Frank Elwood Wakefield

Elwood was born at Grouse Creek, Utah 30 July 1918, to Milas (Mide) Erastus and Annie (Ann) Elizabeth Kimber Wakefield.

Elwood’s schooling was at Grouse Creek, Ogden and he did attend Weber College. When he was attending Ogden High school in 1935 the State held a singing contest for all the State high schools, held in Salt Lake City. Elwood won the solo contest for the state.

He sang in the Grouse Creek Ward choir and went with the choir to Ogden to sing at Stake Conference in the Ogden Tabernacle.

He learned quite young that he had an enlarged heart which put him on a cod liver oil medication.

When he was 5 years old he proved he really had an exceptional sense of direction. At that time he went with his older brothers Jack and Don out to North Ogden to pick peaches. He got tired of I waiting for them to get the peaches, and he took off for home. At the time the family was living on the corner of Harrison Blvd and 26th street, and from North Ogden to 26th and Harrison is quite a walk even for an adult to say nothing of a 5 year old boy. When the boys finished picking peaches and were loading up they missed Elwood and immediately started looking for him. When they couldn’t find him they went home to see if he were there. They didn’t tell Mother that he was missing. When they found he wasn’t there they retraced their steps and later returning home and finding that Elwood had arrived there atnoon. What a relief to two worried brothers. Elwood had a very good sense of direction all his life.

When he was about 10 years old he learned another lesson that “no” was not in his vocabulary when dealing with his Mother sometimes. Mother was sitting by the kitchen window, next to the outside door, darning stockings. Elwood came in from outside just past her chair and his Mother asked him to take a basket and go to the wood pile for some chips so she could start a fire in the range to fix dinner. He immediately said “no, he had something else he wanted to do. His Mother didn’t say anything, but when he came back on his way outside she grabbed his suspenders and put him over her knee, pulled off her hard soled slipper and, he learned the hard way. She put him back on his feet and forcefully said “Now, young man don’t you ever again tell me no when I ask you to do something for me”. As far as is known he learned that day that “no” was not always the right answer.

There was a time when Elwood’s Dad thought a saddle horse was needed so he acquired a colt, which the kids of the family petted and played with so it became quite tame. At about 15 years old Elwood decided he was going to ride the now young horse. He saddled up, crawled on, and the horse took off and ended up traveling along a barbed wire fence. The saddled turned, Elwood’s foot was caught in the stirrup and he was drug along the fence. The wire tore his shirt off and tore into his back before he finally got his foot out of the stirrup. The horse was still running and as he fell the horses hoof hit him in the middle of the forehead, leaving a deep cut and imprint of the hoof. Doctor Mother to the rescue! She did what she could for him and then he was taken to the Doctor at Montello, Nevada, about 45 miles. There he had several stitches to close the wound. Next morning Elwood’s eyes were black and blue, his back was sore, and the wound was really puffed and pouched out. Mother touched the top of his head to take a better look at the forehead, and as she did blood shot several feet across the room. He immediately was on the way back to the Doctor. Eventually all healed up but left a scar, the shape of the horse shoe. With years the scar became less visible; however it sometimes showed quite plainly when he was not feeling well.

Grouse Creek Ward Choir at the Ogden Tabernacle
Back Row: Don Wakefield, Nadine Simpson, Ida Kimber, Louise Barlow, Wanda Blanthorn, Nola Richins Kimber, Martha Richins, Pearl Douglas Harris, Jennie Douglas Richins, Amy Simpson, Amanda Tanner Paskett, Ralva Paskett, Alta Tanner, Melba Ballingham
Middle Row: Vonda Hadfield, Myrl Hadfield, Elsie Kimber, Barbara Blanthorn, Sarah Roberts, Adella Barlow, Mary Roberts, Sarah Tanner, Adele Carson, Emily Kimber, LaVerne Barlow, Louie Ballingham, Rhea Paskett
Front Row: Claude Wakefield, Elwood Wakefield, Lyman Kimber, Miles E. Wakefield, Joseph Kimber, Newell Richins, LeGrande Horsley, William P. Paskett, Albert Ballingham, Robert Paskett

When Elwood was possibly about 18 he and some other fellows were in an automobile going around the dugway, which connect upper and lower Grouse Creek, and for some reason the car went off the road and down the hill. In the ride to the bottom of the grade, Elwood sustained a broken leg. The group immediately rushed him to Lucin to catch the train, and a Doctor, to Ogden. His folks didn’t even know until the next morning that anything had happened. Elwood had several trips to the Doctor over this because the leg didn’t want to heal. He wore a cast on that leg for over 6 months before it healed enough to be without.

In 1944 he went to California and on 15 April he and Virginia lrene Ranson were married. He had met her during one of his times in Ogden. He was a jeweler for Montgomery Ward and later another store in Oakland. They eventually had two daughters, Julie and Cindy.

Elwood was the first councilor in the Bishopric of one of the San Leandro wards. He was a high Councilman and for years was Cultural Arts and Stake Activities chairman. He was in the first Oakland Temple Pageant and all since. He directed three of them. He was in charge of the Temple Christmas lighting decorations every year and Christmas 1977 he wrote and directed a play at the temple. Also that year he started the first live Nativity, and that has continued to be a Christmas tradition.

In 1976 he took a big float and a big number of young people to Napa for a Pioneer parade. It won a huge trophy which went to the stake.

In 1985 he was the leadership of a large group of young people going to Salt Lake City for a Church Youth Conference.

Elwood loved the young people and people in general. He made a lot of friends and converted many to the Church. He loved music and did some piano and organ playing besides banjo and guitar. He was also a poet. Wrote over 30 poems, some about Home teaching, some about family, some were comic and some were more on the sentimental side.

His love for the youth was returned in full. Somehow somebody started calling him uncle Ed and the name stuck to him like glue. He was known all over as Ed Wakefield. Once he found a bale of hay on his front porch, indicating to him that the young people could tease him and compare him to Ed the Talking Horse a popular TV show at the time. He had the love, and respect of all he met and knew him.

May 3, 1998, he put on a production for the Stake of Around the World in Dance, where each world nation was represented in their native dance.

He loved to play golf and now every year San Leandro has the Ed Wakefield golf tournament.

June 3, 1998 his wife, Ginny, returned from a short errand to find him dead on the bedroom floor. At last the heart problem and the major heart surgeries he had suffered through, took him to a better place, where, no doubt, there were many, many; friends and family waiting to meet him.

Even though schools were still in session the young people of eight high schools were in attendance at his funeral. It was a huge funeral, filling the large Stake center and even outside. Several Patrolmen were on hand to control traffic. The pallbearers were from Hawaii, Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Southern California. Even as late as 2005 Ginny was receiving messages from people scattered in many areas telling her of how he had touched, and in many case, changed their lives.

There are many areas and events of Elwood’s life that have not been touched. He had abilities and he used them to help others and bring happiness to himself. And so ends the short outline of the life of a much loved and loving brother.