John (Jack) Afton Wakefield

Jack was born at Grouse Creek, Box Elder, Utah on 25 August 1901 to Milas (Mide) Erastus and Annie Elizabeth Kimber Wakefield. His education was at Grouse Creek School and through a correspondence course. He was a beautiful penman and in early years he practiced writing many hours.

He was a Boy Scout and a good one, and also worked in Scouting in Ogden in later years.

When he was a young teenager he had a dog which he called Toby. He and Toby went everywhere together, and Jack really loved his friend. When Toby became sick and died it was a sad time for Jack. The folks had a small orchard, mostly plumbs and apples and Jack buried Toby by the largest plumb tree next to the south boundary fence of the folk’s property. He found a large piece of petrified wood and put it there as a tombstone. It was there for many years, until somebody took it away, after the family had moved away.

As a young boy, man, Jack spent a lot of time at the Rock Quarry, which was about 2 blocks from home. He loved to watch the birds that nested there, and he, and friends often carried guns and had target practice. Jack always carried a camera and for a period of time developed his own pictures.   In later years he was a member and secretary of the Ogden camera club, and won many ribbons and trophies.

The Rock Quarry was a large hill composed of Sandstone. A lot of the buildings on Grouse Creek were built of the Sandstone. The Church, dedicated in 1912, the school house, which is still in use (2006); the Richins home on the south end of Main street; the Bishop (David) Toyn home, which is a bit west of the school; the Richard Warburton home on Etna were a few of the buildings made of Sandstone.

When he was about 19 Jack went to Garland, Utah to stay with his Mother’s sister Nell Toyn and work at the Sugar factory. When he returned home he brought some brown and powdered sugar, the first we had seen of such products.

A few years later he went to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad in the yards at Ogden. At one time during this period he and a friend he had met at work went to Joplin,Missouri to visit the friend’s parents. He was gone a few months and really learned to love those people. Their name was Phillips.

About 1922 Jack was working in the railroad yards and, with his help and support, the family, Don, Ellis, LaRetta, Claude, Elwood, and Leland and Mother went to Ogden so the older children could go to High School. Jack was so thoughtful of his siblings, and each day as he would come from work there was a scramble to see what he had in his lunch pail. He always had something he knew would brighten their and their Mother’s day. He was really a special son and brother.

Sometime later he was advanced to a Brakeman on the railroad, and traveled from Ogden to Carlin, Nevada, each trip 2 to 3 days. Once on a night trip, he stepped off the train to through a rail switch and as he stepped down a wild cat grabbed his leg. He beat off the cat with the lantern he was carrying. Fortunately he was bearing heavy leather boots, but even at that the teeth penetrated and left scratches on Jack’s leg. The Lord was with him then as He was many other times.

Jack loved music but didn’t play any instrument. He also loved to dance. Once he went to California on vacation and while there he learned a new dance. On his return to Ogden he went to the White City dance hall where the girls about over ran him to learn the dance. A week or so later he went back to the hall and no one paid him any attention because they all had learned the dance. He often laughed about that.

Jack married Katy Elva Murphy on 22 January 1927. They had two sons: Dean Lamoyl and Larry Kent. Elva died 26 April 1953.

During WW II (1941-1945) Jack was a conductor on the railroad and was with many service men as they were traveling for training or shipment over seas. Often some would ask him to mail letters, or small packages. He said he felt so sorry for them; some were so young, frightened and homesick. Many said this was their first time away from home. This bothered Jack and he often wondered just how many lived through the war and came home.

Jack loved to travel and did a lot of it. He traveled to every state of the Union except Alaska. He toured several provinces of Canada and was visiting Cuba when Castro took office.

He retired from the Railroad in 1964 after he had a debilitating stroke which left him paralyzed on his right side. He was determined that it wasn’t going to beat him and he spent hours working to strengthen his arm by throwing balls at the side of the garage. He worked with his legs, had a three wheel bike which he was finally able to ride, and could walk with a cane and could talk. He finally got to where he rode that bicycle down town. Most of the police knew him and watched out for him.

Jack was always a Churchgoer, had a strong testimony, and an unshakeable belief in God and Jesus Christ.

He enjoyed a good clean joke and had an infectious laugh. He was a big tease and none of the siblings were exempt to his little jokes and teasing. He was a loving and caring brother who was always there to help his family, did help each one at sometime or other. He and his older sister, Leona, were the ones the family leaned on most.

Jack died 30 April 1974 and is buried in the Ogden City cemetery by the side of his beloved wife, and close to his parents.

So ended a life of service to family and friends — a much loved and respected person.