Eleanor Jane <I>Asay</I> Gibbons

Eleanor Jane Asay Gibbons

Wellington, Carbon County, Utah, USA
Death 12 Jan 1995 (aged 94)
Provo, Utah County, Utah, USA
Burial Saint George, Washington County, Utah, USA
Plot C-26-3-4
Memorial ID 111438 · View Source
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Eleanor is my great-grandmother.
Eleanor Jane Asay Gibbons was born Tuesday, March 27, 1900 in Wellington, Utah to Jerome and Nancy Jane Meeks Asay.

The story of her birth is interesting. Her parents were moving from Vernal to Castle Dale at the time Nancy went into labor. After stopping and exiting the wagon they were traveling in, they went to the home of a friend who lived nearby and here, in this log cabin - an iconic symbol of the first chapter in Utah's history, which, with the commencement of the twentieth century just four months earlier was coming to a close, Eleanor was born, the last addition to Jerome and Nancy's large, bustling family, which now numbered eleven. She outlived all of them. Eleanor attended schools in Vernal and Castle Dale.

She married Jesse Ernest Gibbons on Saturday, February 14, 1925 in Price, Utah. He preceded her in death on March 6, 1966. On March 25, 1967, they were sealed for time and all eternity in the St. George Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

They made their first home in Kenilworth. Four months after their marriage, Jesse's father was killed in a mining accident. Eleanor was always worried about Jesse and insisted that he quit the mines. It turns out her intuition was verified when the following spring there was an explosion in the mine where Jesse had been working and everyone on his shift was killed.

Following the birth of their first daughter in September 1925, they moved to Los Angeles, California, where they lived for the next decade. Their first home was located at 664 East Adams Boulevard in South Central Los Angeles. They remained there until 1930 when they moved in with Eleanor's first cousin, Edith Messerly. Edith had moved to Los Angeles in 1909 and lived in a small house. She eventually built a bigger home in front of the cabin and turned it into a guest house. This is where Eleanor, Jesse, and their children lived. The home was located at 1820 Talmadge Street in the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles. They remained here for a few years before they moved into a place of their own.

Their house was located at 2323 West Avenue 33 in Glassell Park, a neighborhood located in the hills of northeastern Los Angeles. They stayed there for a few years before they moved into the home of Jesse's mother, Mary. The home was located at 3830 Portola Avenue just south of the South Pasadena city limits in the El Serano district. They lived here for the remainder of their stay in California.

Jesse developed asthma and his doctor told him that he needed to move to a drier climate. So in 1936, the family moved back to Castle Dale and lived with Eleanor's parents. He didn't improve much. In late 1936, his friends suggested that they moved to St. George, Utah, where there was a drier climate. Located in the southwestern corner of Utah, St. George was a sleepy desert town about 120 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.

They rented a house across from the temple. In late 1936, they purchased a lot on what was called "Poverty Hill" for $500. The land was located at 198 West 500 North and wasn't even incorporated into St. George yet. They lived in a two-room shack without running water, electricity, or indoor plumbing. Jesse's mother, Mary, lived with them for several years. After the death of her husband, Nancy Asay moved to St. George and lived in a trailer on the property until shortly before her death in 1950.

Eleanor lived in the family home until 1972, when she sold her land to the LDS Church. An LDS chapel was constructed over the next three years, and on March 2, 1975, Elder Bruce R. McConkie presided over the dedication of the Red Hills Chapel. Eleanor moved to Provo and purchased a home with her daughter at 1218 East 640 South, where she resided for the next twenty-three years.

Eleanor was truly a pioneer in the field of education. She began a lifetime of teaching at age seventeen. She was then a senior at the high school in Castle Dale then known as the Emery Stake Academy. The county superintendent in the school district came to the principal and asked him for a senior high school student he could recommend to teach for a month in a nearby town, until another teacher could be found. This was during the first World War. Because another teacher could not be found, she had began her teaching career, a career that came as a surprise, because she had planned a college education and intended to write about schools, not teach in them.

Preparation for the second year's teaching was the process of passing the state examinations then being given for teachers. Following that year, she attended six weeks of summer school at Brigham Young University and met the requirements for the third year. The third year was really a test of durability. This was where the real decision was made to become a teacher. The result was to sandwich in a year of college in Logan. She taught school in Ferron and Mohrland before her marriage. She had to quit her job because Utah then had a law stating that married women could not teach.

After moving to St. George, she resumed her teaching career. The first five years of teaching in the Washington County School District were spent in the WPA Nursery Schools. From nursery school, she moved to kindergarten, where she spent the remainder of her teaching career, with the exception of seven years in Special Education. She had the opportunity to start the first kindergarten in St. George, holding classes in such places as private homes and the storage room of the Hurst dime store. She taught kindergarten for thirty years, finally having the privilege of her own classroom in the St. George West Elementary School.

To obtain a teaching certificate, she taught school in the winter and attended summer schools, eventually graduating from what is now Southern Utah University in 1952.

She retired from teaching kindergarten in 1965, only to begin a new teaching career in special education. Hers was the first class of its kind to be taught in St. George. It was also the first class of special education students to be integrated into the public school system in the State of Utah. She believed that all students deserve an education of the highest quality.

She received various honors during her lifetime. Dan Valentine, a Salt Lake Tribune columnist, honored her as Teacher of the Year. She was chosen as Teacher of the Year in the Washington County School District. In 1972, the Altrusa Club of St. George honored her for her community service as their Orchard Lady of the Year. Her favorite award came in May 1994, when she was presented with the Exemplary Service award by the Utah Downs Syndrome Foundation.

Throughout her life, Eleanor was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She served as Primary President in the St. George West Ward. At the time of her death, she was living in the Slate Canyon Fourth Ward. She was a member of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Foster Camp.

On Thursday, January 12, 1995, at 10:00 p.m., Eleanor passed away peacefully at her home. She died while surrounded by her family of congestive heart failure and natural causes incident to age.

Eleanor left to cherish her memory: one daughter and two sons, Jessie Jane Gibbons Brandenburg of Provo; Donald Ray (LaRue) Gibbons of Streator, Illinois; and Normand Lee (Gae) Gibbons of West Valley City; sister-in-law, Marie (George) Johnson of St. George; fourteen grandchildren; twenty-one great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held on Monday, January 16, 1995 at 11:00 a.m. in the Slate Canyon Fourth Ward Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 715 South Utah Avenue (1000 East) in Provo. A visitation was held on Sunday, January 15, 1995 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Walker Mortuary located at 85 East 300 South in Provo, and one hour prior to the services at the church on Monday.
A visitation was also held on Tuesday from 12:30 until 1:30 p.m. at Spilsbury Deseret Rose Memorial Chapel located at 58 North 100 East in St. George.
On Tuesday, January 17, 1995, at 2:00 p.m., Eleanor was laid to rest beside her husband in the St. George City Cemetery.

Summary of funeral services:
Funeral services were held under the direction of Bishop Merrill Christensen.
The family prayer was offered by Glen Brandenburg.
The prelude and postlude music was offered by LaRue Gibbons and LaDawn Bushnell.
The invocation was offered by Stan Boschetti.
Musical numbers performed included: "Untitled musical selection," which was performed by Jared and Ruth Robertson; "How Great Thou Art," which was performed by Normand Gibbons, accompanied by Diana Boschetti; and "Beyond The Sunset," which was performed by the Donald Gibbons family.
Speakers included: Christy Curtis, Teri Brandenburg, Brian Brandenburg, and Merrill Christensen. A poem was recited by Brandon Boschetti.
The benediction was offered by Michael Gibbons.
The grave was dedicated by Donald Gibbons.
Pallbearers included Brian Brandenburg, Glen Brandenburg, Cleve Bushnell, Dale Curtis, Dennis Bradford Gibbons, Jesse Scott Gibbons, Larry Brent Gibbons, Michael Gibbons, and Ronald Gibbons.
Honorary pallbearers included Lynn Asay, Neal Asay, Brandon Boschetti, Stan Boschetti, George Johnson, and Robert Johnson.

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  • Maintained by: Ryan D. Curtis
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 1 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 111438
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Eleanor Jane Asay Gibbons (27 Mar 1900–12 Jan 1995), Find A Grave Memorial no. 111438, citing Saint George City Cemetery, Saint George, Washington County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Ryan D. Curtis (contributor 46858513) .