Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Here is a picture of Sylvia and Dick Wallen with their daughter Jenny Koenig who is a great great granddaughter of Alexander and Emma Doak. They are dressed for the Grammy's.  Jenny and her husband Jason didn't win but their video was better than some who won in my opinion.  I also bet they were among the most wholesome looking people there.  Sylvia and Dick are the parents of two daughters, Jenny and Stephani.  They have taught school their whole lives and are recently retired. 
They are amazing parents.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

JennyWallen Koenig, granddaughter of Gordon and Billie Meacham  a 2rd great granddaughter of Alexander and Emma Doak, together with her husband Jason won an MTV video award for this and are now nominated for a Grammy in Best Music Video.  Jason is a director and Jenny is a producer.

Jason also is a remarkable photographer. They reside in the Gig Harbor/Tacoma Washington area.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Grave Markers of our Ancestors

On the last day of the LDS mission to West Virginia, David and Linda Meacham Lindsey visited the graves of many relatives. It was memorial day and  when the couple set out on the adventure the sky was dark and a storm was looming.  David insisted they carry on since they were already part way there when the sky became so dark.  Linda was thrilled with the experience and so glad they continued.  It was quite by accident or providence that they were able to find the first graveyard which is unmarked and through some trees and through a lovely farm of the now Helmick family.  They were only the 2nd people to visit the site in all the years that the Helmicks owned the amazingly beautiful farm with rolling hills and 2 ponds that had once belonged to the Howard family. They guided us through their corral and up the hay field which had a mowed path up to the graveyard. The graveyard had only about 8 graves. Samuel Howard and Charlotte Hicks, Emma Elizabeth Howard Doak's grandparents are buried there.

The four graveyards we found were either on highway 18 between Middleborne and West Union or within about 3 miles of the highway so it was very convenient.
The second graveyard was in the town of Alma at the Baptist church cemetery.
William Gregg and Elizabeth Thomas Gregg are buried here in a lovely church  graveyard.  I couldn't find Emma Doak's parents buried here but we were short of time and not sure where they are buried. They died of smallpox when Emma was just 4 years old.  Her grandparents William and Elizabeth Gregg raised them ( the children who didn't die of smallpox).
The next graveyard we visited was the Arnold's creek cemetery where 3 generations of our Doak ancestors are buried.  We found Alexander's parents Hamilton and Martha Ann Freeman Doak and his grandparents Alexander and Eliza Ireland's graves here.  Both graves are broken off and laying on the ground.  If anyone would like to do something for their graves to replace the stone, etc. it would be appreciated by so many including the wonderful lady Frances Hurst who faithfully keeps the graveyard moved without

remuneration. Our Ancestors were faithful members of the Church of Christ in Deep Valley. This graveyard also necessitated driving across Arnold's Creek and through a farmyard. Tme was running out and we didn't stop at the graveyard just a bit north of West Union.  Linda had been there before and the Freeman cemetery lies to the back of the graveyard.  Martha Ann Freeman's family lies there.  It is called the Coleman cemetery and is just along the highway.  It is sobering to know of the importance of each of our ancestors because without anyone of them we wouldn't be born in this good family.

Here is the beautiful voice of Payton Kemp 13 year old 3rd great grandson of Alexander Arthur and Elizabeth Doak. This touching Christmas song "Do You Hear What I Hear?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Gordon Meacham Grandson of Grandpa and Grandma Doak Goes to the Other Side.

Uncle Gordon is one of a kind Uncle.  He was nearly always smiling and joking.  He loved to tease me about being a Mormon and chiding me for paying tithing, etc. but it was always in good humor and I know it was with a lot of love. Our kids used to love the big 5 gallon bucket of cherries he would always bring to the reunion dinner and then it was other delicious treats like salmon and strawberry shortcake. My oldest son David particularly took a liking to him and one time I was driving down from Alaska to Utah and he really wanted to stop and see Uncle Gordon and my loving Aunt Billie. Since I was driving the kids by my self and my husband was flying later I decided it would be fun.  Seeing relatives is always the funnest part of a trip. We stopped at their home outside of Moxee City, Washington. They lived on a ranch and as we waited outside in our van the flies were just thick because of the horses and cattle.  They didn't know we were coming as there were no cell phones then.  We must have waited in their driveway for 1 1/2 hours when I told my son that we must leave.  It was right then that they drove up and welcomed us heartily. We had a good brief reunion before we had to drive on to Idaho.

I liked the fact that Uncle Gordon was down to earth and never pretentious.  Even though they made good money from their ranch and could afford a new truck every year or two they lived in a very modest house.  Aunt Billie said they liked to sleep next to the front door for in case the wiring went bad and caught on fire. I loved their kindness and  his teasing was all in fun. It was very good memories the 8 months we lived in Gig Harbor, Washington before moving out of Alaska entirely. We got to know what amazing daughters Uncle Gordon and Aunt Billie have. They were school teachers there.  Later to meet Alonzo, their son, was a wonderful experience.

One funny story my Dad, George Meacham told me was when Uncle Gordon was born and the doctor came to the house for the delivery.  The older boys were sent outside.  After the delivery they were peeking through the screen door and saw the doctor holding Uncle Gordon upside down by the heals.  Uncle Bud exclaimed, "It's a jackrabbit."  Uncle Gordon must have looked like a jackrabbit since he has extremely long legs.

Here is his life sketch:

Quoting his own words, Gordon Merritt Meacham "was born the last day of summer in 1922" near Lapwai, Idaho. Being the fifth child in the family of Sylvia (Doak) and Merritt Meacham, he joined three brothers: Hulburd/Harry, George, and Howard/Bud; and one sister, Irma/Meachie See. Two more brothers, David and Gene, later completed the Meacham clan of nine. Gordon, as well as his siblings, spent the majority of his growing up years being that of a farmer's son. Growing grain and hay, as well as tending chickens, pigs, cattle and horses filled his daily life; skills which would later prove useful in his own adult life. When the daily chores were done, school work and lessons needed finishing. However, in the summer with school out, the Meacham children would often ride their horses, racing against the neighbors' horses, or visit the nearby strawberry and/or melon patches for delicious after supper snacks.

Gordon's dad, Merritt, believed in education and the family often spent winters in Lewiston, Idaho, where the children attended "town" schools. Thus, Gordon graduated with the mighty class of 1942 from Lewiston High School. During high school, he especially enjoyed math, poetry and literature, and home arts classes, and turned out for both basketball and track. In the late summer of 1942, Gordon joined the Navy and began radar school in order to serve his country during World War II. However, he contracted miliary tuberculosis and was granted an honorable medical discharge. When he had sufficiently recovered from the tuberculosis, Gordon enrolled at the University of Idaho at Moscow. After two years, however, he felt he was needed more and better suited for working in the family business, Meacham and Sons of Culdesac, Idaho. One summer he ventured to Pendleton, Oregon, to visit his sister and brother-in-law, Meachie and Bud See. Meachie introduced Gordon to one of her nursing coworkers, Billie (Willamae) Gould, and the rest, as has been said, is history. Gordon and Billie were married on January 1, 1949, in a family ceremony in West Salem, Illinois. By mid-January, they returned to Lapwai as husband and wife; he, working for the Meacham corporation and she, the wife of a farmer-rancher husband. When they got the chance, they would go to local dances, stepping out to the sounds of bands playing popular Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey hits. They also attended Peace Lutheran Church in Lewiston, Idaho.

In November of 1950, their first child, Ann, was born. The following summer, the three of them moved household goods, farm equipment, and cattle to their own Circle M Ranch near Moxee, Washington. Under the Roza Irrigation Project, their farm grew alfalfa and corn for the purebred Herefords Gordon so enjoyed raising and showing. In November of 1952, a second daughter, Sylvia joined Ann; the first time in nearly 80 years that two sisters were born into a Meacham household. What a celebration! The family joined Terrace Heights Lutheran Church of Yakima, Washington, where, over the years, Gordon served on the church council, Billie sang in the choir and served on various church committees, and the children attended Sunday School and were confirmed.

Gordon and Billie continued their purebred Hereford operation until the mid 1950s when a dispersion sale was held and the Moxee Ranch was "remodeled" for a 1000-head-of-steers feedlot. The year-round need for beef guaranteed the corporation a more steady income. However, Gordon and Billie continued their cow-calf and farming operation while acquiring summer range land where the cows and calves thrived. Alonzo, Gordon's and Billie's third child, arrived in February of 1956. The three children, similar to their father, helped with work on the ranch; tending the cattle, changing sprinklers, irrigating the corn and grain, bringing in the hay, etc., during their growing-up years. Letting daylight burn was not allowed by anyone.

In the 1970s, the winter snow pack was often low and lead to the rationing of irrigation water. In 1977, the most severe year yet, Gordon and Billie happened upon a small farm in Royal City, Washington. The area had an overall, warmer and more pleasing climate than Moxee. This farm could grow grass for summer feed and nearby hay was plentiful for winter feed. Thus, the bulk of the cattle operation was moved to Royal City. Eventually, Gordon and Billie permanently moved to Royal City in 1986 and have resided there since then. They have been regular attendees at the Royal City United Methodist Church making new friendships with the many members there. However, they have maintained their many friendships and personal connections in the Yakima area, as well.

By the early 2000s, Gordon and Billie sold their cattle and leased much of their property to larger farming corporations. The land in both Moxee and Royal City now produces hops, apples, cherries, alfalfa, Timothy grass, wheat and corn. Gordon and Billie maintain friendships with, and interest in, those who now farm their original Circle M Ranch as well as the property in Royal City.

In December 2012, Gordon was diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer. Over the next five months, he chose to follow the route of chemo- and radiation therapies, surgery and rehabilitation. About eight days into rehabilitation, Gordon suddenly developed an intestinal blockage on April 30, 2013, which eventually lead to his death early on the morning of May 2, 2013, the same month and day his mother passed away.

Survivors include family members: loving wife, Billie (Willamae) of Royal City; daughters, Ann Meacham and Sylvia (Richard) Wallen of Gig Harbor, Washington; son, Alonzo Meacham of Moxee; two granddaughters, Jenny (Jason) Koenig of Seattle, Washington, and Stephanie Wallen of Jeju, South Korea; one brother and his wife, David and Doris Meacham of Lewiston, Idaho; one sister-in-law, Pearl (George) Meacham of Provo, Utah; nearly forty nieces, nephews and their spouses; and, a handful of cousins. Those also sharing the loss of Gordon are the many friends Gordon and Billie have made over the years of their lives. It was common to find them on the phone wishing happy birthday to one of Billie's childhood friends or one of their property lessees. Perhaps they would then be out the door on a drive to the river or Mar-Don Resort or Soap Lake. Wherever they went and whomever they met, they came home knowing they had made someone laugh or smile that day.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, June 8, 2013, at 11am at the Royal City Church of the Nazarene, 200 Calla Loop in Royal City. A luncheon reception for everyone will be held afterward at the Royal City Community Center at the Royal City Golf Course, 13702 Dodson Road South, Royal City. Feel free to wear your favorite blue jeans and cowgirl/cowboy shirt. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials could be made to Tree of Life (formerly Terrace Heights) Lutheran Church, 410 N. 37th Street, Yakima, WA, 98901; Royal City United Methodist Church, 316 Daisy, Royal City, WA, 99357; Construction for Change, 5525 16th Ave NE, Seattle, WA, 98105; American Cancer Society; or an organization of your choice.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012