Hyrum, or “Hy” as he was often called, was born December 7, 1916 to Soren and Amanda Peterson. He was raised in the LDS faith and his parents taught them the importance of the gospel, and prayer. Throughout most of Hy’s childhood Soren worked at Consumer’s Mine during the week and would return home on weekends.
During this time his family went through a series of hardships. He lost three siblings all within an 8-month period. His younger sister Vivian passed away from Influenza at 7 years old. His older brother Jerald while working in the fields and was told of a neighbor girl who was drowning in a pond, so he ran the ¼ mile to the pond, and dove in. The cold water along with the exertion of running ruptured his lungs. Both Jerald and the neighbor girl drowned, he was 16 years old. Another younger sister Evelyn somehow got into some medicine and was poisoned, she was 5 years old. These were just a few of the challenges they faced growing up.
Hy was a man who stood for the right, and he wanted to do what Heavenly Father wanted him to do. He wasn’t trying to do his own thing but was always interested in the greater good for his family, friends and associates, and the will of the Lord. Hy and a few members of his family joined the Co-op around April of 1937.
They didn’t have a lot back then, but what they did have was by the hand of the Lord and many family and friends who helped them out in their times of need. Being a member of the Cooperative not only gave them what they needed spiritually but economically as well. They may not have been financially wealthy, but they felt they always had what was needed.
Wherever Hy went he was always cleaning up the place, he couldn’t stand a messy yard or workplace. It was natural for him to put things back in their place whether on the workplace, home, a friends or family members home, or even at the park. Hy never pushed anyone to do the things he did, but he taught us through example.
Hy loved the scriptures and read them every chance he got. He wouldn’t push people to study the scriptures but if anyone said, “I’m bored” he would say, “Read the scriptures, that will help”, and it did. Hy loved and believed in the teachings of Joseph Smith, which ultimately led him to the Davis County Co-op. He felt that, the Co-op was where Heavenly Father wanted him. Hy never forced any of his children to follow him but he encouraged them to study for themselves and find out what the Lord wanted of them.
Hy was a strong believer in moral righteousness. He always taught his children, friends and family to stay morally clean in thoughts and actions, and to never take privileges that were not the will of the Lord. If he saw someone doing something wrong, he was not afraid to say something. He wasn’t a nosy neighbor, but he cared for the well being of everyone.
Hy taught his children that if there was someone being left out in an activity to make sure to include them. Make sure everyone can partake and is included in the event.
Hy had the motto of waste not want not. If something was given, take care of it and use it for the purpose it was designed for. He always said even if something is beyond use and would be thrown out, it still shouldn’t be destroyed. He felt that the Lord would provide us with our needs, and He did.
Hy delivered coal for the Coal Yard in Salt Lake City that Ardous Gustafson ran. There was one time a woman called Ardous to complain, saying that he couldn’t have delivered the full ton of coal because he wasn’t at her home long enough to unload that much. Ardous asked her to check and see. The woman checked and found the full load of coal and the area was swept and cleaned, and everything was neatly loaded into her basement. Hy always worked hard and fast, he felt that was the only way to do a job, by putting your whole self into it and doing it right. There were several people who, without telling him, were trying to out-work him but never could.
Hy ran a farm in Emery, Utah which was a desert area. Whenever it was his water turn, he would sleep in the fields to make sure that the water got to all the field before it got to the end. Hy made sure none of the water was wasted. Some of the other farms had dry spots in their fields, but Hy’s was green all throughout. Hy also helped the Co-op on the beet crews, thinning and harvesting beets during the 1930’s.
Hy was a very hard worker and helped complete several projects after regular working hours. Hy worked from before dawn till after it got dark. He said that was the best recreation you could get.
Several years later he moved to a farm in Park Valley, which is in the northwest corner of Utah. During this time, Hy and his family boarded many young people, some of them of family and friends to help them to learn the value of hard work and to get an education. Hy taught the kids while working that you didn’t need to stop for every little thing that came up. Most things you could wait until the workday was over to go home and take care of it. He did this himself, as well as with his own children. This taught them good work ethics.
Hy tried to be a good neighbor to all and help whenever he could.
Whenever him and his family were on their way home to Park Valley from Salt Lake, they would drive past a junkyard that was owned by an old man. The old man was probably in his late 80's, they didn’t know if he had any family or close relatives nearby, but he lived alone.
One particular day there had been a lot of snow and it was quite deep, maybe a foot to 18 inches. Hy could see that there were no tracks going in from the road to the old man’s trailer and he was concerned for his well being. Hy had his wife stay in the car with the kids and he walked in about ¾ of a mile. Hy was in his Sunday dress and not dressed for hiking in the snow. He was gone for about an hour and half. When he got back to the car, Hy said that the old man was out of fuel and he was burning old tires for heat and he had no food.
The next day Hy asked his wife to make a big pot of soup, a batch of homemade bread, some homemade preserves and bottled fruit. His family gathered up some other groceries to tide him over until he could get to town to restock his food supply. Hy contacted the State Road Shed and let them know they needed to plow his road going in from the highway. The old man talked like Hy had saved his life.
Hy loved to sing and he had a very good singing voice, which he passed on to his children and grandchildren.
Hy was blessed with a wonderful family, who love him very much and try to follow his examples and teachings. We pray that he is proud of all of us, as we are very proud of him, and the decisions he made throughout his life. If it wasn’t for him, his family would not be the success they are today.
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