A funeral was held in memory of Darrell Skeen Peterson on 25 November 1947. The Telegram sent to my Grandpa indicated the funeral would be on Wednesday the 26th but the funeral transcript is dated Tuesday the 25th.
The funeral drew a very large crowd. Many of Darrell’s classmates attended as well as family, neighbors, and church friends. There were a few notable guests. David O. McKay attended and spoke as well as Spencer W. Kimball. My LDS readers will be familiar with those names. They were both prophets and Presidents of our church. At the time of the funeral, David O. McKay was a member of the First Presidency of the church. Spencer W. Kimball was an apostle. President McKay attended because he is a family member. President Kimball attended because he was sent to represent the leaders of the church. He was chosen in particular because he had recently stayed in my great grandparents home while fulfilling one of his church assignments.
A transcript of the funeral was given to me by Naomi’s youngest brother Evan Skeen many years ago. I have treasured it. The entire transcript can be found here. Click on details, then download original.
As I was reviewing it recently, an extended family story stood out to me. This story comes from the talk of David O. McKay (pg 21-22). The President Peterson he refers to is my great grandfather, he was the Stake President at the time of the funeral.
“Finally, we know that we may rest assured that God will overrule this tragic passing for the good of Darrell’s loved ones and Darrell’s eternal happiness and joy. I am going to illustrate by the lesson given to me, President Peterson, when I was a boy by your great-grandfather’s sister. It is the first lesson in my life on the fact that God’s over-ruling power may be depended upon. I sat in the Rock House here in Ogden, a student attending the Weber Stake Academy. Mang-du, Uncle Thomas’ sister was then an old woman. Mother and Father were up in the Valley. One evening as Man-du sat there in her rocking chair she told me the story of leaving Wales. Man-du and Grandpa Evans – Dad-ku as we called him, were married and had several children, the eldest of whom was a boy in his teens. But just before they left, Grandmother Evans gave birth to a little baby girl and as soon as Grandmother Evans was well enough they began to prepare for their journey across the ocean. Just at that time, to their great sorrow and distress, their eldest son was taken by death. I was but a boy in my teens, but I remember as distinctly now as when she described the bitterness in her heart because God, she said, had taken her boy from her. She cried, “If you had to take any of my children, why didn’t you take this little helpless baby that will be a burden, and leave the boy who could help us on our journey?” In that Rock House on 28th Street, as she sat in her little old rocking chair, she said: “But, David, God knew best, and I have asked Him to forgive me for feeling in my heart to condemn Him for taking that boy. Now, after these many passing years when I am old and need help – who is it by me?” and she pointed to Aunt Lizzie and her two fine boys in whose home we were then living. “I need this comfort”, she said, “far more than I needed the guidance and help of that teen-age boy.” She recognized God’s over-ruling power.”
Near then end of his talk he said this, “Let us all unite in silent prayer that the Lord will bless Darrell’s missionary brother down in New Zealand. It is hard for him. The cable has gone announcing Darrell’s sudden passing. We hope that the President of the Mission if he could, sat by Ronald’s side and conveyed the message of parting. You will find that the Holy Spirit Gave him comfort also. Peace – peace be with us – the peace that comes from Christ – the peace radiated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ – that peace which comes from an assurance that Death’s power ends when he silences the heartbeat. The spirit is freed to return to the presence of God who gave it. May that peace be in your hearts, and all, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
My Grandma saved a small collection of photos from the funeral:
to be continued…