• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Friday, April 20, 2012


My father's father, my paternal grandfather, lived in our home in Kimball Valley, Alberta for a few years prior to passing away. I remember him well. He attended many family events and was generally of good cheer and was of sound mind.

August 1972 Garth Forsyth with his father
Neil Snow Forsyth - likely at Chrystal's blessing.
Grandpa would be 93. Notice how tall they are
compared to each other. Dad is about 6' tall. 
Grandpa Neil Snow Forsyth was fiercely independent and a hard worker. He was very strong even though he was not a large man. My father fills each minute with productive activity of some type. Once day Papa mentioned this to him. He scoffed and said, "My father could always do twice as much work as I ever could. Even when he was in his 70's he could out work me."

Neil's own history tells us, " May 24, [1964] I rented the Workman house to Barry Beamer for a year at $35 a month. I spent the next day fixing it up some. Then I did a small finishing job for Mrs. Able. It took me 4 days to finish and I asked Garth to come and pick me and my tools up on the 4th day. He and Jean came about 4 PM and I wasn't through so Garth stopped to help me finish. Mrs. Able went out and asked Jean in, but she said she would wait in the car. She started telling Jean how fast I was and how well I had done the work. Jean asked how old she thought I was, she said about 65. Jean told her I was 85 in Aug, she was sure surprised."

When Papa and I married my father was double Papa's age. Papa worked on dad's construction crew and said Dad could work circles around him and do twice or more the work of any man he knew ... he never knew my grandfather.

August 1976 - Ruth and Neil Snow Forsyth on his 97th birthday.  

Family often met at the Kimball Park near the St. Mary's River bridge in August to celebrate Grandpa's August birthday. His children and grandchildren that could, always came. On his 97th birthday 2 cakes cut into tiny pieces didn't go very far. He passed away less than a year later. His second wife accompanied him to that reunion and celebration. He married the widow, Ruth Spencer Rassmussen, 2 years after Grandma Chloe died. They traveled extensively and attended the temples together and generally shared the aging process for about 10 years. Her birthday was on August 10th.

Grandpa had one great and pressing agenda prior to his death. He wanted every person in the family to know the reality of Jesus Christ. He wanted to be sure each one of us personally heard and knew that he knew Jesus Christ is the son of God. He wanted us to know that the Church of Jesus Christ is on earth today as it was anciently (as described in the Bible). He wanted us to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true. He also especially wanted us to know that temple covenants and ordinances are for eternity - forever. He often spoke of Grandma Chloe and the 51 years they had shared. He told us these things many, many times.

age 95

My mother's sewing machine was tucked into a corner of the room that became his bedroom and living area. He was very hard of hearing but I would ask him to tell me about his life and he could sit for hours and do so. I was young and they were nice stories. I don't remember most of them.

One story I remember was about his grandmother Sally Adams. She knew Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of the Prophet Joseph. She told him about her experiences with that family and that they were good and honest people. She told him personal experiences about the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon and that she knew those things were truth. She was a reliably honest person. So was he. He was known, in the little town of Cardston where he kept a grocery store and a hotel, for his honesty and integrity.

Near the last of his life my grandfather needed special nursing care my mother and father were unable to provide he so was moved into the Cardston Auxilary Hospital, a long term care facility. He had always wanted to live to be 100 years old but as the indignities of aging took their toll he began to wish he might not. Whenever possible my parents would bring him out home for a visit - at first sometimes overnight and nearer the end of his life for increasingly shorter time periods.

Neil Snow Forsyth summer of 1975 about age 96

Grandpa Forsyth did not want to have a body that needed to be cared for like a baby. His keen and independent mind often rebelled. When he died it was a relief and blessing for everyone but oh how he was missed. It was like a part of our foundations of life were missing. He was ... he was ... well, he just WAS!

Cover of funeral program

Funeral program for Neil Snow Forsyth

Died:  17 April 1977 Cardston, Alberta, CANADA
Buried: 20 April 1977 Cardston, Alberta, CANADA