What I Believe: His Family's Hero

"...and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted."
-Alma 53:20

It's been a busy past four days.  The funeral services were held Friday in West Jordan, UT.  But we are now home, safe & sound.

They were spectacular, filled with honor & the Holy Spirit from beginning to end.

Inside the Memorial programs was a poem that Mini-Me wrote the day Grandpa Grow passed away.  She's given me permission to share it:


"There is a kind man,
Who we all have known-
Who has held our hands,
When we were about to let go,
And said through love, 'Hold on, press on.'

There is a brave man,
Who has spared us from tears.
Who fought for us repeatedly throughout the years;
Never to waiver, to ask for relief-
Comforting, saying 'Be at peace.'

There is a God-fearing man,
Whose testimony he lived.
Who served his Lord, and fellow men,
And family in everything he did.

There is a rare man,
Whose heart remains pure.
Whose soul radiates truth,
With open arms, He waits for us now,
His pride and joy, saying, 'I love you.' "

Since Grandpa was a Korean War Veteran, there was an honor guard who assisted us in escorting him to his final resting place.  Since none of the rest of us could handle conducting the services, Mr LKP stepped up and took care of directing the small program.  An opening prayer was said, and Mr LKP read the following life sketch:

"...Jesse Clyde Grow was born on November 3rd, 1932 to William Griffith Grow and Jessie Knowles Grow, in Salt Lake City, Utah.  As the 5th of 7 children, it was in down-town Salt Lake where he and his 6 siblings (Russell, Rosemary, Billie, George, Virginia, and Kathleen) were raised.  It was within their home-life that Clyde’s love for family, service to others, and strong work ethic was fostered.

Having been born in the last wake of the Great Depression, work was neither glamorous nor extremely profitable.  However, Clyde learned the value of hard work from watching his father bring home just over a dollar a day, and thinking that his father was doing quite well.  Prior to entering the workforce himself, Clyde was no stranger to breaking a sweat as his permanent household chores consisted of shoveling coal and its ashes in and out of the furnace, as well as sorting the wet garbage” from the “dry garbage.”  By the time he was 12 years old Clyde was riding his bicycle halfway across Salt Lake City, doing odd jobs to earn money.  One such job involved grooming & clipping a local Doctor’s yard for 6 grueling hours - for which he was paid only one quarter.  This job taught Clyde a valuable lesson, that one cannot trust all whom they encounter; and he never worked for that man again.  Throughout the rest of his youth Clyde earned money by collecting scrap iron, recycling fat, cutting lawns, and he was a “huckster” on the hometown vegetable truck.

Amidst all the hard work being done, Clyde did find ways to have fun, from playing “keepsies” in the park & “kick the can,” to accidentally blowing up his own toilet with an M-80.  Compared to the standards of life today, these roots might appear meager, however, when asked about this comparison, Clyde said, “Today’s culture leaves a lot to be desired. We need to go back to some of the older standards…”

Before Clyde could finish High School, he enlisted in the United States Navy as a Boatswain’s Mate in 1951.  He served during the Korean War Conflict, saw many ports, and witnessed many harrowing scenes.  He was honorably discharged in 1955. It was during his years in the Navy that Clyde felt he truly grew-up; aside from war experiences, he also met & married Etha Mae Johnson.   Together they both welcomed, and bid farewell to their still-born son, Jeffrey Clyde Grow.  Not long after, Clyde & Etha Mae went their separate ways and were divorced.

After his time in the Service, Clyde opened a gas station & mechanic garage on 21st South. It was through associations he had there that he was fixed up on a blind date with Joan Sharon Mortensen. Ten days later they were married! Shortly thereafter they purchased a condemned home to restore on 6th East.  Subsequently, Clyde & Joan had 4 wonderful children (Kris, Cindie, Jessie, and Barbara).  Together the Grow family weathered the loss of Clyde’s business, and flipped the restored house- which enabled them to purchased a quaint home on "Christmas Street" (aka: Glen Arbor).  The carpets were thread-bare, and very little furniture was available, however the family’s needs were met due to Clyde working 3 jobs.  In his spare moments on Christmas Street, Clyde gave of his time & talents- becoming known as the “Christmas Tree Man” who selected, cut, and installed the neighborhood’s 40'-tall Christmas Tree every year.   The Grows' sparsely-furnished home was filled with friends and loved-ones, but mostly warmth.

One of Clyde’s job transfers with the U&I Sugar Company led the Grow family north to Brigham City, Utah in 1971.  A brand new home was purchased on Shamrock Drive, and life was quite blessed.  Clyde & Joan enjoyed an active country club lifestyle, and made lifelong friends while there.  Clyde loved that his daughters were happy climbing the nearby waterfall, catching muskrats in the creek, retrieving stray golf balls from the same creek to sell back to the golf course for money, and going on family outings to see the Golden Spike site at Promentory Point.   Clyde was also pleased that it was here in Brigham City his son, Kris, found his eternal companion, Diane.  (It didn’t hurt that Diane was gorgeous, either!)

In 1973, Clyde was transferred to the Prior Land Company, from U&I Sugar, which took the Grow family further north to Kennewick, Washington.  Soon after, Kris & Diane moved to Kennewick as well.  Clyde worked for various companies trying to build a career, and to obtain a totally debt-free life.  A comfortable family home was secured, and the girls all grew to adulthood, and marriages.   Often his daughters’ dates would arrive at the family home to find Clyde cleaning various pistols.  Later, while walking one of his daughters down the aisle, Clyde whispered, “It’s not too late to go have a beer instead.” Clyde didn’t even like beer, but knew that daughter did.   Later, when the same daughter’s divorce was final, he said, “I guess you should have taken me up on that beer.”  Clyde’s legacy of facing life’s trials head-on & with humor continued throughout his life, and helped mold the lives of not just his children, but also the lives of his 8 grandchildren (Jamie, Jenelle, Rob, Keely, Sabrina, Kiel, Cody, & Bailey) - and the lives of his 7 great-grandchildren.

Common memories from his grandchildren & great-grandchildren consist of: hours spent fishing, family camping trips, collecting agates, harvesting cherry tomatoes, attending frontier-style Rendevous events, vacations all over the U.S., panning for gold in the mountains, watching Seattle Seahawk football games & Seattle Mariners baseball games; LEGENDARY family BBQ’s, garden swings, hammocks, his attending their various sporting, dance, & school events; handmade butcher-blocks, wooden rocking chairs, rocking horses, & even a rocking swan; attending Native American pow-wows, going to local dams & fish hatcheries; learning croquet, badminton, & baseball from him; enormous, bristly bear hugs (thanks to his whiskers), Sunday breakfasts, a great love of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr, & other “Old Standards” such as A Bicycle Built for Two (Daisy Bell).”

Clyde was his family’s hero.   He was resourceful & quick-thinking.  On one horseback trip in the Teton Mountains, he was yanked & drug from his own horse as he reached out to grab the straps on one of the guide’s wild, runaway horses.  Clyde would help mend split knees, save his newborn great-granddaughter from unbearable heat by shimmying in a side-window to unlock the house, and even got a traffic ticket for jumping the curb in a roundabout (he called them “Roundtables”) as he raced to be at his son’s hospital bedside.

Clyde treasured his wife Joan, and strived to meet her every wish.  Upon having to say farewell to his sweetheart in May of 2011, he was perplexed as to why she passed away first.  He desperately missed her & longed to be reunited with her.  

Clyde was a great man, and needless to say, his family adored him.  This was the greatest honor Clyde could have received is the love of his family, as he cherished them, and his fondest memories involved seeing them happy.  He gave all he had to raise his family to be responsible, respect others, love one another, and serve the world around them.  He relished in the righteous posterity his grandchildren & great-grandchildren are becoming.  He wanted nothing more than for all of them to preserve their close relationships, and he left this world trusting & knowing that we will all be reunited again someday.

In all we do, may we honor Clyde's legacy by heeding his counsel, 'Be Good Like Me!'"


Following the Life Sketch, my brother read a poem he wrote 11 years ago, based on interviewing Grandpa for his Senior project:

by K.J. Bowen

"Life and the open sea,
Gone from home.
An individual one who's free,
Through those waterways flown.

Coxman at the ship's helm,
In deep waters release.
Only sea air to calm,
As the trials never cease.

Traveled man in youth,
And content in one place.
Seeking out the truths,
In water and inner space.

Pictures reminding of the past,
All but forgotten in time.
Still near water he casts,
Leaving false answers behind.

Sailor of life,
True to family and self.
Mast of the family and wife,
Never put off needs beyond help.

Capped as a torrent wave,
Hair of soft white.
Marked in the trade,
Of love in the sailor's light.

Many squalls come and gone,
The storms have a way to teach.
Straining to rest in his rests dawn,
Remember, his wisdom lay beyond the beach.

His lessons learned over,
Not quite at rest from strife.
One of the last old soldier,
Or, maybe a sailor of life.

(This poem is inspired by and written for Jesse Clyde Grow, whom is an inspiration to his family and me.  I firmly believe he was inspired by the many waves which broke beneath his bow, whether those waves were metaphors or not.)"


From that point in the program, the Honor Guard then paid full military honors to Grandpa Grow with a beautifully bugled "Taps," a 21-gun salute, and Grandpa's flag folded & presented to my mother in gratitude for her years of caring for him in her home. While "Taps" was sounded, something miraculous (in my humble opinion) occurred.  The skies that day were mostly cloudy.  Pleasant but overcast-ish.  As soon as the bugler began, there was a break in the clouds and warm sunlight washed over my cousin, my aunt, and I.  The instant the song was finished, the clouds closed again.  We worked hard to honor Grandpa with dignity that day, and it was as if he shared his approval with us.  A final sign of gratitude & love, until we meet again.  Not gonna lie, it left my heart pounding, a lump in my throat the size of Montana, and my eyes sweaty!  Those few moments were very powerful; they left a lasting impression, and I am grateful for such tender mercies.


In prayer, Uncle Don dedicated the grave site, and then the mic was opened for those in attendance to share their thoughts & memories.  It worked out beautifully, as my uncle & my mother both shared their love for Grandpa and some warm memories with us all.  There were many laughs & oodles of tears.

At the conclusion of the program, my cousin took a basket of flowers around so each person there could have a flower by which to say their final farewell with.  Red & yellow roses and white daisies littered the top of his casket.  It was so handsome!  Had he been standing at our sides that day, he'd have been moved to tears by all of the love & admiration.  ...And then he might have cussed a little & scolded us for belly-achin' over him.  :)

Grandpa is a great man.
He is our hero, and no other tribute could've done better justice (aside from if the rest of the grandkids & great-grandkids could've been there too).
He will be greatly missed!

**NOTE FROM AUTHOR: All funeral photo credits go to my amazing my cousin & her mad D40 skills! A-thank you. **


Garden of Egan said...

It looks like it was such a beautiful service. I think the military was beautiful. I love the pictures. You are so amazing.

Great tribute. I bet Mr. LKP was perfect for this. I loved reading about it. Yay for MiniMe. Adorable.
Your family is talented my friend.

I hope that as the days pass your memories will be sweeter and your pain less tender.

Love you.

Valerie said...

Wonderful tribute for a special man. I'm glad you were able to be there.

Valerie said...

What a great tribute for a man who was truly loved!
My eyes are a little sweaty too!

2browndawgs said...

It sounds like it was a truly beautiful service--full of love.

S.I.F. said...

I wish I was there to give you a hug friend, and sit on the couch with you to just talk and talk. The service looks amazing, and this post was beautiful. I'm thinking of you. Sending up lots of prayers!

Kathy N said...

Wonderful tribute! I wish I could have been there. I always loved his sense of humor and he reminded me so much of what my Grandpa Grow (your great-grandpa) was like. Truly great men!

Anonymous said...

Wow - okay so I have been catching up over the past several posts.
First - you were literally only minutes away from my house. I was disappointed we didn't connect. NEXT TIME!

Love Mini Me's new hair, as a pioneer and her amazing talent with the words.

Favorite phrase? Looks like hell vomited all over it. LOL - that is my new favorite.

Glad you squeegied. Always makes a girl feel better

Love you!!


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