Clara was born on 3 June 1919 in Grouse Creek, Utah. She was the sixth daughter and seventh child of William Cotton and Mary Elizabeth Hadfield Betteridge. The family lived on a farm, but also ran cattle. All of the children had chores and responsibilities to help out. An eventful episode for Clara was when she was two years old and she ran out in to the wood-chopping area when one of her siblings was chopping wood. Not seeing Clara, they aimed for the stick of wood, but hit Clara in the lower leg with the axe. She would rarely talk about the incident, but she carried a huge scar on her inner calf for the rest of her life. It was surprising that she didn’t lose her leg entirely.
The 4th of July in Grouse Creek was a big celebration, and Clara loved it. She felt so grown-up when she, and the rest of the community, attended the big dance in the evening.
Clara and her siblings attended school in a one-room schoolhouse. It only went to eighth grade. When the older children were old enough for high school, the family moved to Ogden. Clara was eight years old. She attended the schools in Ogden, graduating from Ogden High School in 1937.
After graduating from High School, Clara joined some of her sisters in working as a seamstress in downtown Ogden. She was always a wonderful seamstress using her skills to provide clothing for her family. She would cut down our aunts and cousins old clothes (hand-me-downs) to use for “new” clothes for her children. That was something that her girls especially never did fully appreciate. Later in her life her sewing skills and willingness to teach 4H clubs won Clara an all-expense paid trip to Chicago to participate in a national seminar there.
Just around the corner from the Betteridge home at 924 24th Street, on Quincy Ave., was the Wheelwright Lumber Company. Two doors away lived the Albert S. Wheelwright family and their son Don Ririe Wheelwright. Clara and Don met and dated while Don attended Utah State University, then served an LDS mission in Great Britain right up to the outbreak of World War II. When Don reached home, in 1939, he resumed his studies at Logan, and on May 16, 1941 they were married in the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City.
Don was working in the lumber business when the United States was forced into the war. That was considered a vital industry, and he was not called up to service. They were living in Tooele, Utah at that time, and their oldest child, Linda Kay, was born during that time. They soon moved to Tremonton, Utah, Garland, Utah (three homes in Garland, because of the war it was impossible to build) Nephi and Cedar City, Utah. It was while the family lived in Garland that Don went to work for the Ralston Purina Feed Company. The company gave rewards for bonuses, and Linda and Vicki remember going to the post office to pick
up a reward. It was a blue and white checkered bag filled with $100 in silver dollars. It was very dirty, and even had a small hole in one corner. It was amazing that it arrived to Clara. It was a simpler, more honest time back then. They eventually added Paul Don and Kerry “B” to their two daughter family.
After a 1959 move to Cedar City, Utah, the family settled down to stay. Don worked as a loan officer and assistant manager at the First Security Bank there. They were very involved in their new community. Clara was one of the first ushers and ticket takers at the fledgling Utah Shakespeare Festival which started in 1961. She was all decked out in an authentic Shakespeare period costume which she created herself.
Clara and Don had four children, 13 grandchildren, and 41 grandchildren, and still counting.
Don passed away on 25 November 2006 at the age of 90. Clara passed away on 12 February 2011 at the age of 91. They are both buried in the Cedar City, Utah cemetery. Clara outlived all of her siblings as well as living to the oldest age of them all. She missed them terribly when they were all gone, and we all miss them too.