November 21, 1935 – May 26, 2019
Our dad was born on Nov 21, 1935. He was the sixth of seven children of Alma Reber Hopkins and Myrintha Tolman. Dad was preceded in death by our mom, Mollyanne, granddaughter Faith, and four sisters, Leora, Marva, Esther, and Phyllis. He is survived by his brother Loyal, sister Fern, in-laws Dave Giles and Albert Christman, Kirby and Judy Martineau, Dean and Marla Martineau, and his children, Leigh, Lynn, Lori, Anita, Michael, and Shane. Dad has 29 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.
Anyone that knows Dad remembers that he has a sense of humor. I think that started from the very beginning – and although it concerns him, he didn’t have anything to do with the first incident.
When Grandma and Grandpa took Dad to church to be blessed, they were talking with the Ward Clerk to give all Dad’s pertinent information so Dad could be added to the records of the church. The clerk was told that Dad’s name is Clifford T. Hopkins. The clerk said, “That is a fine name. What does the T stand for?” The answer was that the T is for Tolman – his mother’s maiden name. They didn’t think anything more of it at the time, but many years later they realized that Dad’s name is Clifford T. Hopkins on civic records but Clifford Tolman Hopkins on church records. And, confusion about his name lasted all through his life.
Years later, Mom and Dad were going to go on a cruise so they had to get passports. As it turns out, there was no birth certificate for Dad, so they started going through the process of getting one. But, as records were reviewed, they found different names for Dad in different places. There was some inquiry into whether or not Dad was really Dad. He had to get letters from several people that had known him since birth testifying that he really was himself – but at that point, the number of people that had been around since he was born was dwindling. Dad got letters from Aunt Marva and some other people and did get a birth certificate and passport. The funny thing is that Mom and Dad got their passports and promptly lost them. We turned their house upside down multiple times, but we never found them. Mom and Dad did go on the cruise, but they stayed onboard the whole time. They didn’t go to shore at any of the ports where they stopped.
After Grandpa Hopkins passed away, Dad was helping Grandma and some of his siblings arrange for the grave marker. All of them looked at the proof of the marker. The proof was approved, and the marker was put in place. Sometime later, they noticed that Dad’s name was cut in granite with the wrong spelling! It took a while, but it was patched together and fixed.
Around a year and a half ago, soon after Mother’s funeral, we were going through the process of getting a marker for Mom and Dad. We went through deciding what we wanted on the marker and documenting all of the dates, and then we approved the final proof. The marker was put in place. And then, we noticed that Dad’s name was cut in granite with the wrong spelling. Although that kind of sounds like things had gone full circle, we did not do that on purpose.
Dad was quick with comebacks when you talked with him. Clear to the end he was a smart alek. If you said, “Hi Dad, how are you feeling?” he would respond with “I feel with my fingers.” If you said, “It is good to see you,” he would reply with “It is better to be seen than viewed.” Anyway, our Dad is a man of humor.
When Dad was a little past toddler stage, Grandma had the house expanded. A carpenter was on-site working on the addition and one day he lost his saw. They looked for a while and the carpenter couldn’t figure out what he had done with it. When it was finally found, it was in Clifford’s hands. The brand new front porch step was almost cut in two by the time they found him. It had to be replaced. But, Dad had been determined to get that board cut in two . . . Our dad is a man of determination.
I remember a time while we lived in Hyrum. One of the families Dad was assigned to as a Home Teacher had problems with their plumbing. It was a bitter cold stretch of winter, and their pipes had frozen and burst. One Saturday, Dad spent 13 or 14 hours on his back in the crawl space under their home fixing their plumbing. It took him several more days, but he did get their pipes fixed. He always took his responsibilities seriously.
Our Dad was never a bishop or stake president. However, he was often a counselor or clerk. And Dad was the kind of counselor and clerk that every stake president and bishop thanks heaven for. Dad always had agendas ready, reports finished, status updates, or anything else that was needed. This happened even if he had to spend three days on the phone calling people and asking for the information his reports needed. Our dad is a man of action and responsibility.
There was a time when one of us kids was prescribed an exercise routine for therapy. It included crawling and creeping across the floor for around a half hour a day. Dad was a great support. I vividly remember him creeping and crawling across the living room floor to help keep his child motivated to do what was needed. Several of us were anxious to help at first, but when it went on for months, Dad was the last one standing (or crawling as the case may be). But, he was the one to help. Our dad is a great example and a man of charity.
On one occasion when Dad was a young man, he was out at Gray’s Lake, checking on the sheep. He saw a badger and decided he should go after it. He has told us that he was conditioned that way – if you saw a badger, you took care of it. So, he gathered the weapons he had and went after the badger. The big problem was that he was on a bike, and he didn’t have anything with him. Nothing sharp like a knife. Nothing heavy like a wrench. Nothing. He saw a stick, so he grabbed that and went after the badger. He poked the thing a few times, but just made it mad. It started coming toward Dad, spitting and growling as it came. Dad tried the stick again, but it didn’t make any difference. At that point, he said he was too close to the badger to do anything other than stay on the offensive. The badger reared up and made a lunge at Dad. Dad saw what was happening and jumped so the badger would miss him – and landed on the badger’s back. He said he was heavy enough that the badger couldn’t move with him on its back. But, he wasn’t heavy enough to stop it breathing – so they were kind of at a stalemate. He couldn’t reach any good size rocks. So, Dad took off his shoe, thinking he could use it and hit the badger in the head to kill it. But, he said his shoes had crepe soles. I don’t know what that means, but the bottom line is that all the shoe did was make the badger even angrier than it already was. In the end, Dad started jumping up and down – by jumping and using his weight he could make a difference. He ended up killing the badger by stomping it to death – with his bare feet. It was done with brute force and grim determination. Those attributes served Dad well through his life. Our dad is a determined and strong man.
Dad worked hard and worked toward goals that he made. When he was eleven years old, he earned his way to the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Washington, DC. He also saved enough money that he bought a set of bunk beds and bedding to go with it. That investment paid dividends for many years. Lynn and I slept on those beds when we were young. And, we used that bedding. The blankets were wool and were very warm. But, Lynn and I always thought Dad was crazy for spending his hard earned cash on them. They itched like the dickens, and we hated them. The blankets survive to this day as a testament of Dad’s frugality. Our dad is a goal oriented and frugal man.
Dad met Mom at a church dance right after Mom’s family moved to Soda Springs. Mom always told the story that she sat by herself for a bit, but then decided that she was not going to be a wallflower but would go out and meet people. She looked around and there was only one boy doing a dance that she knew. So, she went up and asked if she could cut in. Dad turned and looked at her and said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t dance with strangers.” Mom was mortified, but Dad realized his mistake a short time later and asked her to dance. They were very close pretty much from that time on. Several of Dad’s siblings were married at young ages. When Mom was 16 Dad asked her to marry him. Mom thought he was joking and laughed at him. He wasn’t joking – and in the end he got what he wanted. Our dad is a determined man.
When I was young, Dad decided he needed to go back to school and get his college degree. To facilitate that goal, he quit his previous job and became the custodian of our church house. I think the building was dedicated in 1969 or 1970. We were at that meeting. The Nelsons were the first custodians of the building – and then the Hopkins. We had that job for three years as Dad completed his BS in Mechanical Engineering. During that time I felt like we were married to the building. Every Saturday we spent at least eight hours here buffing the floors, vacuuming, scrubbing the bathrooms, and washing the windows. But, every Sunday morning this building was sparkling clean. I remember Dad setting up his books and calculator on a table in one of the classrooms and shutting the door so he would have quiet while he studied. And, we would clean the church while he studied. I didn’t think that was fair. It was his job, and we were doing all of the work. As I got older, I did finally realize that I learned a lot from the experience. At the time, I wasn’t so grateful for the chance to support Dad. But I was when I got older.
One of the college classes Dad took was Instructional Technology. As part of that class, he had to make some signs and labels. When he was done, he brought them home. He pulled out one and told Mom it was the sign he made for himself. It said, “A man of Integrity.” He showed it to Mom and then started laughing and said, “I’m just teasing. This doesn’t describe me.” And then Mom got mad and said something along the lines of “What do you mean it doesn’t describe you? I’ll have you know that if you weren’t a man of integrity, I never would have married you. And another thing, just stop running yourself down!” At the time, I didn’t know what integrity meant. But, I have to agree with my mom. Dad is a man of integrity.
After Dad finished his degree Mom went back and got hers. Dad was always very supportive of Mom. I do remember that it usually took a while to get Dad agitated or angry. But, if you wanted a shortcut – say something to or about mom. Things escalated very quickly that way. I think Dad’s favorite thing to do was support mom. After all the kids had left home Mom got active with the Library Board in Richmond. Well, it didn’t take long until Dad was also on the Library Board. And then he ran for City Council. He wasn’t elected, but I don’t think he would have been as politically active if not for mom’s influence.
Mom was quite famous for many of the creative things she did. We children have understood for a long time that much of Mom’s success was possible because she always had unwavering support from her husband. And, she knew that it would always be there.
Dad served several missions during his life. He went to the North Central States Mission as a young man. He served in the Church Office Building working on technology while Mom was doing her Music Therapy internship. Then Mom and Dad served together in Nauvoo, IL. When they got home, they served as Consultants at the Family History Center and also as Temple Workers. Dad is a man of service.
Mother was taken from us by cancer. It was very hard on her and the family. I think the maddest I have ever seen my father is when he thought Mom was not getting the care she needed. Dad literally spent hours and days rubbing Mom’s feet or doing anything he could to make her feel better.
I hope that from what I’ve been saying here everyone knows that Clifford is devoted to Mollyanne. When Mom passed away, it was very hard on Dad. With his Alzheimer’s he didn’t remember that she passed away, so every day he would “learn” that Mom had passed away several times and would start the grieving process all over again. One instance was especially poignant for me. I went to see Dad, and he told me we needed to have a serious discussion. He told me that Mom had gone somewhere, and he didn’t know where she was. He had wracked his brain and could not remember what he had done to make Mom leave him. And, then he broke down in huge crying sobs. I explained to him (again) that Mom had passed away and that he had been right by her side when it happened, and he had even given the family prayer at her funeral. He stared at me for a bit, and then smiled because he was relieved. And, then he went on and said what a horrible person he was, because he was relieved that his wife had passed away.
I admit that as a teen there were several times that I didn’t think I liked my dad very much. I was positive that it was his life’s mission to make me miserable. As I got older, I understood that my dad has always been very good to me. And, as I got even older and tried to raise kids of my own, I realized that for some of the stunts I pulled, Dad was really very passive and considerate. On reflection, I wondered how it was he hadn’t killed me to put me out of his misery. But, I am glad that I realized what a good man Dad is. I did take the opportunity a couple of times to tell my dad that I love and appreciate him. When my earthly sojourn is over, if my wife and children respect and love me half as much as I love my dad, I will consider myself very blessed and successful in this life.
I won’t try to say that our dad is perfect. However, I do think that Dad is the perfect dad for me. For all of us. We see examples in the news of dysfunctional families. Families where children or parents are not taken care of or treated well. That is extremely different than the way we were raised. It wasn’t a perfect life, but I now understand that we were not just tolerated by Mom and Dad because we were born to them. We have always been loved and cherished.
Our dad is a man of humor.
Our dad is a man of determination.
Our dad is a man of action and responsibility.
Our dad is a great example and a man of charity.
Our dad is a determined and strong man.
Our dad is a goal oriented and frugal man.
Our dad is a determined man.
Our dad is a man of integrity.
Our dad is a man of service.
I would like to close by bearing testimony. However, this is a little bit different. I would like to share our dad’s testimony. Dad has a strong testimony and has always shown that with the way he lived. He loves others. He testifies. A good example happened not too long ago. He and a group of residents were putting together a puzzle but were running out of time to finish. They were deciding whether to try and quickly finish or put it away. Dad eventually said they should just put it away and be done, but the aide working with them wanted to finish the puzzle and said, “Cliff, where is your faith?” Dad’s response was, “In the Lord.”
Dad has ended his mortal probation. It was very hard through the Alzheimer’s for him and for us. Dad changed in many ways, but one thing stayed consistent. When Dad prayed, he always sounded like Dad. He didn’t sound like the man who was unsure of himself and had a hard time remembering things. He was confident, and he talked with the Lord. I feel confident in saying that he has earned a reward. We as a family, we as friends and associates have benefitted from a man that is a man of faith and a great example. I hope that we can all continue to learn from Dad as we move forward. Know that he and Mom love us. They are up there routing for us and waiting for us to hopefully join them – not too early, but when it is our time.
I add my testimony to Dad’s. Christ has atoned for us if we do the things we are supposed to do. He has given us a way to be forgiven of our short falls. He has given us a way to be eternal families. I am grateful for the Savior. I am grateful to be a part of this family.
A viewing will take place Saturday, June 1, 2019 at the Hyrum 6th Ward Chapel, 255 East 100 South in Hyrum, from 11:30am to 12:30pm. Funeral services will begin at 1:00pm at the church. Interment will take place in the Hyrum City Cemetery.