Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dial Family Blogs

As you can see, we've added a new section to the sidebar—Dial Family blogs. If you want us to add your blog to the list, just leave a comment on this post with the web address.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Check out the new Glen "B" Dial photo group on Flickr, at You don't have to have a Flickr account to view the photos, but if you do have an account, feel free to join the group.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Willy's Letter to Dad

Hey dad...

I wanted to write to you about daisy. She is being a pain in the ass. It seems she doesn't have any memories of you of her own and she wants to have some of mine and everyone else's. So I wanted to check my memory about a few things with you.

I wonder if you remember that time when I was 5 and I had those nightmares? 3 nights in a row I woke up in a sweat because some kid at school had told me he saw a little girl being burned at the stake by a group of devils in the canyons behind our trailer. you spent a Saturday morning roaming the canyons with me to prove it wasn't true. I was afraid but you made me look behind every boulder and in every crevice. A couple of times you even lowered me into places I couldn't have gotten out of but you would always pull me back up after I was confident there were no devils. Finally, I was satisfied that I'd been lied to and we headed home. I remember finding a $5 bill on the way home and you took it and said we would spend it later together. You still owe me that... just in case you forgot. However, I haven't been afraid of the devil since that time so you can just keep my share. You earned it.

I bet you don't recollect that time you got me all excited to work on the rambler? I figured we were gonna rebuild the engine or something. Imagine my disappointment when it was just an oil change and took only 15 minutes. I figure you owe me about $2.50 cents for that too. But since you probably sparked my interest in mechanical stuff, you can keep that too. You earned it.

Remember the letters you sent you me all those times you were in westpac. I found them a few years after you died and, since I didn't remember them being so young at the time, they seemed like new to me. They were all pretty much the same, how you missed us and wished you were home and they smelled like a ship.

I know you remember the times I went to the base pool with you on the weekends when you worked there. I spent hours in the pool in between the recruits coming in to get their training in water survival. You used to tell me to go off the high dive while all the recruits huddled on the pool deck watching me. You figured it would shame some of them into trying harder to overcome their fear if they saw a 10 year old kid diving from the 3 meter board. But there were some guys that were plenty scared of the water and more than once I heard screams coming from the pool area while I was in the showers. When I looked to see what the commotion was about, it was either some recruit that was afraid to even get in the water or one that was afraid of jumping off one of the platforms. More than once I saw them get in the water... with some assistance from you or one of the others lifeguards there. I always wondered how anyone could be afraid of the water. Anyway, just in case one of the other lifeguards complained about their cigarettes being gone, I smoked a few of them while I was there. So I guess I probably owe you about $5 so you can pay them back. Do you take visa?

Oh! I bet you remember what your advice was to me that time I came to see you in the hospital shortly after your operation. I wasn't going to be old enough to get in for another 6 months so they had to sneak me in late in the evening. I figure you didn't know if you were going to live or not and decided you couldn't take the chance of not seeing me again. The fact you lived for 3 more years can't change the truth that this was basically what you considered to be your death bed. It seems you had a couple of words of advice to give me that night. I sure do wish I could remember what they were but I was only 10 then so you'll have to forgive me for being too distracted to listen.

To be honest dad, I don't remember much more than this about you. It seems most of my memories don't include you, even before you got sick. I believe it was rick that pointed out how much you weren't there for a period of time. Unfortunately that was the time I would have had to remember you by. Too bad... I hear you had a great sense of humor! Oh! That reminds me of what the advice you gave me that time in the hospital. You didn't really think I could forget it did you? "Don't be afraid to cry and don't ever loose your sense of humor." Well dad, I am still afraid to cry... that or I never found it does much good... but I still have my sense of humor. If you had anything to do with that, I owe you a debt of gratitude I can never repay. I just wish you had spent enough time with me or lived long enough to show me yours.

Anyway, this is just a little letter back to you in response to all those ones you sent me. I sent a copy to daisy since she doesn't have any memories of her own about you. I hope these few I have help her out a bit.
—Willy Dial

Thursday, December 6, 2007

In His Own Words: Glen's Prayer for His Family

Written in 1964 while in Balboa Naval Hospital
Heavenly Father up above
Please protect the ones I love
keep them always safe and sound
until I can be around

help them to know
and help them to see
that I love them
and help them love me

And dear Lord help me to be
the kind of man they would have of me
Hours, years and days may pass by
but my love for them will never die

Keep us now, and keep us forever
Happy, loving and always together.
—Glen "B" Dial

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Daisy's Memories

I don’t have any first-hand memories of my Dad, which is unfortunate. It makes sense, though, because I was three when he got sick and six when he passed away. I remember living in Logan during the time he was in the VA hospital in Salt Lake City, but the memories are both few and far between.

I remember being in kindergarten and having to wear an eye patch because I had a lazy eye, and I kept my hand over the patch all day. When I had to draw, I switched to my other hand, never revealing the massive patch that everyone knew was there. I remember my teacher sending my Mom a note saying that I never spoke. I was a very shy child, and judging from the pictures, I cried a lot. Some things never change.

I have a memory, but I do not know if it was real or imagined, of Rodney and me taking a bag of chocolate chips, and going out to the garage and eating the whole bag. Somehow when we came back, Mom knew what we had done, I can only imagine chocolate smeared all over our little faces and hands…but when you are a child, you think “how did she know?”

I remember having a dream one night while living in the big white house on the corner (the old Dial home), that it snowed. I came downstairs and told everyone, and they laughed because I had never seen snow, so how would I know what it looked like? To all of our surprise, we looked out the window and it was indeed, snowing. One of three things happened; first, I really had the dream, second, I saw something strange coming out of the sky from my bedroom window and assumed it was snow, or three, I am completely making this up. It seems real to me though.

Mom & Daisy, ca. 1966(?)
Karen & Daisy Dial

I vaguely remember an incident between Willy and Karen. I think Willy wasn’t allowed to pour his own drinks, and in the end Karen dumped the whole pitcher on him. This is where memory flaws come in though. My entire life I have thought that it was a pitcher of lemonade, but someone recently told me it was water. In my mind it was lemonade and I have always wondered how sticky everything must have been.

What I do know for sure is this: all of my life I’ve heard about this man I never knew, and unknowingly felt deserted by him. It was a deep-seated emotion that was planted firmly in my soul. I didn’t even realize it was there, yet it affected everything in my life. I have since dealt with these feelings, and by that I mean that I have acknowledged he did not desert me. He, in fact, died. He had no control over the things that took place, and I know in my heart he would be here if he could be. I love him for my life, for my family and for the things in me that I know are from him. He is a part of me, and I am a part of him.

I can’t imagine what my Mother’s life was like. I can’t imagine losing a partner that I had been with for twenty years and had six (one of which passed away) children with. I can’t imagine most of all what it must have been like for her to finish raising us on her own. She has had an amazing life, and I know that my Dad would be happy with the accomplishments she has made, as a Mother and as a person. And finally, I know that he is waiting to greet her in the life after this.

As I have been putting things together for this blog I am helping to organize for my Dad, and reading about his life and illness, I came to realize that though I know he was a very good man, and has been missed by all who knew him, the real hero in this story, for me, is my Mom. She stood by his side while he was sick for three years, and she carried on as both Mother and Father after he was gone. She said something to me last week that I found interesting: "He was a much better man than I was a woman." It makes me sad to think that she believes that, because I think she is amazing. I have no doubt that my Dad was a very good man, but the two can’t be compared, because it would be like comparing apples and oranges. Maybe the reason that she remained here with us was because she was able to take on the responsibility of caring for five children on her own.

I want to take this opportunity to thank her for always accepting me regardless of what others might see as my "faults." Also, for giving me the opportunity to share my life and my experiences with her, without judgment. It's interesting to find, as I get older, how the people who have judged me and the way I am, are the same people that break the very commandments they claim to hold dear. It is not our job to judge each other, it is not our job to decide what is right for each other, it is our job to accept and love those in our lives, and to allow them the same liberties that we are allowed, the free agency to find our own path back to God. I learned this from her.

She is my hero. I've said it before and I will say it again, had I been in her shoes I probably would have killed myself...does that make me weak and her strong? No, it simply makes us different. Every person on earth is unique, just like our fingerprints. If we were all the same, what would be the point of us all living here together?

In 1985, my Mom had a massive stroke, which left her paralyzed on her right side and unable to speak. Fortunately, I decided to call her that morning, and knowing something was wrong, I drove to her house. The paramedics rushed her to Balboa Naval Hospital. After a couple of weeks she began talking again, and the first thing she said to me, with tears in her eyes, was “why didn’t you let me go so I could be with Glen?” It broke my heart because through the years she put on a very brave front, I am sure, for our benefit. In an instant I could see the devastating loneliness she felt having lost the love of her life so many years ago. She has missed my Dad each and every day since he was taken from her, and when I think of her having to leave my life, I take great comfort knowing that she will once again enter into his waiting, loving arms. I love you Mom and Dad.
—Daisy Dial

Beth Remembers Her Husband

These memories come from a recent interview with Beth by her granddaughter TatiAnna Tibbitts.
I was dating his brother, Merlin. I had heard of the whole family, but I hadn’t really known them. I was walking down the street one day, and he drove past me. And I thought it was Merlin, so I waved to him— though I didn’t know him from anybody! That’s how I met him. And this girl that was with me said: “I get him.” But he pointed to me and said, “I get her.”

Soon after that, he went back to the Navy, so I didn’t see him for quite a while. Our first date, I was supposed to be going out with Merlin, but he stood me up. Glen came to tell me he wasn’t coming, and I ended up going with him instead. I did his hair. I don’t remember why but I put it up in bobby pins.

Christmas GreetingsMerry Christmas from Glen
Glen sent Beth this Christmas Card in 1949 from the U. S. S. Toledo.
(Click to enlarge.)

We had a very small wedding. He was stationed in Bremerton, Washington, and I went up there and we got married up there. I took the bus from Salt Lake to Bremerton. It was a miserable ride.

Glen "B" and Beth Dial

I don’t remember much, but I remember that he was a very, very good man. He was a much better man than I was a woman.

He was sick for three years, and was in the hospital most of those three years. He was in the Salt Lake V.A. near the end. He came home on weekends.
—Beth Dial

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

From Birth to Death: Rick Dial on His Father

Dad was born on March 6, 1929 in Logan, UT. He was the third child and second son of Willis Aaron Dial and Ida Geneva Beckstrand Dial. Grandpa Dial settled in Logan with his wife and family, after having served an LDS mission in Germany, and having graduated as a teacher from what is now Utah State University. Grandpa had a career as a woodshop teacher at Logan Junior High School. Grandma was a devoted housewife and homemaker. I met one of Dad’s school teachers once, and he said that Glen was kind of a “monkey” in school. I don’t think he worried too much about being an excellent scholar, but he was very concerned about being a good friend, and went out of his way to be a friend to everybody who needed one.

By the time he was seventeen, Dad decided that he would join the Navy as soon as his father would sign for him. Apparently, Grandpa didn’t much approve of his young son rushing off to see the world before finishing high school, so he refused to sign. At least, not until the last day before Dad turned eighteen. Dad then joined the Navy and left town.

Grandma Dial had a best friend back when she was a teenager in Shelley, Idaho…a gal by the name of Daisy Christensen. Well, to make a long story short, Daisy’s youngest daughter named Beth decided to attend the A.C. (Agricultural College, USU) after graduating from Granite High School in Salt Lake City. Mom is a smart lady, but I think she went to college to get out on her own and meet some new guys. Up in Logan, Mom met Merlin Dial (Glen’s brother). Grandpa Humphries, her father, told her to stop by the Dial household and say hi to her Mother’s best friend. Seems like she got to talk to the big brother first, but the guy who really got her attention was the Navy man who was home on leave. They hit it off, and decided to get married. Without anyone knowing their plans, Glen and Beth took off to Washington State (close to where Dad’s ship was stationed), and got married! Surprise, surprise!

When I (Rick Glen Dial) was born on August 18, 1949, Mom and I were at the L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City on a very hot day, while Dad was gone to sea on the U.S.S. Toledo, a Heavy Cruiser (somewhere down around Panama). Dad was 20 and Mom was 19, and I was 0. Mom and I lived at various times in Salt Lake, or Logan. The new parents were expecting another baby soon, a little girl they named Wanda Ann Dial (in honor of Grandpa Dial, same initials—W.A.D.) who only lived for just two short weeks in the early spring of 1951, and passed away from breathing challenges. The little family was destined to grow, and Karen Beth Dial was born on February 15, 1952, and Willis Aaron Dial followed on March 4, 1953.

By the time I turned four, Dad was out of the Navy, and we moved to Wilmington, CA near Long Beach, where he worked for Ford Motor Company. We lived in a trailer, and in our trailer court there was at least one oil well. We were under strict orders not to go near it. Dad served as an Assistant Scout Master for our ward’s Boy Scouts. He took me on a winter campout up in the San Bernardino Mountains. I remember staying in a cabin up there, Dad making sure I was warm and dry, and having a snowball fight with some of the other Scouts.

We moved back to Salt Lake Valley when I was still four. We lived in Murray, in a trailer at the Doc ‘n’ Dale’s Trailer Court. Dad worked for Uncle Bert (Mom’s Brother), steam cleaning trucks. When I was five, my friend and I noticed that an old empty building on State Street had a few broken windows. So we got the idea to break all the rest of those windows. A policeman saw us, and we were in trouble. Dad’s punishment for me was a couple of spankings, and two weeks in my room. He made it clear that I must never throw another rock (at glass) in my life.

Dad taught me how to ride a bike. He bought a Pontiac, and that was his favorite car ever. We went on a picnic up in the mountains when I was five. Dad was pushing me in a swing, and I fell out and cut the back of my head, which produced a lot of blood. Dad pressed a handkerchief against my head to stop the bleeding. By the time we got to the hospital, the doctor only needed a big band-aid to fix me up. Because of that incident, I am always careful when pushing someone on swings…making sure they always hold on tight.

Dad decided to join the Navy as a career, so when I was in 1st grade, we moved back to Southern California. Over the next ten years, we lived in all kinds of housing-huts (left over from World War II), apartments, and homes. Dad served on cargo ships, and every two years his ship sailed to Japan for at least six months. He was gone a lot. My main memories of him during that time is that, when he was home at night (as opposed to serving duty on the ship), our family would watch one hour of TV together. Dad liked to have his feet tickled, so Karen and I would take turns tickling Dad’s feet. It made him happy.

Dad decided to get training for the submarine service. Years later, Mom told me that this happened because he suffered from sea sickness, and on subs you don’t have that problem. The entire Dial Family moved to Connecticut for three months while Dad went to Sub School. Across country by car we went…our big adventure.

Back in San Diego, Dad served on two submarines, and old WWII sub called the Sea Devil, and a newer diesel sub named Jonquil. Mom and I went out on Dad’s boat one day for a “dependant’s cruise.” We dove under the water, got to look through the periscope, and had lobster for lunch. For about ten minutes, I got to visit Dad at his duty station. He was an Electrician’s Mate, so he took care of the batteries on the sub.

Dad went to nuclear power school at Mare Island Naval Base, up in the San Francisco Bay area. We all moved up there and lived in an apartment on the island. Dad’s math skills weren’t the best, and he didn’t get through the very difficult school. The good news is that the Navy reassigned him to work in San Diego at NTC (Naval Training Center) in Point Loma. He worked first as a Company Commander, in charge of a new group of recruits. Then, he worked as a Swimming Instructor. Dad loved the water, and the beach. He had his dream job, and we finally got to move into a four bedroom house in military housing in Pacific Beach. By this time, Rod who was born on October 6, 1959, and Daisy who was born on August 28, 1961 were still quite young, and the house on Pico Street was just the right size for us. We lived in the San Diego 7th Ward where Dad again served as an Assistant Scoutmaster. Some of the Scouts were goofing off, and made Dad mad, which was not a good idea. He straightened them out real quick and they got a taste of “military justice.”

When Dad was home and he wanted to talk with one of us, he would go out the front door and whistle really loud. You could hear his whistle for at least half a mile. Our job was to get back home within a few minutes to see who Dad wanted to talk to, and if it wasn’t you, you could go back out and play.

Apparently, there was an accident at work. A Navy recruit panicked in the pool one day, and was drowning. He wouldn’t grab the long bamboo pole so they could pull him out of the water, so Dad went in to save him. The man grabbed onto Dad in a death grip, they struggled, and in the process Dad hit his head on the side of the pool. The other instructors had to then rescue both of them.

Sometime in December of 1964, Dad developed a severe headache; it wouldn’t clear up on its own, so he was admitted to Balboa Naval Hospital. They kept him in the observation ward for about a week. I remember visiting him there one time and he was in extreme pain. They finally determined that he had a brain tumor and needed an operation. He had his operation just before Christmas, and they found cancer, but could not get it all. The next summer he had another operation, and a blood vessel was cut in his brain that caused him to be paralyzed on his left side. His quality of life was compromised at that point, and he said that food tasted like gasoline. After he recuperated from the second operation, the Navy finally discharged him from active duty, as 100% disabled.

The Dial Family moved to Logan to live in Grandpa Dial’s old house. I stayed in San Diego for my senior year of High School so I could be eligible for scholarships. Right after I graduated from Mission Bay High School, I moved up to Logan to begin studying at USU (Utah State University). By this time, Dad’s overall condition had deteriorated, and he went into the old Veteran’s Administration Hospital in SLC, needing constant care. Uncle Bob Farnes would take him the Sacrament regularly (on Sunday).

Dad passed away on September 20, 1967, with his mother by his side. The Military Honor Guard funeral was in Logan, and he was laid to rest in the Logan Cemetery.

To end on a positive note, I would like to say that my Father was a very loving, affectionate man who cared about people a lot and went out of his way to be a friend. If he had any negative qualities, I don’t know or care about them. What I do remember is that Dad had a smile and a kind word for most everyone. He liked to have fun, and he tried to get along with folks.

Dad has been gone for forty years now, and I still miss him and think about him often.

I love you Dad!
—Rick Dial