We’d like to spotlight a volunteer, Barbara Wilson. Barbara was born in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Youngtown, Ohio on April 22, 1943 to Aloysius Michael and Emma Alvey Balog. She has lived in Salem for 40 years. She met her husband, Jay Lee Wilson, while dragging Payson Main Street. They were married on February 3, 1962 in her aunt’s home in Payson. Sadly, Jay passed away on March 8, 2004, after 42 years of marriage. They are the parents of six children: Kim (Kevin) Lloyd, Springville; Mindy (Paul) Lemon, Salem; Amie Sweatfield, Springville; Marcy (Zane) Baker, California; Jeffery (Joelle) Wilson, Santaquin; and Jason Wilson, Spring Lake. They have 28 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren with 2 more on the way.
Growing up, Barbara had four brothers: Tom, Mike, Gary and Kent. Barbara said her mother would tell her she was her favorite daughter. People would ask how the other daughters felt about this and she would say that Barbara was her only daughter. Barbara’s parents met in Price, Utah. Her mother was living in Price and her dad was working in the CC Camp. They were married in Price and when her dad was discharged from the CCs they moved back to Ohio where he worked on the railroad. When Barbara was a year old they moved to Price, then Sunnyside, and then Payson; all the time working for the railroad.
Barbara said Jay enlisted in the Army before they were married. After they were married they lived in Salt Lake City where Jay worked on the Rio Grande Railroad. From there they lived in Tooele, and Jay worked at the Dugway Army Base. Barbara’s dad was able to get Jay on with the Union Pacific Railroad and they moved to Orem, then Genola, Payson, and finally settled in Salem. Barbara worked at Mt. View Hospital as a cook and then with Nature Sunshine.
Barbara and Jay were some of the first members of the Salem Volunteer Ambulance who helped to get it started. They helped to sand the first ambulance “by hand” to get it ready for a new paint job. Barbara served for 13 years on the ambulance. Jay served on the Salem Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Association until the time of his death. Barbara laughed as she recounted one of their first ambulance calls. It was towards morning when the alarm went off. Jay jumped out of bed and they rushed to the ambulance bay. He discovered that the elastic waist had broken on his sweat pants as they fell down around his ankles. He was trying to hold them up with one hand and help with the other hand. Paula Jackson came to the rescue with a safety pin and pinned them to his shirt. They later presented Jay with a plaque with a big safety pin on it.
Barbara is a convert and an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has served as a secretary in both the Primary and Relief Society Organizations. She doesn’t like brussels sprouts but loves enchiladas, especially the ones her mother made. Barbara is very talented in crocheting, doing ceramics, sewing (she sewed her kids clothes), and an excellent cook, especially making pies. She likes to do adult coloring books.
Barbara said “I love Salem!” The closeness of the people; everyone in town supports the kids, Salem Days, and school events. It is the best place to raise kids. Barbara said she has the Best Family in the World.
Thank you Barbara for your service to Salem City and us as citizens. May you have a Happy Valentine’s Day.
Salem City Newsletter, Senior Spotlight, February 2017, page 3.