Elsie Gladys Lundquist McNabb Saye

Elsie.jpg (56629 bytes)

#M3 LUNDQUIST, Elsie Gladys

Born: 3 Oct 1904 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.

Died: 24 March, 2003, Camp Verde, Yavapai, Arizona

Father: Emanuel Richard LUNDQUIST #M6 (13 Mar 1867-18 Oct 1925).
Mother: Grace Honor BUSHMAN #M7 (15 Jun 1873-15 May 1912).

Siblings covered in biographies: Ruby Grace Lundquist #M3c and Roy Emanuel Lundquist #M3e.

Married:  (1) 29 Nov 1928, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah to Donald Oliver MCNABB #M2. They had two children.

Married: (2) 22 Aug 1974, Escondido, San Diego, California, to James Malcolm SAYE (2 Sep 1902-21 Nov 1988).

Frances Mildred MCNABB #M1 (b 26 Sep 1929), m 29 Aug 1947 to Wallace Firman GRAY #G1.
Gordon Donald MCNABB (b 16 Nov 1931), m 27 Oct 1953 to Sara Elizabeth Ann SINE.


1. Glimpses Into My Early Life. During 1991 Elsie started a series of short glimpses of her life which eventually ran to 21 separate chapters.  To access these, go to Glimpses Into My Early Life.
They may also be individually accessed directly from here by using the links below. (Links pending)

2. This Is Your Life. On the occasion of Elsie's 90th birthday (in 1994) a series of four notebooks entitled  Elsie Saye: This is Your Life! were produced. This biography is excerpted from these notebooks.

1900-1909. The Decade of Elsie's Beginnings.

When Elsie was born her mother had small pox as the result of an epidemic in the family. Within two weeks Elsie also had small pox, worse than anyone, and was not expected to pull through.

The family had a big kitchen, twice as big as the kitchens today, where they gathered for meals, for prayer, for home nights of fun and games, and getting their lessons. The two-story home on Fifth Avenue between H and I streets in Salt Lake City had been built by her father. He built a grocery store as part of the house, and that store was their livelihood.

The store was on one side of the house with the grocery storeroom immediately behind it, and beyond that, the dining room. On the other side of the house was the parlor. Clear across the back of the home, behind both the storeroom and the living part of the home was the large kitchen with a pantry at one end and a big back screened-in porch. Their father could lean back in his chair at the end of the table in the kitchen and see through the dining room and storeroom and tell who was coming to the store.

1910-1920. The Decade of the Family Growing Up

It was during this decade that some sad events occurred. Elsie's mother, Grace Honor Bushman Lundquist, died of bronchial pneumonia at the age of 38. It was May 15, 1912. At the time Elsie was 7. Grace Lundquist had suffered from chronic asthma. Of that time, Elsie said that it was fortunate that the grocery store was part of the house so her father could be near. The oldest child at the time was Dick who was 19.

In 1913 Elsie's father married Ada Rosa Flory. As a young girl Elsie was kept busy helping with the household duties, the new babies and cooking. To earn a little pin money she would clean the bishop's house for 25 cents for the morning. She also carried a pail of milk from First Avenue to Fifth Avenue every day for 25 cents a week and she babysat for 25 to 50 cents.

1920-1930: The Decade of Courtship and Marriage

After quitting high school due to illness, Elsie went to her Aunt Jean (Eugenia) Lundquist's home in Smithfield, Utah. She worked awhile for the phone company and then went to the LDS Business College at night. She became a secretary and worked at Randall-Dodd Buick Motor Company for $75 a month. Later she was paid $90 a month as head secretary. This was a top salary.

Elsie's father died in 1925. This caused an immediate emergency: who was to take care of the store? Of her siblings, Dick was married, Ruby was married and Roy wanted to finish his college education and was working part-time with an engineering firm. George, however, was not too interested in high school, so he was elected. He agreed to quit school and take care of the store. While her father did not have insurance, he was quite free from debt. The family managed fairly well.

Elsie decided to go live with her mother's sister, Aunt Sadie and her daughter Lillian on 17th South in Salt Lake City. Around 1926 she went to California for a vacation, staying with the Von Hakes in Santa Monica. She loved it there and decided to stay. When Ruby and Frank Smuin moved to California she went to live with them in Glendale. She got a job as secretary in the flower department at Forest Lawn and took shorthand for her boss who was writing the story of Forest Lawn.

Then a better job offer came at Butterfield and Butterfield, a plumbing company. It was there she met Don.

Donald Oliver McNabb was born September 17, 1903, in Britt, Iowa. He was the son of George Daniel McNabb and Bertha Elsie Stanford. He first met Elsie when she was working for a plumbing and cesspool cleaning company. He was the truck driver for the company.

Their first date was for a maiden ride in a little roadster Don had built. When she got home she discovered her suit was black from the dirt coming up from the floor boards. Don had the suit cleaned and the floor board carpeted.

When Frank and Ruby returned to Salt Lake some months later, Don begged Elsie to stay and get married. When she told him she wanted to marry someone in her church, Don returned to Britt, Iowa, and Elsie went with Frank and Ruby to Utah. The couple wrote back and forth for over a year. Later, Elsie stayed with George and Roy, her brothers, in Salt Lake. It was then that Don decided that he would join the church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), and they were married in 1928.

In 1929 the Great Depression hit them, right after Frances was born. From then on until Don's accident, ten years later, they were to feel the effect of the Depression.

Frances Mildred McNabb was born September 26, 1929, a fitting end to the decade.

1930-1939: The Decade of Elsie and Don's Happy Life Together

The Depression brought on hard times for the young family as it did for almost everyone else in the country. Don was laid off at Utah Oil Company, then got a job at Curtis Coal. When he became ill, the family went to Pocatello, Idaho, where Don worked in a radio shop. When the store went broke, Don went to California where Elsie had preceded him to set up housekeeping with brother George and a friend in a home in Maywood.

It was November 16, 1931, when Gordon was born. Don was out of work. But Aunt Helen (Simpson) sent $20. With that Don bought an old model T Ford, fixed it up and went in the produce-selling business. He drove daily to Long Beach and then traveled back to his home to sell about a dollar's worth of produce a day. At least the family had plenty of produce! Don also painted apartments to pay for the rent, got a job with the Work Projects Administration and helped to build a court house in Maywood. He also got a job making new furniture into simulated antique pieces. He received $50 a month for this.

In 1938 when an earthquake hit, Don, who was working with Bishop Rice and driving ambulances, took off to Huntington Park and helped out for several days.

Don heard of a carbonic gas business and bought it. In the business, he bought and sold tanks of carbonic gas to make the fizz for soda fountains. The family moved to 241 Hollister in Santa Monica. Gordon, who was four years old in 1935, was injured by a car and was unconscious for almost 24 hours.

During the period of August to September in 1937, Don, yearning to go back to Iowa and have his family meet his parents and other relatives, borrowed some money. The family traveled in their panel-body Ford truck with their dog, Vic. They covered 6,000 miles, seeing the major natural sites all the way including the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. They had a great time with the McNabbs in Iowa.

In was in 1938 when Elsie first started having problems with her eyesight. She had a hemorrhage in the center retina of her left eye after returning from the trip to Iowa. As a result she lost the central vision in that eye.

In September 1939, Don took Elsie and their friend Teckla Baker to the San Francisco World's Fair. Frances and Gordon stayed home with a babysitter since they were going to school. It was shortly after their return from this trip that Don had his fatal accident, and the family was without their husband and father.

With insurance money from the accidental death (of $5,586), Elsie, upon the advice of her bishop, Ed Barlow of Santa Monica Ward, bought a home with income property. They found a nice home with a four-unit apartment for $7,000 on a Federal Housing Administration loan of $50 a month. It was only a few blocks from the Santa Monica Ward meetinghouse. The title was cleared in eight years.

1940-1949: The Family Without Don; Elsie Becomes a Grandmother

By the following October General Conference of the Church in Salt Lake City (in 1940), Frances, Gordon and Elsie went to the Salt Lake Temple to be sealed together as a family for all eternity. Elvina ("Honey") and Charley Rasmussen went with them. The decade started off with the temple experience, followed by the job of putting the life of Elsie and her family back together. She said that at first it seemed impossible to fill the vacancy "left by one who was so full of life, so humorous, so original, who loved his home and enjoyed romping with the children."

The first year was rough in the apartment business. There were ten families who moved in twelve months and all types of problems including the rent restrictions slapped on by the government due to the war-time rent-control laws. In 1946 Elsie went to work for the Santa Monica Board of Education in the audio-visual department. She worked there for seven years. Prior to that she had been secretary for a representative of the Nutrilite Company.

Toward the end of the decade, Elsie's future as a grandma and beyond became apparent. Frances was still in high school when she met Wally Gray at Church, just returned from the U.S. Navy. This was in 1946. Following her graduation from Santa Monica High School as a valedictorian, she and Wally were married in the Salt Lake Temple. Elsie accompanied the couple since Frances was not quite 18 and had to have in-person permission for the marriage license. The marriage was August 29, 1947. On May 25, 1949, Elsie became grandma for the first time when Lawrence Firman Gray was born.

1950-1959: The Decade of the Young Third Generation

Gordon, having graduated from Santa Monica High School in 1949, now got ready for his mission. He was one of the last young men who could go on a mission before going into the service in the Korean War. Between high school and his mission, he worked for Jim Sellers in the termite business and also went to Santa Monica City College. His mission was to the Central Atlantic States and part of that time was spent being in a missionary chorus where they sang for thousands of people and also appeared on radio and television.

Following his mission Gordon continued to work in the termite business. He worked in that business until he was drafted and served in Korea with the Seventh Infantry Division. Prior to joining the service, Gordon met Sally Sine at Santa Monica Ward. As soon as Gordon's basic training was completed, they were married. This was in the St. George Temple on October 26, 1953.

Wally and Frances had moved to Escondido, California in 1951 where Wally was to teach at Escondido High School for the next 30 years. In 1953, Elsie also moved to Escondido, living in a house in the back of the Gray's home at 1143 East Second. The Santa Monica home was sold in 1953 for $18,500.

In 1954 Elsie went to work for Palomar College in nearby San Marcos. She was the bookstore manager, and organized the store in a temporary building. She had this job for six years.

In 1955 she started the Lundquist Family Fund and began collecting money from the family members. This ultimately resulted in a great deal of research being done and a clarification in the family traditions. Gene Lundquist, Elsie's cousin, and his wife later took over in directing the research. (See The Lundquist Family of Sweden.)

In 1956 she attended the dedication of the Los Angeles Temple on March 11. That same year she and Wally drove to Provo, Utah, to attend Education Week at the Brigham Young University.

In 1959 Elsie completed a two-year service as a district missionary. Other Church positions she held in Escondido included chairman of the genealogy board in the Escondido Branch and South Coast District; choir president in the branch; and supervising Saturday meals for ward members working on the stake center on Washington Avenue.

1960-1969: The Decade of the Third Generation in Its Youth

It was during this decade that the Lundquist Family Picnics became a tradition, and they are still going on. It was Grace and Art Laemmlen who started these picnics.

In 1960 Elsie's right eye became blurred and in June of that year she had to stop her work at Palomar College because her sight was practically gone. To relax and recover from the shock of having to quit her job, Elsie visited the Laemmlens in Reedley, California in 1961.   When she came home from the Laemmlens  she asked Palomar College if she could help in the bookstore in order to earn the needed quarter for her Social Security eligibility. While unpacking and stacking books at the college, she was asked if she would like to take the job at the switchboard. She realized that the Lord had offered her a real job among the sighted world, regular pay and just about her speed. On November 16, 1961, fully trained with special equipment prepared by the telephone company, she took the switchboard alone. She was to hold that job until she retired in 1972.

She started teaching in the night Relief Society as Spiritual Living Teacher.  She considered this  assignment "the most heroic thing I ever did." Being blind, she would listen to the tapes sent out by the Church and with the help of Frances, memorize the lessons. Gordon paid for a tape player because this was prior to the time she had the talking books equipment.

In 1967 Sally and Gordon and their three children moved to Ozark, Arkansas. Elsie accompanied the family in their two vehicles, one an old moving truck. She stayed for about a week then visited relatives before coming home. By this time she had seven grandchildren and her first grandson, Larry, was called to serve a mission in Germany.

1970-1979: The Decade of Retirement and Marriage

In 1971 when grandchild Number 8 (Sara Lynn McNabb) arrived, Palomar College had converted to a new switchboard. The number of calls handled daily had grown from 700 to 2,000 and the new system was necessary. The board was modified so that she could operate it. She committed the face of the board to memory so she could handle the 180 individual station numbers.

In 1974 (Elsie was heading the Senior Saints, a group of older persons) Elsie met James Malcolm Saye in the Senior Saints and they were married by Wally, the new bishop of the Escondido 2nd Ward. Elsie and Jim lived at various places: Elsie's home on Second Avenue in Escondido, a town house on Fig Street in Escondido, Reese St. in San Marcos, and then a manufactured home in Ranch Escondido Mobile Home Park.

Meanwhile great-grandchildren were born. During this time, Elsie was active in the Braille Club in Escondido. She served on the board and as president and vice-president. She also was enjoying talking books sent out free. At first the books were recorded on records similar to the LP records. Later the books were produced on tape. She probably has read more books than any of the rest of us! She normally gets three or so a week.

1980-1989: The Decade of Expanding Vistas

During this decade 13 great grandchildren were born making 21 by the end of the decade. Three of the grandchildren were married.  Elsie was awarded an honorary associate degree in Humane Arts by Palomar College. Jim Saye died in 1988. It was in 1990, after Wally and Frances had returned from their missions in Australia and moved to Sedona, Arizona, that Elsie joined them there.

1990-present: The Decade of the Growing Families

Great grandchildren continued to be born. Elsie turned 90 in October 3, 1994, and a 90th birthday party was held at the Sedona Ward building. The party also served as a family reunion from all parts of the country.

At age 98 she passed away at Country Home, a rest home, in Camp Verde, Yavapai, Arizona.  She is buried beside her husband, Don, at Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California.

Home | Biographical Index |
Frances McNabb Gray Ancestor Chart | The McNabb Family
Glimpses Into My Early Years


To contact us send to wgray@tonkatoo.com   Our home page is http://www.oocities.org/wallygray25/index.html