Tuesday, July 29, 2008

George Badley II (1869-1928)

George Baddley II was a man. And how he fit into his niche "a little lower than the angels!” I refer to him as the "second" because he is the second George Baddley with no middle name or initial to hold the Priesthood. George Baddley was born February 4, 1869 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

When we think of a man the attribute of kindness is slow to come into our consciousness, for kindness is a quality of character often found in woman and seldom found in man. George possessed and practiced a great many virtues. A great many more, in fact, than most men, even among the holders of the Priesthood, but kindness blazed forth in his personality more brightly than any of his other favorable virtues. So brightly did it blaze that it put his faults in the dim background.

This kindly man embarked on a life of bitter struggle in a two room adobe home at 346 South Tenth East in Salt lake City. The house was built by his father for a second wife, Charlotte DeGrey, who, in turn, willed it to her youngest son, George. The present (1950) kitchen, sitting porch, and sleeping porch were added by George after his marriage. Much to the chagrin and disappointment of the writer, this priceless heirloom was sold by George's widow at a time of financial stress while her youngest son and only real support was on a mission.

George's real education took place within the shelter of these adobe bricks under the tutelage of his industrious and loving mother. He learned his "readin', writin', and 'rithmetic" at the Tenth Ward School. The three R's was the extent of his formal education, for he was forced out of school into full time employment along about his fourth or fifth grade to help his husbandless mother keep up with bare necessities. When I say "full time employment", I mean just that. It was in the days of the old twelve- to sixteen-hour day. However, he later became a thoroughly well read and self-educated man. For instance, it was to Uncle George that many of his nieces and nephews came for assistance with their high school studies when they found their own parents unable or unwilling to cope with the subjects at hand. And, this, in spite of the fact that their folks had more formal education than "Uncle Jud", as they had affectionately, though a little flippantly, called him.

He proved to be a kind and patient tutor, and it is to be regarded that circumstances prevented him from becoming a college professor rather than a laborer. He had all the intelligence, aptitude, patience, tact, and love needed to qualify as an excellent teacher and few of the physical qualities necessary to the laborer. His physical energies were sapped early in life by frequent and continued attacks of "sore throat." Tonsillitis and streptococcus were entirely unknown to the medical men of his time and "sore throat" was just something to be endured until it cleared up of its own accord. His tonsils were finally removed in his late middle life, after they had taken their insidious toll. Incidentally, his death was caused by a throat infection.

As a lad, whenever he was stricken to his bed with the treacherous pain in the throat, his first request was always to have his Uncle Henry Dixon come and administer the consecrated oil. Such faith in small children is a thing of rarity. It is usually the parents who summon the Elders. This faith in God continued to be manifest in his character all his life. It was a source of faith promotion to all who knew George, and, it is hoped, to all who shall read this sketch of his life.

Such implicit trust in the Lord is further brought to light when we consider George's late marriage. He was handsome as a youth, which would indicate an early marriage. But, an essentially kind person never imposes himself on anyone and George, in the proposals he did make, did not attempt to assert any false masculine superiority or in any way seek to make himself forceful. Consequently, he was refused more than once, but continued to trust that the Lord would guide him to his mate. That he was guided of Providence is drown in the fact that his wife, Alice Donoghue, had repeatedly refused proposals from a wide range of suitors, though she, in contrast to him, was considered rather plain-looking in her youth. And, the Lord had to bring her all the way from England to her chosen mate. That their union was approved by the higher powers is well attested by the perfect harmony that characterized their twenty-four years together. They were married December 20, 1905 in the Salt Lake Temple.

The following incident took place during this comparatively brief span of married bliss: One-day George's wife detected something distinctly strange in his attitude the minute he came home from work. Wisely, she waited until dinner was over and the children put to bed before approaching him with her suspicions that something had gone wrong at his work. "Is everything all right at the shop, George?" she inquired, being sure to get the subject under way before he became engrossed in his evening paper or a crossword puzzle. George came quickly to the point. "They are getting a new foreman in my place tomorrow" he replied, anxious to get the matter off his chest. "Rags came to work half drunk again this morning. Remember me telling you the last time it happened that the management wanted me to fire him? Well, this afternoon they called me on the carpet and insisted that I get another truck driver in his place. Alice, I didn't have the courage to fire the man. What in the world would his wife and ten kiddies do? They are already facing poverty! That stuff eats up half his meager wages as it is. When they told me I would either have to carry out their orders or they would get another foreman who would, I suggested that they do just that. I will be back on my old job as stock clerk again next Monday." His saintly wife was more concerned over the plight of "Rags" and his family than with the way she was going to manage the family budget on five or ten dollars less per week, albeit she was practicing every economy to live on his small salary as foreman.

George returned to his paper, and his wife to her darning. A cool breeze fluttered through the screen door, rattling it a little, and then quieted itself as though it were loath to disturb the serenity of the room. Alice glanced at her husband's honest face, her heart swelling with love and pride. Her concern over the reduction in salary faded into the beautiful night as she contemplated the bigness of his heart.

The writer lived close to his father for nearly twenty-two of these twenty-four years and can remember nary a single angry word having blemished his lips, either within the confines of his well-ordered home, at his work (and I was there often and long), or anywhere else. Such a great achievement could come from no one but a completely kind man. And, his was an overruling kindness for he was born with a sharp tongue and a hot temper. He had manifested these hereditary weaknesses on some occasions in his teenage youth.

For example, I remember my father telling me of the time he was embroiled in a fistfight when he was a youngster. He was taking a sound beating and enduring it gamely and painfully until his older brother, Henry, came along. It seems that all of his opponent’s friends and relatives were there and George could not successfully compete against such a solid front of moral support. But, when some of his own flesh came along to cheer for him, he promptly and quietly disposed of his adversary. The writer didn't ask his father about the cause of the fight. He was too thrilled that his idol had won. Nevertheless, there could have been some harsh words and uncontrolled tempers at the bottom of it.

Another example could be cited in this connection. At one time when George was about sixteen or seventeen and supporting his widowed mother, a petty straw boss sought to hold dominion over him. George endured the fellow as long as he could, and finally, in a fit of temper and after having administered his erstwhile superior a thorough tongue lashing, he walked off the job. And, jobs were mighty hard to land in those days! I repeat, however, that he conquered his tongue, and anyone who knew him in his later years would never have dreamed that he had overcome all outward indications. Had he not conquered himself, he never could have so quietly endured the pain and discomfort of a throat cancer during the long months immediately preceding his death.

In his brave way he had gone about making his will and preparing in every way for our comfort, knowing full well that his time was short and resolutely keeping from everyone but his lawyer, Harry Evers. Mr. Evers revealed these facts to us after George had gone to his reward. The genuine fortitude of this man is further indicated in a remark by his physician at the time he was operated upon for the throat cancer. Dr. Stauffer said that he had told my father there would be some pain prior to administering the anesthesia. In fact, he warned his patient that the pain would be severe. Dad replied calmly, "Go ahead, I am ready". He then unflinchingly lay back in the chair and opened his mouth wide. The doctor later remarked upon the courage displayed.

But, to get on with some of the less sorrowful events of George's life, let us consider his kindly devotion to his religious ideals. One noon hour as he and his fellow workers at the old Joseph Nelson Plumbing supply house were sunning themselves, a painted and rather coarse looking woman passed by. Almost before she was out of hearing distance, one of the men remarked, "I wonder who slept with her last night." Whereupon, they all laughed their approval of the smutty remark except George. After the obscene laughter had subsided, my father proceeded quietly, but with all the authority of the Priesthood he magnified, to tell them they did not know for sure that she was a worldly woman and that they should respect her sex, regardless. His voice rang with such firm kindliness that none of them, to the writer's knowledge, ever made a slurring remark about womankind again in his presence. Respecters of women are ofttimes of a reticent and retiring nature in contrast to the swaggering cowards who seek to bring women down to their own level. George, though courageous, was reticent and retiring, and he loved the quiet retreat of his home, his books, and his newspapers. His wife often complained that he "didn't take her out anywhere from one year's end to the other." He was deaf in one ear which drove him further into his reserve.

He was, therefore, anything but a public man and gave but one public speech in his entire life. But, his discourse was the talk of the Tenth Ward for days afterward. All his intense and prayerful hours of study on various gospel themes were brought to his memory in the hour of need and he succeeded admirably. To this day, his widow continues to relate the compliments that came to her afterwards, though it was not her privilege to hear him. She was confined to her home with illness at the time of his sermon. However, she did hear him when he was the only one speaking in a crowd, on many occasions, at the annual New Year's Eve Party of the L.O.S.C. His wife was a member of the Ladies of Quality Sewing Club. They met each month during the year and invited their husbands on New Year's Eve. George told the same jokes every year and drew hilarious laughter on each occasion. It was not the jokes that went over, but his uncanny ability to tell them. At his telling they never lost their spice. He might have been a successful professional actor because of this talent. In fact, in his younger days, he did a small amount of stage work in local ward dramas and was much sought after for the character of Brutus in the play Julius Caesar, though in private life his personality was the direct antithesis of that of Brutus.

Another incident will illustrate the lighter side of his nature, though it resulted in the deafness mentioned above. During the noon rest period at the same old Joseph Nelson supply house, the men were idling in the warehouse, which at the time was rather empty of its wares. Two or three of them were entertaining the others with capers on their bicycles and daring each other to go nearer and nearer to the staircase. George came nearer than any of them. So much nearer, in fact, that he and his cycle were plunged down the entire length of the long stairway. One of his ears was injured severely, resulting in complete deafness on that side and impairment of hearing in the other.

Because of the irritating aspects of this particular affliction, we often think of the typical partially deaf person as being fractious and impatient. He is usually anything but kind. This was not so with George. He was a kind man to the end of his life.

For instance, less than an hour after our father died, my Uncle Will Rossiter took my brother and me off to the side to console us. "Boys," he said, "your father didn't know how to do anything wrong." We were temporarily consoled and Uncle Will's gruff and simple, yet sincere, compliment will remain in my memory long after any of the things that were said at the funeral. It was my father's beautiful kindness of disposition that was in the heart of Uncle Will when he was prompted to evaluate the character of George Baddley for the benefit of his two sons in their hour of deep sorrow.

George and Alice Baddley had the following children born to them: George Donoghue, born October 1, 1906; Ralph Edgar, born January 19, 1908 and Alice Christiana, born December 16, 1911.

Written by Ralph Edgar Baddley, son of George Baddley.

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