Walter Stanley McRae


We were proud and happy parents when our first son was born on March 29, 1934, at the Stork's Nest Hospital in Tucson, Arizona. He was blessed with a healthy body which weighed 6 lbs. 14 oz., and he had brown hair and hazel eyes. N.C. Bledsoe was his doctor.

When he was eleven days old, he took his first trip, 50 miles from Tucson, to his new home up McRae's lane where his four sisters, Barbara Mae, June, Nadine, and Dona Lee, were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first brother.

Our son was blessed and given a name on May 6, 1934, by his grandfather, John K. McRae. He was given the name of Walter Stanley; everyone always called him Stanley.

Stanley was just a normal boy when he was small; he had his ups and downs, his pets, illnesses, and plenty of happy hours. As soon as he was old enough to distinguish people, he was always his Daddy's boy; consequently the first word he ever spoke was "Daddy." He began walking just before his first birthday and kept us on the go most of the time trying to keep up with him.

We lived in our home up McRae's lane until Stanley was just a little over a year and a half old. Walter's brother, George, and his family lived right next to us and their son, Rey, and Stanley became pals after they finally decided to be friends rather than fight all the time. They used to chase the cows and then Gladys and I would have to go all over the fields looking for them. Stanley and Rey were always the best of friends.

Another of Stanley's cousins who was very close to him, in more ways than one, was Maxel Krauss, Walter's sister, Gecoza's, oldest son. Probably the reason they became such good friends was because they were born on the same day, Maxel being born in Phoenix. We always called them twins, and, amazingly enough, they looked and acted quite a bit alike. They both grew to be tall, slender, rather quiet and sincere boys. Although they didn't spend much time together during Stanley's life, they got so much enjoyment out of occasional short visits and always kept in touch with each other through letters. They confided in each other as though they were brothers and really respected each other. Soon after Stanley's death, Maxel left on a North Central States mission.

On December 7, 1935, we moved to this place, one-half mile west of the San Pedro River and into a three-room "shack" where we stayed while we built our present home. We had only been here three months when our second son, Lorin, was born. Stanley was eager for Lorin to get old enough to play with him, and when he did, they really enjoyed each other. His two younger sisters were also born after we moved to our new place--Elizabeth in 1938 and Phyllis in 1944.

Stanley and Dona had an episode of measles while we were living in the "shack." Both were really sick for a while, and eye doctors later said their case of measles was largely responsible for their having to wear glasses.

At the age of six and a half he started his school career, which he had not yet completed when he passed away. Stanley was a good student and enjoyed school immensely, and he always took part in all extra-curricular activities. His grade school teachers at St. David Grammar School were: 1st-Zennia Clarson; 2nd-Laura Hunt; 3rd and 4th-Florence Bateman; 5th and 6th-Earl Matteson; and 7th and 8th-Ronald Bateman.

It was in Grammar School that Stanley became interested in music. Curtis Kimball, who was the music teacher, got him started and encouraged him along the way. I remember well how Stanley would ride his bicycle over to orchestra (two miles) each morning, even in the dead cold of winter. June gave him the flute which she had gotten for Christmas at one time and had never used much. Stanley was very proud of this flute, and many people have listened to him play, as he was often asked to play solos for different occasions. He also began piano lessons and spent many hours practicing so faithfully. As he became more accomplished at the piano, he was considered one of the better players in St. David, and people seemed to enjoy his playing very much. Besides playing solos, he often accompanied others. Peter Overson, who was music teacher after Brother Kimball, also had a special interest in Stanley and helped him with his music a great deal. They became very good friends. All of us derived much enjoyment and entertainment out of Stanley's music. It was really amusing how the dog we used to have would sit on the porch and howl whenever Stanley would play the flute.

Stanley and Lorin were even greater chums in Grammar School than before. They would get in their room and talk a while and inevitably these sessions ended up in a pillow fight, wrestle or something. Anyway their room was always torn up no matter how often I straightened it.

One of the more humorous things I remember about Stanley when he was in Grammar School was the time he and Dona had been fighting, and Daddy told them he wanted them to kiss and make up. Stanley was willing and tried to urge Dona to do it, but every time he about talked her into it, she would get mad all over again.

On the night of Stanley's graduation from Grammar School, he was awarded the American Legion medal.

Stanley's enthusiasm for school and all the activities carried on through high school, where he made notable accomplishments. Between his Junior and Senior years, he, Rey McRae, Carl Miller and Dean Kartchner were chosen to make a trip to Chicago for a dairy judging contest sponsored by the Nathional Dairy Association. They were accompanied by the Agricultural teacher, Milo Willis. Stanley also participated in other F.F.A. activities such as field days at Tempe and the University of Arizona, winning several honors for judging.

Another of Stanley's special interests was sports. He broke his nose while playing touch football when he was in about the 7th grade. This left his nose slightly crooked. Although Stanley was not a spectacular player when it came to sports, he was a steady and dependable one, and he made many friends among his opponents because of his good humor and honest playing. Except for baseball, he lettered in all sports offered. He was chosen on the All-State second string football team, but because he was so modest about what he accomplished, few people ever realized it. Tennis was probably his favorite sport. When playing in the State tournament in Tucson at one time, his glasses got broken, so he calmly borrowed another pair and finished the game.

Somewhere along the line in high school, Stanley bought himself a camera, which soon became almost as much a part of him as his right arm. At every reception, graduation, at school, during programs - well, just about any place, you could almost be sure he would be around somewhere taking pictures. His favorite pastime was catching people unawares to take their picture. Practically every teacher in High School had the experience of looking up after hearing the click of Stanley's camera. He built up this picture-taking hobby until he had quite a large collection when he died. For a while he developed his own pictures.

Scholastically Stanley was outstanding. Each of his four years he won the scholarship medal for having the highest grades. When he graduated he was valedictorian of his class.

Stanley worked as gardener for the Powder Plant during two summers while going to high school. He kept up the yards at the homes on Powder Row in Benson. It was then he became such a good friend of Mrs. Jones whose husband was in charge at the Plant. She would often have Stanley come in from his work to play for her on the piano.

As far as Church activities and ordinations are concerned, Stanley took his Church seriously and never had to be urged to attend to his responsibilities in its connection. He served as assistant Sunday School secretary for a while, was a ward teacher, and was often called upon to play the piano in priesthood meetings. At the time of his death he was an elder. He baptized his youngest sister, Phyllis, when she turned eight.

The summer before Stanley started college, he worked in the machine shop at the Powder Plant so was able to live at home and help around the place. That summer he cleared out the weeds in our front yard, leveled it by using a long plank and planted our first lawn. He also made white cement posts for the fence in front of the house and in the front of the field to the east.

In September 1952, he enrolled in the College of Agriculture at the University of Arizona, for which he had received a Sears Roebuck Scholarship for $200. He became active at the L.D.S. Institute and joined its social group, Lambda Delta Sigma.

Carl Miller, Dean Kartchner and Rey McRae started college the same time as Stanley, and these four students from St. David won the President's Cup that year. The Cup is awarded to the school having not less than three or more than nine students which had the highest grade average for the year. Stanley and Dean were roommates, and both were chosen to Sophos, national Sophomore honorary, for the next year.

He worked at the Powder Plant again between his freshman and sophomore years, and during those three months he helped a great deal with laying the foundation, pouring the floor, etc. for our new living room. After school had started again, he would come home on weekends to work on the room so that it would be finished by Christmas, as all the family planned to be home then.

Stanley was awarded the Sears Roebuck Scholarship for his Sophomore year, and he also, to help out financially, worked as janitor at the Institute. Between semesters he changed from Agriculture to the College of Engineering. He was again very active at the Institute and took several religion classes under the director, Brother Clyde Tidwell.

On May 1, 1954, the annual State Lambda Delta Sigma Convention was held at Flagstaff, Arizona. Stanley went along with the group from the Institute and took an active part in the convention. Dona was teaching in Flagstaff then so was able to see him. He told her about the good pictures he had taken in Oak Creek Canyon on the way up that morning (it had just snowed). The first was on a Saturday, and that evening a program and dance were held. Stanley, along with three other boys, dressed as negroes and sang a spiritual. They followed this with an imitation of the Institute directors. Everyone got a kick out of their performance.

The following morning a short testimony meeting was held at which Stanley offered the opening prayer. Around 11:00 a.m. they left Flagstaff to return to Tucson. Ervin Black from Snowflake was driving the car in which Stanley was travelling, and others along were Roy Claridge and Walter Rawson from Safford, Arizona, and Helen and Frances Nickerson, twin sisters from Bisbee, Arizona. Their trip went fine until they were almost home again. About 45 miles from Tucson, at an intersection just out of Picacho, their car was hit by a car-carrier truck. Walter and Ervin were killed immediately, and Helen died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital in Florence. Stanley was in critical condition and was given a 50-50 chance. His doctor was a member of the Church, and he and Daddy administered to Stanley soon after his arrival at the hospital. The other Lambda Delta members who had gone to the Convention had come upon the scene of the accident, and after Stanley was in the hospital, they all joined in a prayer circle in his behalf on the lawn outside the hospital. The accident occurred around 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 2, and he passed away at 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 3.

Stanley's cousin, Maxel, said he thought Stanley was allowed to live for those few hours while he made a choice whether to stay on earth or go on to the other side where he was needed so much. We'll not know the whys and wherefores for a while, but I'm sure Stanley will tell us all about it someday.

His body was taken from Florence to Bring's Funeral Home in Tucson, where the St. David Elders' Quorum Presidency--Bill Tilton, Laddie Richey and Sam Banner--dressed him for burial. On the night of the 4th his casket was opened for the benefit of his friends in Tucson.

All of the family was here the next day when his body was brought home for the last time. For about an hour before the services, his casket was open in the living room which he had helped to build, and many friends and relatives came to see him there.

Stanley's funeral was indeed a beautiful service, and there were approximately 500 friends and relatives who came to pay tribute to him. So many people sent beautiful flowers, and they made the chapel look like a little bit of heaven.

Dr. Robert Nugent, Vice President of the University, and Brother Clyde Tidwell, director of the L.D.S. Institute in Tucson, both gave talks at the funeral. Bishop J. Cortis Reed read the obituary, James A. Kartchner gave the opening prayer, the Singing Mothers sang "Prayer Perfect," Aunt Maude Post read an original poem, Sister Bruce Gibson sang "Going Home," followed by a sermon by Brother Bruce Gibson and a song, "Abide with Me," by a male quartet from the Institute--Gail Holladay, Dick Williams, Melvin and Bob Owens. Closing prayer was given by Brother Ronald G. Bateman.

Interment was at the St. David Cemetery with Stanley's uncle, James Cooper, dedicating the grave. As the casket was ready to be lowered, a trumpet solo, "Till We Meet Again," was played in the distance.

On June 17, 1954, Dona was married in the Mesa Temple and during the same session, Daddy went through to do Stanley's work for him.

Soon after the accident, the Sophos group at the University sent Dean Kartchner as a representative to ask Daddy and me for our approval of their plans to set up a scholarship for the outstanding sophomore man to be called the "Rawson-McRae Memorial Award to the Outstanding Sophomore Man" to be awarded to the student chosen by the Sophos to receive it each year. They asked that Daddy and Brother Rawson be present on Men's Night each year to present the award.

The Lambda Delta Sigma chapter at the University established a memorial which is to be held yearly in memory of the four students. It is a Restoration Memorial, and this year it was held on May 6 with President Marion D. Hanks of the First Council of Seventy as the guest speaker.

Stanley was only 20 when he died, and it was hard for all of us to understand why he had to go while still so young. We miss him, but are confident that he is happy and doing much good on the other side.

Yes, we were proud parents when our first son was born, and we are still very proud and grateful for having been given the privilege of raising him. We are anxiously awaiting the time when we will once again be reunited with our son, Stanley.

By Hazel P. McRae
July, 1955

A Blessing given by A. Gordon Kimball, Patriarch, upon the head
of Walter Stanley McRae, son of Walter S. McRae and Hazel Adline
Post, born March 29, 1934, at Tucson, Pima, Arizona.

Southern Arizona Stake, No. 38
St. David, Arizona, July 5, 1933

Walter Stanley McRae: In the name of Jesus Christ and in the authority of the Holy Priesthood, I lay my hands upon your head to give you a blessing, and at your request and by this authority, I pray that our Heavenly Father may guide me and bless me that I may be able to say something that will be of value and that is in your heart that I should say.

You have many things to be thankful for. You have accomplished a few things in your young life and the Lord expects many great things from you. You were a faithful and valiant spirit in the Spirit World. You associated with God's other spirit children, your brothers and sisters. You received instructions from your Heavenly Father, and, knowing the great plan which he had in store for his children, you were privileged and honored to come to earth and tabernacle in the flesh. You knew in the Spirit World that there would be many temptations, there would be sickness, there would be many discouraging things that would come into your life, but you were willing and anxious to come to earth to work out your further mission and exaltation that you might, through your faithfulness, return to your Heavenly Father.

You were privileged to come in this day and age of the world when the Gospel is on the earth, having been restored by our Heavenly Father and his prophets, and the Priesthood has been restored on the earth giving man the privilege to act for God himself.

You were privileged and honored to come to earth through goodly parents, being born under the covenant, and receiving instructions and advice by example and by precept of those things that would be for your good and have been for your good as you have grown to manhood.

Through your faithfulness you have been blessed to receive the Priesthood. Through your diligent work in the Church, you have been honored now to hold the higher Priesthood, which is the greatest privilege a boy or man can have bestowed upon him, the privilege of acting and working for your Heavenly Father. I pray that you will magnify this calling at all times, that you will live a good clean virtuous life, that you will always be able to be an example to all those with whom you come in contact.

I exhort you to study further that you may be a "minute man", that you may be prepared to teach the Gospel when-ever occasion arises to prople with whom you associate both within and without the Church, that you may always be able to give encouragement and answers to their questions that they may so desire. You may have this blessing given unto you if you are faithful and prayerful unto your Heavenly Father. Live so that this blessing of the Gospel may permeate your system, that you may always have a ready answer to give those who would like to know more of the plan of life and would like to know their mission here upon the earth.

I bless you with wisdom that in the future proper time that you may have wisdom given yunto you to select the proper woman for your companion, a woman who will be virtuous and clean and have a testimony of the Gospel, that you may be married properly by those with the proper authority and be sealed for time and eternity in the temple of the Lord; that the children who come into your home will be born under the covenant and be blessed; that you will have strength and courage to teach them the Gospel as you have been taught.

You are of the blood of Israel, through the lineage and loins of Joseph and Ephraim, and because of this lineage, you are blessed with the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which blessings are many.

Now I seal these blessings upon your head and ask God to bless you with every blessing that is for you to enjoy, and through your faithfulness and righteous living, I promise that they will be fulfilled. I seal you up to the morning of the resurrection to come forth in eternal life and enjoy its blessings. I bless you to this end and ask God to ratify this blessing, and I do it humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Patriarch: (signed) A.G. Kimball