Life Sketch Reed L Rawlins
Reed LeGrand Rawlins was born in Lewiston, Utah on November 20, 1912. He entered this world as the 7th child and 5th son of Jasper Alfonso and Cora Mae Burbank Rawlins. He spent his youth with 5 brothers and 1 sister on the family farm in Lewiston where his younger brother, Lindsay, still resides. As he told it, his days were spent caring for the animals and the land with the family that he loved. The farm and the life of a farmer were all that he aspired to.
At the age of 5 he began his formal education at the Lewiston School despite his early efforts at escape - astride a horse that he had caught, bridled and mounted himself. He graduated from North Cache High School on April 29, 1932. While at North Cache he ran track and judged cattle and horses, a talent and devotion he retained all of his life. School gave Dad a deep love of knowledge and teaching. Despite a learning disability that would be easily corrected today, he spent many hours reading books - books from Louis Lamour westerns to the complete works of the ancient Jewish historian, Flavius Josepheus.
He entered the mission field in 1936 and served in the Southern States Mission. Part of his mission was spent serving under Pres. LeGrand Richards, an achievement of which he was very proud. While in the mission field, he lost his mother, having lost his father prior to leaving. Upon returning from his mission, he found Cache Valley snowed in and his brothers unable to meet his train in SLC. He hitchhiked to Cache Valley and got rides as far as the highway by Cove and walked from there to Lewiston. Despite his 2-year absence, the family dog knew who he was. Dad loved to tell us that this realization came to the dog in the middle of an attack on which the dog thought was an intruder. While in mid-air, the growls became licks and kisses as he landed on Dad.
Reed married Ethel Ora Scott on January 20, 1940 in Lewiston, Utah. The first three children were born there; one is buried there. Reed and Ethel soon left Cache Valley and lived throughout the Intermountain West for many years - from Moses Lake through Walla, Washington to Boise Valley. Reed worked for various employers including the Hanford Atomic Energy Project in Washington State during World War II and in sugar factory labs in both Idaho and Utah. Upon their return to Cache Valley in 1959, he was employed in the lab at Thiokol Chemical Corp. and was the father of six children - Deanna Louise, Alaine, Marsha, Reed Scott, Daniel Mark and Drew Thomas. Reed and Ethel settled in Trenton, Utah and still live in the house that they purchased there. After leaving Thiokol following an operation to fuse part of his spine, he worked for Wurlitzer until his first retirement at age 63. Wurlitzer found they had to hire two people to replace him and convinced him to return. He stayed with that company until they closed their Logan plant. After his second retirement, this time from WeatherShield, that company found they had to hire an entire family to replace him. At the time of his death, he was the sexton for Trenton City. We assume that Trenton City will need an entire army to replace him. He enjoyed being sexton more than anything he had done in many years. Keep in the cemetery beautiful and groomed for the families that came to visit was his job and he took it as seriously as he did all of his assignments.
Reed was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served his church and his community in many capacities throughout his life. He was an Explorer Leader when he met Ethel and she remembers dancing with Dad's entire Explorer troop. He served as Ward Clerk while in Trenton as well as spending many years as a home teacher and teaching the Gospel Doctrine class in whatever ward or branch in which he lived. He was often involved as a Stake Missionary and loved to preach the Gospel. He was a gifted teacher and was very diligent in his preparation. He was a High Priest at the time of his death, or as Daddy put it... "a dead Seventy."
He was a good and conscientious neighbor and served his community as a member of the Trenton Zoning Board and Chairman of Trenton's Republican Party. A man of wit and intelligence, Reed could always give you a good argument - an activity he and I engaged in often to the dismay of everyone around us. If you found Dad's phone line busy for an extraordinary amount of time, you knew he and Uncle Lindsay were deeply involved in a plan to save either the world or the widow down the street. One of his favorite quotes was that of the definition of an expert - "an X is a has been and a spurt is a drip under pressure." He voted in every election - national, state, and local. He felt exercising his franchise gave him the right to criticize.
My father loved horses and horse races - from the summer races to the cutter races in the winter. He enjoyed the camaraderie of the races, the horse talk, the gossip about jockeys and trainers and owners. He invited all comers to join him and those of who, from time to time, did will now be amazed at how uneventful horse races are without Dad. My father taught all of his children how to work and how to work hard. This was not an easy task as there are six of us and no family farm to keep us occupied. But we always lived in a rural setting with cows to milk, calves to feed, horses to care for and chores to do before supper. I can remember driving Dad's small Ford tractor while he picked up hay, of riding all sorts of horses, and a special memory of riding with Dad in the parade for the Nampa Stampede in Nampa, Idaho. While living away from Cache Valley, we spent many hours traveling by car to visit family in Utah. I remember singing and games and an imaginary bump in the road when we finally crossed the Utah-Idaho border. I remember camping and hiking, with Dad eventually beating us all back to camp, walking stick in hand and trailing his bootlaces in the dust. Yearly hikes to High Creek Lake, on foot or horseback, were an activity he carried on as long as his health permitted and he could find someone to go along. I remember his deep concern and devotion to my mother. You could occasionally smart-mouth Dad, but it was not a practice he allowed us to engage in with Mother. In his presence, she was always treated with respect and courtesy.
My father was first and foremost a farmer - in his mind and in ours. Although agriculture was not the way he earned his living for most of his married life, the land and the animals that inhabited it were his first love - a love that encompassed his entire being and made him a true grower of life, a nurturer of all living things, a life-giver, a farmer. Being out of doors gave him peace and serenity. I remember tours of the roads though Franklin Basin, a road that Dad helped build while logging in his youth. He was an avid story-teller and there were stories of ornery mares and wild rides through the pine trees with horses and logs that were never mixed with complaints of the long, hard days - just the joy he found in the doing and the telling of it.
As I look at the six of us today, I know that Dad succeeded in raising us to be hard workers and stalwart citizens and family members. He never hesitated to tell us how proud he was of us and to show us how much he loved us all. He taught us to care for ourselves and for those we love. This was his legacy to his children, along with his good name.
Some dream of new houses, new cards, trips abroad. My dad dreamt of racing horses and standing in the winner's circle, of foals and mares and feeding time. He was born close to the land and he died close to the land and horses that he loved with his family at his side.
On Christmas Day more than 20 years ago, my father spoke to the congregation in the old Trenton church. I would like to quote him to you:
"The Atonement of Christ means to me that I have life. I want to come back and live with God and Christ forever. Because of the Atonement of Christ I have father that I will meet my father, my own earthly father, with a body that is not racked with pain nor with twisted limbs because of years of pain and affliction. When I meet him he will be whole and well and my mother, too, whose body was eaten by cancer will stand before me well and happy, lifted above the pain and worry and sorrow of this world. The last time I saw my mother I kissed her good-bye as I left to go on my mission; hers was a sick and worn out body, worn out in the service of her God and her husband and her children... I like to wonder what it will be like to meet (my) people; what a joyful reunion it could be!"
I have asked William Shakespeare to help me say good-bye to Dad and this is what he told me to say:
Now cracks a noble heart. Good night,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
Tie the string of my life, my Lord.
Then I am ready to go.
Just one last look at the horses.
Quickly! That will do!
Put me up on the saddle's firm side
So I shall never fall
For we must ride to the Judgement Day
And it's partly downhill.
But you never mind the bridges
And I will not mind the sea.
Held fast in everlasting race
By my own free choice and Thee.
Goodby to the life I used to love,
And the world I used to know.
And kiss the mountains for me, just once.
Now I am ready to go.
- Emily Dickenson, adapted by Ethel Rawlins