W. Ralph Holt
How does one use only words? & how can I pay tribute to one I admire & appreciate so much? I don’t know that I can, but please know how much love I have for you.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by The Lord: And He delighteth in His ways.” -Psalms 37:23
Grandpa, you were a good man. In all the years I’ve been privileged to know you, I’ve never heard an unkind word spoken with your name attached. Instead I’ve been witness to many who speak highly of you, who love & respect you, & who consider you a great friend & example, as I do.
You could make strangers feel like they were your favorite person in the world. You worked harder than anyone I’ve ever met, & you bore your testimony ever day of your life, through words or actions, it is the same.
I’ll miss the way your smile lit up a room & you’d offer hugs & encouragement anytime of day.
You grew up in Cache Valley, a real farm boy by every definition & you lived up to that each day of your life. You loved the farm, the cows, & getting dirty, especially if it involved a tractor. You played baseball & you were good too. I’m sure lots of girls had their eye on you, but you met your sweetheart at an Institute dance. She said it was ‘Mr. Tall, Dark, & Handsome’ that caught her attention & asked her to dance. You wrote back and forth as you served in the Western States Mission, & you continued your romantic streak when you drove to her house before you even went home.
Together you raised six children on hard work & heavenly worship. Yours was a home of laughter & love. You taught them to work hard, play hard, & love the Lord. Actually, you taught that to everyone you ever met. You swing on the seesaw with the littles, saddle horses for the grand kids, & support us all through it all. You were there when I was just hours old, new to the world. You held me as a baby, played with me as a toddler, & teased me as a child. You’d call me princess & then treat me like one. You taught me how to ride a horse, drive a four wheeler, & try new things. You taught me the importance & satisfaction of hard work through moving sprinkler pipe, digging diars woad, & pruning trees. But it didn’t stop there. You’d take us home & start up the grill or break out the Dutch ovens. You knew how to make a mouth water & reward a day well spent. We’d work hard, & we’d play hard, but we’d always attend our Sunday meetings. You loved attending the Island Park ward when we went camping & teaching us to pray, but more than anything you loved to serve.
First in the Washington DC South Mission, & then two missions in Nauvoo. You loved being a missionary. During your last mission to Nauvoo when they were remodeling the Temple, you’d spend your free hours helping to keep the ground. You helped plant, redid the sprinkler system, & then asked for your schedule in the Temple to be permanently set to afternoon so you could help with the grounds in the morning. Upon your return home you became very ill& we thought we might lose you 13 years ago, but you pulled through. You always did. Over the years as your health rose & fell they’d joke that you literally wore yourself out in the service of the Lord on that last mission. If I said I didn’t believe that I’d be lying, because that’s just who you were. You were always serving, helping. If you could do something for someone else you would without hesitation, even if it was the shirt off your back.
We’re so lucky we got those last 13 years with you. I try to imagine what my life would be like had we been deprived of those miracle years & I can’t. That’s where all my memories are. Mowing lawns, picking apples, cooking, camping, & knowing you more everyday.
You were a good man & I was so blessed to live only 10 minutes away. You molded us into people that value good character & you always made me proud to be a Holt. Thank you for the memory of your laugh & for all that you were. I miss you already, more than I could ever say.