|Birth: ||Dec. 14, 1907|
Bear Lake County
|Death: ||Mar. 26, 2001, USA|
Irene was born on December 14, 1907 in Sharon, Bear Lake County, Idaho, to William Henry and Eva Elvina Arnell Crossley. She was their first daughter and the fifth child out of ten. Her oldest brother, James Arnell Crossley, died when he was just two months old. William was a sheepherder at the time.
Irene was born on her brother Earl's birthday and her sister Agnes was born on Wesley's birthday, so when Rita was born Luville was very upset that she wasn't born on his birthday (she only missed it by three months!). He was so upset that Grandma Crossley decided to let him name the new baby. He had a crush on a girl named Maurita at the time so that is how she got her name.
Irene was given a name and a blessing in the Sharon Ward on January 1, 1908.
They lived next door to her grandparents, Ephraim and Keziah Crossley, up Old Mill Road in Sharon for a while. The family later moved to a house in North Canyon. They lived about 3.5 miles from the school in Sharon. In good weather they rode horses; in bad weather they rode in sleighs. When the snow was deep and crusted over they took shortcuts over the fences and through the fields. One day, the yolk broke on the sleigh and ran the tongue into a snowbank. She and Wesley walked to school and got there around noon. Earl and Luville stayed to take care of the wagon. They took the team to their Uncle Walt and Aunt Sara's house for the day. Mary Austin was the school teacher at that time. She lived on the highway by the school and she took Irene to her house for the night because she was so cold and wet.
One time, when Irene and Agnes were young, their mother told them to go out and chop some wood for her. Irene got the ax and Agnes held the wood just the way Irene told her to; the scares were still visible when Agnes died.
The family lived in Sharon until Irene was around 10 years old. Her father got a job putting up hay in St. Charles for Nels Bunderson. They lived in a big house on the hill at the mouth of Green Canyon, west of St. Charles, until she was in the 8th grade then they moved to a house down on the highway. William also got a job as a night watchman at the Camp Lifton pumping station on the lake.
When Irene was in the eighth grade, she had a horrible teacher. He definitely had his "favorites" in the class. After the final test, he told the children that some of them were not going to graduate but he wouldn't show them the tests and he wouldn't tell them who was not going to graduate. Eva needed to know if Irene would graduate because she was going to make her a very special dress. She called the Superintendent of Schools in Paris and told him of the problem. He told her that he was informed that all of the students were graduating. Some of the other kids in her class were Stella Arnell, a Michaelson girl and Burdett Pugmire. There were a few others but Irene couldn't remember their names.
After graduation, Irene worked at different jobs cooking and cleaning. She did housework for Nels Bunderson for a dollar a day and she cleaned rooms at the Bear Lake Hot Springs. Her father was sick for about 12 years and all her earnings went to pay for his medicine. Earl, Wesley, and Luville's earnings went to pay for the house on the highway.
They knew when World War I was over because their Uncle Charles came down the street yelling and beating on a wash tub. Eva came out of the house and told him to be quiet that Will was sleeping (because he was a night watchman). He replied, "He can't be sleeping at a time like this, we just licked the Germans!" Then they all danced around and celebrated.
On July 10, 1924, Irene’s brother, Swan Arnell, come into the house and tracked mud on the carpet. Irene was furious with him because she had just cleaned it. "You'll never track mud on my floor again!" she said. He never did. He died later that day while horseback riding. He was riding with a friend of his, Jack Bunderson, and when they got to the post office they traded horses. They were racing their horses when the horse Swan was riding threw him and his head hit a telephone pole. He died shortly after arriving at the hospital.
Some of the girls from St. Charles started working at a cannery in Perry, Utah. They were payed 25¢ for each bushel of tomatoes they processed. Arthur Wells and some of his friends used to date the girls who were working there. Arthur and Irene dated for awhile and where married at the courthouse in Paris, Idaho on August 21, 1933. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Logan Temple on March 3, 1938.
Irene tells the story that after the wedding they had homemade ice cream made from frozen chunks of ice from the lake, which were stored in an ice house. After a wedding supper in their honor at Aunt Mary Nelson's house in Bloomington they went on to Willard and have lived there ever since. They moved in with Arthur's widowed mother, Magdelena. There three children were born to them, George Jason, William Arnell and Eva Mae. Magdelena watched the children while Irene helped with the farm work; driving the teams.
They moved out north of town in 1946. There Ilene, James Arthur, Wilma Jean, and Nina C. were born.
Irene worked in the Primary organization in the Willard First Ward for more than 27 years, serving as a teacher and as president. She loved hauling all of the kids in the neighborhood to Primary. Once, on her way to Primary, she was stopped by a policeman, after seeing the discussed look on his face, she said, “Oh, but officer, they’re not all mine!”
She served as Relief Society president, counselor and visiting teacher also. She was a member of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers and served as Camp President. She was such a good example for her family to follow. She fulfilled all her church callings to the best of her ability, she payed her tithing. She loved attending church and was a current temple recommend holder when she died. She knew what “enduring to the end” meant.
She was serving as the Relief Society president when she and Arthur started going to Arizona for the winter. Arthur died in June of 1984. Irene went to Arizona that winter but she said it was just too lonely there without him so she never went back.
Irene always had homemade bread and peanut butter and jam for her grandkids, and they loved sleeping overnight at her home.
At the age of 80 she took up the craft of painting ceramics. Another of her hobbies was crocheting. In her later years, she made over 35 afghans and gave them all away. She also loved traveling to Texas and Montana to visit her daughters, Eva Mae and Wilma.
When Irene was about 88, she went to live with her daughter, Ilene, in Brigham City. She celebrated her 90th birthday with her family at the Chuck-A-Rama in Ogden. On Christmas Day of that year she fell and broke her hip. After a stay at the Brigham City Community Hospital she was transferred to Godfrey’s Nursing home. She stayed there until March. In September she fell and broke the other hip and was again sent to Godfrey’s Nursing Home for rehabilitation. On December 12, 1998, two days before her 91st birthday, she left the nursing home and returned to her daughter Ilene’s home. This was a wonderful birthday present for Irene.
In July of 2000 she reentered the nursing home, by then it was renamed the Brigham City Rehab Center.
A family party was held for her at the nursing home on her 93rd birthday. This too was a delight for her. Five generations of love were represented there that night. She was alert and coherent. It was good to see her smile, pose for pictures, and read off the grandkids names as she gave them their Christmas presents.
On March 26, 2001 Irene died at the nursing home. Her funeral was held March 30th at the Willard Chapel. Burial was in the Willard Cemetery beside her beloved Arthur.
(The following was taken from the talk Sherry gave at Irene’s funeral)—
Visiting Grandma during the past few years, seeing her in a wheelchair and knowing that she was getting feebler and feebler each time we visited was really hard on all of us. But we can take comfort knowing that all is well with her now. Death is not the end, it’s only the beginning. Grandma has a whole new set of opportunities ahead of her now.
Brigham Young taught the most comforting doctrine when he spoke at a funeral in 1874. I think it applies to Grandma also, “I would like to say to you my friends, if we could see things as they really are, this dark shadow and valley of death is so trifling that we shall turn around and look upon it and think when we have crossed it, why this is the greatest advantage of my whole existence, for I have passed from a state of sorrow, grief, morning, woe, misery, pain, anguish and disappointments into a state of existence, where I can enjoy life to the fullest extent as far as that can be done without a body. My spirit is set free, I thirst no more, I want to sleep no more, I hunger no more, I tire no more, I run, I walk, I labor, I go, I come, I do this, I do that, whatever is required of me, nothing like pain or weariness, I am full of life, full of vigor, and I enjoy the presence of my Heavenly Father.”
This words are very comforting. Let us think of Grandma in this capacity, rather than in her earthly state of the past few years. Can you just imagine Grandma, walking and running here and there? She’s probably planning some kind of ward bazaar or something.
I can only speculate on what assignment Grandma has right now, but I do know for sure, because of the faithful life she lived, when she met our Savior, the keeper of the gate, He wrapped His loving arms around her and said, “Well done thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord” (Matthew 25:21).
Written by a granddaughter, Sherry Wells Brown,
December 17, 1992 at Irene’s request, and with her help.
Updated April 10, 2001
William Henry Crossley (1874 - 1928)
Eva Elvina Arnell Crossley (1881 - 1965)
Arthur Jason Wells (1904 - 1984)
George Jason Wells (1934 - 1980)*
Eva Mae Wells Adams (1939 - 2009)*
James Arnell Crossley (1900 - 1901)*
Earl William Crossley (1901 - 1960)*
Luville Arnell Crossley (1903 - 1991)*
Irene Crossley Wells (1907 - 2001)
Swan Crossley (1910 - 1924)*
Agnes Crossley Wallentine (1912 - 1998)*
Ephraim Crossley (1917 - 2002)*
Maurita Crossley Carter (1919 - 2011)*
Alda Crossley Slaughter (1923 - 2015)*
Willard Precinct Cemetery
Box Elder County
Created by: Sherry Brown
Record added: Dec 14, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 23404309
In Memory of Margo & Jens
Added: Oct. 28, 2012
Happy 100th Birthday Grandma. I think of you often and miss you a lot. You were a great influence for good in my life. Love ya always,|
Added: Dec. 14, 2007