Thursday, March 29, 2018

My Grandma Hartley – Ingrained with Copper

Norma Miner Hartley
July 1914 - April 1992
I want to highlight some great (and challenging) aspects of my grandmother Norma Miner Hartley's life. Based on some of her life experiences and example, I believe these can be related to copper and its production. A maiden name of "Miner" also seems to be a nice touch.

Copper and Copper Production

Most copper ores contain only a very small percentage of copper metal, with the vast majority of the ore being unwanted rock. The average grade of copper ores is below 0.6% copper, with a proportion of economic minerals (including copper) being less than 2% of the total volume of the ore rock.

Through a series of intensive processes in which copper ore passes – iterations of being crushed, saturated with acid, melted down, and more – valuable, pure copper is eventully extracted and can then put to use for many good purposes.

One of the favorable properties of copper is that it is an excellent conductor of electricity. It is better at this than any other metal except for silver, being only slightly behind. In every aspect of electricity generation, transmission and use, copper is the vital metal.

Although copper has many beneficial uses, mining it takes great effort and may come at a great cost. With these ideas in mind, we can now get on to Butte, Montana and my grandmother.

Butte, Montana, a Rugged Mining Town

Butte, Montana is a copper mining town. It was established in 1891 when Anaconda Mining Company bought out all the small, independent gold and silver mining claims and set up a major mining operation. In a short time, copper became king. By the 1920’s, Butte was a “boom town” with 60,000 people. Located in southwestern Montana, Butte was known as "the richest hill on earth."

Deep beneath the residents of Butte are more than 10,000 miles of wooden-framed mining tunnels, some of which descend more than a mile below ground level. In 1955, in addition to the maze of tunnels, Anaconda started excavating an immense open pit copper mine called the Berkley Pit.

Uptown Butte, taken in 2003
Copper mining is a hard and dirty business, and consequently it attracted hard and rough people to Butte. Bars and brothels were plentiful. City officials were “owned” by the mine owners, and could be bought for the right price. Air and water pollution were extremely bad. No fish could survive in the city’s contaminated Silver Bow Creek. There were no broadleaf trees.

Charlie and Norma Hartley

Charlie and Norma Hartley
Taken in 1936
Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City, Utah, a young family was growing; the Charles and Norma Hartley family. Charles Alton Hartley, Jr., known as “Charlie,” was a freight and passenger agent for the Southern Pacific Railroad, Texas born, and a non-practicing Catholic. Norma Miner Hartley was a Utah-bred, practicing Mormon. By 1942 they had three sons, Charles Alton the Third (“Chuck”), Bryan Paul (“Bryan”), and William George (“Billy”).

Little Chuck was born in 1936, and almost from the time of his birth, he suffered from serious asthma and allergies. Asthma nearly took his life in 1938 when he was 18-months old.

In May 1942, doctors discovered that three-month old Billy had glaucoma and was given a 98% chance of going completely blind.

In 1944, Charlie and Norma's daughter Raylene was born. When Raylene was two, in 1946, she wandered into the street to pick up a shiny object and was tragically run over by a milk truck.

These were very challenging events for my grandparents, and Raylene's death was particularly devastating.

Transferred to Butte

Shortly before Raylene’s death, the Southern Pacific had transferred Charlie to Butte, Montana. He was there looking for housing when he received word of the tragedy with Raylene. It’s hard to imagine how Charlie and Norma must have felt moving to Butte and leaving their precious daughter behind. Charlie was sent to Butte as a Southern Pacific freight agent to win a portion of Anaconda’s ore and copper shipping business. In addition, he serviced about two-thirds of the state arranging for the shipment by rail of grain, livestock, and canned produce. He didn’t have an office. Instead, Charlie worked out of a small room in his home and maintained a post office box in downtown Butte. He even built his own sturdy, wooden desk on which to work. Generally, he traveled around Montana three or more days per week, normally by bus or train, visiting clients and fellow railroad agents.

Butte, however, was not a place where a family man was eager to raise a family. It was exceedingly painful for Norma to move to an ugly, rugged copper mining town with three young boys, leaving the support of her family, her church, and being so far away from her daughter’s fresh grave.

In 1949, a fifth child was born to Charlie and Norma. Richard M (“Richy”) was born in Butte’s aging Catholic hospital, St. James.

In 1950, a sixth child was born, Mary Elizabeth. But Norma had earlier contracted the flu and delivered Mary prematurely at about seven months. Mary only lived for five hours. Mary got the flu from Norma and died from hemorrhaging of the bowels. An autopsy showed the virus all through her intestinal tract. Charlie and Norma buried their baby girl next to her sister Raylene in Salt Lake City.

Living in Butte and losing Mary stretched Norma emotionally and spiritually nearly beyond her ability to bear it. But, good neighbors and the little branch of faithful Mormon members rallied around the Hartley’s.

Later, Norma stated that she obtained her testimony of God, the Savior, and the divinity of the LDS Church while she struggled in Butte. Charlie struggled deeply as well, but those struggles led him to question whether there is a loving, personal God. He remained more-or-less agnostic.

An Ultimatum

Norma’s devotion to her church created friction in their marriage. Charlie traveled most of the days of the week, but was generally home on weekends. He wanted his wife to be home when he was and resented Norma’s attendance at Sunday worship services, which typically dominated the entire day.

Once Charlie’s frustration boiled over and he gave her an ultimatum: she would have to choose between him and her church. Norma’s response? “If you want me to choose between you and my church then you’d better start packing your bags!”

He didn’t, and she kept going to church. Ultimately, the two were married for 42 years until Charlie passed away in 1976. Furthermore, for a few years leading up to his death, Charlie actually ended up attending church with Norma, listened and participated during Sunday school, and enthusiastically sang church hymns even though he was always off-key. Norma's faith and devotion were certainly an influence on Charlie for him to start doing such things.

Norma's Valuable "Copper"

So, after many struggles and challenges (particularly while living in Butte) – almost as if Norma were copper ore being crushed, drenched in acid and melted down – her valuable "copper" came – a testimony of God, the Savior, and the divinity of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Like real copper, Norma's "copper" was also an excellent conductor. Norma's "copper" helped conduct great faith and strong devotion to the majority of her children, including my father Jim, allowing the light of the gospel to shine in their lives. Faithfulness and devotion have already been conducted to other generations as well, which includes me as a beneficiary. As of this writing (March 2018), an estimated ~75 of Norma's currently living descendants (out of ~95) treasure the gospel of Jesus Christ in their own lives, which has been a tremendous blessing for them and others.

If it were not for my grandmother's refined faith and testimony of the gospel, many others would not have the light of the gospel in their lives. Her positive influence cannot be overstated. Grandma Hartley's life and example were certainly like copper in a number of ways.


Major portions and adaptions for this family story came from the following:

* James E. Hartley: My Story, March 2018

* Remembering Norma Miner Hartley Haymond from William G. Hartley, Richard M Hartley, June 2014

Other Sources:

Email and other communications between me (Tom Hartley), Jim Hartley (son of Norma), and Susan Hartley (wife of Bryan Hartley, son of Norma)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

My Aunt Raylene Hartley - A Joy to All

This is a great (and sorrowful) family story written by my father, Jim Hartley, primarily about his sister Raylene (my aunt) and his parents, Norma and Charlie (my grandparents). I want to share this because I believe it has some very valuable insights and lessons that can be of worth to anyone. Below are my father's own words:

Raylene Hartley: A Joy to All

Example of a milkman and delivery
truck in 1946
Tuesday, June 4, 1946. Ellis Oakley Spencer was making his routine afternoon rounds as a milk deliveryman for Clover Leaf Dairy. He stopped his truck and walked to the front porch of 211 East Hubbard Avenue in Salt Lake City, where he carefully placed the bottles of milk ordered by his customer.

Across the street, at 218 East Hubbard Avenue, Norma Hartley was also expecting a milk delivery, but from a different company. It was a hot day, and she was concerned that her milk would get warm and spoil if it sat too long on her front porch. Norma’s two oldest children, Chuck, age 10, and Bryan, age six, were away from home playing with friends. So, she told her four-year-old son, Billy, to let her know when the milkman came.

Billy and his two-year-old sister, Raylene, were playing across the street with other children in a neighbor’s front yard. When that neighbor needed to go somewhere, she sent the children home. As they left, Mr. Spencer was in his truck marking his route book and waved to Billy. About that time, Norma’s milkman arrived. Billy obediently ran home to let his mom know.

Hartley’s home at 218 East
Hubbard Avenu
Moments later, Norma’s milkman was pounding on their front door. “Mrs. Hartley, please, can we use your telephone. The milkman from the Clover Leaf Dairy needs to report an accident that he’s had.” Mr. Spencer then entered and telephoned the police. “I must report a death. I have run over a little girl.”

Norma noticed that Billy had come in, but not Raylene. She stepped out onto the porch and, to her horror, she saw her little girl’s body lying in the street.

The police arrived almost immediately, and Raylene was rushed to County General Hospital, about two miles away. She was pronounced dead on arrival.

Raylene’s father, Charlie, was in Butte, Montana at the time. About two months earlier, he had received a promotion from the Southern Pacific Railroad to oversee their freight operations in Montana. He was in Butte trying to find a home for the family. Charlie’s former co-workers in Salt Lake City notified him in Butte that Raylene had been in a serious accident. They then arranged for him to fly home.

Friends picked Charlie up at the Salt Lake Airport. On the way to his home, he was stunned by their news that Raylene was dead.

Norma and Charlie had already been through a lot with their children. When their oldest son, Chuck, was 18-months old, he nearly died from asthma. When their third son, Billy, as only a few months old, glaucoma nearly permanently blinded him. Both were saved by miraculous events.

Raylene Hartley, age 2
But, not this time. Raylene’s death was devastating. The two-year-old toddler had been adored by the whole family. Norma had been so excited to finally have a daughter after giving birth to three sons. She later summed it up this way, “Raylene had been such a joy to all of us.”

The Clover Leaf Dairy delivery man, Mr. Spencer, and his wife visited Charlie and Norma to express their immense sorrow and deepest sympathies. He had not noticed that Raylene had not followed her brother home. He started up his truck and felt a bump as he moved away from the curbing. He looked in his rearview mirror and saw the child lying in the road. The truck had passed over Raylene’s neck, fracturing her skull and neck. Mr. Spencer was devastated and heart-broken.

Charlie and Norma realized that the death was an accident. Mr. Spencer had no way of knowing that Raylene had crawled under the truck. Their compassion toward Mr. Spencer was remarkable. Some people would have been angry and bitter. They would have sued the milkman and his company for many thousands of dollars. Here’s what Charlie said about that: “The driver was no way at fault . . . . The company that owned the vehicle was no way at fault. I didn’t feel that when they’re not really at fault, that you should blackmail them for a lot of money.” Even so, Charlie and Norma accepted a check from Clover Leaf Dairy for $2,500.

The events that followed immediately after Raylene’s death were a blur to the family. After acknowledging all the sentiments, support, and gifts of many, many good friends and neighbors, Charlie later confessed that he couldn’t remember many of the details of that difficult time. He said, “We were so upset and everything was so disturbed and we had so many people in and out, I just don’t remember.”

Raylene was buried at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park in East Millcreek, Utah. She was joined four years later by her younger sister, Mary Elizabeth Hartley, who died in Butte, Montana. Mary had only lived for five hours because of complications caused by a dangerous flu that Norma contracted during her pregnancy.

While raising their family, Charlie and Norma understood hardship and sorrow. But, they did not let it destroy them. Instead, they moved forward with their lives and created an extremely happy, loving home for their surviving five sons.

Regarding those terrible challenges, a poem by Helen Steiner Rice reflects Charlie’s and Norma’s attitude perfectly:

           God has told us that nothing can sever
           A life He created to live on forever.
           So let God’s promise soften our sorrow
           And give us new strength for a brighter tomorrow.

Written by James E. Hartley, Raylene’s and Mary’s brother.

Sources and Photo Acknowledgement

  • Newspaper report of Raylene’s accidental death— CPG)&
  • Transcript of an oral history interview by William G. Hartley with Charles Alton Hartley, Jr., October 11, 1973
  • Transcript of an oral history interview by William G. Hartley with Norma Miner Hartley, June 9, 1978
  • Rice, Helen Steiner, Expressions of Comfort, Barbour Publishing, Inc., 2007, 68. Used by permission.


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

From My Uncle Ron - A Technical Manual and Dropped Teeth

This is a family story from my uncle Ronald Frye (my mother Linda's brother) that has some great lessons. This took place around 1997 when uncle Ron worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, a nuclear weapons research facility. Below are my uncle's own words from his autobiography about an inspiring event that took place while he was on the job:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
"During my last years at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in a job with the Procurement Department, any opportunity that came along which was in any way remotely associated with something technical, I snatched up. Such was the case with a problem that had been plaguing the Procurement Department for years... that of creating some sort of computer-based system for evaluating companies with whom the lab was doing business. Now for one reason or another, Procurement just couldn't seem to get its act together to solve this problem. Attempts were made over the years, but a satisfactory solution was never realized.

"So, to make a long story short, I created a database, which was based on File Maker Pro, to evaluate those companies. I programmed this application so that quality assurance data would automatically be gathered from some of the lab's other computers, and based on that data a letter grade would be assigned to each company, much like the grading system used in our school system.

"Being in the Quality Assurance group of Procurement, and in a position I thought ideal for solving this problem – after all, I was evaluating the quality assurance programs of companies with whom we were doing business – I started to think about it, and act on it, in my spare time, usually during lunch hour.

"Now the version of File Maker Pro I was using was not designed to plot graphs of data, but I wanted that feature to be a part of the program. Something in the back of my mind told me it could be done, albeit through a "back-door" approach. During one of those working lunchtimes, I closed the door to my office, got down on my knees, and asked the Lord for help to solve this problem. Very clearly, the answer came to my mind: "You will find the answer on page 'xx' of the technical manual." Sure enough, turning to that page revealed what could be done to solve this problem.

My Uncle Ronald Frye
May 1998
"Shortly thereafter, the project was completed, and I showed it to my boss, who contacted his boss and urged him to come see what I had done. Not only did he come, but many other Procurement managers as well. The word spread like wildfire! They about "dropped their teeth" when they saw what I had done in my spare time, something their high-paid software engineers had been unable to do for years. I guess they were really impressed, because I received an award and a raise at our next big division meeting.

"Now how would the Holy Spirit [of God] know about the contents of a software technical manual? I don't know. But it just goes to show that the scriptures are correct when they said the Spirit [of God] can help us know the truth of ALL things."

Thursday, February 1, 2018

My in-laws Edmundo and Fátima - A Sunday Not to Forget

It has been said that the gate of history turns on small hinges, and so do people's lives. These small hinges, or the small decisions individuals make daily, can end up having large effects with the passing of time. Such was the case with my father-in-law and mother-in-law, Edmundo and Fátima Leite, with a decision made many years ago on a particular Sunday.

Fátima & Edmundo Leite
Children: Ricardo and Lia
June 1981 - "Festa Junina"
Nearly four decades ago in Brazil, Edmundo converted to the church his wife Fátima belonged to, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon church”). Edmundo was very excited and happy to be a new member, and he loved the missionaries who taught and baptized him. He developed a strong friendship with the missionaries and thoroughly enjoyed being warmly greeted at church by them.

One day at church, Edmundo met a new set of missionaries that had arrived. He learned the ones that helped baptized him were no longer in the area. This greatly dampened his enthusiasm. Edmundo didn't end up feeling the same friendship or affection for the new missionaries – they just weren't the same and weren't as warm or friendly. For that, Edmundo didn't want to go to church anymore and stopped going altogether. Fátima, however, continued attending every so often.

Edmundo soon found himself creating excuses why he wouldn't go to church on Sundays. He would talk to Fátima on Sundays in a manner such as:

Oh, we need to go to the beach... today is Sunday.”

Want to go to a churrasco?” [Brazilian barbeque]

“Do you want to go to a soccer game?”

He was also invited by others to participate in such things on Sundays, particularly during church hours, and he would accept the invitations and go.

Some time passed, and on a certain Sunday, Fátima spoke with Edmundo and said, “Today is Sunday. Let's go to church.” Edmundo responded in the negative. “No. We're not going to church. Let's go somewhere else. Let's go to the beach!”

Fátima sternly replied, “You can go to your beach, your churrasco, your soccer game, to wherever you want go to. . . but me and my children, we are going to church!!”

Edmundo was shocked. Fátima had never addressed him in such a manner with such vigor and firmness. He watched her gather the kids and things until her arms were full. He remained silent. Out the door Fátima went carrying a diaper bag, a bag for babies' bottles, scriptures, and one of the children in arm. She took the second child by the hand to walk along side of her. Down the stairs they went, and off they were to catch a bus.

Edmundo continued watching from a window and saw Fátima board the bus with kids and bags in hand. The bus was also full of people (mostly men) dressed in shorts and without shirts going to a soccer game. The bus then drove away.

Edmundo remained standing at the window pondering about the situation. He thought to himself, “You are such a coward. How can you say you love your wife and kids, yet leave your family in a complicated situation like this? You are not worth a thing.”

Fátima (4th from the right), Edmundo (3rd from the right)
At church in Belém, Brazil, ~1982 
From that day onward, Edmundo resolved he would never miss accompanying his family to church due to his own choice. He is certain today that if Fátima had said to him on that particular Sunday, “Yes, let's go to the soccer game,” or to go anywhere else except the church, they would both not be attending church at the present time. Fátima's choice to attend church, alone with the children in spite of the difficulty, was a life changing experience for Edmundo.

The decision to keep the sabbath day holy and attend church that day, the “small hinge,” has had a tremendously positive influence through time and also far-reaching effects for good. Edmundo believes that his and Fátima's lives, along with the lives of his children and grandchildren, would probably not be what they have become today had Fátima chosen not to go to church that day.

Fátima is also grateful for the way she acted that Sunday. She believes that if she didn't remain firm in her conviction, it's possible she and Edmundo would not have even stayed together as a married couple. Fátima has said, “The church helps us in all things … and helps us overcome challenges and difficulties.”

Fátima and Edmundo Leite
At church in Utah, 2017

Adaption by Tom Hartley, son-in-law to Edmundo and Fátima Leite. Based on a video interview with Fátima and Edmundo completed on July 12, 2017 by their daughter Juliana Leite Hartley. The original interview, in Portuguese, is located here:

Saturday, January 20, 2018

From Grandpa and Grandma Frye - "Ronald's Gone"

This is a memorable (and scary) family story my grandparents, Kenneth and Elizabeth Frye, recorded about a tragic incident that happened to their son Ronald (my uncle) during a family trip. Grandpa recorded the story in an audio interview, and grandma recorded the story two separate times in a journal. I combined the three accounts into this adaption, and the original sources can be accessed using the links at the very bottom. Here is the story:

"Ronald's Gone"

1951 Mercury Sedan
Rear-hinged doors in the back
In May 1951, Kenneth and Elizabeth Frye traded in their Cadillac for a beautiful, new Mercury. It was a good sized car and the rear passenger doors were rear-hinged which opened from front to back. This configuration came to be known as “suicide doors” because when a door was opened while moving, the wind would push against the door making it difficult to close.

In December, Kenneth and Elizabeth drove their new car from Washington D.C. to Missouri to visit Kenneth's family. They were accompanied by four of their young children – Kenny (~10 years), Cheryl (~8 years), Ronald (~6 years) and Michael (~4 years). The children were used to traveling and were obedient to precautions and warnings they were given. The drive to Missouri and the time spent there was uneventful of any difficulty.

1951 Mercury Sedan
The back seat & no seat-belts
On the return trip to Washington D.C., they were in the Toledo/Zanesville, Ohio area. Elizabeth was in the back seat sleeping – or at least trying – among laughing and playful children. They were cruising the highway at about 65 miles per hour. All the doors were locked. Ronald and Michael were also in the back seat with mother, while Kenny and Cheryl were in the front with father.

Suddenly, a great blast of air filled the car strong enough that it caused the car to swerve. Kenneth had to fight the steering wheel to keep control of the car. The strong blast of air awoke Elizabeth, and both she and Kenneth heard the words, presumably from Michael, “Ronald's gone!”

Elizabeth's blood ran cold when she noticed the right-rear back door was open and Ronald was missing! Michael began reaching for the open door, but Kenneth reached back and strongly pushed him back into Elizabeth’s arms. (Cars at the time did not have seat-belts to restrain children or passengers.)

1951 Mercury Sedan
Through the rear-view mirror, Kenneth saw Ronald rolling like a tumbleweed on the shoulder of the road. With panic and fear, Kenneth thought surely Ronald was dead. He stopped the car about a block from where Ronald had fallen. A cloud of dust obscured Elizabeth's view through the back window. She was certain no one could have survived a fall from a car moving at 65 miles an hour, and at the least every bone in Ronald’s body would be broken.

Elizabeth got out of the car and started back to Ronald, but she felt she should get back in the car and say a quick prayer. Kenneth was also getting out of the car, but before he left, Elizabeth put her hand on his shoulder and told him to wait so a little prayer could be uttered. Kenneth's immediate reaction was the opposite and he almost said, “Now is no time to pray! Now is the time for action!” However, Elizabeth offered a quick prayer and after which Kenneth ran back to Ronald.

By the time Kenneth arrived, Ronald was already standing on his feet! Kenneth couldn't believe it and was shocked that Ronald had survived. He was bleeding, burned, cut and scraped but was not crying from physical pain. Instead, he was crying because he had ripped his new overall jeans! Ronald was more worried about his jeans than himself!

Kenneth asked Ronald to take a few steps. He did and Kenneth asked if he was able to walk to the car. However, Elizabeth and a bystander who had stopped at the scene insisted it was not a good idea to have Ronald walk. Ronald was then carried to the car by Kenneth and/or the bystander.

The same bystander who had stopped escorted Kenneth and Elizabeth to the next town about 15-30 miles away. There they found a motorcycle policeman and explained the situation to him. Turning on his siren, the motorcycle policeman then drove at very high speeds to lead them to a hospital in Zanesville (Ohio). The officer drove so fast they could hardly keep up but had to because they didn't know where to go and it was getting dark outside. Part of the drive included a very winding road to the top of a hill where the hospital was located. Elizabeth thought the fast-paced drive was the most frightening ride of her life and that everyone was going to end up in the hospital injured.

They safely arrived at the hospital then had to wait another hour and a half to see a doctor. Ronald was eventually examined and x-rays were taken. No bones were broken and no teeth were knocked out, but he was cut and scraped quite a bit, and his lips were very swollen. Ronald was bandaged and cleaned up and admitted for overnight for observation. Hospital rules did not allow parents to stay with their children, so Kenneth, Elizabeth, and the children stayed at a nearby hotel.

Frye family taken 1 December 1950 at their house
 2005 32nd Place S.E., Washington D.C.
Back row (left to right): Kenneth Sr., Kenneth Jr., Elizabeth
Front row (left to right): Cheryl, Ronald, Michael 
The following day Ronald was discharged from the hospital. Before leaving, however, Kenneth had tied the front and back doors together so they could not come open. They had discovered that locking their new car from the inside did no good as a passenger could raise the handle to unlock the door. Their Cadillac doors stayed locked until a knob was pulled up, but they hadn't had the new Mercury long enough to realize the doors would unlock by just raising the handle. (Kenneth had previously purchased some devices to keep the Mercury's doors closed, but he had forgotten about them since they were in the car's glove box and they weren't installed.)

Without any further incident, the family soon arrived back home in Washington D.C.. Elizabeth later recorded, “I am thankful I took the time to say a prayer in our son's behalf.” Kenneth later said, “I could not believe that such a miraculous thing could happen to me or my son or my family. I have no doubt that through divine action […] the prayer my good wife had uttered was answered.”


Below is the original audio recording of Kenneth Frye telling the story on Tuesday, March 25, 1997:

This audio clip is part of an interview with Kenneth Leroy Frye Sr. done by his daughters, Linda (Hartley) and Cheryl (Locey), on Tuesday, March 25, 1997. The interview took place at Cheryl's house in Alamo, California. Linda was there in California on spring break and away from her home in Murray, Utah.


Here are links to the accounts written by Elizabeth Frye about the story:


* My grandpa Kenneth Frye stated in an audio recording they purchased a new Nash. This is a different model than what my Grandma Elizabeth Frye recorded. Grandma Frye was known to keep good notes, and she recorded in a journal they purchased a new Mercury. Mercury was also manufactured by Ford, and Grandpa Frye was known to be a big Ford fan, so it makes sense they could have purchased a Mercury. Regardless, both the Nash and Mercury models at the time (1951 and thereabouts) both had rear-hinged doors, so it does not change the story.

** Linda was probably alive at the time of the story and nearly one year old. Michael Frye, a son of Kenneth and Elizabeth, indicated the family also commonly used a nanny and it was very possible Linda stayed with the nanny while the rest of the family was on the trip.

Adaption and footnotes written by Thomas Hartley, grandson to Kenneth and Elizabeth Frye. January 20, 2018. Kenneth and Elizabeth's children, Michael and Linda (my mother), were consulted about the story and reviewed and approved the adaption.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

My Brother Jason - Honesty and Courage at a Young Age

Me (1 yr.) & Jason (11 yrs.)
At a family celebration in 1985
I want to share a good little family story about my brother Jason when he exhibited great honesty and courage at a young age. This is taken from an interview I did of my parents, Jim and Linda Hartley, in January 2016. Below is the actual clip taken from the interview and the transcript:

[Begin Transcript]

Dad: I'd like to mention one more, though, about Jason. A time when I was extremely proud of him. He showed some great courage and character as a boy. When he was 11 years old coming up on 12, he'd been involved with some friends and some things at the Fun Dome.

Tom: What was the Fun Dome at the time?

Dad: The 49th Street Galleria at the time, and later became the Fun Dome.

Mom: And that was in Murray [, Utah].

Tom: What kind of place was it, I guess?

Dad: Oh, it was an indoor, kind of a amusement park, if you will.

Mom: Like computer games... with big...

Tom: Like, arcades? And games?

Mom: Arcade games. Arcade games.

Jason (11 yrs.) feeding  me (1 yr.)
At home in 1985
Dad: You had miniature golf, and you had arcade games, and you had bowling, and all kinds of stuff. It was just a fun center.

And he [Jason] had learned from one of his friends how to cheat the machines in the arcade games. And he learned how to get a whole lot of tickets and get a lot of points without really earning them.

But when he was approaching the age of 12, and realized that he could become a holder of the Aaronic priesthood, he decided he needed to shape up. And for someone who is 11 years old that takes a lot of maturity, and a lot of courage.

And he came to me and said, "Before I become a deacon, I need to fix something here." And he told me about what he'd been doing over at the 49th Street Galleria.

And, so, he willingly went with me over to the Galleria and talked with management and told them what he had done. And they worked out a way for him to kind of pay it back. And I just thought...and to this day... I'm so proud of him...for his honesty.

[End Transcript]

Saturday, December 30, 2017

My Father-in-Law Edmundo and the Car Crash

Edmundo Leite, July 2017
Telling the story at the FamilySearch Library
Riverton, Utah
Curiosity killed the cat it is said. For my father-in-law Edmundo Leite, his curiosity in a car accident almost got him killed, but not in the way you would expect. With aid from a subtle divine warning, Edmundo was able to escape a likely death.

As a dentist in Brazil, Edmundo occasionally needs to travel to other cities for his job. Some time ago, he traveled to Santa Helena, Maranhão to work, which is roughly 290 miles (~420 kilometers) from his home city of Belém, Pará. On one of the days he finished working in Santa Helena, he was the last passenger in a taxi when an interesting situation arose.

While conversing with the taxi driver, a car at a very high speed from the opposite direction passed them and nearly hit them. Less than two minutes later, another car whizzed by at a high speed, but this time it was also firing gunshots! Soon thereafter, a loud noise was heard, and it appeared the car that had just passed them likely crashed and flipped over. Nearby, a large group of people gathered in the middle of the road to check out what looked like a possible car chase and a subsequent accident.

The taxi driver stopped the car and spoke with one of the people he knew in the crowd. The person told the taxi driver to go back because certainly there had to have been an accident and a flipped-over car. The taxi driver looked to Edmundo and said, “Let's go?” Feeling hesitant, Edmundo replied, “No, let's not go back. Those guys aren't good. There's something else wrong so let's keep going.”

However, the taxi driver was curious to see the accident and insisted to go back. Also somewhat curious, but also with some fear, Edmundo agreed so long as they were really quick just to see what happened.

The taxi driver turned around and arrived at the scene. Sure enough, there was a crash and the car had flipped over and was now upside-down. Three individuals from the car, wounded and bleeding, were sitting or laying down close by. Some other young people were also at the accident scene, but they were actually going through the car and taking things. Edmundo spoke with one of the young people and asked what he was doing. The young man said he was looking for money. Edmundo replied and said the money didn't belong to him. “But I'm needing money” was the justification given for the blatant theft. Edmundo didn't press the young man any further.

Another person at the accident scene, who started helping the wounded individuals, asked Edmundo if he could take them to a nearby hospital. Edmundo declined and said no. The person asked, “Why not?” Edmundo gave an excuse that the car wasn't big enough (although it really was big enough), and he told the person they were in a hurry so other cars at the scene should take the three men. Edmundo and the taxi driver then left and went on their way.

However, down the road a ways, Edmundo and the taxi driver saw a military police car parked with a number of officers inside. The military police asked them if they had recently seen a “situation.” Edmundo related information about the flipped-over car and that it was firing gunshots before the crash. Edmundo told the military police that they should go back see what happened there. The military police replied that their car wouldn't start and they couldn't go back. Edmundo also learned that one of the military police officers was wounded for being shot in the foot.

Edmundo at his office in Belém, Brazil
April 2016
Edmundo asked, “Why are you shot in the foot?” He learned an officer was shot in the foot from the very same car that was speeding earlier – the same car that crashed! Edmundo and the taxi driver ended up taking the wounded officer to the hospital, and there was no further incident for them that night. Edmundo later went back to his home in Belém.

Edmundo returned to Santa Helena about 15 days after the accident. A colleague asked him if he had heard anything about the disastrous car accident. The colleague then stated he was actually there and saw practically everything that transpired. The colleague recounted that the three men from the car accident were later taken to the hospital by some other driver. However, at the hospital, there were other military police officers in wait. When the car arrived at the front of the hospital, the military police soldiers opened fire on the car and killed everyone inside – the three men from the crash and the driver.

Edmundo realized that if he and the taxi driver had given a ride to those three men – the bandits – it was very likely he and the driver would have been killed for having an appearance of being associated with criminals. Edmundo credits his life being spared to a divine warning for his personal protection. The real reason he declined to help the three men is because he felt prompted by the Spirit of God to not give them ride and to get away from the situation. Little did Edmundo know the situation would be a bit more complicated than simply trying to take some injured people to the hospital from a car accident – the men were criminals that had also attacked military police officers.

Edmundo has said, “I've always trusted in God. I've always trusted in the companionship of the Holy Spirit. When you are worthy, the spirit will follow you.”

In this case, having the Spirit of God as a companion helped protect Edmundo from likely death – even if it meant appearing to be indifferent to others who were injured and in need of help. But of course, the situation was not that simple.


Adaption by Tom Hartley, son-in-law to Edmundo Leite. Based on a video interview with Edmundo completed on July 12, 2017 by his daughter Juliana Hartley. The original interview with Edmundo, in Portuguese, is located here: