Sunday, June 6, 2010

proud to be a granddaughter

I know this is a little past due, but I still wanted to make sure I let you all know how grateful and proud I am of my granddad, Stanley Glenn Greenwell. He passed away this April at the end of a nearly lifelong battle with diabetes. My granddad was the rock of our family for more than 8 decades and still is to me. His memory continues to inspire me to work hard, live well, serve humbly, and appreciate each and every day of my life.

I miss not having him here to talk to. One of my favorite memories of my granddad came this past August. I was making one of my many trips from Provo to Richfield to visit Parker and decided it would be nice to spend my 2 hour drive catching up with my grandparents. I honestly don't think I ever even made it to my grandma. Granddad and I stayed on the phone together until the minute I hit the dead zone in the valley. I couldn't get enough of his stories. He asked all about my life and school and Parker, of course (I think he knew where we were headed long before I even did J), but I soon discovered that the best stories were his. I couldn't get enough of his history with the military, his adventures with dental school, or the story of how he and Grandma met. I wouldn't trade that memory of him for anything in the world. Now I only wish I had more...

I wrote this in my journal the day he passed. I think it's the simplest way to explain how I feel about him, his life, and his moving on to the next.

"I miss you Granddad! Mom sent word of Granddad’s passing on my way home from Utah. I was a bit tearful but hid it well behind my sunglasses. It’s so surreal. To think of showing up to Paradise and not seeing him in his chair is so sad to me. It’s this symbol of the fact that he won’t be there to chat, share insights and advice, or offer up stories from the past to eager ears. I will miss his wisdom, his knowledge, his courage, his strength, and his willingness to sacrifice for his family. He truly loved each and every one of us and we would be nowhere close to where we are today without his example. He is the rock and foundation of our family and I love him so much for it. I hope I can make him proud. I really, truly do. And I hope he is happy where he is. He’s earned a break. He deserves peace. I hope he’s found it."

My mom found this tiny photo of my Granddad and Grandma the day he got home from the war in Korea. He and my grandma were married in January of 1953 in the Salt Lake City Temple and, after just 3 weeks of marriage, he left for war. That blows my mind! It'd be like Parker leaving me this last Wednesday. I can't imagine sending him off without a promise of ever getting him back. You're a strong woman Grandma! My granddad served valiantly during his tour there and even survived fighting on the front lines during the Battle of Pork Chop Hill—one of the Korean War's bloodiest series of battles. During my granddad's service, my grandma discovered she was expecting...TWINS! This tiny photo is of my Grandma and Granddad the day he got home from the war. She went into labor with the twins that same night and my uncles Rick and David were born the next day. What a fun story!

My granddad just kept going from there. He added to his military service and BYU degree studies at the University of New Mexico, a degree in dentistry from USC (the top dental school in the nation at that time), mortuary school training, seven more children (for a grand total of 9!!!), more church callings and years as Bishop and Branch President than I can count, a legacy of charity and service, and most importantly, many, many memories to share with his future grandkids.

I am grateful for my Granddad, his example, and his service to our country and pray that Lord will watch over those out there fighting for our rights today. I love my Granddad dearly and look forward to the day when I can and will see him again to hear his stories and maybe even share my own. Happy belated Memorial Day Granddad. I love you!


  1. Thank you, Chelsey! Great picture and tribute to both dad and mom. They do love each of you, individually, on purpose! Get your mom to send you a copy of the DVD Rick made of Dad telling some of his stories, it is priceless. Love You!

  2. Thanks for the tribute to them. He was always happiest when he got to hear stories of his family living the life. I can't tell you how many times I'd call them for a quick chat and realize 2 hours later that I needed to go get dinner ready or change a diaper :). Now us grandkids (only 34 of us) will have to take on the hat of keeping the family in touch.

    Love you.


  3. What a sweet tribute, Chelsey. Granddad lived for all of us, especially his grandkids! You made him proud. All of you talented, unique and you!