J. Smith Photography | Vern McClellan

Vern McClellan

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(picture in Hawaii, 1940s)

Life History

Born 22 November 1910 in Nampa, Idaho, died 5 January 1994 in Hagerman, Idaho.

Baptized into the LDS Church on 20 April 1940 by Heber L. Welch (at the age of 29). 

Children: Gloria McClellan, Gerald McClellan, Melanie Sue McClellan.

Sealed in the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah to his wife, Eunice Zimmerman, on 4 May 1942. They were previously married civily on 19 April 1930 in Nampa, Idaho. Their marriage came nearly six months after Black Monday, 24 October 1929, when the U.S. stock market crashed and the Great Depression began in earnest. During the Depression, Vern would follow the harvest and "ride the rails", beginning in Florida and gradually work his way back north where his family was living.

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, he went to help with the recovery and salvage of ships. I never heard him talk about it himself, but remember someone telling me that he would never eat crab because of the experience. Apparently, when they pulled bodies from the wreckage, they were covered with crabs.

Worked as a carpenter on Pacific Naval Air Bases (contract NOy-8173) from June 1942 to May 1943. Contract began on 5 June 1942. Worked on contracts NOy 3550 and NOy 4173 (and subsequent) for Contractors, Pacific Naval Air Bases. 

His third child, Melanie Sue was born in Sun Valley, Idaho on 2 August 1950. She died at 22 months of age, on 23 May 1952, having drowned in a stream near their home. Their pet terrier dog "Buttons" had apparently tried to save her, but was unable to. Buttons' barking alerted her mother and, together with a neighbor (Mrs. Cal Hopper) began searching for her. Mrs. Hopper discovered her body.


Random Memories

I remember hearing that during the Great Depression he worked as a migrant worker on farms, starting south in Florida, then riding the trains (probably illegally) back north to Idaho.

One year for his birthday we got him a set of chocolate teeth.

He would occasionally share an inappropriate joke - often involving one of the early Mormon prophets. Brigham Young was a favorite subject of such jokes.

He used to invite the Jehova's Witnesses in to discuss religion, mainly because he liked to argue with them.