- Born 29 Nov 1910 Sarilda, Fremont, Idaho, USA
- Died 17 Oct 1992 Caldwell, Canyon, Idaho, USA
- Parents: Charles Stephen Cherry and Nancy Jane Bennett
- Spouse: Walter Amos Siddoway (md. 16 Dec 1931 Dillon, Beaverhead, Montana, USA)
- Children: Shirley Siddoway, Shirlene Siddoway, Walter Eugene Siddoway
"Velma Lucile Cherry Siddoway was born 29 Nov., 1910 on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day to Charles Stephen and Nancy Jane Bennett Cherry, at the home of Thomas and Amanda McMinn at Sarilda, Idaho. She was the 12th of 13 children in her family. When Velma was 2 years old her father left his wife and children, and her mother took the responsibility of raising her family alone. Her mother with the help of the older children rented and operated a farm to provide the necessary income. They were living in very humble circumstances and were forced to economize in all they could. During the summer and until snow came the children all went barefoot in order to save their shoes for school and church.
"When Velma was about 5 years old her mother homesteaded a 160 acre dry farm about 3 miles north of the farm she rented. Velma was baptized when she was eight and one half years old in a pond called Moon’s Pond on a neighbors farm about 3 miles from where they lived. It was a pretty place, quite a large pond situated in a fairly large grove of trees. At Christmas time when Velma was growing up, the community always gathered together at the one room schoolhouse to attend the special program put on by the children. Santa Claus always came to the end of the program and gave everyone a small sack of hard candy and peanuts. Presents were exchanged among friends. These were always things which they had made themselves at home.
"When Velma was 9 years old Grandma Cherry rented out her farm and the family moved to Drummond, Idaho. While attending school in Drummond she skipped 2 years of school and graduated from the 8th grade at the age of 12. At this time most of Velma’s brothers and sisters were grown and Velma, attended 1 year of high school in St. Anthony that year. This was the last of her formal education in school. From then on she worked in homes helping houseclean and helping cook for the harvest crews during grain harvest.
"At age 17 Velma went to work in Rexburg in a small privately owned hospital for Dr. Harlo B. Rigby. She was given nurses training there and worked for Dr. Rigby as a practical nurse for 5 years, until March 1932.
"After their marriage they lived on a rented farm in Wilford and Velma continued to work for Dr. Rigby. On 20 August 1934 their first children were born, twin s, Shirley and Shirlene.
"In 1938 Walt and Velma contracted to buy an 80 acre farm from his parents. There were no buildings on the farm so they lived in Teton and Walt traveled by horseback or horse and wagon to and from the farm each day. In 1939 they started to build their home. A 4 room house, but were only able to finish 2 rooms that year. They moved into the house in Jan 1940.
On 16 May 1942 their third child, a son, Eugene, was born.
"There wasn’t a well or electricity on the farm at that time so they would use gas and coal oil lamps. Walt dug a cistern and each week he would have to take 1 day and haul water in a large tank to fill the cistern. In about the summer after World War 2 ended (1944?) electricity was made possible on the farm and made it possible to have electric lights and indoor plumbing for which they were thankful and appreciative.
"Velma had a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and was so grateful for her membership in the church. She was secretary in the Y.W.M.I.A., Sunday School Secretary and class leader for the visiting teachers in Relief Society. She was assistant ward Librarian for eight and one half years. She enjoyed these callings very much.
"After Walt and Velma move to the farm Velma went to work as a nurse at the St. Anthony General Hospital in St. Anthony, Idaho where she was employed for many years. She also put in many hours helping Walt on the farm and with the many chores. They retired from farming in 1967, but they continued to live on the farm until Aug 1985 when they moved to Nampa, Idaho - being able to be closer to Eugene and Karen and their children. The summer Walt and Velma retired from farming, they bought a camper for their pickup truck and drove to Alaska, where they spent the summer with Eugene and Karen as Eugene was stationed there with the Air Force.
"On March 1, 1950 she was recognized for honorably completing a Stake Temple mission
She was given a certificate of award for her loyalty and dedication to her six years of work at the Youth Training Center at St. Anthony, Idaho on Oct 1, 1968 by Governor Don Samuelson. At the Youth Training Center she was supervisor of a group of boys who were interned there. It seemed she was always given some of those who were hardest to control because of her skill in handling them.
"She enjoyed doing sewing and hand work. She made many pieced quilts and many beautiful pieces of crocheting items. She was awarded a blue ribbon at the Madison County fair for a beautiful table centerpiece she crocheted in 1976.
"She also liked gardening and always raised a large vegetable garden, also a large berry patch of both strawberries and raspberries. She would sell many of the berries to help supplement their income. She always had a large flower garden to beautify the yard while on the farm. She always did lots of home canning of fruits and vegetables for her family to have during the winter.
"In 1980 Velma broke her hip and from that time her health began to decline. Her other hip also broke later, When they moved to Nampa to be closer to family she could walk only with the aid of a walker. As her health continued to deteriorate, in the Spring of 1992 she and Walt moved to a Care Home in Meridian. By midsummer she was confined to a wheelchair.
"On October 9, 1992, Velma entered the hospital for the last time. On that day Eugene and Karen brought her a message from Karen’s mother, Leah Lundquist, who had been her good friend. Leah was dying of cancer and had been almost comatose for several days and had not been able to speak well enough to be understood. On that day she came to and spoke to Karen and Eugene and said, “Tell Velma.” Karen said, “What?” “Tell Velma, ‘Don’t be afraid to die. It is beautiful. It doesn’t hurt. We all have to do it. I will be over there waiting …” About three hours later Leah passed away quietly in her sleep.
"When Karen and Eugene relayed the message to his mother she asked, ‘Did Leah really say that?” “Yes.” Velma smiled and a feeling of peace seemed to come over her. As she continued to get weaker all of her children and most of her grandchildren, and many of her friends were able to visit with her during those last few days. At 10:30 p.m. on October 17 she passed away peacefully in her sleep.
"She and Walt are the parents of three children; Shirley, Shirlene, and Eugene. She is survived by her husband Walt, 1 son, Eugene of Nampa, Idaho [married to Karen Lundquist], 2 daughters; Mrs. Robert (Shirley) Smith, Boise, Idaho, and Mrs. Myrl (Shirlene) Davidson, Aberdeen, Idaho, 2 sisters, Florence Kirkham, California, and Ada Paralord , California; 13 Grandchildren and 19 Great Grandchildren."
--life history read at her funeral; author unknown
Following is a letter written by Velma to one of her granddaughters (Thank you, Cindy, for allowing me to share this.):
Dear Cindy November 1979
Your teacher asked me to write to you and tell you something of your heritage. Since I know more about myself and my early home life, I decided I had better write about myself.
You know I’ve always thought what a fortunate young lady you are. I know you don’t think so sometimes, but let tell you a story--your Great Grandmother, my mother, Nancy Jane Bennett Cherry was horn in Gentile Valley, a community between Grace and Preston. She was the oldest of’ seven children. Her father immigrated from England as a child to be with the Mormons. He earned a living for his family by working for other people. My mother married when she was l6 yrs. old. She lost one child, a baby boy and he’s buried at Mapleton. When her seventh child was approximately a year old, they loaded their few possessions into a wagon and came to the upper Snake River Valley, settling just west of Ashton, a small community called New Hope. There she had six more children. I am the 12th of a family of 13.
I don’t remember my father at home at all. When I was 2 years old my mother was left alone to raise us all by herself. A couple of years later she homesteaded 160 acres north and west from where she was living a community called Sarilda. There was a two room house on the place one downstairs and one upstairs. There was no water on the place at all so we had to pack our drinking water about a mile from a spring that was on a farm owned by my oldest sister and her husband. My mother had to wash all our clothes by hand on a washboard, but somehow we always had clean clothes to wear. In the summertime we kids always went barefoot because there was no money for shoes. The only pair we owned had to he saved for special occasions. About once a month Mother would let us go with her in the wagon, We would go to Ashton to buy a few groceries.
There were a few family parties in the summertime. We had Sunday School in the one room schoolhouse which was about three miles from we lived. In the winter we didn’t have any church services.
When I was 8 I was baptized in a small lake we called Moons Pond. When I was About 9 Mother and the 5 of us who were still at home moved to Drummond. Mother rented the farm and that and what money my older brother Leonard gave her we managed to live. Leonard never married so he was able to help Mother quite a lot.
We lived in Drummond until I was 13. Your Uncle Lloyd and myself graduated from the 8th grade there. That fall Mother moved to St. Anthony. We lived in a small two room house. Our plumbing was still a path out back.
In July 1927 I went to work for Dr. H.B. Rigby in Rexburg. He owned a small nine bed hospital there and I learned to care for the patients. I was 17 years old. I worked there until the spring of 1932.
In Jan. of 1931 your Great Grandfather Siddoway came into the hospital to have a hernia repaired. That’s when I met your grandad. We started going together and were married the following December.
We moved to East Wilford to live. I was back to coal oil lamps and outdoor plumbing again. That’s where your mother and aunt Shirlene were horn in 1934. That fall we moved to Teton where we lived in rented houses until your mother was five years old. We then contracted to buy the farm on which we are now living. We started building a house and on New Years Day 1940 we moved into our own home. Uncle Gene was horn here in 1942.
So you see Cindy, dear why I think you are a very lucky young lady. I’m so glad you have the nicer things of life. I hope you always will but I want you to know that it doesn’t take material things to make one happy, happiness comes from within. Somehow when I was growing up I never felt deprived, we never had more you don’t miss what you’ve never had.
I know you are one of Heavenly Father’s choice spirits. We have been told that He held his choice spirits back to come forth in the last dispensation and we know we are living in the dispensation. I know you are one of the those choice spirits.
I want you to know Cindy that I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I know Christ lives and that He is truly the Son of Our Heavenly Father, that He is our elder brother and the Savior of the world. That by Him and through Him the worlds are and were created. That only through him can we he saved. I know that Spencer W. Kimball is a true prophet, seer and revelator, chosen by our heavenly Father to lead and teach us at the present time. I want you to know that I know these things.
I love you very much Cindy. I hope you will always honor your parents because I know how much they love you. But even more than this I know your Heavenly Father loves you also.