Emily Harriet Kimber, beloved sister, aunt, and friend, was born on January 26, 1914, in Grouse Creek, Utah, to Elmer Kimber and Emily Annie Ballingham Kimber. She was the first child in a family of one girl and three brothers. Her early life was spent living with her parents in part of the home of her Ballingham grandparents, while a one-room log home was being constructed on a tract of land her father had purchased next to the farm of her Grandfather Ballingham. The sawed log one-room home was unique to the period in one respect–it had a shingle roof, a feature not all of the homes in the valley could claim at that time.
When Emily was nearly three years old, her Uncle Charles Toyn was called to Australia on a mission. Her family, consisting of her father, mother, herself and a baby brother, Lyman, moved into part of Uncle Charles home while her father, Elmer, cared for the Toyn farm and family during the absence of Charles.
Her early life is best expressed in her own words:
“January 26, 1914, was a very special day for me. I was born on this day, in Grouse Creek, Utah. There was lots of snow and the doctor was about fifty miles away. Since I should have been a birthday present for mother on the 25th of January, it was urgent we have a doctor as soon as possible. The two nurses who lived in Grouse Creek were faithful and good, but their help was not enough.
A phone call was made to a Dr. Paradese in Montello, Nevada. He stopped the train long enough to get his medical bag and put his coat on, then he got off the train in Lucin, Utah. Mr. Vincente Eriquiaga took him by horses and sleigh, starting for Grouse Creek. Uncle Oz Kimber met him and continued the journey. He was met by Wilford Richins, who in turn was met by my Grandfather Kimber. He was said to have been seen driving his team as fast as they could go through town. The doctor didn’t promise to save either mother or me, especially me, but with his skill and the help of our Heavenly Father we both lived.
Mother was administered to by my father, then the nurses and my father and Grandparents knelt around mother’s bed and prayed for us. Mother has told me often how thankful she was to hear my first cry, as the doctor slapped me on the back and held me by the feet. She thought it was rough treatment for a new baby, but it proved to be a blessing. I’m so thankful and grateful I was permitted to live and be born into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I was born in the northwest room of Grandpa and Grandma Ballingham’s home. We were soon able to move to our own home, a one-room log house, built by my father and Uncle Bert Ballingham, mother’s brother.
I was truly loved and spoiled. Our home was warm and neat and clean all the time. Here I began to learn to be a neat house keeper. I was taught to pick up toys and put them away in their special place. I was also taught to eat all kinds of good food, especially from our garden, and from milk and eggs produced on our little farm.
Mother and Dad worked hard. They were not rich in worldly goods, but in being members of the LDS church and having each other and their children for time and eternity. Although I gave mother a bad time when she took me to church, I soon learned this was the place to be each Sunday. I was taught to say my prayers and to ask the blessing on the food. Our home provided a spiritual background for all of us.
Dad always brought a few pieces of candy in a bag for me every time he went to the store. He usually rode his horse. I’d run to meet him for the bag of candy and the hug I’d always get.
In order to have more room to play, Dad put a net wire fence around our small porch, with a gate in it, so I could be locked in, safe and sound, while I played with my doll and buggy.
One day, mother thought I was very quiet and came to see what I was doing. To her surprise the little gate was open and I was nowhere to be seen. With so much tall brush around the house, Mother was frantic to know which way to look. She happened to see my sun bonnet between the brush and ran as fast as she could to catch me before I reached the big creek full of water. She said she thanked our Heavenly Father that she had been able to find me in time. Mother had made my little sun bonnet, as she did most of my clothes.
On November 6, 1916, my brother Lyman, was born. Now I had to share Mother and Dad’s love and time, but I didn’t care. We all loved the new baby.
Shortly after this, when I was nearly three years old, we moved up to Uncle Charl Toyn’s home to live and care for his farm. Uncle Charl was called on a mission to Australia and left Aunt Nell and four children at home. We lived in the two west rooms. They were very cold and hard to keep warm. Dad had to chop and haul wood for both families. It was while we were here that I had scarlet fever. I was very ill and couldn’t eat. Some home bottled strawberries, sent up by Aunt Anna Ballingham, was the first food I had eaten in several days. I still have rough bumpy skin on my upper arms from the bout with scarlet fever.
My cousin, Mildred, was older by two years than I, but we played together a lot. She introduced me to bread, spread with thick cream and covered with sugar. It was not bad, but surely not my favorite food.
When Uncle Charles came back from his mission, our family moved back home to two rooms. Dad and Uncle Albert Ballingham had built one more room onto our first log room. It was a nice warm home, and we were happy to move back to it.”
Emily’s growing up years was spent in typical fashion for a girl growing up in a small rural ranching community.
After graduating from the tenth grade at the Grouse Creek School she spent the next several years of her life at various domestic and business establishment jobs, covering an area ranging from Montello, Nevada to Ogden, Utah.
Many summer months were spent cooking for haying crews and sheep shearing crews composed of Grouse Creek people, working under contract to the Utah Construction Company, most in Nevada.
Approximately the year 1940 she began as school Unit Manager at the Grouse Creek School, a career that lasted until her retirement. This period of her life is best sketched by a newspaper article published at the time she retired:
Emily Kimber: After thirty-four years with the Box Elder School District, Emily Kimber will retire from duties as Unit Manager of School Lunch at the Grouse Creek Elementary School. Her delicious lunches that she prepares each day are popularly known. As one educator said, ‘It is worth driving to Grouse Creek just to have one of her meals.’
In 1976 she received the National School Lunch Service Award in recognition of thirty or more years of dedicated service to the youth of America.
A native of Grouse Creek, she is active in the LDS Church and positions held there are varied. She has served as Secretary in the Sunday School, and for forty-five years has taught in that organization. For twenty-five years she held various positions in the Ward MIA, in addition to serving on the MIA Stake Board for seventeen years. During part of that period she served in the Stake Young Women’s Presidency, while the majority of the time she served as Stake Laurel Leader. She has also been a teacher in the Primary Organization and a longstanding member of the Ward Relief Society Chorus. There were other church callings too numerous to mention.
Her retirement plans include catching up on Genealogy and other work that have been put aside for years.
She loved beautiful things. One of her favorite hobbies was planting and caring for flowers. From the time she was very young, flowers have thrilled her as she watched them grown and develop and finally bloom.
Another hobby was gardening and she truly had a green thumb, as her gardens attested.
Early in 1990 it was discovered that she needed cataract surgery. During the pre-operation examination it was also discovered she was developing a serious kidney disease. However, after doctor treatment, the cataract operation was performed, and her vision was restored to normal in one eye, with plans made to operate on the other eye as soon as possible. She remained under doctor care for the kidney problem until it became so serious that it was determined she had to go on some form of dialysis. In May 1991, she was placed on Peritoneal Home Dialysis, a procedure that was successful until she contracted Peritonitis, an infection that necessitated her going back on machine dialysis in March of 1992. Her condition progressively deteriorated until the disease resulted in her death.
When Emily was released from the hospital, she needed a place to stay in Ogden so that she could adjust to the process of performing her home dialysis. Esmund and Dorothy Ballingham offered her the opportunity of staying with them. We sincerely appreciate their loving care and all they sacrificed to make Emily as comfortable as possible.
Following her retirement, many ensuing years were spent caring for her elderly parents. Her tender, loving, care and selfless devotion resulted in her parents enjoying the last years of their lives happily, in comfort, at home. The rest of the family will be eternally grateful to our dear sister and aunt for the love she has showered on us all, and for the inspiration she has been in our lives. Such was the life of one of God’s most choice daughters.
Emily died on May 1, 1992 at the home of Esmund and Dorothy Ballingham in Ogden. She was buried in the Grouse Creek Cemetery.