Monday, August 16, 2010

History 101 - Life Sketch of Grace Ellen Poulsen Smedley

Grace Ellen Smedley and Cloree Jensen

For this month's history I want to share the life sketch that I wrote and read at my grandma Smedley's funeral. Her last couple of years she couldn't speak and I am not sure that she knew who we were.
Grace Ellen Poulsen Smedley Life Sketch
by, Leslie Ann Ballou

Grace Ellen Poulsen Smedley was born in Paris, Idaho December 10, 1901.  She was the youngest of three children born to James Sirrine and Grace Price Poulsen.

When she was only three and a half years old little Grace lost her mother.  In 1905 her father married Harriet Humphrys and they had six children together.  Grace was kept busy helping with the children as well as milking cows day and night.

On October 7, 1920 Grace married the boy from across the street, Calvin Buck Smedley, in the Salt Lake City Temple.  Calvin and Grace were the proud parents of seven children.  After Violet, Cloree, and Darrell were born the doctor warned her not to have any more children because of her health.  Good old Grandma wouldn’t hear of it so she had four more.

She delivered James with no problem, but had quite a struggle almost losing her life, when Beverly and Garna were born.  Do you think that was going to stop Grace?  No way, there was one more baby to be born!  When the Doctor found out she was pregnant with Tom he flat out told her, “You better have this baby in the hospital or I wont take care of you.”  So dad was born in the Montpelier Hospital.

Grace has always been very active in the church.  She has held positions in the Sunday School, Mutual, and Relief Society, and she was even the Stake Librarian.  She was also a member of the D.U.P. (Daughters of Utah Pioneers).

In 1970 Calvin and Grace were called on an eight month mission to North Carolina and Virginia.  They had many wonderful experiences there.  When they returned home they acted as guides for the Tabernacle once a week.

Grace enjoyed crocheting and quilting among other crafts.  She made a quilt for each and every one of her grandchildren for their high school graduation. Grandma also enjoyed and knew the importance of family history.

Grace also enjoyed singing and reading to her children and grandchildren.  When I came to visit Grandma I could always count on grabbing a lap and listening to “Little Brown Koko” and, or “The Billy Goats Gruff”.

Every time I went to visit Grandma I followed the same ritual.  After getting a hug and kiss from Grandma, and whisker burns from Grandpa, I ran straight to the cookie jar.  If it was winter, I would take that cookie and sit right in front of the heater and eat it.

Grandma loved to feed her family.  You were always prompted to have more, and those who gave in probably left the table with a belly ache.  You could always count on an ice cream cone after dinner no matter what time of the year it was.
I don’t ever remember leaving Grandma’s house empty handed.  I always left with a bottle of Peaches or pears, or even little trinkets.

There was a song that Grandma always sang to the children and  grandchildren called “You are My Sunshine”.  I sang this at her 100th birthday celebration and from her reaction I know that it touched her.

Grandma, I would like to sing to you one last time........


  1. I love that story! Tear in my eye with the last line. How wonderful to have childhood memories like that!

  2. Aren't Grandmas wonderful? I miss mine but have so many happy memories like yours :-)



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