John Theodore Bushman is the son of Archie Levon Bushman, who is the son of Theodore Martin Bushman, who is the son of Jacob and Charlotte Turley Bushman. Here is a personal history he compiled in 2009. John is married to Betty Lucretia Mifflin Bushman and they have seven children: Kerry “John”, Keith, Glen, Betty, Ann, Joy and Dale “Rees.”
On June 14, 1931, during one of the most trying times in America, that of the Great Depression, I came into my earthly existence. I was the third child born to Archie Levon and Isabelle Doyle Bushman. My two older brothers were Marvin Daniel and Archie Doyle, Marvin being four years older than me and Doyle two. Four years later Larry J., my younger brother, was born. I was born in the old Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah.
My recollections of my youth are happy ones. I can remember walking down to the bus stop a block away to meet my father coming home from work. Father worked for the old American Packing Company that was later bought by Swift and Company. He started when he was only a 14 year old boy running the elevator and later became foreman of the Ham and Bacon floor. He would always have a wiener or piece of lunch meat in his lunch bucket. If he didn’t have meat, he would have a cookie or apple.
During most of my youth, we did not have an automobile. Dad, as a boy, had had his thumb and eye shot out in an accident with a shotgun. I can remember my parents giving me 25 cents on Saturday to go to the movies. We were given a nickel for bus fare down, a nickel for bus fare home, a dime for the movie and another nickel for candy. Being creative children, we would walk to town and back and then would have all of the fifteen cents to spend for popcorn and candy.
Vacations for our family usually consisted of a week or two trip to South Fork on the Ogden River at the Meadows or Willows. Since we had no car, a friend or relative would take us up and then pick us up and bring us home. I can remember putting up the tent and having all kinds of fun, singing around the campfire, making one big bed and talking until late in the night or listening to Mother and Father tell stories about their early lives. I can remember one time chasing a small rabbit into the bushes with my brothers and eventually catching it. We put it in a box, but Dad persuaded us to let it go so that it would not die. The hours that we walked along the river or hiked up a hill or lay down in the grass watching the clouds go by and trying to make figures out of them created an experience that helped to, not only bring me closer to my parents, but also to gain a greater respect for life and its purposes.
My friends were always welcome at my house and were made to feel at home. Mom would usually have cookies or hot chocolate to give them. Though we did not have very much money, I never missed it and did not have feelings of regret or disappointment. I felt I was a very fortunate young man and enjoyed fully my family relationships.
Many experiences or thoughts come to mind about my youth, but very few are unpleasant or bring back bad memories. I will discuss a few of these thoughts though they might be jumbled and disorganized. People laugh at this, but I can remember the week or so after I was born. I can see people coming in and looking at me in the crib in what is now mother’s bedroom. Since I was born prematurely, I am told that I was not the most beautiful child, though I quickly caught up and during my youth I was rather thin and taller than most of the other youth my age.
Some of my fondest memories occurred at the old Washington Elementary and Junior High School. I attended school in this building until the 10th grade and then went to Ogden High School in 1947 where I was graduated in 1949. I was not the most disciplined student, getting into numerous trouble situations. The most fun year I can remember was the 6th Grade. During that year I received 21 checks for disturbing others, not working up to my ability, etc. I also sluffed school on numerous occasions.
During one of those times a group of us were seen missing school by the physical education supervisor, Mrs. Butterball. She was a short but wirey person with a strong stern face. When she saw us, most of the boys got into the swimming pool area and hid in the top of the lockers. However, I was the last one and was caught. When I refused to tell Mrs. Butterball who the other students were, she slapped me across the face and repeated the question. This happened a number of times, but I kept repeating the same answer. Finally she said, “Well, I can’t stand a tattle tale anyway.” She let me play in the playground for the rest of the afternoon while she sat by the swimming pool and all my friends had to stay hidden in the lockers.
On another occasion Mutt (my best friend, Marlow P. Taylor) and I missed class and hid in a puppet stage. This proved to be a poor decision because the stage was in a small auditorium and the teacher decided to put on a little play. When they pulled the curtains apart, there were Mutt and I crouched together. What a laugh we received.
Occasionally we would miss all day and go down to the railroad tracks. We would even get on one of the cars and ride out to the Weber River in Riverdale. We would then go to Soapy, a place on the river where the bottom was clay and soft with rapids you could slide on.
One time we decided to go through the tunnel by the golf course that went under the road. This proved to be not such a good idea since, as the Burch Creek went farther, the tunnel became more narrow and at the end you could barely get through. I became caught and could neither go forward or backward. After a period of time, the water rose in the creek until my shoulders became lubricated and I was able to get through. Between this experience and another one, I developed a fear of being in enclosed places where even today, I still do not like to be in elevators or small enclosed rooms.
The second experience that brought this on was the most frightening. This was caused by inquisitive youth who had heard that at a certain time during the year, a Chinese family brought to the Harbertson Cemetery food and precious materials that were placed in a special mausoleum. One morning about 9:00 a.m. a number of us, including my brother Bud, went to investigate. Upon arriving at the mausoleum, we explored and found one of the doors unlocked. I went in though the others were afraid to. One of the boys shut the door and it became locked. After trying to get the door open without success, most of my friends left and went home, afraid to say anything. Bud stayed and after several hours was able to pry the door open with a metal bar. In the process damage was done to the door. The air had about all gone and during the ordeal of being in total darkness was a frightful experience. I shall always remember when my mother read in the newspaper about the damage that had been done at the local cemetery and commented about how people ought to give better supervision to their children.
Christmas was always a special time. Dad would save and put money in a fund so that at Christmas time he would have cash and not have to go in debt. While not born into a wealthy family, I was born into a happy one with a mother and father who always let their children know they cared and were concerned about them. Mom or dad always went when one of their children was involved in any activity, whether it be a basketball game or a band concert. Two special things, both of a religious nature, I remember very well. Father was a member of the church, but was not active. He had a bad habit of smoking. Mother was not a member of the church, but felt religion was important and so sent us to primary. I remember well the day we came home from church and three young boys descended on their father and asked him why he smoked when we had been taught that it was harmful for you. We must have got dad to thinking because shortly thereafter, he called the family together, took two cartons of cigarettes, said if it meant that much to the boys, he was going to stop and threw them in the old pot bellied stove. I never saw Father smoke or drink again. He began to go to church and Mother was baptized the same day that I was.
Father held numerous positions in the church after that time. For many years he worked with what was then the Senior Aaronic and I believe that few men in the church ever brought into activity as many men as he did. He had an understanding nature about their problems, but always was firm.
The second event I remember so well was the day Mother and Father were married in the temple and we four boys were sealed to them. What fun we had playing games in the nursery at the Salt Lake Temple. I still remember most of them, and then eating. It seemed we were then taken down a long hallway into one of the most beautiful rooms I had ever seen and then knelt at an alter and placed our hands on each other while a man dressed in white spoke. I didn’t really understand the complete meaning of that day, but I did know it was a special day in my life.
During World War II I remember the activities of saving paper, toothpaste tubes and tinfoil from gum wrappers to help in the war effort. In fact, on December 7, 1941 the first time I heard that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor was in Stake Conference at the old Ogden Tabernacle when President William J. Critchlow, Jr., who later became an Assistant to the Twelve Apostles, stood at the microphone and in solemn tones announced the event.
Almost all of my most fond memories are in some way connected with the L.D.S. Church which became so much a part of my life. I believe I have always had a testimony of the gospel and a firm belief in the divinity of Christ. My social activities were centered around Primary, M.I.A. and scouting. I played on the Ogden 28th Ward basketball and softball teams, took part in dance and speech activities and had a very satisfying and enjoyable childhood.
After graduating from Ogden High in 1949 I entered the Naval Reserves and started working for the Southern Pacific Railroad as a pipefitters helper. After being layed off, my father was able to get a job for me at Swift and Company Meat plant where I worked until 1954 when I entered college.
Before that time I met my future wife, Betty Lucretia Mifflin, while working one summer at Varney’s Canning Factory. I was attracted to her, not only her beauty but also her honesty and spiritual nature, and on March 9, 1951 we were married in the Salt Lake Temple.
For six years we were unable to have children, though we never lost faith since we were promised that we would have the opportunity to raise some choice spirits. Our first son was born on August 18, 1957; our last son was born April 3, 1974. Between that time we had two other boys and three girls, one girl being lost at birth. How blessed I am with my fine wife who has always been diligent in the church and who has set the proper example for her family. I pray that I might guide them in the paths of righteousness.
While not having the opportunity of going on a mission for the church as a young man because when I was of age, my older brother who had been in the war was on a mission. I did become a member of the South Ogden Stake Mission Presidency and had the opportunity of helping convert a number of people to the church. How blessed we are to see a life changed when they become members of the church. Many of those converted are still very close and dear friends.
My church activities and faith promoting experiences have been many, but let me just tell of one that will show why I have such a strong testimony. My father and three brothers one November day were going pheasant hunting. As we arrived at the location we intended to hunt, we had to wait a few minutes before the season opened. Of course, we had prayer, as we always did before hunting. After the prayer, I sat back in the seat to relax. My oldest brother was preparing his gun when I heard a voice speak out, “Get out of the car.” I looked about, but no one was talking so I settled back once again, when the voice repeated, “Get out of the car.” Three times the voice spoke to me, not as a thought in my mind, but rather as if some one was speaking out loud in the car. Though no one else seemed to hear it, I decided that I had better listen and so opened the door and left the car. No sooner had I turned past the corner of the car when I heard a gun discharge. The gun of my brother, who had been sitting next to me, had gone off, blowing out the window of the car. Had I not listened to the voice of the Holy Ghost, I surely would have been killed. Perhaps the Lord was protecting me for some future purpose as being bishop, I do not know, but I do know that God lives, loves us and will protect those who listen to him and obey his commandments.
My chosen profession was in public education where I taught history at Bonneville High School and worked in secondary administration as vice-principal and principal in several secondary schools in the Weber School District. I retired as principal of Roy Junior High School.
I enjoy sports, fishing and hunting, classical music, and reading. Much of my life has been involved in going to school or teaching. I have attended college for ten years and hold four degrees. I have been fortunate in receiving a number of scholarships and am a member of Phi Kappa Phi National Honorary Society.
I served in the bishopric of the South Ogden 38th Ward, as bishops of the Layton Third and Twentieth Wards, and as 1st Counselor in the Layton East Stake Presidency.
After retirement, I was finally able to serve a full-time mission with my dear wife. Together we served in the England Bristol Mission, as ordinance workers in the Ogden Temple, and a temple mission for eighteen months in the St. George Temple.
I hope that my service lovingly given is always done in a way that will be pleasing to the Lord, the church members whom I serve, and to myself.
John Bushman, 2009