Elsie Kimber Smith was born on August 26, 1915 in Grouse Creek, Utah, a daughter of Charles Jr. and Josephine Persis Laird Kimber and the 11th of twelve children.
Her brothers and sisters were: Chloe, Mary, Winfred, Florence, Raymond, Edwin, Vera, James, Oren, Fern, and Charles. She also had the following half brothers and sisters: Sarah Ann, Charles William, George, Elmer, Ellen, Evan Osborne, Frank, Louisa and Sarah Elizabeth.
Elsie grew up in Grouse Creek. She spent a great deal of time with her nieces, Therma and Florence Tanner since her sister Chloe Kimber Tanner lived right next to Grandma Josie Kimber and Grandpa Kimber for some time. Therma and Elsie were the same age and Florence was 3 years younger. Elsie also stayed with Ralph and Chloe Tanner when they were living in Etna at the old Tanner ranch main house. She would have been sixteen when Ralph and Chloe moved the family to Brigham City in 1933. She didn’t join them for the first year but was there in about 1934 when they lived in the old Parley Lee house. This house was later sold to Elsie and Arvol and was their residence for the rest of their lives. In about 1935, Ralph and Chloe bought a house on Main Street that belonged to the Worthingtons. It was right next to John Lee who was the father of Ralph Lee who later became the husband of Therma. Oh how tight a circle our histories make. As a side note, the Worthingtons moved into and rented the Parley Lee house.
She lived there with Ralph and Chloe until she married Arvol Smith on August 17, 1937 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. At this time, they moved to Promatory where Arvol worked as a ranch hand and Elsie cooked for the ranch hands.
They (Elsie and Arvol) later moved to Brigham City. I’m not certain of the sequence of where they lived but I believe they first lived in an apartment on 2nd North and 1st East. They later moved to a duplex on 3rd West just south of the LDS 3rd Ward church. She had three of her four kids while living there (Arvol Dale, DeAnn, and Ronald K.) While she was pregnant with her fourth child, DeOrr, they moved to what was originally Aldon Bywater’s house which was behind John Lee’s home on Main Street. Aldon’s wife, Alice, was John Lee’s daughter. John Lee was the brother of Parley Lee. See how entangled histories can become. At that time, Ralph and Chloe had moved to Etna in 1942 and back to Brigham City in 1943 and were living in Parley Lee’s home which had been made into a duplex. Grandma Kimber and her mother, Grandma Horsley lived in the North side and Ralph and Chloe and three of their kids lived on the South side.
Eventually, the south side was vacated and Elsie and Arvol moved into it. When Grandma Kimber got sick, she moved over on Main Street with Chloe so that Chloe could take care of her and Elsie and Arvol occupied the whole house and purchased it from Parley Lee or his widow or estate. This was around 1954 or 1955. They remodeled the house and spent the rest of their years there in that house.
Elsie worked for Sprouse-Rietz for a while and worked with a friend, Grace Noyes, who knew her quite well and lived in the same ward. After Grandma Kimber’s death, a lady who knew Elsie was in the store shopping and asked Elsie how her mother was and if she still had those awful headaches. She was referring to Chloe and not Grandma Kimber. Elsie always referred to her sister Chloe as her “little mother.” Elsie answer that her “mother” was doing fine and had finally got rid of her migraines. When Grace heard this exchange, she exclaimed “I wasn’t startled when the lady asked how your mother was doing but when you answered she was fine instead of she had passed away, I was really puzzled!” Elsie worked at both Sprouse-Rietz and Classic Shoes with her sister Fern until she retired.
Elsie was famous for her baking and when she lived on 3rd West, her nephew Dean Tanner and his brother-in-law, Cliff Hobson, both worked for the post office. They would often stop in for some fresh baked bread or cookies. Some of the neighbors told Arvol that they thought his wife was having an affair with some of the postal employees. When he heard this, he just roared knowing who they were talking about and why they were visiting his wife.
I remember when I was in grade school, I would often skip school and go to Elsie’s and she was always baking cookies and of course let me eat several. I can’t remember if she had any kids at this time or not. It was convenient that school was on the way to Elsie’s and it didn’t take much to just keep on going past the school and end up at Elsie’s. This was particularly true when I was late for school. She never chastised me or questioned why I was there on a school day.
It was while she was living in this home that Florence Tanner Jensen and her husband, Lynn, moved into an apartment just across the street. When Florence moved out of that apartment, Bill and Fern Shaw moved in with their 2 kids, Alan and Elden. Thus Elsie became very close to Alan and Elden and had a great relationship with them all of their lives.
Elsie was a friendly person and made friends easily. She was a great wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She was a good and faithful servant of her heavenly father.
She was a member of the LDS Church and served as librarian, nursery leader, in both stake and ward Primaries and in the Relief Society Organization.
Her hobbies included ceramics, crocheting, telling stories and camping with her family.
Elsie died on November 5, 1997 and is buried in the Cemetery at Portage, Utah beside her husband Arvol.
From her obituary and memories of her nephew, Deloy Tanner