John Ephraim Redford
As requested by Sister Rosenvald, I present the story of my Grandfather, John Ephraim
Redford, 1866 -1941
John Ephraim Redford was born in Wellsville, Cache County, Utah , 25 January 1866, to John Eckersall and Eleanor Caroline Kington Redford. Eleanor Caroline passed away suddenly from appendicitis when John was only six months old. He, at the request of his
mother was raised by his maternal grandparents, Thomas and Margaret Pisel Kington. (Thomas was the Head Superintendent of the group of six hundred United Brethren , a breakaway Methodist group, in Herefordshire, England, who were searching for the true church. The whole congregation was converted, save one soul, by Wilford Woodruff. Thomas was of yeoman stock and represented one of the most prominent English families. He also assisted with funds to assist in the publishing of the Book of Mormon in England.) Life with his grandparents was hard, as it was for most of the early pioneers in Utah, but he survived and remained faithful in the gospel. He married Sarah Almira Leavitt, daughter of Thomas Rowell Leavitt, in the Logan Temple, May 20 1886. He worked at whatever he could find to provide for his young family and early 1897, this young family joined with four others and followed Sarah Almira ‘s family to Canada. They arrived 24 July 1897, and as soon as possible homesteaded about two miles southwest of the village of Leavitt.
They lived in Leavitt, raised their nine sons and daughters, as well as three grandchildren.
I quote from the Funeral Service talk given by Thomas S. Gregson. “Every phase of Brother
Redford’s life shows an abiding faith in God, and he never wavered. His life has shown to us that he believed all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and he believed that He would yet reveal many great and glorious things pertaining to the kingdom of Heaven. His life for many years has shown to us his unwavering faith in Temple work. For five years or more he has been an active Temple worker. No matter how busy, or how many souls were taking a holiday, his place was at the Temple. He was always found taking his place helping save the souls of men. At the last moment of his life he was engaged in this work. His friends in the Spirit World will welcome his coming, those for whom he made it possible to be born again by proxy.”
From the talk by George E. Cahoon also at the funeral service ” I have been an associate of this friend of mine and I rejoice with the way he finished the voyage of mortality. I rejoice in the way he interpreted life, while on this ship of mortality. I have known Brother Redford since he came to the country, as Brother Gregson said in 1897. I was here one year sooner than he, and was one of his first acquaintances when he came to Leavitt. I have been associated with him ever since, more or less, under all circumstances. We were together in the early days of Leavitt. I have worked in the timber with him, I have worked on the freight route with him I have been with him in almost all the transactions the ordinary man has in interpreting life, and the thing that give me a lot of satisfaction is that Brother Redford was a believer in all the ordinances of the Gospel and was happy in having the privilege of officiating in these ordinances. He held the Priesthood. He has registered at every filling station, at every stopping place on the highway of life. He has registered and his registration will stand examination. ”
And now to the part you really wanted -from the words of President Edward J.
Wood at this same time ” I appreciate my association in the temple with Brother Redford and I speak on behalf of the temple workers, most of whom are here. It was quite a surprise and shock to us when the spirit body left the physical body of Brother Redford with no warning at all. It is a very fine way to end this mortal life. Without scarcely any knowledge on the part of those around. It is a good way to pass out but quite a shock to those who remain behind. We hadn’t any indication of Brother Redford’s illness. He was sitting in our dressing room in the Temple, Brother Brown was sitting right next to him and without a word to Brother Brown, Brother Redford leaned over on the couch and never breathed again. He had had a very severe pain around the region of his heart for several months, but he always took his part except sometimes in the evenings when he was hardly able. He was one of the most dependable active speakers of the temple when taking his part. Every word was clear. He took pride in his part. He was gentlemanly, never out of order or place and always on time. What more could I say about a man? Our sympathy goes out to Sister Redford. If ever there was an ideal mother, a home mother, Sister Redford was just a perfect woman. No demonstration at all, just a good sensible woman. A woman of very deep affections and very deep convictions. They were a couple who were seldom separated. I suppose in the 55 years of married life none have lived together longer than Brother and Sister Redford. He has always wanted to be home. You seldom saw him walk the streets unless it was on business”
And from Grandmother’s biography “After we moved from Leavitt, to a house across the
street, West from the Temple, where the Temple Street Chapel now is, my husband was
appointed a Temple Officiator, which he enjoyed so very much. Little did I know on the
morning of July 30,1941, as my husband kissed me goodbye before going to the Temple for his day’s service that I would never see him alive again. He died in the Temple of a heart attack, while in the service of his Heavenly Father. As one of the councilors to President Wood said, “Brother Redford not only died in the harness, but right up in the collar.” The biggest part of me passed away with my husband. He truly was one of God’s noblemen. ” Grandmother passed away December 27,1956, at the age of ninety.
Tradition tells us that John was actually playing a part in the dialogue of the ceremony. He
had finished his part in the first room and was waiting for his cue in the second room. When he did not show, a search ensued and it was found that he had indeed passed away.
Submitted by Nedra Gay Olsen Beazer – daughter of their youngest daughter Nora Olsen