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This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Isabel Davis, 91 years old, born on October 26, 1919, and passed away on March 4, 2011. We will remember her forever.

Tributes are short messages commemorating Isabel, or an expression of support to her closest family and friends. Leave your first tribute here, and others will follow.

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Eileen's Talk

November 19, 2012

Remembrances of Mom
Eileen Ball
March 11, 2011

In Hebrews 11 the Apostle Paul taught that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Alma made a similar statement in the BOM “If ye have faith, ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.”

My mother was a woman of faith.

As has been shared with you in previous talks, my mother had a hard life. She married young, had six children in 11 years, and shortly after my birth, began her journey as a single parent. She worked tirelessly at multiple jobs, such as waitressing, cleaning other people's homes, and working in the housekeeping department of the Logan hospital. Mom remarried when I was 11 and shortly thereafter took some courses at USU that qualified her for a position at the newly opened IRS office in Ogden, commuting to Ogden from Logan for the next 26 years.

One of my mother's favorite hymns is one no longer found in our current hymnbook. It was a favorite because it reflected the faith that she had to rely on to get through difficult times. It is titled "Unanswered Yet" by Charles D. Tillman.  I would like to share the words of that hymn.

Unanswered yet? The prayer your lips have pleaded
In agony of heart these many years?
Does faith begin to fail, is hope departing,
And think you all in vain those falling tears?
Say not the Father hath not heard your prayer;
You shall have your desire, sometime, somewhere.

Unanswered yet? Though when you first presented
This one petition at the Father’s throne,
It seemed you could not wait the time of asking,
So urgent was your heart to make it known.
Though years have passed since then, do not despair;
The Lord will answer you, sometime, somewhere.

Unanswered yet? But you are not unheeded;
The promises of God forever stand;
To Him our days and years alike are equal;
“Have faith in God”; it is your Lord’s command.
Hold on to Jacob’s angel and your prayer
Shall bring a blessing down sometime, somewhere.

Unanswered yet? Nay, do not say ungranted;
Perhaps your part is not yet wholly done;
The work began when first your prayer was uttered,
And God will finish what He has begun.
If you will keep the incense burning there,
His glory you shall see, sometime, somewhere.

Unanswered yet? Faith cannot be unanswered;
Her feet were firmly planted on the Rock;
Amid the wildest storm prayer stands undaunted,
Nor quails before the loudest thunder shock.
She knows Omnipotence has heard her prayer,
And cries, “It shall be done,” sometime, somewhere.

I know there were many hours of my mother's life spent on her knees in prayer, exercising faith,  asking   why she was given the daunting challenge of raising her family alone. She prayed for her children, sometimes not knowing where the next meal was coming from, but persevering and enduring whatever challenges she was faced with all the while relying on her faith and knowing the Lord would sustain her and provide the way. In Mom's life the tests of her faith never ceased, and she never wavered.

We as her posterity we are grateful for the blessings of her faith which we have received in our lives. Mom instilled in each of us the ethic of hard work and the importance of getting an education. Mom’s six children exceeded her expectations with all succeeding in their chosen field of endeavor. Two sons graduated West Point and had military careers, two sons were successful in business ownership and her daughters are mothers, grandmothers and women of faith because of her example.

Perhaps the greatest challenge to her faith was recovering from a debilitating stroke 10 years ago. Although she never recovered 100%, she fought through the challenges of relearning to talk, walk, and do the daily tasks necessary to live independently once again. The stroke resulted in her having to leave her home in Logan and move to Kaysville.

One of the few regrets that I have about my mother's life is that I never heard her bear her testimony out loud. Many times I intended to ask her to share her testimony in words with me, but I procrastinated and never asked until it was too late for her to find the words to express herself. Last week as I was reading through her personal history, I was thrilled to find this testimony written in her own words.  

I think my faith in the gospel was the thing that gave me the most happiness. It helped me through all of my bad times.  I get real joy out of just sitting and reading the scriptures, and also to be able to go to church. I just have a good feeling when I’m there. Mom continued to enjoy going to church at the Chancellor Branch right up until the week before she died. That’s the way I can find my happiness.

My knowledge and my religion are my most precious and deeply indebted values. My membership in the Church is really precious to me. My beliefs about  the hereafter, about Christ and His part in our salvation are very important to me. That’s my basic belief. That god, Christ and the Holy Ghost are the Godhead, and they’re all separate people. And I hold that knowledge very precious.I don’t know what I would have done without the church. It’s been my backbone all my life. It was my strength.  

I know that because of my mother's faith, she was able to endure all the challenges placed in her path.

I am grateful for a mother of faith – grateful that she instilled that faith in me because it indeed has carried me through the hard times in my life.

As a grateful family, we thank the Kaysville 2nd ward and the Chancellor Branch for your kind and endless service to our mother.


Karl's Remarks

November 19, 2012

Remembering Mom
By Karl Leatham
March 11, 2011 

I would like to speak this morning about a few of Mom’s particular strengths that impacted me personally when I was young.  My earliest memories of Mom date from the time we moved back to Logan from Nephi.  I vaguely recall arriving at Grandma Woodward’s house in Wellsville, but a short time later we moved into the house on 3rd South in Logan.  I have come to know from personal experience that young children can be quite resilient, even in very trying conditions, provided their basic needs are met. Children need a stable home life, nourishing food, guidance when they stray out of bounds, and most importantly, unconditional love. Mom provided all of these in my formative years.  

Above all else, Mom was self-reliant and had the ability to handle adversity.  Imagine finding yourself in her situation in 1950, picking up the pieces of a failed marriage, with no job, no car, very little money, and six young children.  If showing up every day for work is one of the keys to success in life, then Mom understood success better than most. 

She showed up - every day. 

I can remember many days when she was ill, or hurt physically from her bad back that was made worse by the cleaning work she was doing.  She should not have gone to work on those days, but she did to support us.

Mom instinctively knew the value of stability, so one of the most important things she did for us children was to purchase a home for us to live in.  Although Lynn and Norman lived with Dad and with Grandma Woodward, Mark, Mary Ann, Eileen, and I grew up in the house on 3rd South.  In my case I lived there 14 years.  Mark about 7, and Eileen, the longest, for 16 years.

The Logan house was a magnet over the years for family gatherings.  Mom paid off the loan on the house as soon as she could, and improved it by adding a new furnace. Over the years she added siding, and remodeled the porch, living room and kitchen; and put on a new roof.  It wasn’t large by today’s standards, but it served us well.  The house gave us stability.

Mom, with our help, cooked a marvelous meal every Sunday - usually consisting of a pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, million dollar pickles, and usually sheet cake of some kind. My favorite was chocolate.  And of course, pineapple cookies and a banana roll on special occasions.  Every other Sunday, and always on holidays, Grandma Woodward would spend time with us.  When I got my driver’s license, I picked her up in the family car after her morning church services in Wellsville – taking her home in time for sacrament meeting at night.  And of course, for many years we went to Wellsville for Thanksgiving dinner and met all the crazy aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews we had not seen for the last year.

My daughter Ella is here today.  She is a social worker who handles child protective custody cases.  She often tells me of the devastating impact that an unstable home life has on young children.   Despite the difficulties we all went through, I count Mom’s decision to move back close to her family in Logan and providing long term stability in our formative years as probably the single most important gift she gave us as children.

Beyond perseverance and stability, Mom had a third trait that was very important.  She was a totally honest person with very high integrity.  To my knowledge she never reneged on a debt, or a promise.  I remember shopping at the Bitters food store by the Baugh Motel where she ran a tab.  The very concept of a running food tab is inconceivable today.  Mr. Bitters simply trusted Mom to pay down the bill at the end of the month when she herself was paid.  Mom would give one of us children the shopping list with specific instructions on what was on sale, how to pick fruits and vegetables, and what not to buy.   I remember balancing the box of groceries on my bicycle’s handlebars and peddling home every week or so when it was my turn.

Mom was also very frugal and could make money last.  She liked to say she was “scotch” and never wasted money.  She always seemed to have some reserves for improvements to the house, clothes for us at the start of school, and for gifts during the holidays. 

Until I was 10 or 11, I remember making the monthly trips to the welfare food store on east Center Street to pick up staples like powdered milk, beans, and flour that Mom would use for cooking.  I distinctly remember that the powdered milk tasted badly as a drink, but worked well for cooking.  I’m sure it must have bothered her to take the help, as independent as she was, but she really had no choice until we had more money following her marriage to Don. 

To earn our free lunches at school, in my case from the 1st to the 8th grade, we worked in the school lunchroom scraping plates and cleaning tables.  I never saw this as demeaning, which is a credit to Mom’s explanation about why it was necessary.  She simply saw it as fair payment.  Honest labor was our way of paying back.

The final trait I remember that I want to speak about today was Mom’s evenhandedness with her children.  I cannot recall a single instance of favoritism.  She loved us all -- unconditionally -- and equally. We all had different personalities and talents, and goodness knows we tried her patience with our sibling fights and bad behavior at times, but she forgave quickly and always tried to foster our individual development.  We took music lessons to develop the musical talent that runs in the family.  We participated in all kinds of church and school activities, and we were active in scouting.  I gained a great deal from Boy Scout activities, meeting Jack Ryan, my scoutmaster, who was a wonderful influence when I started my teenage years.  I took the Explorer Snake River trip with Ray Malouf as my boating partner and he became a great friend and positive influence in school.  I served as a counselor for two years on the Camp Hunt staff teaching the waterfront merit badges with my lifelong friend Gailen Hess.  We played intermural sports and participated in Tuesday night mutual activities in the 6th ward.  All of these important developmental activities were made possible by a loving mother who encouraged each of us to be active and follow our own individual path.

And so as I look back on my formative years and the role my mother played in creating my belief system, I am struck by the profound influence that she had on us all. 

She was the rock that kept us together, never giving up, sacrificing her own wants so that we would have what we needed to survive and become well-adjusted, competent adults.  If you see any of these traits in yourself – stubborn persistence through adversity, honesty, stability, frugality, and evenhandedness with your children and your grandchildren, you don’t have to look far to find the source. 

It is hard to see what greater gifts a mother could have given to her children. 

We were truly blessed.

Lynn's Eulogy

November 19, 2012

by Anthony Lynn Leatham
March 11, 2011
Kaysville, Utah 

We are all here today to pay respect, to remember, and to celebrate the life of my Mom, Isabel Woodward Davis.  That so many of you are here today is a glowing tribute in itself to this remarkable lady. In our gathering today are family members, friends, and associates coming literally from coast to coast of the United States.  We all have in common a love or friendship for a woman whose life touched each of us deeply.

She was a devoted mother to her children, a loving grandma to over 90 grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, and one great-great-great grandchild. She was a loyal friend to countless others. She liked people and loved to meet and get to know new faces. She knew so many people that when she traveled, there was seldom a time that she did not run into someone she knew or if she met a stranger, after a little conversation it often turned out that they shared a common acquaintance.  

We are each shaped by our life experiences and our personality is mostly formed in our youth. Thus, to understand Mom, we need to look back to Wellsville, Utah where she was born and spent all of her childhood years.

October 26, 1919 was the day Isabel Woodward was born in the Wellsville family home.  She was the youngest of four children born to Hyrum and Jesse Woodward. The children, oldest to youngest, were Elmer, Hyrum, Dora, then Mom.  At an early age Mom acquired the nickname, “Pal,” which came about because her cousin, Aunt Annie Riggs’ daughter, was also named Isabel.  Aunt Annie’s younger twin boy couldn’t pronounce “Isabel,” so the boys shortened it to “Pal.”  The whole extended family, both on the Woodward and Jones sides, called the two “Isabels” Pal Riggs and Pal Woodward.  And it’s still Pal, to the Jones side of the family.

The day Mom was born, the important newspaper headlines that day were all about the U.S. Congress overriding President Woodrow Wilson's veto of the Alcohol Prohibition Enforcement Bill and voting to start prohibition. The nation was getting back to normal after the Great War, which we know today as World War I.  It raged from 1914 to 1918 with the United States entering the war in 1917.  Sixty million men had been under arms in the various armies that fought in that Great War.  Woodrow Wilson was in his second term as President.  Just eleven years earlier in 1908 Henry Ford produced the first assembly line automobile, the Model T Ford, which continued as the only model offered by Ford for the next 19 years. Isabel was only 9 years old when finally the Model A Ford was introduced in 1928.

Mom’s dad, Hyrum Woodward, was a farmer. The farm work involved the entire family, so Mom learned early in life what hard work was all about.  She helped with the dairy herd, milking cows early in the morning before school and again at night. During the summer she worked in the fields thinning sugar beets, which some you older folds know is a backache and sore knees kind of job. She later hoed weeds in the beet fields and then in the fall worked to top the dug-up beets with a machete-like knife before they were transported to the beet dump where they were loaded onto trucks for transport to the factory. She tromped loose hay on the horse-drawn hay wagon and helped stack the hay by riding the derrick horse used to fork the hay off the hay wagon and into the barn. Her own words from her personal history tell us what it was like:

Her words:
“My dad was a really good farmer, and he taught us how to do all the things on the farm. He taught me how to milk. After I got big enough, at age seven I learned how to milk five cows, and then I had to go help with the morning and evening milking all the time. I had to get up at 5 in the morning, so it wasn’t very smart of me to learn how to milk cows.  When I learned how to milk five cows, for my work he gave me a calf.  It grew into a milk-cow by the time I married Linden, and Dad said, “Well, you won’t get as much money out of this cow as you will a young heifer.”  So he gave me one of his young heifers and took my cow.  When the time came, I sold the heifer and paid for Lynn’s delivery. “ 

So, being the firstborn, I have a very personal, high appreciation for the many hours of labor my mother spent milking those cows. 

In 1929, Mom was 10 years old when the great depression began with the stock market crash on October 29 of that year. Today we are in the process of recovering from a significant depression, but our present situation doesn’t compare to the worst depression this nation has ever seen.  For the next decade, it was a time when business was really bad, many people could not find work, and there was little money available. The family existed on their farming, milk cows, and large garden. In this setting of financial hardship, Mom was in school. It was the period of time where she developed her lifelong habit of thriftiness and interest in education. She was an excellent student, earning the honor of salutatorian at her junior high graduation. She was especially good in math and aspired to attend Utah State University in that field. Her marriage and children sidetracked those aspirations, and it was not until all the children were grown that she was able to complete classes at Utah State that earned her graduation at South Cache High School. She went on to other training that enabled her to gain employment and a career with the IRS. 

I want to share with you some of Mom’s personal history that reveals insights into some of the sources of her character. 

The first insight is about honesty. 

Her voice: “I think the lessons I learned from my parents, are that you don’t lie and you don’t cheat.  You don’t take anything that doesn’t belong to you.  Both of my parents were very, very honest.  This is the lesson that they taught.”

The next insight is about friendship.

Her voice: “If you were going to have friends, then be a true friend.”  

“One day I said something bad about somebody, and dad told me a story about a pillow. He said telling a bad story was like scattering the feathers of a pillow in the wind. You can’t gather up all the feathers and make the pillow whole again. Dad said, “That’s what untrue stories do to people, and if you don’t know if the stories are the truth then you don’t repeat them.  Because you can’t take them back, you can’t gather them all up.”

Another insight is about her intolerance for using foul language:

Her words:  “Mother would say, “ You don’t say those kind of words, or you’re gonna get your mouth washed out with soap.”  So, we learned not to swear, but to be honest and trustworthy, and all of those things that make you a good human being.”

And finally, an insight about the love she had for her family:

Her words:  “My relationship with my dad was really good and I really loved him. Dad was a quite man, a very kind and gentle man.  I understood him a lot better than I understood mother because I worked so much with Dad on the farm.  I really got to appreciate him. Dad had a good personality.  He was very industrious and a very good worker.  He was about 5’10” and had medium brown hair, and it was curly.  He had a lot of rhythm, and played the harmonica for us all the time at home.  Dad taught me how to dance when I was about 7, taught me all the old time dances.  And I enjoyed doing them all my life.  He was a mighty good dad.”

“I never spent much time with mother when we were kids after I learned to milk.  So, I didn’t get to know mother well until I was married. Then we spent a lot of hours quilting together, and she held a lot of quilting bees at her house.  That was a special time for me, to spend that time with her She did so much for me. I could never thank her for all that she did.  Mother was very good hearted, and the older I got, the more I appreciated her.  She had a cute personality, and a terrific sense of humor and she had it until the day she died.”

“Mother and Dad were strict, but they weren’t over-bearing with their strictness.  It’s a completely different world that I lived in as a child, than what it is now.  As soon as we learned how to work on the farm we worked all summer, and milked all year.  We’d get home from school and we’d have our supper, and mother would say, “Get your lessons and get to bed.”  I only remember Dad givin’ one lickin’, and it was supposed to be Dora that got the lickin’.  She ran away from him and I ran towards him and I got her lickin’.  That’s the only one I can ever remember.  But I got a lot of spankings from mother with a willow switch. They hurt at the time, but I never held any bad feelings about it.  I did that to my kids for a while, but I soon got over that.”

Now my recollection of that willow switch on my backside was that she didn’t get over it soon enough!

In the short time I have for this talk I can only hit a few highlights of Mom’s life. For those of you who are interested in reading Mom’s personal history, let my sister Eileen know and she will get you a copy.

Each of us who are her children realizes that we are who we are in large measure because of her.  Her lifelong love for each of us, and the way she lived her life set high standards for us to continue her legacy through our own lives and the lives of our children.

Truly, her spirit continues to burn brightly in each of us.

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