Sunday, July 25, 2010

Reflections on Grandpa's Life

The Provo Daily Herald ran the following obituary about Grandpa:

Howard Coombs Stutz

1918 ~ 2010

Howard Coombs Stutz, age 91, retired professor of genetics at Brigham Young University, passed away on July 20, 2010 following a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

He was born August 24, 1918 in Cardston, Alberta, Canada, the son of Joseph Reuben and Clara Coombs Stutz. While attending BYU in 1940, he met and married his sweetheart, Mildred Robison of Delta, Utah. They recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

After graduating with a Master's degree in Botany from BYU, Howard was awarded a PH.D in genetics from the University of California, Berkeley. As a dedicated Scientist he spent a long and productive career studying plants throughout the world including those in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. He has published more than 80 scientific papers and recently completed a book on science and evolution.

Howard approached life with unbounded energy. In addition to raising his family of seven children on his beloved farm in the Riverbottoms of Edgemont, he was a popular instructor and lecturer at BYU for nearly 40 years. He was instrumental in arranging with the US Forest Service to establish a formal research laboratory adjacent to BYU for the study of desert shrubs of the Western United States. For many years he worked with Utah International in New Mexico providing research and resources for strip mining reclamation. In 1982, Dr. Stutz and his wife, Mildred, established a perpetual scholarship award at BYU for graduate students' studies of desert shrubs. He reluctantly retired from teaching at the age of 65 but continued his research well into his 80s.

Howard was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served in many capacities including Elders Quorum president, Bishop, High Counselor, and Stake Patriarch. He approached every assignment with the same enthusiasm that he exhibited in his professional work. He has a strong testimony of the gospel and of God's love for his children.

Howard is survived by his wife, Mildred; four sons and two daughters: Craig (Priscilla); Tom (Annette); Joseph Lanny (Lorna); Ellen (Mark) Landeen; John (Nicole); and Susan (Todd) Atkin; and by a daughter-in-law, Janet; 42 grandchildren, 64 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son Kent, and by his grandsons, Mark, Carl and Boyd.

Funeral services will be held Monday, July 26, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. at the Edgemont Stake Center, 303 West 3700 North, Provo. A viewing will be held Sunday, at the Berg Mortuary of Orem, 500 North State Street, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., or Monday morning, at the Stake Center, one hour prior to services. Interment, Orem City Cemetery. The family wishes to thank Aspen Home Care and Alpine Hospice for their compassionate care. Condolences may be sent to

The Deseret News also ran the obituary.

I am told the viewing this evening was a wonderful occasion that brought together family and friends from all directions. Although my family arrived too late in the evening to attend the viewing, we did enjoy exploring the farm grounds and discussing its good times, past and future.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Grandpa's Memorial Services

From the Berg Mortuary web site:
Funeral services will be held Monday, July 26, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. in the Edgemont Stake Center, 303 West 3700 North, Provo. Friends may call at the Berg Mortuary of Orem, 500 North State Street, Sunday evening, from 6-8 p.m., or Monday morning, at the Stake Center, one hour prior to services. Interment, Orem City Cemetery.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In Memoriam - Grandpa Stutz

Grandpa Stutz passed away peacefully this evening at the farm. He lived a long and vigorous life, having celebrated his 70th anniversary with Grandma just this past week. There is much to say about his life, but not today. Now is a time for reflection, prayer, and family.

We love you, Grandpa.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Grandma and Grandpa's Wedding

Among the many pictures that Ellen sent is this wonderful portrait of Grandma and Grandpa on their wedding day -- July 15, 1940. I had never seen it before; in fact, it is the only picture from their wedding that I know of. It is a beautiful, touching picture of a young couple at the outset of their lifelong journey together.

The writings on the picture are Grandma's, but they originally were above (names) and below (date) the picture. I transferred them onto the picture while cleaning it up after scanning.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Grandma and Grandpa's Anniversary!

Might there be a party in the works for this summer? Ellen asked me to post the following:
Grandma and Grandpa Stutz are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary in July. We thought it would be a nice gift to present them with a collection of letters and/or pictures from all of the family members. We would particularly request short stories of a favorite memory or experience you have had with Grandma and Grandpa. I would be happy to do the collecting, but I need to receive these quickly (by the end of June) so that I can compile them into a notebook. Please remember to include your name with your letter or pictures. Ideally, we would love to hear from every family member. I will try to get the word out, but please notify your own family members because I am sure I don't have everybody's address or email. You can mail your letters to my address: Ellen Landeen 2906 W. 7500 S. West Jordan, UT 84084 or you can email to Thanks for your help with this project. Call me if you have any questions. 801-561-3875.
For the record, Grandma and Grandpa were married July 15, 1940, making this their 70th wedding anniversary!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Long Walk Home

This post is not about the movie with the same name. Rather, this post seeks stories about the walk home from school. It is inspired by a previous post of John and Susan and a comment by Shari. Leave comments with your stories and I will update the post to include it. They do not have to be interesting, just memorable to you in some way.

To get the ball rolling, here are a few stories about walks home that I had.
In second grade I found a quarter on the sidewalk and was so excited that I went to a phone booth (!) and called my mom to tell her. She listened to my good fortune, and then explained that the quarter was gone now because I used it on the phone call. I didn't understand that the phone would not give me change back, as phone calls were only a dime then. I was upset the rest of the walk home. Seeing my distress when I arrived home, Mom gave me another quarter. Thanks for your kindness, Mom!

In third grade, Dave and I got stuck at a convenience store for hours when Defender started serving up free video games. Who in their right mind would pass up free video games? The party ended when my dad pulled up in his truck to get us. I think Karla and Shari told him where we were, which is a good thing because we would probably still be playing. I don't recall getting in much trouble over it, so thanks for your kindness, too, Dad!

On cold days, the neighborhood kids would march in a line blowing big puffs of steam, pretending to be a choo-choo train. We also cracked the ice on every frozen puzzle along the way.
Anyone else with stories about the walk home from school?

Proofsheet - G&G 06

The trickle of updates from the rolls of film that Ellen sent continues.

Some of these pictures appeared in the initial post when Ellen sent the rolls of film. Click for a larger image. Let us know in the comments if you would like GAP to post larger images of any of these.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Earth Week Wasp

I've posted pictures of bugs before, but thought this picture of a wasp on a compact fluorescent light fixture was an appropriate post for Earth Week. As my sister Shari likes to say, "Save the Earth!"

This is pretty much the limit of the macro mode on my point and shoot camera.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Proofsheet - G&G 05

Another small update from a roll of film that Ellen sent.

Because only one of the pictures is interesting, here is a larger image of Grandma and Grandpa (click for a larger image.).


Shari writes in the comments:
This looks like the photo they had on display at their 50th Wedding Anniversary party. Remember those sheet cakes they had? And all the people who came to the farm? Grandpa and Grandma are (understatement of the year) troopers.
Thanks, Shari! I don't remember the sheet cakes -- until I found eggless cakes I didn't pay much attention to cakes -- but I would love to get more pictures (and stories?) about their anniversary. And, yes, they are quite the troopers!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Grammar Nerd Question

In the recent post Proofsheet - G&G 04 we wrote "the rest of the roll either exists somewhere else or is lost." We treated "the rest of the roll" as a singular subject and, thus, used singular verbs. Should we have treated "the rest of the roll" as a plural subject and written "the rest of the roll either exist somewhere else or are lost"? Would it matter if we changed the subject to "the rest of the negatives"?

See, kids, grammar is not only important, it's fun!


Craig writes in support and I think I can rest easy now.
"rest" is singular. You are correct. "of ...whatever" is not important to the singularity of the rest.
Whew! Even if the rest of the family members is unsure, we should probably put this to rest. Thanks, Craig!

Dave also chimes in with the rest of the story.
Of course, there are different rules if you are using British English. In America, we would say "Italy has won the World Cup" (or "Italy wins the World Cup!!"), whilst in the UK they would say "Italy have won the World Cup" (or "Italy win the World Cup!!"). We consider a noun that represents multiple items (in this case, the name of a political unit made up of millions of people) to be singular, they regard it as plural.

But of course, they also say "maths" instead of "math," so there's really no reason to take their grammatical rules seriously.
Thanks for the worldview, Dave! I am kind of interested in what the English think of their grammar; the language is called English for a reason, after all. It seems that some people view the resolution of subject/verb agreement for compound nouns as not being so simple. I cannot say that any particular view is clearest, and I do not think the grammar police will arrest anyone for getting it wrong, but in the interest of restoring some manner of prestige to my grammar skills I will continue to wrestle with the issue to find the surest, purest, fairest rule of application. Or, whatever.

OTOH, the use of "maths" seems to be a spelling disagreement more than a subject/verb agreement disagreement. "Maths" is used as a singular, correct?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Proofsheet - G&G 04

Today we have a very small update from the film that Ellen sent. There are only two negatives showing preparations for Christmas in Grandma and Grandpa's basement. Because these negatives did not match any of the others in the package, the rest of the roll either exists somewhere else or is lost.

Click for a larger image. Let us know in the comments if you would like GAP to post larger images of any of these.


Ellen posts some information about the pictures and a poem (!) in the comments.
For years, Grandpa and Grandma would fill a Christmas stocking for every child and grandchild in the family. It took a lot of effort and quite a bit of money and the basement would be off limits to family members for weeks. These two pictures were separate from other negatives because I think Grandma used them in her family newsletters. She also wrote a poem about the family Christmas stocking project.

Christmas on Grandpa's Farm

On Grandpa's farm there's a basement door
That's sealed up tight from top to floor
And a great big sign in black and white

(My Daddy says, when he was a kid,
He'd crawl under the porch where the windows hid
And try to see through the webs and gloom
What was hiding in that secret room.)

On Christmas morn we'd wait in delight
While Grandpa turned on the Christmas lights,
Then we'd burst through the door and shout with glee
And "Whee-Whee" round the Christmas tree.

On the walls of the room were dozens of socks
One for each person - present or not.
Then we'd pour all the gifts out on the floor
There must be a zillion million or more!

Later that day we'd creep down the stairs
To see if there might be more gifts down there,
But the door to the secret room stood wide
And there wasn't a single thing inside
Thanks, Ellen! GAP can never have too many stories and poems!

Ellen wrote commented again to clarify that, "that poem was written by Grandma Stutz, not Ellen." Duly noted!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Rowan Squires Stutz

Yesterday, April Fools Day, a post went up at the Stutz Barn announcing that Rowan Squires Stutz joined Jeremy, Emlyn, and Big Sister Millie as the newest member of their family. Details are slim -- all we know is March 18, 2010, 7:42 a.m., 7 pounds 1 ounce, 20 inches -- since the JEM show blog is now available by invitation only. At least we get a picture!

We are pretty sure this is no April Fools joke; certainly Rowan's cuteness is no joke. The closest analogy we can think of -- let's be honest: this is a stretch even for us -- is the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag, which started off as an April Fools Joke (Huh?), but turned out to be real (Yeah!), but then turned out to be both very expensive (Yowza!) and very awesome to have (Woohoo!). Congratulations from GAP!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Other Projects - Photo Restoration

In addition to scanning the negatives and pictures that Ellen sent, I have been working on some other projects unrelated to family history. One of the more interesting ones is a photo of President and Mrs. Johnson that I restored for a friend at work.

In these before and after pictures, you can see (click for a larger image) that the original was very faded and retained very little color information. After scanning, and using only Photoshop Elements 5 (I still have not invested in a newer program!), I was able to tease some color and detail out of the picture. The steps I took were:
  1. Straighten and crop the picture;
  2. Fix and saturate color;
  3. Improve the contrast and highlight/shadow detail;
  4. Sharpen image;
  5. Remove dust, scratches, and other blemishes; and
  6. Reduce grain and other noise in the image.
The results are not perfect -- certainly not as as nice as a new picture -- but they are not too bad, especially considering the original image. It took a lot of trial and error, but short of painting on color (which I did not do) the picture is quite usable. I even received a box of cookies and brownies out of it!

I am not trained in photo restoration, and undoubtedly a professional could do more. But, if you poke around at a hobby long enough -- and I've been poking around a digital archiving for a little while -- you can get pretty good results.


Ellen writes in the comments, "Way to go, Rob. That's pretty cool how you can do that." Thanks, Ellen. I enjoy doing it!

Craig then adds, "Now see if you can photoshop grandma next to LBJ."

I'm not great at photo manipulation but, what the heck, here by request is Ladybird Stutz. Now, if you can identify which image Grandma's face is from -- it is from one of Grandpa's slides -- I will be really impressed.

Mystery Picture 100330

Well, we didn't have any luck identifying the kids in the previous mystery picture. Today, though, we have something a little more unusual.

This picture was from today's proofsheet post. I would assume they are atriplex seeds, but, well, I know what some of you might say if I did that. So, let's put the question out there. Does anyone know what these are and why there is a picture of them?

Proofsheet - G&G 03

As we slowly add more proofsheets to GAP, here is from a roll of film that Ellen sent.

Click for a larger image. Let us know in the comments if you would like GAP to post larger images of any of these.