Laura Belle Warburton Porter Kunzler

Disclaimer:  In this instance, the inadequacy of the author will soon become evident. Were it not for the parameters that govern this series of histories, he would enlist the works of those talented and more conversant with more of her lifetime characteristics, joys, and sorrows. Into that vacuum, please forgive me my inadequacies as I forge ahead. To begin at the beginning:

This older sister of ours, Laura Belle, was born on March 16, 1918 of Thomas DeWitt:  Clara Ethel [Frost] Warburton parentage. An older sister (by four years), Ethel Irene, brothers, respectively, from the oldest to the youngest, spanning a fourteen-year period:  Ira Thomas, Calvin Frost, Richard Neal, and Russell Ernest. …Merrill Brough Porter, of Porterville, Utah (Morgan area), became her spouse. Of them was born a single son, Neil Warburton Porter. When his time was right, he married to a superb young lass, Linda (from Pleasant Grove, Utah). Their son and daughter, Nathan and Natalie, currently teenagers, I believe.

My earliest recollection of Belle would have to be while she and Irene were around home (Morris place at Etna). A degree of antagonism existed between the two, as girls, because of the task assignments tendered to either. Quite naturally, one-or-the-other could well imagine that they were being discriminated against. Too, in Belle’s behalf, I might add that Irene, having the age-wise edge, knew how to pique Belle’s anger threshold. Mom would eventually have to arbitrate; generally not to the satisfaction of either. …Too, as I recall, Belle was, early-on a prodigious reader–generally of the pulp, romance novels. This drove Irene (and Mom) up the wall. Having made these comments, I can only give fragmentary impressions of the things that have caught my memory. Perhaps it was that our age difference was conducive to our being in different worlds (locales) much of the time.

It has been said, by others of our family, that Belle nailed-down a spot in Dad’s heart right from the start.

As a youngster, she was a well-rounded girl with dark, tight-wavy hair–this carried, essentially throughout. She was short in stature–5’2-4″, perhaps. She was quick-witted and enjoyed storytelling without compunction. (Let it be known:  she loved a risque tale along with the best (or worst) of us. She could spin-a-yarn that would “curl your hair,” if the occasion arose.)  Her mind was clear and quickly alert to any intended instruction or injunction. Schooling (for this active, alert mind) was a breeze for her. Following her graduation from High School (Box Elder High at Brigham City), she went to Salt Lake City to theLDS Business College. Typing was second-nature to her and she received some accolade because thereof.

The stay in Salt Lake was relatively short-lived, due to a combination of illness (rheumatoid arthritis) and longstanding homesickness. When she returned home, Dad constructed a shelter on the lawn where she could lie in the sun, in her birthday-suit, per Dr. Skidmore’s instructions. …My memory eludes me as I try to conjure-up the outcome of that affliction–other than to know, for a surety, that it returned, progressively more severe, during the latter years of her life. I can but presume that it remitted spontaneously, with the passage of time, during the early years of her marriage and working-life, returning as the years wore-on.

In her young womanhood, she was “squired” by Roy Kunzler of Rosette, Utah. This came to naught incident to his participation in the Army–WWII. Merrill, having met her while she was in Salt Lake City, continued to visit her until their marriage on February 6, 1942 at Morgan, Utah. They then took up residence at Porterville on his (the longstanding, family) farm. From there, Belle never did venture very far, for very long. She continued to work outside the home most of her lifetime–William’s Store and/or the Devil’s Slide Cement Plant. An only son, Neil, was born to them on February 11, 1950. (Neil continues to reside on the home place; he is married to a sweet lady (Linda) from Pleasant Grove. They have two children–very capable–Nathan and Natalie. He (Neil) has long tenure with the Utah State Highway Patrol.)

Merrill and Belle operated the small, family farm in conjunction with other local jobs on the side. Shortly following their marriage, they planned, and had built, a beautiful, new brick home adjacent to the original home, which housed Merrill’s mother until her demise.

Merrill’s health seemed to deter on occasion. This necessitated repeated hospitalizations over the years until his demise in the ‘80s (At this writing, I am not sure; nor do I have documents readily available to prompt me.). A reasonable time later, she married to her heartthrob of early, adult-life, Roy Kunzler of Rosette. They had a home built at the ranch and set up housekeeping. This arrangement was short-lived because of Belle’s progressive, failing health unto her demise in Tremonton, Utah (at the Nursing Home) on March 11, 1993.

Belle’s church affiliations were relatively benign. To my knowledge, she was baptized a member of the LDS Church on September 4, 1926. As I associated with Belle, relative to her church activity, it became manifest that she (as do many of us) took offense at the shortcomings of others who, purportedly, were the epitome of perfection. Without equivocation, this hangup continued to plague her throughout her adult life, and it caused her much frustration–and sorrow–with the passage of time. (It really is difficult to “catch up,” isn’t it?)

It has been a distinct pleasure–and compliment–to have been asked to compile this fragmentary resume of Belle’s life. However poorly done, it has made it possible for me to think seriously of the fond memories that she so poignantly stirs. The bottom-line, I venture to postulate, is that, with the given circumstances, she “fought the good fight!”  (Would that the same might be said of me as Father Time rolls up the scroll.)

Compiled by:  R. Neal Warburton