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Personal History of Darwin Engstrom (1908 - 1990)

This is his life story written by himself in December 1967 as a Christmas present to his daughter, Linda.


Darwin Engstrom in about 1950

Table of Contents

1 Table of Contents
2 Personal History
2a Introduction, birth and family
2b Early Childhood
2c Schooling
2d Stories and Activities of his Youth
2e High School Graduation, Early Employment and Mission
2f Early Employment and Marriage
2g Interest in Accounting and Vocation as an Accountant
2h Church Activity
2i Civic Activities
2j Feelings about Life
2k Favorite Poems
3 Obituary
4 Genealogy generated data for Darwin Engstrom (1908 - 1990)
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Personal History


Table of Contents

Introduction, Birth, Parents, Brothers and Sisters

This is the autobiography of Darwin Engstrom. I was born July 29, 1908, in the family home in Huntsville, Weber County, Utah. To my knowledge there was nothing unusual surrounding my birth.

My father, Joseph William Engstrom, was born December 16, 1867, in Grantsville, Utah. I believe Grantsville is in Tooele County. His parents names were Father, Magnus Engstrom, born January 23, 1834, in Segling, Sweden, County Malmo and Mother, Caisa Eliza Jansson, born December 2, 1834, in Kyrkefalla, Sweden. My father died August 12, 1949, in the family home in Huntsville.

My mother, Emmeline Anderson, was born May 20, 1873, in Huntsville, Utah. Her parents were Father, Peter Andersen, born September 18, 1834, in Denmark and Mother, Caroline Jensen, born September 30, 1843, in Denmark. My mother passed away August 3, 1952, in Ogden, Weber County, Utah.

My parents were married in the Logan L.D.S. Temple in Logan, Cache County, Utah on April 22, 1891. They raised eight children, four boys and four girls and at this writing there are six still living. We were all born in the family home in Huntsville. My brothers and sisters in order of their births are:


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Early Childhood

My early childhood was spent in Huntsville and in Ogden. At the age of two I had scarlet fever and almost died. I do not know of any ill effects from this illness. I recall that at a very early age mother had a large colored woman help her with the housework and caring for the children. She wore a large red bandanna figured handkerchief on her head just like Aunt Jamima of pancake fame and so that is what we called her. Like most children of this era I contracted the mumps (both sides), measles, and chicken pox.

Our home was a place to me blessed with a great amount of love and kindness for each other except for the few little arguments and tussles with my younger brothers and sometimes my older sisters. My father was a very kind, mild-mannered and understanding man. When I got into some mischief (which was quite often) it was mother who did the scolding and spanking. We were not rich by any means but neither were we poor. I cannot remember of ever wanting for food clothing and warmth. My father could be very stern and although I never remember him spanking me (except once he laid a well placed foot on the seat of my pants for something I did which I do not now recall). I believe his scoldings and stern lectures did more to make me think twice about getting into mischief than any of my mother's spankings.


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Schooling

My first year in school was spent in the kindergarten at Loren Farr School in Ogden. My father would move us down to Ogden for the winter months and get a job usually at one of the coal yards. Because of this practice part of my school days from the time I went to the kindergarten until through the eighth grade were in schools in Ogden and part of the year in Huntsville. I recall when in about the second grade I was going to Madison school in Ogden and had a terrible time trying to pronounce the word "vegetable." With mother and my sisters help I finally mastered it.

My sister Ora taught me in the second grade in Huntsville part of the year and I believe my sister Golda taught me for at least part of the first grade in Huntsville. I was anything but teacher's pet with my sisters. Whenever I caused any trouble they used me as an example of what would happen should any of the other pupils cause any like troubles. I remember getting into a fight at recess over a marble game while in the second grade. My sister, Ora, gave me a worse thumping than I got in the fight.

When I was in the eighth grade and going to school in Huntsville, my English teacher's name was Miss Nelson. We had spelling bees two or three times a week and one day there was an odd number of pupils in class. Miss Nelson chose sides for the contest and gave our opponents the extra pupil to which I argued it was unfair in a spelldown because of an extra man. I sat in one of the front row seats and the next thing I knew Miss Nelson walked up and hit me right on the nose causing it to bleed profusely. I was immediately excused from class and sent home. But before I got home my mother had heard about the incident somehow. I had not intended to tell her. Mother called the teacher and really read the riot act to her. Although I did not have the highest grade in my class I was the only pupil to receive a present from teacher at the end of the year - a book entitled Five Little Peppers- with a notation "To Darwin - my best student" and signed "Miss Nelson."

My grades were always above average through grade school and up to the time I was a junior at Ogden High School. I don't know what happened in Junior High except I think I got to playing around too much and neglecting my studies. One day at about mid term of my Junior year the principal, A. M. Merrill, called me into his office and asked me what was happening to my grades and could he help me in any way to improve them. Or if I had a problem or anything he could help me with. he said he could not understand why my grades had always been so good in other schools I had attended and he was sure I was just as capable now of getting good grades as in the past. I guess I told him I would try harder and I did begin to study more and improve my grades. I did however, flunk my only subject in High School "English E" this year. Our teacher never even assigned us a text book. All year long we had nothing but spelling contests and I turned out to be one of the best spellers in the class. Near the end of the year all we had to do was write a book review and turn it in time to grade. This I did but instead of writing it in long hand, I decided to type it and fix it up real fancy. I had hardly touched a typewriter before in my life and by the time I had finished it was too late to do it over in long hand. It must have been a real mess because this was what flunked me. A Jewish boy in this class said the teacher sure had a lot of gall to flunk me when we were never even assigned a text book for the year. He said she should not have been teaching anyway as she was engaged to be married and that was all she had on her mind. As it turned out I think it was for the best. I, of course, had to take English E over in my senior year in order to graduate and I was fortunate to have as my teacher a Miss Keene who was devoted teacher and I really studied hard and finished the year with I believe, a B plus in this subject.

Part of the time while attending Ogden High School I lived with my sisters, Leone and Ora and their husbands, Ross and Wiff, and part of the time commuted between Huntsville and Ogden, that is, when the weather was favorable. Many times I rode my bicycle through Ogden Canyon to school which was about fifteen miles each way. Going down to Ogden was not bad but cycling back to Huntsville was real work. I think the exercise did help me considerably healthwise.


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Stories and Activities During His Youth

I loved horses and was always after my father to give me a pony. One day near our home in Huntsville they were having an auction of wild horses which had been rounded up as strays from back in the mountains and brought to the stray pen. I was about eight years old at the time and father took me to the auction. They brought out a two year old saddle horse that probably had never before had a halter or rope on. My father asked me if I would like to have this horse and I said I sure would. He then said "We'll bid $5.00." I did and no one else bid anything over this amount so I got the horse. Later a man came to my father and said he was ready to bid as much as &50.00 for the horse but when he heard a little boy bid he didn't have the heart to bid over me.

It was about the same year I got the horse I was playing tag in the hayloft of our barn with my brother Don and Owen Felt, a neighborhood friend. Mother had called to us just moments earlier and told us to be careful that we did not fall and get hurt. We replied we were all right and would be careful and not to worry. Owen was chasing me from the hayloft and I was crawling out an upper window intending to climb down a ladder which was fastened to the barn but lost my hold and fell to the ground about fifteen feet below, breaking and dislocating my left arm.

I was always very fond of most all outdoor activities, fishing, hunting, and also played tennis until I came to Cheyenne. I also played baseball on our school team in Huntsville and it was during practice at recess when I was hit on the nose with a baseball and smashed it flat on my face. The only doctor we had in town - Dr. Shields - was in Ogden so it was up to mother to try to get my proboscis back to normal shape. She soaked a towel in very hot water and held it to my nose while praying mightily for help and applying light pressure. When she finished she put me to bed and later in the evening Dr. Shields stopped in, looked at my nose and said "Well, my boy, you have a pretty straight nose." He later sent a bill for $1.50 for the house call. Mother said she couldn't understand why she should pay him when she did all the work. I told her that after all she had asked him to come over and check on me which he did. She paid the bill but under protest. This same year I got a small sliver in my right forefinger and got blood poisoning from it. I almost lost my finger and still hurts when it gets a little cold.

I also played basketball on the Huntsville Ward Y.M.M.I.A. team for about three years while in High School. I also did some boxing and wrestling about this time unbeknown to mother as she was very much opposed to such rough sport. I finally told her that I had to learn to protect myself because of my small stature and I did get by fairly well except for one little incident. Just after school one day, one of the fellows in my class got me angry at him over calling me a name or doing something - anyway I chased him almost all the way around the block and when I caught him he hit me and gave me the worst black eye I ever had in my life.


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High School Graduation, Early Employment and Mission

I graduated from Ogden High School in May, 1926, and although both mother and father tried to encourage me to go to college I guess I was pretty much undecided at this time just what I wanted to do. I stayed out of school for part of the year and worked at odd jobs on the farm, the county roads, and Sugar Beet factory. Finally I decided I would like to be and Electrical Engineer so I enrolled for the winter quarter at Weber Junior College in Ogden. This was mostly a waste of time and money as I neglected my studies so derived very little good from it. I finally quit to work for the Union Pacific Railroad, Utah Parks System, North Rim of the Grand Canyon in the Kiabab National Forest. This was an enjoyable summer for me and when the season closed I had the opportunity to go to Green River, Wyoming, to work for the Union Pacific in the Dining Car & Hotel Department. This was in November, 1928, and I stayed here until September, 1931, at which time I was called to fill a mission in the Southern States. I was in the mission field until released in November, 1933. Most of my mission was spent at Mission Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, where I served as Mission Secretary. My time spent in the mission field was a most awarding one and some of the most happiest part of my life. Having the opportunity to work with and near President Chas. A. Callis was a wonderful experience and has been of great value to me in many ways.


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Early Employment and Marriage

When I first returned from my mission I was able to get a job as a timekeeper for the Works Progress Administration. I was paid $25.00 per week and had to travel from 80 to 100 miles each day and used my brother Don's motor cycle except when the weather was too rough and then I would use the family car.

In June of 1934 the Union Pacific called me and asked if I would take a job as cashier and assistant manager of their Cheyenne restaurant. I accepted the offer at once and arrived in Cheyenne on June 18th. I worked at this job for only two months as I did not like working seven days a week and never a day off. I took a job with the local transient Bureau as Disbursing Officer and here is where and when I first met Helen Manning - this was in August, 1934 - we were married in her family's home in Cheyenne on December 28th of the same year. We have been blessed with two wonderful children, Donald Emmett, born March 24, 1936, and Linda Louise, born December 13, 1941. I think we have had a wonderful and full life together and have enjoyed many, many happy trips together and with our children.


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Interest in Accounting and Vocation as an Accountant

While working for the railroad in Green River, Wyoming, I decided I still would like to study to become an Electrical Engineer so I enrolled for a correspondence course with the International Correspondence School. After several months of study and getting well along with the course I tried to find a job in this field and even offered to work for nothing just to gain practical experience. This was during the days of the Depression and no one was interested so I became discouraged and decided to drop the course and learn more about office work since that was the type of work I was presently employed at. It was this decision that led me into the field of accounting. I took a course in typing in Green River High School and studied every chance I could from books I could borrow or buy. It was during the time I was employed by the W.P.A. in Cheyenne that I decided if I was ever to get anywhere in accounting I would have to do a lot more studying. I enrolled for a complete course in Elementary and Advanced accounting with International Accountant's Society, a correspondence course.

In October, 1938, I left the W.P.A. and went to work for Wyoming Heating Co. as bookkeeper and office manager. I left there in December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor and went to work for Cheyenne Steam Laundry as bookkeeper and office manager. The Plant superintendent left after a few months and I had to take over this job. It was while working here that I met Karl B. Axt, a C.P.A. and who later hired me to do part time work for him and then later on full time. I left the Cheyenne Steam Laundry in November 1942, and went to work for the War Department, Finance Office, Ft. F. E. Warren, Wyoming. In a couple of months I was promoted to Chief Clerk and stayed here until October, 1943, at which time I went to work full time for Mr. Axt. I enjoyed my work very much and Mr. Axt was a very fine gentleman to work for and taught me many things in the field of Public Accounting. I, however, began to feel that I was not making enough progress and in the early spring of 1945 I asked Mr. Axt to please accept my resignation as I had decided to open my own accounting office which I did June 1, 1945.

For the next ten years I studied hard in my spare time for the C.P.A. exam and took special courses at the University of Wyoming and the University of Denver. I sat for the exam ten times but could never get the grades required to pass. I have not given up completely as yet and if my health and time permits I probably will be trying again some time.


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Ordinances and Activity in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

At this point I would like to go back to my early childhood and relate those happenings in my life that had to do with the Church. I was blessed on September 6, 1908, by Chas. S. Wood. I was baptized on August 6, 1916 by Joseph Felt and confirmed the same day by my father. I was ordained a deacon on September 19, 1920 by Jas. H. Nelson. I was ordained a teacher on September 2, 1923 by Jos. H. Peterson. I was ordained a Priest on December 27, 1925 by Alma H. Peterson. I was ordained an Elder on ------------- by ----------------. I was ordained a Seventy on September 15, 1931, by Chas. S. Hart.

My baptism took place in Huntsville in the old swimming hole in Spring Creek which was only a few blocks from our home. In those days there were very few of the chapels that had baptismal fonts. My blessing and all my ordinations to the priesthood were given in the Huntsville Ward Chapel.

I was given my Patriarchal Blessing on September 6, 1931, by Patriarch Edward A. Olsen in Ogden, Utah.

I was endowed in the Salt Lake Temple on September 11, 1931.

I attended church regularly while in Huntsville and took part in many of the activities of the Priesthood, Sunday School, M.I.A. and, of course, attended Primary and Religion class.


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Civic Activities

At the present time I belong to two service clubs in Cheyenne. I first joined the Optimist Club of which I am a life member and past president. I joined the Optimist Club in October, 1943. I became a Charter member of the Sertoma Club on November 9, 1947, and am a past president. While in my early thirties I belonged to the local Junior Chamber of Commerce and took part in many of their activities. I also belong to the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce and to the Korein Temple of the Shrine. In the latter two I have been mostly inactive and have never held any office in either of these organizations.

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Feelings About His Life

I guess like most everyone else I have a few regrets about my life. The greatest I suppose is never having finished College and also so much of my life wasted by not accomplishing more. I think that I did gain a great deal of practical experience in the numerous jobs I worked at and met many fine and interesting people. I feel however that I have lived a fairly full life and have enjoyed much love from my wife and children and many friends. This I think is most important.

Since I have not lived the Gospel fully I think it would be improper for me to go about advising just how important I think this is. I believe that finding one's happiness is not in how much money one can make and accumulate but in doing the things that one enjoys doing.


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Favorite Poems

I have selected two poems which I have had for many years; from these I hope to leave a small message for posterity.

THE OBSTACLE ALWAYS AHEAD

There's always a river to cross,
    Always an effort to make,
If there's anything good to win,
    Any rich prize to take.
Yonder's the fruit we crave;
    Yonder the charming scene;
But deep and wide with a troubled tide
    Is the river that lies between.
   
For the rougher the way that we take,
    The stouter the heart and the nerve;
The stones in our path we break,
    Nor ever from our impulse swerve.
For the glory we hope to win;
    Our labors we count no loss;
'Tis folly to pause and murmur because
    Of the river we have to cross.


I KNOW SOMETHING GOOD ABOUT YOU

Wouldn't this old world be better
If the folks we met would say:
I know something good about you,
And then treat us just that way.
   
Wouldn't it be fine and dandy
If each handclasp warm and true,
Carried with it this assurance
I know something good about you?
   
Wouldn't life be lots more happy
If the good that's in us all,
Were the only thing about us
That the folks bothered to recall?
   
Wouldn't life be lots more happy
If we praised the good we see,
for there's such a lot of goodness
In the worst of you and me?
   
Wouldn't it be nice to practice
That fine way of thinking, too?
You know something good about me!
I know something good about you!

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Obituary

From Wyoming Tribune on July 26, 1990

Darwin Engstrom, 81, of El Toro, Calif., died there Monday.

He was born on July 29, 1908, in Huntsville, Utah, to William and Emmaline Engstrom and had lived in Cheyenne from 1934 until his retirement in 1979 when he moved to Yuma, Ariz. He moved to California in 1989.

He was employed by the Union Pacific Railroad as an assistant manager for the depot restaurant. Later he worked for the Works Progress Administration and eventually owned and operated his own businesses, the accounting firm of Engstrom and Engstrom and the Jolly Rancher Ice Cream Store.

He was past president of the Optomist and Sertoma Clubs and a captain in the Civil Air Patrol, a member of Ducks Unlimited, the Cheyenne Country Club and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

He is survived by his wife, Helen Manning Engstrom of California; 20 children, Don Engstrom of Utah and Linda Rehart of El Toro, Calif.; three brothers, Roy Engstrom of Ogden, Utah, Don Engstrom of Nyssa, Ore., and Lloyd Engstrom of Northglenn Colo.; 11 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Graveside serves will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Lakeview Cemetery.

Crown-Hill Cemetery in Denver is in charge of arrangements.

Schrader Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. (From paper on July 27, 1990


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Genealogy generated data for Darwin Engstrom (1908 - 1990)

Darwin Engstrom was born on 29 Jul 1908 in Huntsville, Weber, Utah, United States. He died on 23 Jul 1990 in El Toro, Orange, California, United States. He was buried on 28 Jul 1990 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.
Darwin worked as Public Accountant, Firm: Engstrom and Engstrom in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.

Darwin married Helen Isabel Manning, daughter of Emmett McCord Manning "Cord" and Elizabeth Vass, on 28 Dec 1934 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States. Helen was born on 11 Nov 1913 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States. She died on 23 Dec 1991 in Laguna Hills, Orange, California, United States. She was buried on 30 Dec 1991 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.

They had the following children.

  1 M Donald Emmett Engstrom was born on 24 Mar 1936 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.
      Donald married Carolyn Ruth Lyons, daughter of Albert Lewis Lyons Sr. and Mary Cleo Hansen "Cleo", on 14 Feb 1964 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States. Carolyn was born on 2 Jun 1938 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.
  2 F Linda Louise Engstrom was born on 13 Dec 1941 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.
      Linda married Michael Armstrong Rehart, son of Michael Andrew Rehart and Jeanne Marie Schaefer, on 25 Sep 1970 in Logan, Cache, Utah, United States. Michael was born on 30 Jan 1941 in Alhambra, Los Angeles, California, United States. He died on 17 Dec 1995 in El Toro, Orange, California, United States. He was buried on 24 Dec 1995 in Lake Forest, Orange, California, United States.
Michael worked as Computer programmer and systems representative in Mission Viejo, Orange, California, United States.