The ancestor this week is not going back to far either and is going to be my husband, Roy’s father, my father-in-law, Floyd L Thompson. Floyd was born December 7, 1913 in Douglas, Cochise County, Arizona the son of Peder Engmar Thomsen/Peter Elmer Thompson, 1878-1951, and Annie Frances McNeil, 1890-1989. Floyd was number four of the eight children that his parents had between 1908 and 1925. Floyd’s father Peter was born in Spring City, Sanpete County, Utah and his mother Annie was born in Show Low, Navajo County, Arizona and both passed away in Cochise County, Arizona. In Floyd’s life story he said the doctor that delivered him was named, Dr. A. M. Adamson.
From Floyd’s life story we read about his earliest remembrances: “I was about 4 years old before I started to remember anything and the things I remember about mother was she was very strict and didn’t have any favorite child, each got their share of the cereal and took our turn in the house and outside chores. I think I learned the hard way from Mother and Dad the virtues of being honest and truthful. I cannot speak of Mother teaching me to be a hard worker without including Dad, both of them had about the same influence on my life. Both were religious, mother was a little stricter in her convictions than Dad. I can still recall the family prayers every morning gathered around the breakfast table kneeling in prayer, we all took turns, when it started I don’t know.”
Again from Floyd’s life story we read the following about his school years. “I started school at Whitewater, a two-room school with a style out in front to enter the yard, as I recollect the teacher was a Mrs. Ball and a Mr. Downs was the principal. The next year they moved into a little red one-room house and added another teacher. I don’t remember her name but we walked 2 miles to school or rode donkeys or horses. One morning mother told me go to school and I played around so I could ride with Gilbert on Nickle, a burro, and on the way to school she stumbled and Gilbert jumped off and I fell on my arm and broke it. When I went to class the teacher looked at my tear stained face and asked what the matter was. I told her I hurt my arm so she got the principal, he looked at it and said, “You had better go home with Gib.” So we started home on the burro, and saw Arthur Davis coming to school late and he ask us to ask his mother to take us home, they lived about ½ mile from our home, and mother got Tom Kerby to take us to a hospital in Gleeson, a mining town, where the doctor set my arm. The next year, I think it was, I got the scarlet fever which left me with a murmur in my heart and about the next 4 years I was plagued with a condition, and at intervals could not walk or feed myself. The Doc told mother he could do nothing for me. About that time a Doctor Call came to practice in Douglas, Mother took me to him. A dollar a treatment for 24 days and if it helped he was to be paid if it was not helping, no pay. After the treatment I haven’t had any more trouble of that kind. In 1922 they built a new red brick 3-room school and done away with the old ones and I graduated from there in 1930. I started to high school and I graduated in the spring of 1935. I played baseball, basketball and track. I held the record for the 220-yard dash for the school for several years. After graduation I went to work in Cave Creek building a bridge, later in 1936 I worked on the highway for Martin Construction Company, putting the black tops on the road going through Elfrida for the first time. In the spring of 1938, I went to Yucca to work in a mine, that fall I came back and went to work at the PD Smelter in Douglas, $4.40 a day, 5 days a week. With the money I bought several good calves from a dairy, later they were used as the foundation for our dairy.” The following pictures show Floyd during his school years.
After Floyd finished his schooling he worked at different jobs and then when he was 26 years old he was called to serve a two year mission for the LDS Church. From his life story we read the following: “In June 1939, I was called to Denmark on a mission for the church. That was a turning point in my life. I had more experiences and learned more in those two years than any other two years and I shall always be grateful to those that made it possible for me to go. I sailed on the SS Manhattan at noon the 28th of June and landed in Plymouth, England where I boarded a train for Harwich, England going through London, went from Harwich across the North Sea to Espire, (possibly Esprit) Denmark and then by train to Copenhagen, Denmark. President Garff headed the Danish mission and I was put with Elder (this is blank so I wonder if he couldn’t remember his name at the time and forgot to write it in later), as a companion. The Germans ended my stay there with the evacuation of all the missionaries from the European countries with the invasion of Poland. I returned to America on a little freighter, Scan Penn. And was assigned to the Central States Mission (He served in Oklahoma), Brother and Sister Bowman were the mission president and his wife. I contracted Malarial fever about the 15th June 1941 and was released to come home 5th July, two other missionaries and I went by Mexico City in a Model A Ford before returning home and I arrived home first of August.” Floyd also told the following about his return trip from Denmark. “He said, that the voyage home was full of bad storms and rough seas and that a lot of the missionaries were very sick but that he did quite well. They had lots of ice cream to eat, but that he was about the only one that wanted any though. Floyd also said, that a couple of the missionaries fell during the rough seas and broke their arms or legs. Floyd said, that most of the people on board were quite worried about the storms and also possible attack from the Germans. The Captain seemed very calm and when ask why, he responded with the answer, that he had the best insurance in the world. When ask what that insurance was, he said he had 75 Mormon Missionaries on board and so he was not worried at all about going down.”
The following are pictures of Floyd while on his mission and also pictures of the ships, SS Manhattan and the SS Scan Penn that I found online. The one picture shows Floyd in the middle with two of the men he served with while on his mission, Walter Welti on the left and Alvin Soderborg on the right.
Floyd arrived home in August of 1941 and his sister, Lavine’s little friend Elnora Mortenson was no longer a little girl, but a grown woman. Sparks soon flew and Floyd and Elnora became engaged and were married December 19, 1941 in the Mesa LDS Temple in Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona. They soon started a little dairy and again from Floyd’s life story we read: “We had about 200 laying hens, we raised alfalfa and oats to feed our cows and chickens, we had lots of fun and were doing real good until the government put a selling price on milk and eggs and wouldn’t let us sell our beef cattle.” The following picture was taken on their wedding day.
Children soon followed and they became the parents of six children all born in Douglas, Cochise County, Arizona and they were the following: Floyd Eldon Thompson 1942-2015, married Linda Bingham; Elaine Thompson, 1944-1948, she was accidentally electrocute; Marla Thompson, married Ron Nelson, Daniel Joseph Thompson, married Kathy Barney; Malene Thompson, married Russ Mendenhall; and my husband, Roy Edwin Thompson, married me, Vickie Beard. They had sixteen grandchildren, and as of this date, December 9, 2015 there are 49 great-grandchildren if I counted correctly, but there are some grandchildren that are not quite finished having kids yet, so that number will probably increase in the next year or two. There are also some great-grandchildren getting into the marriage age category, so soon there could even be great-great-grandchildren to add to their legacy.
Floyd worked a number of jobs through the years besides farming and the dairy and these were as a deputy sheriff for Cochise County and at the power plant up by Double Adobe. The following pictures show Floyd and Elnora with Elaine and Eldon, then Floyd with his two oldest sons, Eldon and Dan, then Floyd with Roy when Floyd was a deputy, then the whole family, minus daughter Elaine who died when she was little. My mother-in-law said that Elaine was Floyd’s little shadow and wanted to be everywhere he was at all times.
Floyd was never idle either, he and his wife came from that era that you worked and never set down and watch TV or just read a book, you worked from dawn till dusk. They raised prized capons, cattle, and fine Jersey dairy cows and their children helped in every aspect. The following shows their bull Privet Boy, Floyd with a prize capon and Floyd driving the tractor.
Floyd was always active in church, serving as ward clerk for many, many years, a High Councilman and also as Bishop of the Elfrida LDS Ward. Four of his six children also served full time missions for the LDS Church, Eldon in the Eastern Atlantic States Mission, Dan in the Kentucky-Tennessee Mission, Malene in the Alberta-Saskatchewan Canada Mission and Roy in the California San Diego Spanish Speaking Mission. There have also been five of Floyd’s grandchildren that have served missions to these countries, Japan, Korea, Ukraine, New Zealand and the Philippines, as well as one great-grandson serving right now in South America and I believe there are two other great-grandchildren with their mission calls that will be leaving within the next few months. The church has always been important to this family and continues to be so.
My father-in-law was a wonderful man and everyone that met him saw what a great man he was. He left an imprint on all he met. While on his mission in Denmark when they were trying to get the missionaries out before Hitler could start causing any damage towards them, he met Joseph Fielding Smith who at the time was an Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and would eventually become President of the Church. In the 1960’s while Floyd was in Salt Lake City, he was walking down the street and heard someone calling his name, when he realized he was the Floyd they were calling for he turned around and it was Joseph Fielding Smith who he hadn’t seen in over 20 years but this very important man remembered my father-in-law.
We had been down to visit Roy’s folks in September of 1983 and at the time we thought we still had a while before we had to worry about losing a parent. The following picture shows my in-laws, Floyd and Elnora, with my husband Roy and our daughters, Elaine and Erica. We didn’t know at the time that this would be the last time that we would see Floyd.
Just a few months later we got the call that children always hope doesn’t come for a very long time. Roy’s sisters said that Floyd was in the hospital and things did not look good. I was a little over 7 months pregnant with our third daughter, and so my parents let us borrow their van so that I could lay down on the drive down to Arizona. We drove straight through and Roy took the girls and me out to his parents’ house in Elfrida and then he drove into Douglas to the hospital to be with his Mom and his siblings. His father lasted a few hours after our arrival and then breathed his last on Father’s Day, June 17, 1984 in Douglas, Cochise County, Arizona. He was buried two days later at the Whitewater Cemetery in Elfrida, beside his daughter, Elaine. The first photo shows his original tombstone made by his brother-in-law, Rich Porter and the second shows the new tombstone that was made after his wife, Elnora passed away.
Floyd is still missed to this day by each and every one of us, may we all live a life like he did, loving his family and helping his neighbors and those in need, being someone we can all look up to, a HERO in every sense of the word.