Opal Joetta Kimber Liljenquist was born September 4, 1941 in Brigham City, Utah a daughter of Oren LeGrande and Opal Lee Miller.
She was the oldest child and has 3 brothers and 1 sister; LeGrande (Lee), Terrel (Terry), Randel (Randy), and Karla.
She was reared an educated in Grouse Creek, Utah. She attended school up to the 10th grade in Grouse Creek and then moved in with her Aunt Fern & Uncle Bill in Brigham City to finish High School where she graduated from box Elder High School.
She met Dan Liljenquist of Hyrum on a blind date and a few months later and they were married in the Logan L.D.S. Temple on May 12, 1961.
They have 5 children: Sheryl, Danese, Bret, Brandon, & Travis. And to date there are 22 grand-kids and 4 almost 5 great grand-kids.
She and Dan finally settled in Corinne because they wanted the small town atmosphere in which to raise their five children.
Randy, Karla, Joetta, Oren, Opal, Oren LeGrande and Terry Kimber
Our Mom was fearless; she didn’t even think twice about taking 5 kids by herself to Grouse Creek to visit, she did it all, long before there were cell phones. One time in our turquoise and white Ford truck we had a total of 3 flat tires in one trip. Thank heavens for the kindness of strangers! On another trip we were coming back late and a sheep came up out of a gully, we didn’t see it until it was too late, she hit head on and it flew over the top of the car leaving a good trail of blood behind it. This scared us kids to death. It’s a good thing we were in a Lincoln Continental that time; all it did was mess up the grill and the horn. Mom got out and checked on the sheep and the car and we were on the road again.
She also had the most patience known to mankind. Everyone felt welcome in our home. It was not the biggest home but there was always room for extra kids and extra kids there were. Sometimes our parents never knew how many kids there would be in the morning because some kids would come over in the middle of the night. We had foster kids all the time and all the kids would call her Mom too, they would always keep in touch with her even after they grew up. Later on 2 had died in tragic car accidents and she was treated like family by their families at their funerals. When we were younger in the summer time we would always sleep out on the lawn at night, we would stay up late and go walking around town at night. When we were older we asked Mom if she ever knew we snuck out of the yard and went walking around town, sure enough she knew but never worried about us because we never caused any trouble.
One night all of us remember really well was the night she took a gun away from a robber. I had asked her if she would work for me at the gas station that night so I could go play cards with some friends, she said she would. A few hours later, my friend (who was also the manager at the time) got a phone call from the Sheriff saying the station had been robbed while my Mom was working.
We went running over there to find my Mom just standing there like nothing had happened. The cops had gone down the street to the little store where my sister was working, to see if she had had any problems, she said no but asked why he was asking so he told her the lady at the gas station had just been robbed at gun point. So she hurried and locked up the store and she went running over to the gas station. That’s when she told us very calmly that she took the gun away from the robber; the guy got away with some cash and checks but was never found. She was never hurt, thank heavens!
Our Mom even took our brothers to a WWF Wrestling Match/Rock Concert at the Salt Palace once. They watched the wrestling and then they listened to Molly Hatchett, she never even complained about a headache. She would shuttle us kids and our friends all over the place and wait patiently for us to get done.
Sometimes things would get a little boring in Corinne, so whenever we heard sirens coming through town we would hop in the car to go see what was happening, we would still do it even after we got a scanner.
Our parents were very patriotic too. One time the fourth of July festivities were held on Saturday and she had to run the mail and couldn’t attend, so she did the next best thing, she played a patriotic tape of John Phillip Sousa the whole length of the mail run, her windows rolled down and the music blaring. She loved her job as mail carrier. She would have some of the people standing at their boxes when she got to them just so they could chat for a minute. When she was in the hospital they would stop by to wish her well. They also had some great things to say about her when she was on T.V. because she had been invited down to see a game of the Utah Jazz.
She was also a councilwoman for Corinne City, some people in Corinne asked her to run in the election and she won and did a great job at it.
The thing she was the most proud of was her family. She loved being Grandma, she would have sleepovers with some of the grand-kids and for New Years she would make sure they was awake at midnight and they would bang on pots and pans outside for everyone to hear. She would play with them at the park or just go for a walk. She was the kind of Grandma that would get down on the floor to play. And she always had a hug for them. At Christmas she started a tradition of giving every grand-kid an ornament, each one was different from the rest. She loved being Grandma so much she was asked to be in the nursery at church. It broke her heart when she was too sick to attend church and be in the nursery anymore.
The following is quoted from an article in the News Journal just prior to her death.
“Joetta? She is the most absolutely dependable person I know”.
This is how Postmaster Larry Shires described Joetta Liljenquist , rural mail carrier in West Corinne. Joetta is retiring for health reasons. Her positive attitude and caring ways will be greatly missed by all those she has served through out the years. KSL television recently spotlighted Joetta for her service.
Joetta has driven the same route for approximately 12 years. For nearly 11 years prior to full time work, Joetta was a substitute for other mail carriers. Her route took her 48 miles everyday from Corinne Post Office south to the Chesapeake Duck Club, past 6800 West, back to Wall-Mart, then north toward Bear River and back to Corinne City. 225 families have mail delivered on the route.
“And I never have had a complaint”, remarked Postmaster Shires, “she is an adorable employee”.
Joetta talks about the many memories she has of her route. “I love the people on my route. All of them are great,” Joetta said. She tells of one time finding an elderly woman lying on the ground unable to move due to a broken hip. She had evidently lain there all night. Joetta heard her faint cries, called an ambulance, retrieved a blanket from the house and removed the curlers from the ladies hair and combed it. Mrs. Wright didn’t want the ambulance crew to see her with curlers in her hair.
The trip to the duck club has always been enjoyable, she said. One time the club had let all the water out of one pond and there were fish all about. Hundreds of pelicans were feasting on the flapping fish. It was unreal she said.
Red fox and eagles have also appeared on her route. Nesting eagles once swooped down on her car and “nearly gave me a heart attach”.
Joe is active in the community. At the present time, she is serving on the Corinne City Council. She has been over the neighborhood Watch program, the 4th of July activities, finances, and she can be counted on proof reading the minutes and pick up any grammatical mistake before they are approved. Council members agree that Joetta is always pleasant, reliable and dependable, and willing to listen to the concerns of others.
Over the years she has served in the PTA, in the Cub Scout program, even before her own boys were eligible and after they were out of Cub Scouts. She also helped at the Corinne School library.
She was a member of the LDS Church and held many different positions.
She was also a good wife to our Dad. Dad could never stand to see her sick. He didn’t like to see her have to suffer. Our Dad died February 25, 1997, and our Mom died November 13, 2001 of colon cancer and is buried in the Corinne City Cemetery.