Joseph Hyrum Thiessens (1924-1938) Part 2

(Continued from Part 1) CLICK HERE

The family moved to Bryan Avenue in 1937.  That Christmas, Joseph pumped Ruth on bicycle to town and they went Christmas shopping.  She carried the packages while he pumped them home again.

When the family moved, Joseph was set back one year in school.  He was taking math over again and his teacher saw that he wasn't paying attention so he told Joseph to come up and do the problem.  Joseph did it without any trouble and the two boys he chummed around with really got a big kick out of this.  They were both non-members of the church.  One boy was Jewish, the other boy's name was Ericksen.

The next day Joseph was sick and unable to attend school.  His two friends told the teacher that Joseph had stayed home because the teacher coudn't teach him anything.  The next day Joseph came to school with his excuse.  The teacher asked him since he couldn't be taught anything and since he knew it all, if he would like to teach the teacher.  He was given extra work to do.  He did it that night and from then on they were very good friends.

The Jewish boy, the Ericksen boy, and Joseph palled around with each other and in the summer they slept either at the Ericksen's or at Joseph's out on the front lawn.  They were really friendly and could get along in any situation.

Joseph was very interested in genealogy.  When they organized the Junior Genealogical Class, he joined it and it became a very dear subject to him.  The teacher of the class suggested that the boys go and take out their Patriarchal Blessings.  So they set a day apart to do this.

The night before Joseph was to go for his blessing, he said, "Mother, don't bother me with food tomorrow as I want to fast so that I may have the Spirit of the Lord and will be able to receive His blessings."

As the class had gathered at the patriarch's, one room was set aside for the group and one set aside for the special sacred blessings of each individual one.  The patriarch explained eveything must be completely quiet and wanted someone to be in charge of the group.  He picked Joseph to do this.

The Patriarchal Blessing was a very precious possession to him.  After that he went many times to the temple to baptize for the dead.  One of the statements in his [patriarchal] blessing was that the adversary was trying to shorten his life. 

[At this point in the biography, a sacred experience in Joseph's life was told.  It has been recorded as a "Family Only" story.]

Sunday afternoons, the family would sit around the table and play Pit and a game similar to Parcheezy that Ted, the oldest, had made.  However, their dad didn't participate as he was usually at meetings.

When Joseph went with his boy friends, Ruth would always tag along.  If his boy friends said, "What's she doin' here?", or "We don't want her along," Joseph would stick up for her and she would be allowed to join with them.

Joseph was one who had great patience.  He and Ruth put many model airplanes together.  Joseph was a great plane enthusiast.  He had a great desire to become an airplane pilot when he grew up, but he didn't live to see this fulfilled.  He enjoyed building model planes and he built several.  The last one which he built was a large yellow plane with a motor.  He flew this one.  This was when he was fourteen years old.

Also when Joseph was fourteen years old, he was at school where he was pole vaulting.  There was not sufficient padding to break his fall, but it was just more or less gravel.  Joseph took a run and as he did so, a voice told him not to go ahead.  Three times the voice came.  Still, he went ahead and made the jump.  When he landed, it broke his right arm.  The bone protruded out from the arm and made a terrible sight.

At this time, his mother was cleaning at his grandparents' when she got word what had happened.  Joseph had been taken to the doctor's office.  His doctor was out of town, so a Dr. Stevenson set the arm.  When Dr. Phipps returned, he checked the arm saying it was a perfect fit.

But between the two of them, Joseph got no tetanus shot.  A friend told his mother he should get one and so they went to Dr. Phipps.  He gave the shot to Joseph and told his mother that if his jaw began to stiffen, he should be taken right to the hospital.

On Sunday, he asked his mother, "Which meeting should I go to--Priesthood or Sunday School?  I don't think that I can make the two of them as I feel rather ill."  She told him to go to the one that he got the most good from.  He went to Priesthood meeing and felt fine enough to attend Sunday School also.  Since he could not use his right arm, he asked the preisdent of the quorum if he could use his left hand.  The president said it would be all right for him to partake of the sacrament with his left hand.

There was a vacant lot on the westside of the house on Bryan Avenue.  It was full of weeds. Joseph and Ruth, and perhaps some of the others in the family, cleared all the weeds off the lot so the seeds wouldn't blow onto the lawn.  After it was cleared, a house was bult on it.   It was in the process after Joseph's accident.  Joe would look out of the bedroom window and watch the carpenters build the house after the accident.

Then, one day, he told his mother that his jaw hurt.  When he saw the expression on his mother's face, he just laughed and said he was just fooling!  But his mother called the hospital and she was told that he should be brought in immediately.

Time passed and with it, the fourteen year old boy became worse.  His mother stayed with him constantly.  Then, one day, he asked his mother to call the nurse.  She told him that the nurses were busy and she asked him if she could do what he was going to request.  He told her that she could not so she called in a nurse.  Joseph asked the nurse if she would see to it that his mother was taken home to get some rest as she had been with him for so long without food or rest.  He said that he would be all right.  He was always so considerate of others and even in as much pain as he was bearing, he didn't care about himself more than the other person.  Joseph was very much liked by the nurses as he was so very polite to them and never called unless it was absolutely necessary.

During the last hours, Henrietta sat with the pain-stricken lad of fourteen.  Very close to the end, Joseph asked his mother if she would sing O, My Father to him.  She began to sing the familiar song:

O my Father, thou that dwellest In the high and glorious place,

When shall I regain thy presence And again behold thy face?

In thy holy habitation, Did my spirit once reside?

In my first primeval childhood Was I nurtured near thy side?

After the song was over, a pain struck the sickly form and a grief-stricken and painful experssion came over his face.  It was there for only a moment when it was replaced by the most beautiful heavenly smile that there ever was.  Then it was over.

The grief-stricken mother got down on her knees to pray when the door opened.  It was a nurse, but she passed lightly on.  There was then a pause, for the beautiful  mother of the lad, with a prayer in her heart, honestly thought that he would come back to earth from the heavenly sphere.  But he didn't. The date was April 30, 1938 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lak Co., Utah.

Joseph's dad took him to the wrestling matches each Friday night, and they were very close.  Joseph had been a favorite of his father all of the time and the shock was so very great that the father was affected by this incident more than anyone could know.  From then on he was not able to work any more.  It was very few times after that the matches were attended by him.

At the funeral, or previous to it, the many students that were his friends lined up and they were lined for blocks to see him.  At school a five minute silence was conducted by the school in behalf of Joseph Hyrum Thiessens.

5 May 1938 - Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park (L-R) Freeda Thiessens, HIlda Thiessens, Vall Thiessens, Harmannus (Herman) Thiessens, Ruth Thiessens, Hank Thiessens, Henrietta Thiessens, Billie Fern Zingelman, Grace Thiessens, Hilje M. Folkers, Folkert T. Folkers, Mick Zingelman, and Ted Thiessens.

Not long after this, Henrietta was in attendance at a fast and testimony meeting in which the Ericksen boy got up and bore his testimony.  He said that even though Joseph had passed on, it was he who had brought him into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He told how Joseph had explained the Degrees of Glory to him and the Jewish boy when they camped out.  The Ericksen boy said Joseph would look up into the sky as if he knew each individual star.  Who knows? Perhaps he did.    

Joseph Hyrum Thiessens Headstone





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Comments 1

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Christine Cormier (website) on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 01:02

Joseph was a very special person and loved by so many. I hope to meet him someday in heaven.
Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

Joseph was a very special person and loved by so many. I hope to meet him someday in heaven. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.