Wednesday, March 11, 2015

We note these losses

Oscar Ned Kirkham and Mark Mercer Kirkham, brothers, sons of Oscar Kirkham and Ida Murdock. Mark passed away in Salt Lake City with obituary appearing in the Deseret News on Sunday March 8. In that obituary I learned of Ned's demise, which occurred in Chico California in January 2015. I need also inform that a nephew, Craig Kirkham, passed away in Hayward California in the fall. Of Oscar's children there remain two daughters and to them we extend deepest sympathy, as well as the many children, nieces and nephews as well as cousins and friends.

Those if you attending the Reunion in 2009 at Lehi will recall Mark as having photographs of the homes in England where our Pioneer grandparents resided, and Craig's sons reported on their efforts to learn more of Ann Jeatt.

I know we have had losses in other lines that I have had reports of, or that I have not. It is the nature of our lives. One family came across the ocean, and then across the prairies   and then over the mountains, to have their descendants scatter again across a country they little knew would exist.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Passing Is Never A Footnote

The preliminary source for this blog, and the reunion held in 2009 was George (Wm) Kirkham, His Ancestors and Descendants compiled by E. Kay Kirkham and published in 1985. It related the emigration and progress of and English family settling in Lehi, Utah Territory in September 1859.

I learned today that E. Kay Kirkham's widow, Oleve Kittinger Kirkham has passed away in Bountiful, Utah. Aunt Oleve turned 100 last October. I will cherish the last time I visited her (if not the date) and the remaining positivity she displayed. Oleve did suffer extreme memory loss and so I needed to introduce myself throughout the visit. It took mere seconds to do so, and she would delight at the introduction. I showed her pictures of a JMK gathering and she was able to point herself out in the crowd. I believe I received a very important lesson from her in this: we are who we see. The years can wear on us, but we can be sure of ourselves, of what we believe, what we hold dear or true.

As well as helping Kay with his career in genealogy and church duties Oleve also wrote a book of her own family's history: The Kittinger /Davis Families.

I understand that Oleve will be remembered in an obituary to be published in Salt Lake City papers on Sunday the 3d of August.

Updates over the last year

After losing my father, Kirkham Cousin Jim Kirkham on January 28, 2014 to a stroke related to his several year battle with Leukocytic Lymphoma I have finally begun reviewing my Kirkham records.

Dad was a son of James Arno Kirkham and Sylvia Ucilla Gudmundsen. We are familiar with the Kirkham line: Arno was the eldest son of James Mercer and Kate Woodhouse Kirkham, both descendants of Lehi pioneering families; he the son of James Kirkham and Martha Mercer and she of John Woodhouse and Emma Smith Thomas. Sylvia Gudmundsen - always called Gene in my life- had grandfathers Samuel Mulliner, Jr and Gudmund Gudmundsson who were first missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Scotland and Iceland, respectively. I am not sure when the spelling changed in the Gudmundsen line, except that Gudmund emigrated with a group of Saints coming from Denmark, arriving Utah in Christian Christensen's company in 1857. Her parents were Isaac Gudmundsen and Mary Ann Mulliner. Wives of the aforementioned grandfathers were Mary Ann Richardson Mulliner and Marie Jacobsen Garff Gudmundsen.

Predeceased by his wife Joan Backman, of dad's seven children four survive him; Rex, Kee and Jan having passed away. Surviving are Ked, Rob, Jeff and Sue.

In my recent study I learn also of these passages:

Emma Pehrson Kirkham passed away in Farmington, Utah. Her husband Douglas James the younger son of Milo Franklin, youngest of James and Emma Wootton Kirkham. Doug and Arno then were the eldest and youngest grandsons of James Kirkham.  Doug survives his wife as do five children.

I have recently learned of the passing of Weston Kay Jones on December 12, 2010 in Spanish Fork, Utah and his wife Norma Bearnsson on October 21, 2011. Weston was the son of Martha Ann Kirkham, daughter of James Mercer Kirkham, and Hyrum Pidding Jones. He was the third grandchild  (and grandson) of James Mercer, Lhomond Jones and Jim Kirkham being numbers one and two. Lhomond passed away in 2009.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


We learn of the passing on May 12, 2013 of Gordon Emil Hansen at age 91 in Orem, Utah. Gordon was the loving husband of LeLa Christensen, our cousin through Daisy Kirkham and Louis Christensen, who passed away March 5, 2010. LeLa and Gordon were married in  June of 1946. They are survived by their children Kenneth G and Barbara Hansen, JaNae and Stephen Earl, DeLynn  and Dolly Hansen and Shellee and Dennis Day. Grieving as well are 23 grandchildren and 47  great grandchildren. LeLA and Gordon rest at the Orem City Cemetery.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Kirkhams Touch the World

We learn of the loss of Elizabeth Kirkham Ryser in Salt Lake City. I have taken this account from the Deseret News obituary

She is the daughter of Ebenezer John Kirkham and Mary Ethel Wright Kirkham. She married James J. Ryser Jr. on September 4, 1947 in the Salt Lake Temple. They had almost 65 years together. She is survived by her four children, Randall James Ryser (Kathryn), Robyn Ryser Nicholas (Peter), David Kirkham Ryser (Antoinette), Rebecca Ryser Jolley (Kevin), and 16 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and her sister, Marie Thompson (Robert). She was preceded in death by her siblings, Homer Kirkham (Millie) and Barbara Jolley (Arben). 
Elizabeth was a remarkable wife, mother, grandma, counselor and educator who valued service and lifelong learning. After attending BYU for one year beginning at age 16, she attended the University of Utah. She worked as a social worker for the Red Cross duringWorld War II. She subsequently attended graduate school at Tulane University where she met her husband Jim. Elizabeth completed her Masters in Social Work degree at the University of Utah. She worked at Relief Society Social Services, Primary Children's Hospital, Utah Family Court, and was a marriage and family therapist in private practice for 15 years. She served as President of the Utah Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

Two of our number have received assignments from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve as Mission Presidents. Dale B Kirkham and his wife Jill Hoggan Kirkham will begin serving the Cancun Mexico Mission in July.

Roger L Kirkham and his wife Judy Ann Gowans will also leave in July for the Liberia Monrovia Mission.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Susan McKeen Nye reports the passing after an injury of  Margaret McKeen Newmaker on October 25 2012 in Savannah Georgia. Born in 1939 at Bridgeton New Jersey she married Richard John Newmaker and was mother of six, with seven grandchildren. Margaret was a granddaughter to Esther Ruth Kirkham Smellie, she a daughter of James Kirkham and Emma Wootton. We extend our sympathy to her immediate family and siblings even as we know the Kirkham family feels her loss, too.

Forgive my lapse in the earlier post re: George Kirkham Family org which IS on, it is my typing that claimed it was not. I have corrected the post to reflect that it is NOW on facebook.

Friday, October 26, 2012


We learn today of the passing of Thad Gudmundsen Kirkham, son of James Arno and Sylvia (Gene) Kirkham and a grandson of James Mercer Kirkham. He has been a resident in the St George, Utah area for several years after a career in Southern California. Survivors include his wife Arlene and eight children. I was able to visit Thad and Arlene recently with my father, his brother, and their younger brother Kreg.

Recently, Aunt Oleve Kirkham, widow of E Kay Kirkham on whose book the Kirkham reunion was based in 2009 celebrated her 99th birthday.

Rich Kirkham of Pocatello has informed me that the George Kirkham Family organization is now on Face Book.

All these things have common ground beneath them: that we are a living family, not a chapter in history. We recognize those passages universal, celebrate ordinances of faith and life, mourn and celebrate, reach out and lift up each other daily.