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Carlyle and Fanny Woolley
(Coombs) Litchfield

Raymond Remembered
pages 386 - 387

Carlyle Litchfield was the seventh son of William and Josephine Palmer Litchfield. He was born 29 October 1894, in Gunnison, Utah. When he was two years old, he was stricken with polio and, while both legs were affected, it seemed to settle in the left leg. Every time he tried to walk, the leg would double up on him and he could only walk by holding onto a chair. Due to the faith and prayers of his family and a blessing in the Manti Temple, he recovered the use of the leg and was able to walk the rest of his life. He had a limp that worsened with age, but he never had to use a wheelchair.

His first schooling was in Dover, Utah, but in 1903, his parents decided to move to Idaho, so they loaded up their belongings on two covered wagons and started out. As they journeyed north, they heard glowing reports of the wonderful prairie country in Canada, so they worked their way north, stopping to work in the beet fields in Idaho as they came. They arrived in Raymond 10 September 1903. It was a small town, widely scattered, with two stores, a hotel, post office, implement house, a small church and a school house. Carlyle began school in the small school house, but as the classes grew, his class was sent to the Annex behind the church until the new public school was built. Then he attended the Knight Academy and it was there he graduated from grade 12.

In 1914, after his graduation, he obtained a permit to teach in the Collette School near Purple Springs, where he received $72 a month. He then went on the next year to attend the Calgary Normal School where he received his first class certificate. After teaching in Raymond for a year, he went to Garbutt Business College in Calgary, and after graduation, he worked for Swift Canada Co. for four years. At this point, he developed serious health problems. He spent one year in the hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, where they operated and performed other experiments to try and help him, but he came home worse than he went. After four years, he had regained much of his health and went back to teaching. He taught in the Marssalt School near Taber, the Hudson School south of Purple Springs, Mammoth, for eight years, Bonnie View and Raley for one year, and the Wolf Creek Colony for 15 years. At one time he worked in the office of the Raymond Mercantile.

In 1924, in the Cardston Temple, he married Fanny, daughter of Isaiah Mark and Clara Ela Woolley Coombs of Cardston. They had two children: a daughter and a son.  There are 10 grandchildren, and on 26 March 1974, Fanny and Carlyle celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

During the years when he was unable to work due to health problems, he grew a garden, raised flocks of chickens and sold milk and eggs. His main crop though, was strawberries, which he raised, sold and delivered. Fanny helped in all these endeavours. They hired pickers who would take their pay in strawberries, and often would have more than 100 quart baskets to sell in a day. Money derived from the sale of the berries would buy their coal and flour for the winter, and it was of great importance to them that they never had to ask for help of any kind during their difficult years.

He loved flowers and shrubs, and had flower gardens that people often drove by just to look at. Each Sunday during the summer there would be a vase of flowers on the pulpit from their garden, and they would be given to someone after the service. Carlyle was a quiet and reserved man. He held the office of High Priest in the LDS Church and was secretary of the Elders Quorum for several years. He was a kind and patient grandfather. No one ever lost at checkers when they played with grandpa. He enjoyed making things out of wood and was an excellent and skilled carpenter. Every set of grandchildren has a little cupboard and other furniture made by grandpa, and all of his family's homes are graced with his work. One granddaughter summed it up when writing about her grandfather, "Grandpa is the kind of man you want to pattern your life after."

Fanny was born 14 June 1894 in Salt Lake City. Her parents were Isaiah Mark Coombs and Clara Ela Woolley Coombs. In 1904, her family came to Magrath and later moved to a farm near Leavitt, where she attended school until 1914. She spent a year in the Cardston schools before going to the School of Agriculture in Claresholm. She graduated in 1917. In 1919, she was working in Calgary where she met Carlyle. They were teaching a Sunday School class together in the small branch that was organized at that time. Due to Carlyle's health, they were not able to be married until March 1924. During the waiting, she worked for people in their homes, caring for new mothers and taking care of children. In some homes in Woolford, Kimball and Aetna, she cooked for threshing crews during the harvest time.

Fanny's life centered around her family and her church service. She began teaching in the Leavitt Sunday School when she was 13 and continued in that organization for 61 years. For 43 years she taught Sunday School in the Raymond First Ward. When she retired in 1974, a year before she passed away, she was honoured by the Deseret News in Salt Lake City for her excellence in teaching. She taught whole families, some into the third generation. Many men and women in the town will remember the chicken dinners she cooked for every boy or girl of her class who went on a mission, and there were hundreds! Due to her failing health, the last such dinner she prepared was for her grandson, Ricks. She worked on the Sunday School Stake Board with Lyman Jacobs and Frank Taylor for 12 years.

As well, she taught Primary for 33 years, and was ward historian for 12. Several times she taught the Spiritual Living lessons in Relief Society, and was a dedicated visiting teacher for 42 years.

She was the mainstay of the family during the 1930s when Carlyle was unable to work. She did housework for 50 cents a day, filled shelves in Stone's Service Store at night, and every spring travelled the south country taking orders for baby chicks.

Fanny and Carlyle left a rich heritage for their children and grandchildren.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup