Written History of Ralph Emanuel Whitney
We lived in Overton until the end of 1960. We put our home up for sale in the fall of 1960, not caring if we sold or not. Ralph sort of wanted to come to St. George as he had relatives here and many old timers he knew. When our home sold just before Christmas, and we were getting ready to move, we got a call from our stake president to be workers at the St. George Temple. We were very happy for this call. We were asked to be night workers on Wednesday and Thursday and on Saturdays. At this time there were just two nights a week for temple work. We came to St. George and found a place we liked, not far from the temple. The house was small but we built on to it and it made a nice home. We had a big corner lot and room for a garden. We also found time to keep fishing on the Utah lakes with Maude and Abe. We were very happy with the beautiful temple work.
We had almost 46 wonderful years together, and then Ralph’s health failed, and in May of 1966 he had a major heart attack at the doctor’s office. We took him to the hospital. This was about noon. He was put under oxygen and then had an EKG which showed badly damaged valves of his heart. We didn’t have to keep him in the hospital long as the doctor let him come home that evening. He disliked hospitals so much that I was real happy I could take care of him at home. He never got strong again but was able to dress and spend most of his time on the east porch in a folding recliner and the rest of his time in a recliner in the house. He couldn’t sleep in bed, but slept in his recliner. I made my bed on the couch near him. On November 16, 1966 he passed away real suddenly and died in my arms. He was coming from the south bathroom with his electric razor to shave while in his recliner, but this time he only got to the dining room table. I was at the kitchen cabinet preparing our lunch and I heard him say “I’m going.” I turned and ran and caught him before he hit the floor. There in my arms he gave one gasp and was gone. It was a shock to me, but I felt he was lucky to go so fast and easy.
Ralph was dark with beautiful big dark brown eyes and hair. He was 5′ 8 1/2″ tall and 160 pounds when younger, then went to 170 pounds in his later years. He had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to tease. He also was talented in many ways. He built our larger house on the ranch. I always told him if he could have afforded some good tools he would have less work and could have built better. A hand saw and hammer were his main tools. He was also a very good businessman. While we had the place in Goodsprings and the Overland Cafe in Las Vegas we made good money for the time we had these places, and we never had to go into debt. Ralph loved outdoor work and didn’t enjoy working inside at the cafe. He cooked one shift as well as managed the business, and we had many men, steady customers, that worked at Boulder Dam but stayed in Vegas and ate in our cafe.
Ralph was a very good miner. He learned this trade at the age of 17 and 18 working at the Grand Gulch mine out of St. George. He worked real hard with a single jack and big hammer to make the deep holes to put the blasting powder in. After the ore was blasted down, they would have to shovel it into little cars or wheelbarrows and take it out to the ore dump or if they were deep into the mine, it would have to be loaded into big buckets and someone on top would windlass it to the top for dumping. When we lived at Goodsprings the men working at the Yellow Pine Mine would work seven days a week, and in winter time they never saw the sun. They went into the mine before it came up and out after it had set. Ralph did this for two years when Bert, our third boy, was small. I was happy when he and another miner leased a mine and just worked the dump. It was a rich dump and they made good money.
Ralph was a very hard-working man and a good husband and father. He always taught our children to be honest and taught them how to work. I guess we had a lot of trials, but always kept happy because we always could keep busy in the places we lived. and it was a joy to raise our fine family of four boys and three sweet girls.
It has been twelve years now since my dear husband and companion passed away. I still miss him, but try to keep real busy sewing for the grandchildren and doing yard work. After the first of the year of 1967, I went back to our beautiful temple work. I changed from the two nights to Tuesday and Wednesday daytime, and I also worked on Saturday. I always felt close to Ralph in our beautiful temple work. It was wonderful to work in the house of the Lord and be with the fine people that worked there. Brother and Sister Milton Earl were especially thoughtful of me. Our children are all such a comfort to me since their Daddy passed away. Always so thoughtful of my health and welfare. I’m so proud of them and I know their Dad is also.
I would like all of our children to write a few things that they remember about their Daddy and have it added to finish this story of my fine sweet husband and their wonderful father.