Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Photos from the Wiliamson Household, Late 1970's - Early 80's. Rapid City, South Dakota

(Click to Enlarge)
From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

This Sunday our Way Back machine takes us on a digital excursion back to Rapid City, South Dakota. The time dial is set to the late 1970's and 80's. Our Williamson family lived at 2214 38th Street. It was a lower middle class neighborhood. Our home was small by today's standards, and made even smaller because of the size of our family. Our home was built in the 1950's. We purchased it for $14,000 during the 1968/69 school year. I was in the fifth grade.

The photo above shows the Grand Entryway into our humble abode. The concrete steps and porch listed slightly to port. Visitors, unaware of the slight incline toward the bushes, found themselves a bit out of kelter upon reaching our front door and finding it further from them then they anticipated. Our dog Frosty and cat Inky stand guard in the photograph. Inky was always on death's door from the time she was a kitten. Her contribution to the world were hairball masterpieces and cat vomit smelling of exotic places. She committed suicide a few steps from where you see her in this picture. One day she hobbled across the driveway right into the path of our reversing 1958 blue Rambler Station Wagon. She'd had enough and knew when to gracefully exit. Inky and I never saw eye to eye, but I had to respect the way she took her final bow. Good cat.

The SPCA should have banned our family from ever taking in pets. We seemed to have enough troubles just taking care of ourselves let alone pets. Strangely enough, none of them ever ran away seeking better homes. If dogs and cats do go to heaven, then I hope and pray there is a special place in heaven for any pet unlucky enough to have lived out its short life with us. God bless them every one.

Take a minute and notice the pink wooden flower boxes to the left of the first step. Notice how the first one is half brown and half pink? That is a perfect example of life in the Williamson home. Someone was assigned to paint the boxes brown to match the brown painted concrete porch. Whoever it was (most likely Kevin) got halfway through before something else caught his attention. The job was never finished - never. That box sat there for over a decade half brown and half pink for all to see.

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This was the south side of our home. The gate to the backyard was lopsided to match the sloping front porch. You had to lift it to get it to open. This is where we kept our museum of garage sale bikes. Our mode of operation was simple.
"Mom, I want a bike."
Mom finds a bike at a garage sale. Mom brings the bike home. We ride the bike to death. The bike breaks down.
"Mom, the bike is broken."
The bike is added to the museum.
"Mom, I need a bike."
Mom finds another bike at a garage sale. Mom brings the bike home.......... and so on.

You counted yourself lucky if Mother found the right gender of bike. My sisters could get away with riding boy's bikes. They were pretty much tomboys anyway. My brothers and I had a harder time getting away with riding a girls bikes, but hey - you did what you had to in those days.

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Speaking of bikes..... here, captured on film forever is someone teaching my sister Lisa to ride a bike. It could be me or my Dad - not sure. Playing in the street wasn't a big deal. 38th Street was fairly quiet. The Rich family lived across the street in the home with the detached garage.
They were our only neighbors who somewhat understood us. You could count on them to wave to us when they were outside. Their two boys, David and Danny were good friends of ours so they didn't have much of a choice.

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Annette Williamson foraging for supper on the front lawn. She was as good as any billy goat for keep the lawn neatly trimmed.

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Lisa (left) and Annette Williamson (right) standing in front of our old piano. Kim and I learned to play the piano on that instrument. It was religiously out of tune, which made it difficult to know whether or not you were hitting the right notes.

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Mother (Luella) was always starting new diets and every diet started with the same ritual - the opening photograph, commonly referred to as the "before" picture. Strangely enough, I have several of these before pictures and hardly any "after" pictures. Strange, isn't it? This was taken on our front lawn in the late 1970's. Mother is wearing a dress considered Relief Society in fashion. The dress came from LeVoy's, headquartered in Salt Lake City. I believe the correct word for this dress was "Maxie" because its length was maximum to the ground.

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Another picture of Luella holding recently born Annette in the late 1976. Once again, dressed in a LeVoy's outfit straight from their fashion showroom in Salt Lake City. Mother was a LeVoy's distributor. It brought in a little extra cash, and let her dress 'in style' for pretty much next to nothing. Someone had to model her clothing line, why not her?

Charles Williamson holding his youngest daughter Annette. Annette was born in March 1976. Dad was 40 years old.

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Mother with her eighth child, baby Annette. Luella was 37 years old.

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Jon sits in our living room in the mid 1980's. The front door is behind. Our "closet" to his right. That closet's accordion door was rarely opened. To this day I don't remember what if anything we kept in there. Heaven forbid anyone hung their coat in that closet. The floor and furniture were the places to put your coat. Besides, that accordion door had a real attitude. If you open it incorrectly, with the right pressure placed at the perfect midpoint between the track and floor, the door would come off the track just to spite you.

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Janice Williamson taken in the mid 1980's. I believe the hairstyle gives the era away.

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Another picture of Janice in the 1980's. Tsk tsk tsk, showing a bit of the mid section are we? Button up Janice, you Jazebell! (We are talking rural South Dakota here).

Finally a picture of Grandma Elda and Grandpa Leiss square dancing.
(Click to Enlarge)

And there you have it. Its Sunday evening and time to move on to other things.

A side note, Jilane Williamson Bodily is in Hong Kong with sons Chaz and Brock. Chaz and Brock were invited (all expenses paid), along with other dancers from The Vibe, to perform in Hong Kong's Chinese New Year Parade. Everyone in the family wishes them a good performance and a safe trip home.


Monday, January 16, 2012

The 40th Wedding Anniversary of Great Uncle Ed Vercellino and Great Aunt Iris. Belle Fourche. August 1979

Great Uncle Ed standing next to his older sister, my Grandma Elda.
Left to Right: Evelyn Configliacco, Les Configliacco, Ray Configliacco, Ed Vercellino,
Elda Vercellino Liessman, Helen Vercellino

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Vercellinos!
Tonight in our digital family reunion we visit one branch of our family that doesn't get a lot of attention. The Vercellino line from my dad Charles through his mother and so on, jumps straight to Italy with my Great Grandfather. Tracing your family in Italy is not an easy task. So, we have very little on our Italian side.

Eddie's 5th Avenue Market as it is today. Ed sold the business in 1972.
I remember running up and down those outside stairs as a child.

Tonight I present eleven pictures taken at the 40th wedding anniversary of Great Uncle Ed Vercellino and Great Aunt Iris. The anniversary was held in Belle Fourche in August 1979. Uncle Ed and Aunt Iris owned Eddies 5th Avenue Market in beautiful downtown Belle Fourche. They lived above the store. I remember visiting them often. I thought it was so cool having an Uncle and Aunt who owned a grocery store!

Great Uncle Ed was a good business man with a kind, gentle heart. He was the youngest of the three Vercellino children. First came Great Uncle Ray, then Grandma Elda and finally Ed. When they were little Elda took her little brother under her wing. Ed was sickly and teased because of the effects of polio on his arm.

Jon Williamson with Annette behind

Lisa Williamson with Annette at the piano. I don't know why flexing was on
the day's agenda.

Great Aunt Iris (sitting)

A friend of Grandma Elda, Luella and Janice.
Wow, Janice is showing real attitude.

Again, what's with the flexing?
This is little Annette Williamson

Great Uncle Ed Vercellino and his wife Aunt Iris (Miller)
on the occasion of their 40th Wedding Annivsary.

Grandpa Leissman (Grand Elda's husband), Annette Williamson and Great Uncle Ed.

Grandpa Leiss Grandma Elda Great Uncle Ed and Great Aunt Iris

Grandma Elda and Luella

Grandma Elda with Helen Vercellino

Edward Daniel Vercellino Obituary.

BELLE FOURCHE - Ed Vercellino, 94, Belle Fourche, passed away Sunday, Feb. 24, 2002, at the Kiewell Guardian Angel Home in Belle Fourche, S.D. His body was donated to the School of Medicine in Vermillion, S.D. There will be no services.

Ed was born April 24, 1907, in Trojan, S.D., to John and Marie (Viano) Vercellino. He joined a sister, Elda, and a brother, Ray.

Ed was stricken with polio at the age of two when the family moved to Lead, S.D. Ed was educated in the Lead public school. He quit school upon the death of his father to help support his mother.

Ed's first job was with the Western Union Telegraph, first as a telegraph boy and then as an operator.

In the late 20s he went to work for W.E. Adams, a wholesale grocer, in Deadwood. In the early 40s he went to work at the Black Hills Mercantile, another wholesale grocer in Deadwood.

Ed married Iris Miller on August 18, 1939, in Deadwood. Two children were given to this union. Dan and Karen both were adopted the same year.

The family moved to Belle Fourche in 1952 where Ed and Iris bought and operated "Eddies' 5th Ave. Market." Ed operated the store until his retirement in 1972, and continued to work part-time until the business was dissolved.

Ed was on the board of directors that instituted the John Burns Nursing Home adjacent to the hospital. This later became the Senior Citizens Center.

At the time of his death he was a member of the First Baptist Church of Belle Fourche. He was a member of Cedar Lodge

No. 124 AF&AM in Belle Fourche and a KCCH Member of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry and a member of the Naja Temple in Deadwood. Ed had been a Mason for more than 50 years.

He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, brother and a sister.

He is survived by Dan (Janet) Vercellino of Eden, N.C.; Karen (Martin) Peterson of Sundance, Wyo.; six grandchildren, Michael and Robert Vercellino, Michelle Summerlin and Tharon, Thad and John Peterson; and three great-grandchildren, Tripp and Kimberley Summerlin and Nicholas Vercellino

Thursday, January 12, 2012

More on our Search for the Vercellino Family and Our family tie to an Italian Auto Company

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Cousin Tharon sent the following email with additional information on our Vercellino line that I'd like to share with you.


We have very little on the Vercellinos. All I know is that they came from Salto, Italy, which isn't on the map anymore. It has been surrounded by Cuorgne, where the Vianos came from.

The one who know the most is Evelyn Configliacco, (Elda & Ed's Aunt's daughter) in Lead, SD. She turns 96 on Tuesday.

All the Vercellinos were baptized in the Catholic faith in Salto and the Vianos in Cuorgne. Our Great Grandfather's generation, baptismal records are a fill-in-the-blank form. So, it is easier to figure the Month, Day, Year, but the next generations back is in long form. There is a microfilm in Salt Lake of the Birth, Deaths, Marriage in Salto, Italy from 1650(?) - 1900, where you will find all the baptism records of the Vercellinos. But you will have to have someone read the next generation back, because it is long form.

As far another relative, I don't know of any. The one (Renata) who was actually related to the Truccanos has died in the past few years and I don't know where her sons now live. At one time, Evelyn had cousins on the Configliacco side who were priests in Salto, but don't know anymore about them.

There has to be more Vercellino cousins in Italy, because, Antonio went back to Italy, had a second wife and another child named Mario. Antonio and his two wives (Guglielma VIdano & Teresa di Michele Brogatti) are all buried in the Church Cemetery in Salto.

Antonio (Tony) Vercellino
Birth 23 Jul 1863 in Salto, Turin Piedmont, Italy
Death 18 Jun 1928 in Salto, Turin, Piedmont, Italy

Guglielma Vidano
Birth 24 Jun 1865 in Salto, Turin, Piedmont, Italy
Death 22 Apr 1924 in Salto, Turin, Piemont, Italy

Teresa di Michele Brogatti
Birth 30 Jan 1890 in Italy
Death 1964 in Salto, Turin, Piedmont, Italy

Mario Vercellino
Birth abt 1925 in Salto, Turin, Piedmont, Italy

A few days later, Tharon sent this update:

I just got an email from mom, Renata is still alive, mom & dad saw Evelyn Configliacco for her birthday. Evelyn said she got a short note from Renata for Christmas. Renata is actually a blood relative, her grandmother was a sister to Fidele Vercellino's wife, Louise, Renata's father and his brothers made a car in Italy called Temperino.


Temperino was an Italian car maker founded in 1906 in Turin, by three Temperino siblings (Maurizio, Giacomo and Mary). At first Temperino repaired bicycles and motorcycles, starting production of motorcycles in 1908. The first car in 1908 was a prototype with a 350 cc two cylinder engine. After protyping this car went into production as the 8/10 HP, now with an 800 cc aircooled V2 engine. This model was built until after the First World War; around 1500 units were built. Other models produced by Temperino were made in collaboration with other firms such as body maker Stabilimenti Farina.

The company name was changed to Societa Anonima Vetturette Temperino in 1919, and business success made it to possible to start operations in London United Kingdom as Temperino Motors Ltd.. In 1922 a new model arrived: the GSM 7-14HP.

In 1924 the financial situation became so bad that the Temperinos decided to close the business rather than let it go to bankruptcy. Two years laters the Temperinos opened a garage for car repairs, including a petrol station.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Sundance Wyoming Williamsons

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons,
My Vercellino cousin sent a few pictures of our grandparents he found in a book on Sundance Wyoming. Tharon Peterson was visiting family in Sundance when he found a book on Sundance's history. He was kind enough to scan the photographs and forward them on to me.

Thank you Tharon.

We begin with a Relationship Chart (click to enlarge):

I pause to think of the numerous descendants of my Great Great Grandparents George Matthew and Margaret Ann Williamson. There are hundreds, spanning one of the globe to the other. Most of us who read this blog are descended from William Jonathan and Effie Helen Williamson through one of their 9 children. I descend from Charles.

The New Photographs (click to enlarge):

The bottom photo is an enlargement of the one above. The child on the porch is not a member of the William Jonathan family. The caption doesn't attempt to put the children in any kind of order. The boys are easy to place. They are the four youngest in the family photo. left to right: Emmett (standing behind his father William Jonathan), Charles (my grandfather), Maurice (the youngest in the family), and Walter. Standing next to Emmett is Della, then Inez, Vennie, Josie and Ethel. Perhaps someone out there can correct me if I'm wrong. Take a moment and read the caption. I wasn't aware that our Great Grandfather was a two term mayor of Sundance. I enjoyed reading the family was considered hard working and best of all - Fun Loving! What Williamson doesn't enjoy a bit of fun?

Two from our Williamson family are in this graduating class photograph of Sundance High School, 1922. My Great Uncle Walt (Walter Williamson) is the second from the left. Great Uncle Emmett is the fourth in from the right. Interesting that both Emmett and Walter are graduating from high school in the same year. Emmett was two years older than Walter. Either Emmett was held back or Uncle Walt was advanced for his age. I'll let Emmett and Walter's descendants duke that one out.

Again, a class picture from Sundance High School, 1923. Two of my Great Aunts are in this photograph. Middle row and first on the left is Great Aunt Ethel Williamson. Great Aunt Inez is fifth from the left on the top row.

Delbert Williamson (my first cousin 2 times removed) is in this picture. His father was Archer Glenn Williamson, brother to my Great Grandfather William Jonathan.

Once again, a special thank you to Tharon Peterson for the photographs. If you have photographs of the early Williamsons please contact me (director@spacecamputah.org) even if you are not computer savvy. I'd be happy to pay for copies and postage for the opportunity to share them here on the blog for all to enjoy.


Charles Williamson and the Belle Fourche Cops.

Charles Williamson, late 1950's

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
One of my objectives in writing this blog is to record my parent's (Charles and Luella) 'growing up' stories. I've asked them repeatedly to write them down so I can transcribe them. Heaven forbid they comply! They are fine with me interviewing them; however they are not fine with picking up a pen and coaxing the words from their brains onto paper. They share the same assumption common to our ancestors, "Nobody is interested in our old stories. Everyone is busy with their own lives." How I wish I had our grandparents, great grandparents etc. stories. Wouldn't they be interesting? Their life stories would have provided rich explanations into their behavior and decision making- which directly affects us today. We are, to some extent, a product of our environment.

Last Sunday, Dad and I spoke about his youth in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.
"Did I tell you about the time I stole that police car?" he asked.

I was surprised by his confession. Who would expect their 75 year old father would turn out to be a car thief?

"Do you need to get something off your chest before you meet your maker?" I asked. He started to tell the story. I asked him to stop and jot it down. I wanted it in his own hand. "It doesn't have to be perfect, just jot down the main points and I'll rewrite it, painting you in whatever light you choose. Would you like to be portrayed as the instigator of the act or a willing or unwilling accomplice?"

"The truth will be fine," he responded.

"Then the truth it is," I answered.

An hour or so later Dad arrived, paper in hand.

Downtown Belle Fourche Today
When one thinks of Belle Fourche, South Dakota in the 1950's one should think of Mayberry from the Andy Griffith show. It was a quiet two outhouse town on the Belle Fourche river nestled on the plains rising to meet the majestic Black Hills. Your business was everybody's business in this Norman Rockwell Town where you greeted your neighbors and strangers alike when you walked down the lazy tree lined sidewalks. The Circle Lounge was a favorite cafe on Main Street. Belle Fourche's police considered The Circle Lounge as their Sub Station, making it a regular stop on their rounds.

This was the 1950's, so why would one bother to turn off their car and take the keys if they were going into a shop or cafe for five or ten minutes? Besides, gas was cheap.

Charles wrote, "Belle Fourche was one of those quiet towns where you could fire a 105 Howitzer cannon down the middle of Main Street after 9:00 P.M. and never hit a soul." I would imagine good Christian boys and girls of this ear would be home at 9:00 P.M. watching their black and white televisions or listening to the radio. But what about the teens with a mischievous nature?

The Circle Lounge as it is today

One summer's evening, Charles and his friend Rob Rieb were cruising Main Street. They noticed the police squad car parked running outside The Circle Lounge.
"Let's have some fun," Charles said.
They first thought to take the car's keys, making the police walk back to the station to get another pair. Then one of them increased the adventure by recommending they take the car. They stopped their car, Charles got out, walked to the squad car, jumped in, put the car in gear and drove away. Ron following in his car.

So now we have two teenagers guilty of auto theft; Charles in a hijacked police car, his friend following. Charles wondered where to hide the car to complete their prank. They had no intentions of damaging or stealing the car. It was just a friendly 'joke' on the town's cops and police chief, someone they knew well. Charles drove the car to the rodeo grounds and parked under the Grandstand. He got out and jumped into the other car with Ron.

Not wanting to miss how their night's worked eventually played out, Charles and Ron continued to cruise Main Street. An hour or so later the police found their car at the Rodeo Grounds. The car was returned to the station where it was given a fender to fender forensic search.

The story of a stolen Belle Fourche Police Car made all the local headlines. The police were made to look rather foolish. Charles and Ron had another friend who's father was a deputy sheriff. He told them the police knew who stole the car and that it only a matter of time before the miscreants were caught. Charles and Ron both laughed. They knew that if the police really knew they'd both be in the Crow Bar Hotel.

Charles and Ron pulled a prank on the police. Did they sleep at night knowing there could be a knock on the door followed by a trip to the slammer? Perhaps, considering the boys knew the Police Chief. He made it a habit to befriend everyone on the town's football team. He was also the officer who threw the switch to electrocute the only person every executed by electrocution in the State of South Dakota.
How would you react today if your son was caught stealing a police car?

"Punish the behavior but apply no labels," is the advice I give parents of children and teens. Labels can scar a child or teen for life.

Charles grew up, married and had 8 children. He is a model citizen and one of the hardest working men I know. Responsibility is his middle name. His actions as a teen have no reflection on the man he became. It was a stupid thing he did back in the mid 1950's. Was it worthy of punishment? Of course, but not worthy of a label.

Let's keep that in mind as our young ones grow up. The younger generation should be taught correct principles. They should be expected to do their best. Punishment is necessary for anti social behavior but parent's should take care not to withdraw the love kids and teens need to feel secure in this world. Avoid labeling and pigeon holing someone as 'bad' or 'worthless'.

You may disagree, but its the teacher in me talking.


Monday, January 2, 2012

The Families of Marvin Mattson, Pam Evans and Cindy Meehan

The Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Today I introduce you to the family of Marvin Mattson. Marvin is the youngest son of Walter and Violet Mattson and brother to my mother Luella, Linda and John. When he was a young boy the Mattson family moved from their Montana ranch to Spearfish South Dakota.

Let's begin with the Relationship Chart:

This is a picture of young Marvin Mattson's seventh and eighth grade football team (click to enlarge). You'll see Marvin on the front row - #3.

Marvin Mattson's 7th grade yearbook picture. Spearfish, South Dakota. (click to enlarge)

Marvin first married Pam Evans. They had two children, Shelley and Shane.

Shelley and Shane

Pam with Shane
Picture taken in Rapid City, South Dakota

Shelley lives in Idaho and works as a speech therapist. Her family keeps her busy.

Shelley with children Tate (sitting with her), Cade (tallest) and Ty.

Both Cade and Ty play Hockey and LaCrosse
These two pictures are of Cade on the ice. Cade is the team captain.



And all the children together for Christmas
Cade, Bailey, Ty and Tate

Shane is married to Cari Knettle. They live in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Shane is in Flight Operations and works with Apache helicopters. He is currently deployed in Afganistan. His address overseas:
Shane Mattson
HHC 3-101 TF Attack
FOB Tarin Kowt
APO AE 09380

Shane and Cari taken just before his most recent deployment

The Goodbyes are the hardest. Shane and daughter Lauren

Shane and Cari's children
Gabe, Megan and Lauren

A Christmas Message from Cari:
Here it is the day before Christmas…Christmas Eve…a super fun full of anticipation kind of day. My kids are always so happy on Christmas Eve, I love to watch them. This year is a little different with Shane and Katelyn not being here; I thought it would just be me having a hard time getting into the “spirit” of the season; I mean what kid does look forward to Santa Clause? But sadly I can see it in their eyes as well, something is just missing or well some people.

Last year was magical with everyone home, snow on Christmas Eve, a very special Church service and just a perfect feeling of Christmas. Shane and I were so relaxed about Christmas last year and enjoyed it for what it was meant to be enjoyed for; Jesus, family and Santa. lol We knew we had to make it special since he would be gone for this one, maybe with hopes it would help with the void we knew we would all feel this year. I am not sure, but looking back it makes this Christmas a little less cheery and yet it gives me hope for next year when hopefully we will all be together again…Kate and Brett too.

Merry Christmas everyone and God bless our troops.

Marvin married second, Cindy Meehan. They had two children, Luke and Hallie.

Hallie and Luke

Marvin, Cindy, Hallie and Luke
Picture taken in Black Hawk, South Dakota

Luke is married to the former Ashley Trupp. They live in Anchorage Alaska. Luke is an engineer at EBSC Engineering. Luke and Ashley were both LDS missionaries working in France.
They met again at BYU in Provo Utah. Luke graduated with a degree in civil engineering. Ashley graduated with a BS in secondary education (history) and a Masters in French.

Marvin today with son Luke, Luke's daughter Lydie and daughter Hallie

Luke Mattson with wife Ashley and daughter Lydie.

Ashley sent this update:
Alaska has been good to us this year. Two year-old Lydie's enthusiasm, her parents' increasing courage to try new things and the right friends to encourage us have all helped us get out and enjoy more of what Alaska has to offer. We spent much of 2011 camping, hiking, biking, hunting, skiing, ice skating and exploring. Lydie logged the most airline miles this year with one trip back to Southeast Idaho with Ashley in May to attend her little brother's high school graduation and one exciting adventure with Luke to South Dakota in August. Luke was able to accompany Marvin through the LDS temple for the first time in Bismark, North Dakota during that trip which made it especially worthwhile. Luke's civil engineering company had another good year with several exciting projects and opportunities. They are currently working on a large parking garage and a senior housing center project. Ashley has had a steady stream of French students throughout the year with her private tutoring business. Both of us have been busy with Church responsibilities Luke serving in presidencies over the adults and now the youth; Ashley started out in a presidency over the youth and is now in a presidency over the children under 12. We are looking forward to 2012 hope all our family is doing well.

Luke, Ashley and Lydie Mattson

Hallie graduated from Chadron State College in Nebraska with a degree in secondary education. She currently lives in Custer, South Dakota.
Hallie with Marvin