word "grandma" or "grandmother". Grandma would tell me with a smile on her face and an affectionate kiss that I always called her "Bom Bom". "And do you remember," she said, "the red corduroy dresses that I made for you and Connie when she was one and you were two?" I couldn't remember, but after I had seen a photo, I would look at grandma and say, "Yes, I remember. Aren't those the dresses with the lace around the sleeves and the neck and the three small buttons." Grandma loved to sew for us. She would watch for fabric sales at the store.
I remember telling James after we were engaged, "Well, I don't have much to offer except potential and, of course, a dowry" -which consisted of quilts, cross stitched dish towels, table clothes and pillow cases, all of which had been given to me by Grandma Last.' I used to thing how lucky I was to be the first of twenty grandchildren because I knew that I would get more than my share of beautiful handicrafts.
October and the opening of the deer hunt will always bring back memories of grandma. Beginning when I was about 12 we would drive to Gunnison the night before the hunt. Grandpa would push all the furniture to the walls and make room for the sleeping bags in the front room since there weren't enough beds for all of the grandchildren. About 3:30 in the morning, before anyone else would ever arise, grandma would be up. Voluptuous odors would start to fill the house. Ham, sausage, and eggs over easy with lots of salt and pepper, homemade toast and jam, butter, juice and milk. The menu never changed from year to year but was always the same. The deer hunt became one of my very favorite family traditions. And then when we would return from the hunt in the late afternoon, tired and cold and hungry, we were always greeted with a warm smile, a bowl of chili, and a plate of hot rolls and butter.
Now, the more I've thought about those times in the last few days, the greater became the realizations that grandma rarely sat down and ate with us. She was always up, stirring around the kitchen, making things right for everyone else. Her comfort and needs came last after her family had been attended to.
Another memory that I will always have was when I made the announcement to grandma and grandpa that I was going to marry James. Grandma confided a secret in me that I will never forget. When James and I had been dating, as is the case in many high school relationships, ours was one of occasional conflict. We attended the Jr. Prom and had our picture taken which I gave to grandma. Shortly after the Prom, James and I broke up. I told grandma about it on the phone and added a few explicatives about what I thought of the situation. Grandma promptly hung up and found her scissors and proceeded to cut James out of the picture. She then replaced it in the frame with only me remaining. She told me later that she wasn't about to throw my picture away but couldn't let anyone who hadn't treated me just perfectly stand there with his arm around me.
When we announced our engagement and she told James what she had done, she begged James forgiveness. When he told her it was okay, I thought to myself, "yes, she truly was a champion for her grandchildren."
The last few days I have had some occasion to ask my cousins to share with me what some of their most vivid thoughts and memories are of grandma.
Holly said that she will always remember that grandma loved to have her fingernails done. "Grandma was always feisty and spirited," said Brad, "even when she wasn't feeling well during the last few months she would chase me around the house and laugh when I stood on her oxygen tubbing."
Grandma told me about the morning that grandma passed away. She wanted to sit up in bed. Donna put the head of the bed up but it wasn't up high enough. "Grandma", she said, "you are just too weak. You cannot sit up." Grandma's reply, "I am not too weak. I want to sit up. I can and I will." And she did.
Donna and Paula stayed with grandma and grandpa on several occasions. "I can remember when we were little", said Paula, "grandma would take us down to the store and take her very biggest handbag. She would stuff it full of shirts and shorts and sox for us. I don't think she ever did tell grandpa."
One day when Donna and Paula came to stay, grandma asked them to perform for her so they sang and danced. Grandma taped the performance and then she made every one of her friends in the Gunnison Valley listen to it.
Brent will always remember grandma because she would always scratch his back. "When I think of grandma", said Craig, "I think of her cooking. When we were just stuffed and felt like we couldn't take another bite, she was always trying to get you to eat just one more piece of pie."
Connie remembers the times she spent rubbing grandma's feet. She loved a good foot rub with lotion. "Grandma's pickles", said Shelley, "no one makes pickles like grandma."
Paula claims, "You could never get a recipe from grandma. When you asked her how to make something, trying to duplicate her fantastic cooking, she said, 'you use a little of this, a pinch of that, and a dab of this'
I'm sure that my brother, Mike, will remember the many 4th of July's spent in Gunnison. Although grandpa was mayor of Gunnison at the time and fireworks were illegal, he always managed to have a package or two of fire crackers and cherry bombs. He took Mike, Connie and I out in the field in back of the house and showed us how to put a hole in a can, place that can in a tuna fish can filled partially with water, put a fire cracker or cherry bomb in the hole, light it and watch the can sail. Grandma used to cuss him. "George", she would say, "one of those kids are going to get hurt." There were always fire crackers the next 4th of July.
Of course, my most lasting memory of Grandma Last, will always be grandpa. I can never remember a time when one came to visit without the other. Whether it was for Provo State Basketball Tournament or trips to market. They've spent many an hour together on the road traveling between the towns where their children and grandchildren lived. I know grandpa will miss her, but he can take comfort in the thought that she is finally resting and free from the pain and discomfort that plagued her physical body these past few years.
When grandpa and grandma had their 50th wedding anniversary a few years ago, the family planned a very special celebration. Everyone in the family was going to attend except me since I was in the mission field in the Philippines. When I heard the anniversary plans I wanted to attend so much since it was very close to the end of my mission. I talked to my mission president and made arrangements to be released a week or two early, although in my letters to grandpa and grandma, I told them how badly I felt that I would not be able to attend. I will never forget the look on grandma's face when I walked into the kitchen. She had a spoon in her hand, of course. She threw it into the air and embraced me as tears filled her eyes. "Mary," she said, "you are here. Now all of you will be here."
I wrote a song for grandma and grandpa on that occasion and the chorus said, "Pack your pajamas, put your toys in the car. Oh, the first time we went there, it seemed very far. Over long stretching highways with sage by the side, till the man on the billboard marked the end of our ride." Those of you from Gunnison remember the sign that Lawrence Anderson painted that said, "Welcome to Gunnison." It stood at the edge of the city limits for years. There was a picture of a man in a straw hat sleeping in the sun with a fishing pole in his hand. We used to always think that was grandpa sluff mg work and grandma at home wondering where he was.
Today I want to take this opportunity to pay one final written tribute to grandma that I wrote last night following her viewing.
Grandmother, lying peaceful, serene
As friends and loved ones view the scene
Of your worn body layed to rest
For you have labored long and done those things that you set out to do
And now, you can begin again.
But wait, and linger on with us for just one more hour
Given as the spirit that divine and heavenly power
And listen just one more time as we speak words of love
And praise and gratitude
For grandma, you'll be missed.
Whenever we sit down to turkey dinner with all the trimmings-
Yams and rolls and pies.
Thanksgiving without the matron, master cook,
and hostess will not be quite the same.
We cannot deny.
0 When special family gatherings unite the large Last Clan
There will always be a loving face to miss-
For you never failed to kiss and hug as only-grandma's can.
When we see an orchid or eat a chocolate "See's"
We'll wish we had a loving face to laugh as children tease.
When we smell that fond aroma of fresh baked homemade bread
We will miss you dearly and think of things you've said.
It's hard to let you go for as long as we have known life
We have known grandma.
But go, you must.
And so as you depart this moral life leave with us this promise,
For that day when each of us will pass away
Grandma, be there with open arms at Heaven's Gate
And a dozen cinnamon rolls freshly baked
Heaped high upon a plate.
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT PAUL P. DYRENG
Brother George, and all the members of this lovely family. I feel extremely honored to have been asked to say a few words. I'm almost getting to the point where I feel the heaviness of the loss of any of our friends in the valley as they have become a part of me and it's hard sometimes for me to control my emotions. But let me say as I stand here this beautiful morning what a privilege it has been to be associated with Neet and George.
When I am called upon to perform a marriage we talk to the couple about the responsibility they will have to their family, church and community and as I reflect upon Sister Neet and Brother George I feel like they have certainly fulfilled the responsibility that the Heavenly Father expected of them. They were united in marriage and had that marriage sealed in the new and everlasting covenant. This is really the purpose of this Earth to have this experience and to have the marriage sealed.
We spend a great deal of time teaching the gospel and trying to make this opportunity available to all people for the Lord has so decreed that it should be that way.
When I looked at the program and saw that Garth offered the prayer as the family met together and that Ron come here and gave such a beautiful invocation and then this, the oldest grand daughter who has spoken so well, I have come further to realize the blessings that belong to this choice family where love exists and the principles of the gospel have been taught therein.
I felt Sister Neet's heart on a few occasions. I remember when I was the Bishop nearly 25 years ago that she came to my office to pay her tithing and to talk about herself and the goals that she was interested in. She talked about her son that passed away in infancy. I felt the heaviness of her heart. I've known of some of her great sorrows and great joys in this life. The great joys of her life have been encompassed around her in her husband and her children. And one thing I remember about Neet is that she hung in there and expected the best and expected to have these blessings and I think we have all come to realize and we are willing to live all the days of our lives for these blessings of a husband and a family and for their accomplishments. All of us have a few rough spots to get over but she sure did hang in there and it's been a thrilling experience for me to know some of these children.
I couldn't help last night when I was preparing some of the words that I would speak today and being kind of a sports fan and being at a ball game last night where Hurricane was playing and this Last boy was playing, I figured that it must be George's grandson and I knew there must have been a little problem associated with this at the ball game with him feeling that he should have been down here to the viewing. And I could just hear George and I could hear Neet say, "Now, look, your team mates and your school and everything is depending on you. You get over there to Snow College and you play ball and you do the very best you can." And he did. I felt really bad when he got taken out with four fouls but the coach had to preserve him for the last minute action. He needed that strength.
When I read in the paper where a Last girl from the University of Utah had been selected queen I supposed that was Garth's daughter. I knew they had moved up to Salt Lake again. I said to myself, "My, gosh, George and Neet sure must be proud of their grandchildren and the accomplishments that they've made."
My sister Marjorie lives in Provo and she has told me about the many accomplishments of Ron. I couldn't help but think here's a young boy that lived in a rural community home and has down well in Provo where, I suppose, there are more educators in a concentrated area than anywhere else in the West and he became principal of Provo High School.
Whenever we speak of Garth as Bishop Garth, President Garth and Doctor Garth. George and Neet, you must realize that you have fulfilled the commandment of the Lord to replenish the Earth and to teach your children correct principles.
Both Garth and Ron had left by the time I was Bishop but I sure do know Gwenivere and Janene. Gwenivere reminded me that I had asked her to go into the mission field. She was all ready to go and accept that call but when she told her boyfriend about this opportunity, he proposed to her. They immediately solidified the courtship. That is the only reason we excuse girls from going into the mission field. If they become otherwise taken you don't ask them to go and she became otherwise taken.
We've watched Gwenivere and Janene perform in their younger years at the school and in church. It was fun to have them there. We could count on them. When I see all these Jones children and Ward children, all these fond memories come back.
It's appropriate that we have gathered together as friends in the church and community to honor your wife, George. When you called me the other night I didn't know that your wife had passed, and when I answered the phone you asked me in a shaking voice, "Paul, will you speak in my wife's funeral?" Neet had requested that it be this way before she passed away. I feel honored.
I want you to know that the people in Gunnison Valley honor and respect George and Neet and have done for as long as I can remember. Everyone has been affected by their home and Neet being such a good cook and such a good homemaker, I suspect (it was when Gwenivere and Janene were young and when Garth and Ron were you were not only in the home for all the goodies but all their friends. It was one of these homes where the kid's friends felt it was as much their home as their own home. You should be complimented that you have created this kind of an atmosphere and climate in your home. These blessings are coming back to roost as I see your great posterity all proud of their heritage and proud to have been born to this great family.
"By their fruits ye shall know them" and I think it is evident that they are true to their family, true to their community and true to their faith.
I would also like to make just one or two comments about the relationship to the congregation that are assembled today. I'd like to recognize sister Erma Christiansen who has been one of Neet's close friends for many, many years. She, like the Last family, has blessed this community and all of our children have been taught by her in one way or another. Frank and Berta are back home today and I have probably missed some others. Brother and Sister Holland are here and I'd like to compliment those people. We're honored that so many people have returned home to pay respect to Neet and George and your family.
When we built this building George had owned his building for a short time. He worked for -J.C.Penny's and he worked for the Christensen family and then he had the opportunity to purchase the building in the later years of his business life. I think everyone in this valley was glad to see George buy that business because he had made it what it was with his labor and his foresight and his just good bubbly personality. When we built this building it required a sacrifice from so many people. It was a pleasant experience to sit down across the table from George and. Neet and ask them if they could make a substantial contribution and George did. Many people would like to have taken that money and bought an automobile or maybe have some real lovely furniture or something that they had worked for all their life. They had their priorities first and gave of their means and support.
I don't think anything has been done in the Gunnison Valley that George hasn't supported enthusiastically. He served as mayor and on the city council. He was also honored by the Lion's Club recently having made the 50 year mark. He has been a faithful member of that club for as long as I can remember. I don't think there has been a 4th of July that he hasn't been down to the park and it was mentioned that he liked to set off fire crackers in his back yard and, you know, this was typical of George. He liked to have a little fun. He liked to show his kids that he knew how to have fun playing with fire crackers. The kids never went in his store that he didn't twist their ears a little bit, pull their hair or some kind of little prank. When they left though, they left with a piece of candy in their hand.
George has given so much of his time to public service that I hope we don't over look the strength of the wife who is home, keeping the home fires going and keeping the house clean, keeping the kitchen warmed up so that when her husband came home for the few minutes he had between his work and his public service dinner was ready. Neet sustained George and supported him and helped him so that he could donate the time and service that he did to this community.
I would like to compliment this family for participating on this program. It's always a great comfort to me to see family members participate in the funeral service of the parents There is no one who knows them quite as well as they do. It shows love and respect and religious philosophy that they've been taught in their home to see this kind of a thing happen. Outside of the Stake President most of these people on the program are the family or really, really close friends. You've given the office of the Stake President honor by asking him to speak today and being in this position I certainly hope that I can represent all the members of the church.
The Savior when he comes to the Earth (and I want to say just a couple words in closing) - our religious philosophy. We're all Christians. We believe that Jesus is the Christ.
That he came to the Earth for a purpose and he accomplished that purpose. He taught men on the Earth that we are a creation of God and that we have a destiny not only with something to do upon this Earth and mortal life but the result of the work in our moral life would carry on with us and we may be exalted in living in the Celestial Kingdom. We are on the Earth for a purpose and all things are made by him.
Speaking in the first chapter of John, "All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."
How fortunate you people are to be born into a home where your parents understood this and you are not in the dark world, you are numbered among those who are born in the gospel and under the covenant and had the opportunity to enjoy the blessings that the creation of this Earth were intended for.
I'd like to bear my witness to you, and I've-read the account several times this winter in Matthew, Luke, and in John in relation to the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. He taught his children those great principles and we encourage you family members to stay close as a family and strengthen one another on the basis of these principles that Christ taught. Strengthen yourself as a family in relationship to the organization of Christ. I testify to you that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is his vehicle upon the face of the Earth today and that President Kimball and those standing in the office of prophet- we ought to follow their council and to follow the council of those who have been called to preside over you wherever you live.
You will stay together as a family and you will be heirs to those things that are spoken of in the 131 Section of the Doctrine and Covenants. When you are faithful and sealed under this covenants you have the opportunity for a Celestial Glory. The Savior, Jesus Christ himself, did come to this world to fulfill the measure of it's creation. John and Baptist said that the baptism he performed for the Savior did set the plan for us and that he would teach correct principles and he healed the sick and he taught the message of the gospel in principle and spirit and then gave himself in death to the cruxifiction and then after three days he opened the grave and became the first fruits of them that slept and bore testimony to all the world that there is a life after death. And I was interested as I read the accounts in Matthew, Luke, and John on how closely these accounts all coincided and the testimony of each bore the same message- that Jesus is the Christ, the resurrection is in fact a reality and is true. I bear my witness that it is and that the vehicle of the church is here to bless us and help us and to thank brother George Last and his wife Neet for all they have done in the Gunnison Valley to strength each of us and to help promote the gospel of Jesus Christ in a physical sense and in a spiritual sense.
Being in the same ward with George and Neet, it has been a wonderful experience for me to come to see them. One hundred percent faithful in their attendance in their meetings for so many years. When George and Neet's health were quite bad, I was thrilled and honored one night when George called and said, "Paul can you come over to my home." When I went over he said, "Will you help me administer to my wife?" And we did give Neet a blessing. It thrilled me to see George lean down and put his arm around Neet, kiss her on the forehead and say, "I love you, honey."
Then when George became somewhat ill with the disease he now is wrestling with, it isn't like George but he takes it in the spirit of it and accepts the problems of mortality and problems of this life and keeps his chin up high and he came to church even though it was hard to come. He even brought a little pillow because it made it easier to sit on these hard benches. I kinda teased him about that, but George liked to be teased and he could take it and dish it back out; even though he was hurting at the time.
Well, we thank you, George, for all that you've done in this community and the name "Last" will always be associated with pride and dignity. You've made this place a better place to live. I asked the Lord to bless you, brother George, and all of your family that you may be united and accomplish the goals and the purpose of your creation and enjoy the eternal blessings Heavenly Father has in store for you. I promise you these will become a reality upon obedience to these great principles and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
Song, "May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You." by Danna, Paula, Becky, and Ginette
Poem written and given by Linda
I sit upon my throne of glory, clothed in white, surrounded by brilliance.
I sit with my crown of exaltation upon my head and I watch
you morn with tears streaming down your face and sobs
Now being once human and mortal, I understand your grief
You grieve for me because I am gone.
Because you will miss me.
Because my life is over.
And because only just begun
I reach out to you now with my spirit, my soul.
I try desperately to touch you
To let you know
That my happiness is now full and content
The pain is no longer mine to bare
My suffering is over
There is warmth here
I am in good hands and I will be here with my father
Watching over you until we meet again.
Brother George, (I won't call you by your nickname, I've never known you by that) for the last seven years as I've been a neighbor to you and Sister Neet, I've been able to watch you and your involvement in this wonderful community that my family and I have chosen to live in. And, oh, we have enjoyed being neighbors to you. Our children have loved coming into your home and there always seemed to be a little something in the cookie jar.
I remember the first time I started up that noisy shredder. I was running some leaves and other things through it and making quite a cloud of dust and it wasn't but about 10 minutes after I started the shredder up until George was in the back yard asking what in the world I was doing. He was not one to be bashful.
I've learned a lot about your family as I have listened here today. A lot of things that a stranger who has only known you for seven years can't learn, I guess, in any other way.
I've watched over the last seven years though and I've seen your family come and go. I've watched as your sons and grandsons put in the sprinkling system so that you wouldn't have to run out and water the lawn every time you found a dry spot.
I've watched as your grand daughters stopped every time they were traveled through town from Richfield to check on you and Sister Last and make sure things were okay. I remember one time last winter when the Bishopric was visiting and they came by and got stuck in the snow. Those are good memories. I've listened today and learned many good things about you, George, and about Sister Last. As I've thought back over the last couple of days as I've tried to prepare for this and remembered Sister Last. I think , particularly as I've listened to those who have spoken today and the special tribute and as I've listened to President Dyer speak of the many hours of service that you and Sister Last have given to this community, of a special scripture which I think exemplifies what I've heard today.
"This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you." Truly the love which I've heard and seen over the last several years and here today exemplifies this wonderful commandment of our Savior. Now the scripture goes on, "Greater love hath no man than this, that ment of our Savior. Now the scripture goes on, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." And truly who in a family lays down more hours, or should I say gives more hours to the family than preparing meals and seeing that the clothes are clean and shopping and spending every minute of every day preparing for family than this wonderful mother.
I am sad at our loss and yet understanding the gospel and the plan of salvation and exaltation and knowing how valiantly Sister Neet strove to stay with us to continue to expend her spirit and her love to us I recognize that it must be the body and not the spirit that gave up. For that body the last time I saw her in the Gunnison Hospital was having a great struggle to continue itself in this state. And yet that was almost a year ago and she has struggled and continued. And it sounds to me that her last day was a statement of her continued spiritual strength and spiritual will to continue this great and eternal fight to give this great love and great spirit and great dominion which she developed over her physical body to those who were around her.
George, and all of you, the gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ which he taught us having heard it from the Father is the only path and we know that and it is the great path which will allow us to have this tremendous happiness that you've experienced here in mortality recur in your lives and I commend you for your continued diligence and to all of you I would recommend that you emulate your grandmother and mother because I believe and feel in my heart that her exaltation and her eternal happiness depends upon your following in her foot steps. For, as our Savior has told us, we without them cannot be whole and they without us cannot be whole and it's a family thing that brings us together in the eternal worlds and the family together that will give us eternal happiness. Make sure your part.
You have one son who died at eight months who is guaranteed his exaltation. He came here and got his body and left and he didn't need any further life here. The rest of us were not that valiant in the eternal worlds and we needed to prove ourselves here that we would listen to our Father in Heaven and do as he ask of us. Neet has done this. Let us continue I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.