Friday, October 30, 2009

Kirkhams: Generation Four

I was very pleased to be able to learn a little more about our cousin Emerson Dale Kirkham recently when his LDS Branch 'spotlighted' him. (His son Richard and daughter-in-law Joyce were at the reunion in Lehi with his history which I did not get over to peruse.)I would like to share a little of that Spotlight. And I would like to spotlight you sometime, as well.

Dale was born August 14, 1921 in Idaho Falls, he weighed over 11 pounds. His parents, Hyrum Russon and Lenora Woolf Kirkham had seven children; Dale was the youngest. Having moved to Salt Lake City Dale graduated from East High School where he me Virginia Koch. When he returned from an LDS mission to Alberta Canada Dale and Virginia were married.

Dale and Virginia are parents of three children: Richard, Patrice and Julia. From these they have 10 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren (expecting 5 more this fall). Virginia died in 2000.

Dale has a book of the Tabernacle Choir, relating details of that group's activities over a period that Dale was a member. It should not have surprised me. Hyrum Russon's father, George also was a member of the Tabernacle Choir- going with it to the World's Fair in Chicago.

Dale loves music. He was a member of the Choir for 20 years, but also was a member of a quartet with which he sang for over 30! With Virginia he was involved with an ensemble 'Pro Musica'. Dale played piano beautifully without written music; playing a song by ear that he had heard once on the radio! He served as ward chorister for many years and wrote music for many road shows. Between 1945 and 2000 Dale composed 17 songs, the last a song he titled Love Shines Through which he dedicated to Virginia, his sweetheart of 56 years. He played it at her funeral in July 2000.

Dale served the United States during WWII; he was being trained as a Japanese language interpreter when the war ended. He is still able to speak many words from that training. He was an accountant and controller for Water Works Equipment Company for about 35 years.

During Dale's years with the Tabernacle Choir the organist was Roger Darley, father of Margaret D. Kirkham (wife of Robert T Kirkham, gen 5). I know the Tabernacle Choir and Kirkhams have had a long association, though I cannot list the Kirkham family members who have belonged from recollection. I can tell you of ElMone Woodhouse Kirkham singing with that group for 18 or so years. This and the following I learned from his obituary of October 2, 2001.

ElMoine, the son of James Mercer and Kate Woodhouse Kirkham lived 1913 to 2001. He and wife LaPreal Rich Pugmire were parents of Gary P (Nona) Kirkham, deceased, Kate Kirkham and Diane Kirkham Miller (Dennis). This family was raised in Salt Lake in the North 21st Ward. ElMoine graduated from the University of Utah and served an LDS mission in the Eastern States Mission. Known for his music abilities, he was selected to be in the Fireside Four, a quartet of singing missionaries.

ElMoine's career was one of service to his fellows. He worked for the Utah State departments of Public Welfare, Social and Family Services. Additionally he was with the Utah Foundation, Industrial Relations Council. ElMoine's generosity and leadership were also demonstrated in countless hours of professional, community and church service.

My own grandfather, ElMoine's brother James Arno Kirkham was blessed with and by music, and I believe also sang with the Tabernacle Choir. I do know that in retirement he pursued his love of music and singing by taking classes at Golden State Community College. I also am so grateful for the sound of my parents singing in harmony on many family road trips. I did not get that gene, but did get others.

I hope to report on other Kirkhams of generation four and five and six and seven and eight from our grandparents George and Mary Ann Astington Kirkham. I need your help and will oh so appreciate it when you "spotlight" someone from your branch of the family. or 364 W 825 North, Sunset, Utah, 84015

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