PERSONAL HISTORY OF RALPH S. WEBB 1908-1993
(WRITTEN BY HIM IN 1970)
I was born in Lehi, Utah in the year 1908, Jan. 7. I was the second child of seven children born to my parents.
I had a very happy and normal childhood. My father was a farmer and rancher in Lehi. I had all of the pleasant experiences of living on a farm and in a small town. Lehi was like all of the early Mormon towns, with the people living in the town and their farms and ranches out in the fields. I learned to work early in life. I was six years old when I started thinning sugar beets, and I don=t believe it hurt me too much. I also was able to milk cows at that age, and ride horses too. We had to drive the cows down to the pasture daily and go get them at night. I learned to love horses and I still do, to this day. I wish that I lived where I could enjoy the pleasure of having a horse to ride every day for exercise.
I received my education in the Lehi schools through high school, and had many happy experiences and memories of my school days. I suppose I was an average student. I stayed out of school four to six weeks every fall to help harvest the crops, and was always able to catch up with the class and be promoted to the next grade along with all my class mates. It nearly caught up with me though, when I was a senior in High school. I think I still hold the record for the most credits earned in one year at the Lehi High School. I had to take classes early in the morning, at noon and after school. The teachers were very good to work with me. I was determined to graduate with my class, and I made it. I met my sweetheart when we were children, and we grew up together. We became sweethearts about our first year in high school.
I took an active part in the high school activities. I was on the football team, the basketball team, and also took part in track. I never really excelled too much in any of them, but I enjoyed all of them. I was also active in music. I played the clarinet in the band and took the male lead in the annual high school opera for two years. I enjoyed music and still do. I have done a lot of singing all of my life until lately.
After graduation from high school, it was just the beginning of the Depression and jobs and money were scarce. I wasn=t able to go to college because my brother Armond was on a mission and we had all that we could do to see that he stayed there.
At the age of twenty-one, Armond was back from his mission, and after a few months, Dad said to me, ARalph, we need to get you on a mission. When Armond was on his mission, we were able to support him and have a little left over, but now that we don=t have a missionary out, we are struggling even harder.@ He got the job as head watermaster for the Lehi Irrigation Co, which paid $50.00 a month. He figured he could do this in addition to his farm work, and $50.00 would keep a missionary in those days.
I was called to go to the North Central States Mission with headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn. It was a wonderful two years, and I gained a strong testimony of the gospel, which I have kept strong by being active in the Church. I had many wonderful and glorious spiritual experiences as a missionary. I want to relate just one for my posterity. I had been there about three days, when my companion and I and the mission president went down to what they called Bridge Square in the city of Minneapolis, to hold a street meeting. (I was scared stiff.) It was a small park where a lot of people congregated to loaf, as there [were] no jobs to be had in those days, and there were often a lot of agitators in the group. There was a good sized group there. We had a chair to stand on and the American Flag that we used for our meetings. We stood on the chair when we spoke. The crowd was very restless and the mission president, President Allred, was being heckled badly. They were very rude to him. He got there and told me to sing, AOh My Father@. I wanted to run, but he had hold of my arm and I couldn=t. I was just like all of the boys in the Church. I had sung the hymns, but had paid very little attention to the words. We had forgotten to bring our song books with us. I said, AI don=t know the words, I can=t do it.@ President Allred [said] AGet up there and the Lord will bless you.@
I had come on a mission to do the Lord=s work, so I got up on the chair and started to sing. I knew the first words. I testify to whoever reads this history that I have never sung so well or felt so relaxed. My voice carried for blocks. People gathered from all over the park. I sang every verse without missing a word. By the time I was through, we had about three hundred people to preach to. The Lord=s spirit was there. I felt it. Pres. Allred was able to preach a stirring sermon, and the people were very quiet and attentive. After that Pres. Allred testified to this experience before congregations of the Church many times.
I [was] released from my mission on the 21st of June 193l, and returned home to my family and my sweetheart, who had waited for me. We were unable to get married that summer. I wanted to be a dentist, and I didn=t have any money.
I wanted to get back to Minnesota and go to the University of Minnesota Dental School. I had made some good friends while on my mission, and some were wealthy. I wrote to them. One of them said he would loan me some money. The other one said that he would pay my fees and books, and they had a room in their attic that I could have for a sleeping room, but I would have to arrange for my board. I didn=t know what to do. One Sunday night I was preaching in Riverton, Utah, when I noticed a convert from Minneapolis in the audience. I told her I had a chance to come out to school, but that I needed to work for my board. She said, AYou have a job. I am a cook for one of the fraternities there, and you can work in the kitchen and wait on tables for your board.@
I left for Minneapolis in the fall with $15.00 in my pocket, after I had paid my train fare. I made it through the first year with a lot of help from my friends there. The room that I had to sleep in didn=t last long, as the people had a chance to rent it, and they asked me to find something else. I was in a spot. I called the other friend, E. A. Christensen, and he came over and got me and took me into his home as one of his family, and charged me nothing. I love those people as I love my own family. He told me that I could work for the company that he worked for during the summer, Hills Bros. Coffee. I wrote to Mildred and told her about it, and we decided that we could get married that summer. Mildred had been teaching school for two years, and E. A. knew the chairman of the school board in Minneapolis. He was sure that he could get her a job teaching. We thought that we Ahad it made@.
I returned home after school was out that spring, and we were married on the 30th of June 1932. I want my children and grandchildren to know that this was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. We have had and are still having a happy life together. We have been married 38 years on June 30th, this summer of 1970. We have had good times and bad, but the good have made up for the bad.
When we got back to Minneapolis, after our marriage, we discovered that the company had decided that they were not going to hire any extra help that summer, so I was out of a job. Mildred=s contract that she had in Arizona ran for twelve months, so we got money from that, and we lived through the summer. We thought that Mildred could get a job teaching, but the school board [decided] not to hire married women, because of the shortage of jobs for men. I guess I must have gone in and out of every store and business in Minneapolis looking for work. I found nothing, even with my influential friends doing all they could for me. We got through our first year with the help of our parents and the few off jobs that each of us found.
A member of the Church had a son who needed help in his grocery store. We worked it out so that I worked until I went to school, and Mildred took over until after I came home at night. This worked out fine, and we made it all right. We had been there four years and Mildred went home to Lehi where our first child, Dan, was born.
When the fees got to be more than we could handle, I decided that I had better take what I knew of the laboratory end of dentistry and go out in that field. I dropped out of school and returned west. We went to live in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Our last three children were born there. We had such a wonderful life in Idaho. When the World Ward II broke out, the fellow who was working with [me] in the lab was called into the service, and I took over the business. From then on, we were quite financially successful. We bought a home, and had a lot of wonderful friends, who are still some of our best friends.
We did a lot of work in the Church in Idaho Falls. Mildred worked in the Primary and Jr. Sunday School. I was a Stake Missionary, and explorer leader and Sunday School Supt. When the Stake was divided, I was made Stake Sunday School Supt. I held this position until we moved (two years), to Provo, in 1947. Mildred and I did a lot of singing in I.F. I sang in a male quartet that sang all over Snake River Valley. Also, Mildred and I sang in a mixed quartet that did a lot of singing. We enjoyed it very much. We both sang in all of the Temple dedication choruses.
When the war was over, the fellow who had the business before came back, and it was agreed that we would be partners. I learned a lot from him. He was a good technician, but after a while, he went back to drinking on the job. I had to do all the work. He wouldn=t sell the business to me. I decided to move to Provo, where we could be closer to our family, and parents, who were getting quite old.
We have enjoyed our lives here in Provo, Utah. We have lived in the same home for twenty-two years. I went into business here and did well. After about six years in business for myself, the three labs in Provo decided to merge. This lasted for about fourteen years then I decided to put a lab in the basement of my home. I have developed high blood pressure. In the meantime, Mildred finished school and got her degree in elementary education when she was fifty years old, and was teaching school in Lehi. Later she was transferred to Cherry Hill School in Orem.
We have such a happy life here in Provo. I sang in a male chorus here and also a quartet, which brought me a great deal of pleasure [and] satisfaction. I was very sorry when my health made it almost impossible to sing.
I have done a lot of work in the Church here in Provo. I was Scout Master for about ten years and had forty-six boys in the troop at one time. Over the years, we had around fifty-seven eagle scouts come out of my troop. I received my own Eagle badge, Order of the Arrow, Provo Peak Award and the Scouterís Key. I had some wonderful men working with me in Scouting, and they all went with me and the Troop on the summer camp at Wolf Creek Summit. We found lasting friendships that stand today. We still go on camping trips with our wives up to the same area that we used to take the boys. We love it. We laugh a lot and enjoy each others company.
After I was released as Scoutmaster, I became Stake Scout Leader, but I didn=t enjoy that. Working with the boys is the real thrill in Scouting for me.
I became the High Priest Group Leader of Park Ward after that. It was a rewarding job. I held this position for about then years. I am now a Home Teacher, and I am enjoying that.
Our children have all married well and in the Temple. I love and appreciate my sons-in-law and daughters-in-law very much and feel very blessed. I love my grandchildren. They are a real joy and pleasure to me. I=m never so happy as I am when with my family.
I=m so grateful for my sweetheart and wife. Every once in a while, the Lord sends one of his choicest spirits down to earth to bless [the] old planet with their presence, and I have been blessed to have married one of them. I=m sure I=m not the easiest guy to live with, but she has made such a wonderful home for me and my children. She has kept the kind of house she knows will make me comfortable, and I thank the Lord every night for her. Heaven wouldn=t be worth going to, if I couldn=t be there with her.
This history isn=t complete, as I=m only sixty-two years old, and I expect to live much longer.
Signed, Ralph W. Webb
I will add a few more years to my history. I ended the history when I was 62 years of age, and I am now 69. I turned 69 on the 7th day of January, 1977.
My children have all been very good to me, and that, of course, makes my life a joy, but the greatest blessing that I have is that my wife and sweetheart is still with me, and we enjoy our life together very much.
We are both retired now and are kept so busy doing church work, that we seldom have time to go out in the mountains in our camper, as often as we used to do. We only went twice last summer.
We have 22 grand children now, and they are all jewels in our crown of glory. We are never so happy as when the whole family is together. That doesn=t happen very often, because Suzanne and her family live in California, and Dan and his family live in Blanding, Utah. We see some of Dan=s family quite often. Our oldest granddaughter is now 19 and is studying nursing at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. She will graduate this spring as a registered nurse. Our youngest grandchild is 6 months old and is the son of Bill and Gwen. His name is Jason.
Our son, Bill, graduated from North Western Dental School. I am proud of him. I have, in my 35 years as a Dental Technician, (This history just ends here.)
MY TESTIMONY (written by Ralph S. Webb, Park Ward, 1/26/76)
I was born in the Church and under the covenant. Like all young people born in the church, I took the Church for granted. I attended the Church meetings, Primary, Sunday School and M. I. A. I didn=t think much about a testimony, until I was in my teens, and started to prepare to go on a mission.
I was called to serve a mission for the Church in the North Central States in 1929. I served there for twenty-six months. It was while on a mission that I gained a testimony of the Gospel. I was called to defend the doctrines of the Church and the Book of Mormon. I know that Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet of God, and through him the true Gospel was restored to the earth and through him the Book of Mormon was brought forth to bring a new witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ.
I know that Jesus is the Christ, and that He made the great sacrifice of the atonement that brought resurrection to all, and through him we may gain life after death. If we are worthy, we shall gain the highest degree of exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom.
I know that God lives, and that He listens and answers our prayers if what we ask for is for our good. He has answered mine many, many times.
I am grateful for my calling in the Temple. I know the work that is done in the Temple is the work of God. I have felt the presence of those for whom the work is being done many times. I have had experiences in the Temple that are too sacred to mention, outside of the Temple.
I know that there is a Prophet at the head of the Church today, and that the Lord speaks through him to His sons and daughters here on earth.
I=m thankful to my Father in Heaven for my testimony and hold it sacred, and bare it in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. Signed, Ralph S. Webb.