FUNERAL HISTORY OF ELSIE GALE FOSTER
Given at her funeral on August 30, 1982
By her son, Gary Foster, in the Pine Ward

It was not difficult gathering the historical information on my mother because her family has heeded the council of the prophet and recorded their families memories and spiritual experiences in written form for later generations to enjoy. The difficulty I now feel is being able to express her message of love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to you and be able to control my own emotions.

Elsie Gale Foster entered this life as the tenth child in a family of eleven children on June 10, 1918. She gained her experiences in life from her association with two families, the Gales and the Fosters.

Her story really began in the Pre-Existence prior to her birth wherein she eagerly accepted the opportunity for mortality with all its associated pains and trials. During her 64 years on Earth she came to fully understand the reality of her decision as sickness and illness s were to be her constant companions. Yet her faith in her Heavenly Father and his plan for her gave her comfort and direction. She kept the faith ......

Exactly 100 years before her own birth or 3 generations, her great grandfather was born in Box Wilts, England. This is where the story of Elsie Gale Foster really begins.  Her great grandfather, Henry Gale, at the age of 16 sailed from England to Australia to farm, raise sheep and eventually to own a mercantile store. It was here that he and his wife first heard the Mormon Missionaries tell of the restored Church of Jesus Christ in America. He and his wife were converted and sailed for America in 1853. The voyage took nine weeks to cross the Pacific Ocean and arrive in San Pedro, California with their 5 children.

One of those children, James Gale, at the time age 6, was to become Elsie s grandfather. James was raised in Beaver, Utah and was called by the Church to help transport pioneers across the plains with wagons and oxen teams from Nebraska to Salt Lake City, Utah.

James Gale married Sarah Ann Thompson in 1868 and four children later loaded his family in a covered wagon and moved them to a place now called Snowflake, Arizona. Three of the kids in the wagon were girls and the boy was to become Elsie's father, George Gale.

Years later James Gale moved his entire family to Pima, Arizona and later he homesteaded land in Franklin, Arizona. He had two families to provide for and 22 children. He was always active in the Church, holding the position of Sunday School Superintendent for many years. He played the violin with much gusto and talent, tapping his foot to the rhythm.

His son, George Henry Gale, learned to work hard in those early days in the hot Arizona sun. He was shorter than his father and had a sturdy build. His eyes were as blue as the Arizona sky and expressed kindness and love. His skin was tanned by the desert sun in his outdoor work. His greatest concerns were for his family.

George Gale worked very hard to provide for his eleven Children and yet took the time to enjoy and play with them. His family had "Family Home Evening" before the Church made it world wide.  Elsie's father would be the game organizer. Charades was one of the favorite games of the children. He even made up a game called, Pinchy, Pokey, Flatty, Fisty, Cutty, Cow, Cow, Cow.  Even the grandchildren play it today.

Elsie s father loved music and had a very good singing voice. His testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was a reality to him and he encouraged his children to learn scripture at a very young age.  He was proud of the accomplishments of his children in school and in athletics. He was the best rooter the Chandler High School football team ever had. He was right down on the white line with Jim and Rolley as his sons were playing ball......

Elsie, tagged after her busy father everywhere he went and asked him many questions. Once, she saw him unhook the horses and put a feed bag over their heads so they could enjoy a good supper. Elsie asked, "Papa, what's the matter with the horses, do they have sore noses?" He always took the time to answer her questions as she was his 'little girl."

She was baptized by her father at age 8 and named after her mother Elsie Kartchner. Her mother was so sweet and even tempered. She too had come from a large family of 21 children born to her father, William Decatur Kartchner. Her large family loved her homemade bread, beans and good stews and puddings. Last night I learned of another strange substance called 'lumpy dick'.

Elsie and Melva were both born in Liberty, New Mexico near Farmington. At Elsie s birth the Cherries were being picked and a family joke has been told every since, Mother got the Cherries and Elsie got the juice!
Elsie s second oldest brother, Hugh Gale, received word of her birth just before he was killed on the battlefields of France during World War I. Elsie never met Hugh but has learned so much about him from her family she told me she will know him when she meets him on the other side.

Her parents moved to greener pastures and back to Arizona where the last member of this large family was born. His name was Victor and he was born on the 11th day of the 11th month and weighed in at 11 pounds. He was fat and cute and would become close playmates to Elsie and Melva. The girls loved to dress him up in girls clothes and when that wouldn't do they dressed up his pig named Jim Creed.

One day mother Gale told Elsie to go down to the fields and call her dad and brothers to come to dinner. As she crossed the fields to them a large black and white bull snorted and came towards her. She dropped the handle of her little red wagon just as her brother Rolly swept her up and out of harms way.  Elsie has always had the blessing of having her family around her at the right times.

From my mother's journal I now recount another close call while she was swimming in the heat of the summer with her family in the Arizona Canals after dark. Her family was once again nearby as the water twisted her into a whirlpool and only her blond hair was floating on the surface. Her fathers strong hands pulled her out by her hair just in time. 
(See story in Elsie's Personal Journal)

Other experiences had to do with blood poisoning from a cut on her foot and banana stuffing by her older brother Jess. I liked the banana stuffing better because it sounds so much like a normal family. Jess was of teenager size and age and noticed Elsie eating a banana clear down to the skin. That was too much for him to stand so he gave her 25 cents and told her to go to the store and buy a whole bagful of bananas as he was going to make her sick of bananas once and for all. When Elsie returned with her whole bagful of bananas Jess promptly peeled one and stuffed it down her throat until she cried for her mother as little girls will do She wrote in her journal that she then sat down and ate all the bananas she wanted and never did get sick from them!

Elsie's father became ill and was bedfast for nearly one year with a disease called Dropsy. She loved her dad very much and was called out of the Chandler School by her brother Clyde and told that their father had just died. Elsie lost her father when she was age 13. That day she said a part of her had died also. She said, "I can't think of anything that bothered me so much as losing my father---I loved him so much". He lived 60 years and had the love and respect of his family!

Shortly after that the family moved to Mesa where the younger children were raised and educated. Elsie graduated from Mesa Union High School and began part-time work at the Niles Theater. Through a friend she met a Phoenix boy named Alton Scott Foster. In those days it was important to know where a boy came from ....
She writes that she was real impressed with the way he treated her, like a lady. One. date led to another and soon they were in love. Mother Gale liked Alton but wished he was LDS. Elsie told her Mother that someday he would join the Church and believe as they did. She told her mother that she loved Alton and wanted to marry him right away. They were married in 1940 in Wickenburg, Arizona.

Conversion to the Church for Alton came when he was ready to receive it which was 14 years after they were married and after the death of Elsie s mother. I believe if she could see her son-in-law now after 29 years of Church membership she would accept him as one of her. own.  When dad was baptized and began attending Church meetings it was said that he would one day be a Bishop in the Church. Mother lived to see that come about and remarked many times to me how good she felt having the Priesthood in her home. Recently, a month ago she was in the Payson Hospital feeling lonely on a Saturday and asking me if Alton was home, I said yes, she asked if he was doing his Ward Bulletins, I said yes, she asked me if he was making his phone calls and getting ready for the next day, I told her that he was and then she rested better....

A moment later the patient next to Mom groaned loudly and mother was wide awake and remarked, "That poor old lady sounds like one of Lufkin Hunts Cows!" She laughed and drifted back to sleep. I left the hospital with a lump in my throat and felt then that her very words to me would become part of her history.

In June of 1941 while living in Phoenix, Arizona Elsie gave birth to her first son and named him Gary Lee Foster. She had kidney problems during her pregnancy and I weighed only 5 pounds and 13 ounces. But it was a beginning of her own family.  Alton got work as a fireman at Williams Air Force Base and they bought their first home made of adobe blocks on the outskirts of Phoenix. The location was at 16th Street and Thomas. Dad drove across the desert to the Base every day for many years.

In August of 1944 another son was born at 7 pounds and 2 ounces, an improved model. He was named Richard Alton Foster. He was so cute and had fat cheeks. One nurse nick named him "Porky". He had sandy red hair and brown eyes. Uncle Vic remarked that he never saw two brothers look more unalike. He called us Whitie and Red. Rick was blessed by Walter Johnson and got off to a good start.

Dad was drafted into the Army near the end of World War II even though he was married and had two sons. Pearl Harbor was bombed a few years earlier and the World was at war! My mother moved to San Diego to live with Alton's mother and share expenses as money was very tight. Dad's mother is here today at age 89 which we are very grateful for. She has been mothers friend for 42 years.

Elsie s own mother died in April 1945 in Mesa at the age of 67. She was attended by her sister Minnie to the very end. Just as Elsie was attended by her sister Melva Nelson to the very end. Such sisterly acts of love are never forgotten in this life or in the life to come!

Alton's mother, Mable, was Elsie s 2nd mother for they shared so much together. They could talk about anything and share their joys and their fears. Elsie loved Mable and Mable was her "Mamma". I heard Elsie say during this past month, "Mamma, don't leave me and Mable would say to her, I'm not going to leave you, I love you Elsie and mom would drift off to sleep saying I love you Mamma".

After the War ended our family once again was on the move and returned to Arizona and Dad returned to the position of fireman at Williams Air Force Base.

Elsie's younger brother Victor, the eleventh child died of Cancer in 1947 as a young married man. It has now been 35 years since a member of this large family has died. Victor was Elsie's playmate. Hugh, her older brother, whom she never met and her own mother and father are now joined on the other side of the veil to once again gather their family members around them and tell stories of the way it once was.

Thousands of descendants of the Gales and Kartchner's can now trace their roots through these two families who set the example and lived the Gospel in such a way that their families got the message.  I think the following story will illustrate that it was really Elsie for whom the mailmen got their slogan that says the mail will get through no matter if it rains, hails, snows or floods.

The year was 1949 and my mother s Gale blue eyes lit up to full brightness as she drove our Hudson Automobile all over Williams Air Force Base trying to find a way off the Base as a rain storm had just flooded every road possible. The MP's at the gate told her to wait a few days and the roads would be open again. But my mother had a burning in her heart that I was to be baptized that very day for it was my 8th birthday and a Saturday and her brother Jess had agreed to perform the ordinance at the Arizona Temple in the morning session.

My mother was not to be told no lightly or even strongly. She raced that Hudson down that flooded highway for all it was worth. She literally parted Williams Field Road as if it were the Red Sea! When we hit the dips in the road that Hudson's momentum floated it to the other side and she roared into the Temple parking lot just as the girl's afternoon session was completed and my mother stood at the side door with her hand on my shoulder and asked if they could please take just one more ....We were welcomed in and the ordinance was performed by a willing priesthood holder.  My uncle Jess believed she couldn't have possibly gotten off that Base and had gone on home. Once again, Jess was to learn as with the bananas that Elsie will win in the end! On the way home I noticed after looking at that muddy Hudson that we had both been baptized that day. My mom had baptized the Hudson and the Priesthood had baptized me!

In February of 1952 and two days before Alton's birthday Elsie gave birth to her third son, Steven Ray Foster, who was the biggest kid the stork had delivered so far. He was built solid from the ground up and yet was soft hearted. He was so loving and fun to be around. Rick finally got him to learn to walk by himself at 18 months much to the relief of the family.

Shortly after his birth Elsie had to go to the hospital for rest as the pressures of life were becoming harder to bear. She prayed for her health to return and for her life to come together. She wanted Alton to take an interest in the Church and in our family. On a day a short time later while in Church the Stake Missionaries were sitting beside her and a voice within her asked, "What are you waiting for, ask them to come teach us the Gospel". She did ...and they did...and we all did. I heard the missionary discussions going on into the night as dad investigated the Church and mother s promise to her mother of 14 years before came to fulfillment. Dad was baptized and became a super member and was fully converted! He and I attended priesthood together though he progressed much faster.

I was age 13....the age that my mother lost her father ....the age that I gained a spiritual father. From that baptism until now (29) years, our family has experienced the love of two parents united in their beliefs and who have set a straight course for their children to follow.

Shortly after Dad's baptism our family moved off the Base and into a new home in Tempe and we became members of Tempe 1st Ward. We were active in the Church. Mom worked in the MIA with such good sisters like Myrtle Taysom and Wanda Meredith and many others.

Another highlight in Mom s life was her goal to get us to the Temple so in 1954 Mom and Dad knelt across from the alter in the Arizona Temple and their three sons knelt with them and were sealed as a family for time and all eternity. Many of you here today were present and witnessed the true feelings of eternal love felt at that time. I can still see Pernie and Walter Johnson smiling with tears of joy running down their faces as they witnesses our sealing performed by the priesthood under the direction of God. The full blessings of that sealing are based upon obedience to Gospel principles. Our sister Sheri would eventually join us and be born under the covenant to complete our eternal family unit.

In 1955 Elsie's hay fever and allergies became so bad her doctors told her to move away from Arizona as she was allergic to it. Dad sold the home and left the Assistant Fire Chief's job at the Base and packed up the kids in a Chrysler and Camper Trailer and we moved...where too we didn't know for sure. Mom 7s nose was the barometer and the Chrysler took us to every western state over the next three months. We were impressed to return to Logan, Utah but couldn't find employment there. We pulled into Salt Lake City to Aunt Melva's place on a Saturday night and another one of Jess Gales sisters sprang into action.

She got on that telephone and lined us up with a home to live in furnished with everything including the silverware in the drawers for $85 per month. By the time Sacrament Meeting was over Dad was employed as a meat cutter and working for Ward Rasmussen's Meat Market starting the next day! Mom was tickled to b e able to live so close to her sister and we enjoyed the next nine years with them.

In 1957 we purchased a home of our own on Keller Lane. Mom worked in the Primary and Dad changed employment to Buehner Block Company and sold cars for Ken Garff Oldsmobile. I finished High School and went into the Utah Army National Guard. The family again moved further south to Sandy, Utah and Mom went to work in the school cafeteria as her sons were all in school. Mother's wish for a daughter took awhile to process upstairs because she had to be something special to survive three older brothers and have the disposition to be sweet to her mother and dad as they would near retirement about the time she was raised.

In November of 1960 Sheri Lynn Foster came to our family to complete it and reorganize it as we were to learn. She was different from the beginning with red hair, loud lungs, dirty diapers and three teasing brothers.  President Kennedy was assassinated on her third birthday.

George Dana from Tempe, AZ came to visit while attending General Conference and asked Dad to return to the Valley and work at Dana Brothers.

Mother's health had improved and better allergy medicines were available so the family returned to Arizona in 1962. I was on my mission at the time and arrived home in Utah to help move the families furniture out of the Sandy home and down to Tempe 1st Ward again.

Elsie served in the Relief Society as the secretary and enjoyed her friends very much.  

Al  and Elsie purchased a lot in Strawberry and began building their retirement home. Later I was to find this was the first of three retirement homes until Dad got to a meadow where he could plant his Apple Trees.  Al and Elsie fell in love with the Pine and Strawberry members and decided to sell their home on 12th Street and buy a townhouse for easy maintenance and transfer their Ward Membership to Pine and attend there on weekends. In that way they could live and work in Tempe and attend Church in Pine. Both taught Sunday School classes and enjoyed the next two years burning the rubber off of George Dana s cars going up and down the hills between their two loves.

In 1973 Mom and Dad decided to buy another new home in South Tempe and transfer their membership back to Tempe and live one life at a time. Right away Dad dug up the back yard and planted a garden wall to wall. Elsie bottled, canned and gave away all that Dad could produce.

Alton was called to serve as Ward Clerk for 2 years and then as 2nd Councilor in the Eleventh Ward Bishopric. Later as 1st Councilor to Bishop Myers.

Mom and Dad bought 2 acres of choice meadow land in Strawberry and again began dreaming of their retirement home. On weekends you would find the two of them out planting, watering and just talking to their trees.

Mother was called to be visiting teacher message leader in Eleventh Ward until her eyesight began to fail her. Surgery was performed on both eyes to save the remaining vision. She feared loss of vision more than any of her many illnesses.

She was also afraid she wouldn't be able to complete her quilts for her children and grandchildren before she lost her vision. With the help of Mable and others the next two quilts were finished and presented at Christmas to Thury and Susie. The other quilt squares are cut out and remain on her shelf to be completed by others when the time permits.

Elsie loved her grandchildren and wanted them to have this parting gift of love from her. Their retirement home though not completed radiates the warmth and comforts of their handiwork. It too will be completed in time.

As if eye surgery weren't enough of a challenge to Mom she again would be faced with a serious surgery. This time it was to remove a cancerous tumor of the brain. Only a few years earlier it was for cancer of the lung.

Elsie was especially concerned as she didn't want to face death just yet and the family all gathered around her once more. This was the first time I felt scared that maybe Mom wouldn't make it this time.  I had always thought of Mom as being built like the Arizona Earwig wherein you can stomp on them and they just get up and carry their broken bodies away, you stomp on them again and again but they keep working with what's left, you just can't t kill them.

Mom was praying to the Lord of her concerns and fears and had just dropped off to sleep when she felt the presence of the Lord beside her. He touched her and gave her such a comfort and love that from then on she was able to face her remaining time on earth better.

She was able to plan out this very funeral and in general get her remaining things in order. After her brain tumor operation had gone smoothly we all began to have hope again only to have our hearts torn by the stomach pains she began to have. Once again it was red alert and Elsie began to battle the last two months of her life with increasing pain and intensity.

Alton cared for her at night and you sweet sisters by day. She appreciated the love you gave her and the positive attitudes you expressed. Your gifts of love have helped at a time when they were most needed. Her time came that her body could finally rest and her spirit freed could be united once again with her loved ones on the other side. I believe if you could see out in the parking lot today you will have noticed a buggy parked beside the cars and hitched to horses by the name of Old Smokie, Blue, Charlie, Nick and Turk. In the seat you would find father and mother Gale gathering in their daughter Elsie to join them once again in a family unit along with Hugh and Vic.

Her last days were filled with a great amount of mortal pain but I know of a greater spiritual pain she may yet bear .... In 1954 her Foster Family was sealed to her and Alton for time and all Eternity based upon the conditions that each member would live in full accordance with the Gospel principles established by the Savior Jesus Christ.

I invite each member of the Gale and Foster Families to put their lives in better order and fully earn for themselves the blessings to which they have been sealed in a temple of God.  Mother s mortal life is now at rest ....Alton's is not.  He comes from healthy stock. His own father lived to be 88. His grandfather lived to be 77. His mother is now 89 and is going strong!! Her father lived 83 years and her mother lived 86 and her grandfather lived to be 92.

With the help of the good people of Pine Ward, Dad's calling as Bishop and Ward Custodian we sincerely pray that Alton will not be too lonely.

Brothers and Sisters, thank you for your parts in the History of Elsie Gale Foster and for each of your attendances this day.  These comments I say humbly and in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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