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George Bryant GARDNER
Harriet Mariah BEEBE
Joseph Albert LEWIS
Martha Emma PELL
Eliza Meadlock LEWIS
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Ralph Harvey GARDNER


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Helene FISH

Ralph Harvey GARDNER

  • Born: 27 Oct 1902, Woodruff, Navajo, AZ
  • Marriage: Helene FISH 4 Jun 1927, Holbrook, Navajo, Arizona
  • Died: 27 Jan 1969, Page, Coconino, AZ
  • Buried: 29 Jan 1969, Lakeside, Navajo, AZ

bullet  General Notes:

Compiled by Sherry Thomas and George Gardner

I, Ralph Harvey Gardner, son of Fay Ivan Gardner and Eliza Meadlock Lewis, was born under the covenant of goodly parents on October 27, 1902.
I grew up in Woodruff, the place of my birth. Our family was never rich and we have always been grateful for the things that we have been privileged to enjoy.
I have six brothers and five sisters. My father and mother had a real struggle trying to raise us all.
I had very little schooling with only one year of high school, which I received at Lakeside.
One of the first things I can remember is standing on an irrigation ditch bank barefooted, diaper around my knees, eating a piece of bread and red plumb preserves bigger than I was. I saw many hardships in my childhood, hunger and want of luxury. On the 4th of July each year we would get a quarter to spend.
My first recollection of anyone of importance was Grandmother, Harriet Beebe Gardner, and my fathers' mother. She lived in our home for seven years before she passed away. She came across the plains in Brigham Young's Co. She crossed the plains at the age of thirteen and saw many hardships at Winter Quarters. I don't remember Granddad Gardner. He was a blacksmith and wheelright and helped many saints across the plains by wagon building and handcart building. Grandmother Gardner was a self-trained nurse. Joseph Ivan Gardner was the 400th baby she delivered into the world. She also brought me into the world. She called me into her room many times to tell me the story of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Oliver Cowdery, Wilford Woodruff and many others.
Bishop L.M. Savage baptized me on November 23rd, in Woodruff. The ice was about one-half inch thick on that muddy Colorado River. He led me into the water and ducked my under and I had to go home and take a bath to clean the mud off. I never did grow very tall but figured it was because we lived in Woodruff so long and drank so much of that muddy water that it kind of made me settle. I want to pay tribute to Bishop L.M. Savage, one of the men who controlled his ward, and did everything according to the law of the gospel. I was baptized by him and confirmed by Jim Brinkerhoff. Brother Allen ordained me a teacher in Taylor; I can't remember his given name,
At a very early age, in my early teens, I helped build one of the notorious dams that went in the Colorado River that furnished water for the farms. My father Fay Ivan Gardner helped build 13 dams in the Colorado River. Each one washed out after being completed by the heavy floods that came down that old muddy Colorado.
We had a lot of sickness, my Father was sick so we had to get out and find employment. So, we moved to Taylor to try to benefit ourselves. Incidentally my Father was the first assessor in Navajo County. He ran for office in Woodruff and got every vote in Woodruff except one for two terms. He held that office for eight terms, sixteen years as County Assessor. He was a man who stood on his own two feet, let no one back him down regardless of size or education. He was a self-educated man. One time while my Father was in the Assessors Office he went to the White Mountains on Assessors business, my mother didn't know anything about his whereabouts. One night she woke up in the night, woke me up and said, "Ralph, you've just got to get up and go find Dad." We had a saddle horse when we were living in Woodruff. She said, "Go to Dry Lake and see if you can find him." It's about 35 miles from Woodruff to Dry Lake. I saddled the horse about 4 O'clock in the morning and rode out to Dry Lake. It took me until noon to get there. It was on a Sunday morning. Elmer Gardner was in charge of the Branch there and he told me to put the horse in the barn and feed him and water him, eat dinner, go to Church with him and then I could go home. After Church the horse was rested up and I was feeling pretty good so I rode back to Woodruff. We had gotten word from my father while I was gone. His car had broken down and he had hired someone to pull the old Model T Ford into Snowflake. Just an hour after I left Woodruff, my Mother received a telephone call that he was safe and would be on his way home in a day or two. He would come after he fixed the car. 70 miles, round trip, for a kid is a long stretch compared to what it is now.
One time when I was bout eight years old I went with my father to Holbrook, I went into the "Bucket of Blood Saloon", where there were men drinking and gambling. Two of the fellows got into an argument about a play that was made and one just up and shot the other, and that settled the argument. There was an old hitching rack in front and an old water pump and the water trough, and that was the good old days. Right next to it Sam Chinaman had a cafe, a little long narrow building. You went in and sat on stools; there were no tables. Sam wore the same apron day after day. He slept in it and wore it for weeks at a time. It got to looking like the walls of that place. You ordered ham and eggs, or bacon and eggs, that was the best thing to do. One day my father and I went in, ordered Ham and eggs and Sam said, "Mr. Gardner, better take 'em scrambled, eggs pretty damn rotten."
At the age of l6 in November of l9l8, we moved to Taylor, Arizona. We stayed there about a year and then moved to Lakeside in l9l9. During our first period in Lakeside I worked for SW Jaques on his ranch. After I worked awhile he put me to hauling freight from Lakeside and McNary to Grasshopper and the O.W. Ranch which was about 90 miles from Lakeside. One spring he sent me with a load of salt. He gave me hay and grain for my six mules and groceries for myself. About that time the frost was on the ground and it started raining. I was twenty-one days from McNary to Cibeque. I ran out of grain and hay for the stock and I ran out of groceries. I didn't see a living soul for that period of time. The mules got so they could hardly carry their harnesses. When I got in to Cibeque I went into Napps' store and asked him if Jacques' credit was good for hay and groceries. He said, "all you want." So I bought some hay and grain, fed the mules and bought some groceries. I bought a big round steak, made a dutch oven full of biscuits and cooked this big round steak in a dutch oven. Then I bought a no. 2 can of black cherries. I cooked those biscuits and steak, I ate them and then I ate the full can of cherries, then I went to bed. Incidentally I slept in a wet bed every night on that trip. The next day I went from Cibeque to Grasshopper, the mules being rested and the storm subsided, so I was in pretty good shape. I had the wrinkles taken out of my stomach and the mules had the wrinkles taken out of theirs. We got along pretty good. We unloaded and I went back to Lakeside. That's where I quit freighting and I hope none of my boys ever have to go through what I did. What I remember most about that trip, was when I drew my pay. I drew $40.00 and l cent. I asked Mr. Jaques if he though I earned that one cent and he said, "Yea, I think you did." That was quite amusing to me.

While I was working for Jaques he sent me over to Grasshopper to wrangle horses. He gave me a little mule and a saddle horse. Tom Angus and Pete Nail were pretty good buddies of mine. We got to know each other pretty well and every one of the cowboys had an old outlaw horse or something that didn't like him.
I fed their horses, watered them and rested them up so well that they didn't need so many horses. So, they'd give me all their old outlaw horses and I had a string that wouldn't quit. I had about 35 horses in my string. I had one big sorrel horse that somebody gave me, it was a beautiful horse. One morning I dropped my rope on him in the corral, saddled him up and he acted just fine. I noticed all the cowboys rode out toward the timber and stopped. They hesitated, looked back and then I knew what was up. I just opened the gate, turned out the Remuda and took the lane up to where I was going to graze them and water them that day. I turned to this sorrel, stepped on him and then the fun started. He downed his head and bucked for half a mile and me pulling at him all the way. I managed to stay on and after he quit bucking, the cowboys went on their way but I didn't dare get off from him all that day. I stayed on him all day long from early in the morning. That was just about sun-up and I came in about sundown bringing their horses. I hadn't ever been off that horse all day long. I really learned to love that horse, me being a great lover of horses anyway. The next morning the horse let me throw my rope right back on her.
We stayed in Lakeside about a year and then moved to Winslow where I went to work for the Santa Fe Railway in Williams, my folks living in Winslow. My father also worked for the railroad. I served an apprenticeship and had to do all kinds of work. We worked all the way from Los Angeles, Kansas City, Phoenix and to the Grand Canyon. I had to pass wherever I wanted to go on the railway. I could ride any freight train or passenger train except the fancy passenger trains. They wouldn't allow me to have a sleeper or anything like that on this pass. If I did, I'd have to pay for it out of my own pocket. Once we were coming up from Ashfork, we had a Mead Motor car and there were six of us on it. We were coming from Ashfork and we were following a passenger train up the hill. There was a big load of machinery that wouldn't clear the overpasses, so they were bucking traffic down the hill but we didn't know that. We didn't have any orders so we were coming up and they'd been in the hole waiting for this passenger train. Our motor car had been giving us some trouble so we were all working on it. We had our heads down and this freight train came out of the hole making no noise, smoke or hardly anything. We were in a rock cut about 50 feet deep. We looked up and saw that thing coming towards us. Incidentally the number on that locomotive was 3881. We all jumped off quickly. That thing hit our little car head on and sent that motor car down that rail. Those Mead Motor cars would run either way, one way as good the other so it hit straight on the rail and it started running real good going down the hill. The section foreman about three miles below saw it coming and threw a tie across the track. That little car hit the tie and tore it into a million pieces. The engineer said that he saw a man fly into the air but it turned out to be a cushion. We caught a ride back into Ashfork with this freight train and then caught another train into headquarters, in Williams. We all got forty brown marks apiece out of that incident. Before I quit Santa Fe I gained all mine back but about l0 or less, I don't know exactly how, but anyway they had a merit system, brownies are good marks and I'd gained mine back by seeing to some of the things that needed to be done. I had a real fine experience with the Santa Fe Railway, four years of it. I've always been grateful for that experience. After finishing four years training as an apprentice steam fitter we moved back to Lakeside.
After working on the Railroad and moving back to Lakeside I became employed by Fish Lumber Co. in 1926. I worked as a logger and then in different capacities for the Fish Lumber Co. I met and married Helene Fish while working at her Dad's sawmill.
We were married June 4th, l927 by a civil court and then when the Temple was opened in Mesa we received our endowments on the 27th of October, l927. We were married by George Albert Smith who later became President of the Church. Heber J. Grant was then President of the church and offered the Dedicatory prayer. After going through the veil in the Temple we sat in the Temple lobby until 9:00 P.M. We started the session at 7:00 A.M. The workers were new and took considerable time to take the first group through. After our endowments at 6:00 P.M. we sat in the lobby three hours until 9:00 P.M. waiting to get married. When Apostle George A. Smith found us he said, "Where in the hell have you been?" "I have looked this whole town over, searched every motel, called every residence on the phone. Someone told me you had left the Temple." My great admiration to President smiths' determination of trying to find two insignificant people who hadn't had their work completed that day. Talking to him after we both cooled off a little, our nerves frayed and on edge, my wife pregnant, stood all day, one roast beef sandwich served about 3:00 P.M., the best sandwich I have ever eaten in my life. We found in talking to him that he was a distant relative of Helene Fish. Brother Joseph Brewer and Margaret, Don L. Hansen and his wife Georgia accompanied us to the Temple. There were so many people attending the dedication that we had to sleep in our car.
Life was a struggle. For water, my wife carried a baby under each arm plus an egg pail and lard pail full of water from the lake. By the time she'd get home to do her washing, half the water would be spilled and the kids would be crying, it was a chore. I would be off working, no way of getting water. We lived about a half-mile from the lake. There was a spring where we got the water. We're still living in the same old place today. We've lived here about 34 years.
In 1932 I hired out as a blacksmith for a road construction gang. I worked for Warren Tinney as a blacksmith in Winslow, Springerville and Geronimo. In l933 I worked for Joe Nelson and Marian Rogers at Heber as a Blacksmith. From l933 through l935 I worked for Packer and DeWell. We worked on highway 60 at Salt River and at Vernon. I worked these two different jobs as a blacksmith. I then hired out as blacksmith for Sharp/Fellows out of Los Angeles. I worked between LA and Dodge City, Kansas, staying at Dodge City the winter of l934-35. From l935-l939 I worked for ML Fish logging and sawmilling. From October l938 to May l944 I ran a loader on a log pond for Southwest Lumber Mills during World War II. I have spent a good portion of my life working in the sawmill business in different capacities. I have built l0 sawmills and operated them for different owners and myself. I once went into private business, built a mill over above Heber and operated it for a year. I was foreman for southwest Lumber Mills over the first power saw gang in l946. We moved to Mesa in l951 where I worked for Hallen and Packer as a plumber. I worked there for one year and then in March, l952 I went to work for Mobile Homes as a finish carpenter. I worked for Canoell and Hugh construction for one year. I went to work for Utah Construction in San Manuel, Arizona in l953. I worked there less than a year then went back to southwest lumber mills as a log skidder in the woods. When that job ended I went to work for Henning and Turnbull building and running a mill in McNary. In l956 they sent me to New Mexico to build and operate a mill in Quemado, New Mexico. I stayed there till we ran out of timber and then came back to McNary and ran the mill I built there until it burned down. I then went back to Quemado and moved the Quemado mill to McNary where I ran it until l958 when I became ill. Since that time we've had a little business of our own, we call it the Gardner Water Co. We furnish domestic water for a specified area. I'm also a foreman for Navajo County now.
In the Church I have taught several different Sunday School classes, 13 and 14 year olds for 7 years, priest class for 7 years. I was responsible for the adult Aaronic Priesthood and getting them ready for the Temple. One Sunday morning I drove from Lakeside to Snowflake to Stake Conference. President David A. Butler said, "Well, I'm sure glad to see you Ralph, sure need to talk to you." He called Apostle Cowley and said, "Here's the man I want to make President of the first Quorum of Elders." Well, it kind of set me back, not expecting it and I told President Butler I wasn't worthy to accept that position. He said, "We're not asking you whether you're worthy or not, we want you to take the job and do it." I was 2nd Councilor to Bishop Jackson after being the Elders Quorum President. Bishop Jackson was the bishop of the Lakeside Ward. I had great pleasure in that calling. There was a lot of responsibility but a lot of satisfaction. Since Bishop Rhoton has been Bishop they have put me in the Adult Aaronic Priesthood. I said when I went in that if I got one man to go by my door to become an Elder I'd be happy. In less than a year I had five men become Elders and go by the door, taking their families to the Temple. My cup was overflowing. I think in time my whole family will go through the Temple.
I put Duane on a mission in Brazil. We didn't have any money but decided to send him anyway. I went to the post office one morning and received a check for $332 from a man that owed me for a long time. Went to Show Low the same day and a man yelled at me from across the street and wanted to pay me a bill for $27.00, went on down the street and another man paid me a bill for $9.00. We received a great testimony from accepting this mission call. Money came in from every source. We needed $600.00 for fare and clothes. The people of Lakeside gave him a party and he received around $400.00. Through the kindness of the people and the Lord we were able to support Duane through an honorable mission. Then when Duane came back, a few months later, George was called to the Western States Mission with headquarters in Denver, Colorado. I had been sick and in the hospital, unable to work on account of my health. People thought we couldn't possibly send him on a mission but our faith prompted us to send him. The people from Lakeside and the surrounding wards gave him a party and he received better than $500.00 to help him on his way. Being unable to work, the money came and we never had so much food in our icebox or had it so easy as when Duane and George were on their missions. My health improving, Rollin Fish was Bishop at the time, called me one evening after George had been out about a year, said that the authorities wanted George to have a car. He told them that I wasn't able to have a car but to wait and he would ask me. He called me up and I said yes, Bishop, I can furnish him a car. He asked me when I would be able to deliver the car in Denver. I said I would deliver it a week from next Friday. Not having any money nor not knowing where I would get a car I knew that a way would be opened. I contacted several car dealers without any results. The day before we were supposed to go to Denver, everything fell into place and we were able to get a nice car and enough money for Helene, Sherry and I to go to Denver. Helene and Sherry wanted to know what time we would get there and I told them about two o'clock Saturday afternoon. We arrived almost on the minute. Sherry was driving and I was watching the map, we drove directly to Elder Basset's apartment. George used the car for the rest of his mission without any expense. When he came home some kids wanted to go to Robert's Ranch swimming about l5 miles on Whiteriver. On the way the transmission went out of the car and had to be towed in. George said, "Dad, what do you want me to do with the car?" I said, "I don't care, it has served its purpose." George served an honorable mission.
One Sunday morning while George was on his mission, in Denver, he was in the Western States Mission, I had an idea to send Glen to Weldon Witts and Wayne Hansen's and invite them to Priesthood. They both accepted. Immediately after that invitation they both became active in the church. They immediately became Elders and took their families to the Temple. I've had great joy in the work I've done in the Church.
While George was on his mission I went to work for H.L. Barnett in the White Mountains. I worked 4 1/2 years for them. I quit the oak job, with Barnett, and went to work for Eldon Stratton and Hal Butler. I moved a sawmill from Apache Creek, New Mexico to White River.
Nov. l7, l962 I started working for the Navajo County roads Department where I am still employed. I am foreman now but started out as crewman for Hal Butler.
One other thing I wanted to mention before I forget. While I was working for Navajo Co. My wife and I, in l963 took the Navajo County booth to the State Fair in Phoenix. We won second place out of the fourteen counties that were entered. In l965 we went back again and won fifth place. Now they've assigned us to go in l966 and we're keeping our fingers crossed hoping we can come back with something for this particular part of the country.
After my employment with Navajo Co. I went to Page and went into business with Harvey. While in Page I was called to work with the Indian people as a Stake Missionary. {It was here in Page that Dad lost his life. He had a blood vein in his brain burst while driving and became unconscious, driving his truck into the lake and drowning.}
My life has been full and complete, having been born unto us four boys and four girls: Pearl the oldest, Nina the next, Harvey, Duane, George, Ida May, Sherry and Glen. We had the misfortune of loosing Ida May when she was twenty-one days old. It's been a great sorrow in our life but we realize that she is watching over us and trying to lead us through our trials and tribulations to points beyond that we cannot comprehend. We are indeed grateful for the things that we have been privileged to enjoy having been born under dire circumstances. I appreciate everything that I had, my food, clothing and what luxuries that we've been able to afford.
Mazel Penrod married our oldest daughter Pearl and he is a wonderful man in that everything he does he does well and he would make a wonderful leader if he would just consider himself as such and not be his own worst enemy. I admire him for the kindness he shows to his aged parents and consideration to my daughter Pearl. Pearl is big hearted and considerate. She is so considerate of Helene and me and would give us anything she thought we needed.
After Ernie started going with Nina his whole life changed and he has progressed a long way. I baptized and confirmed him in Lakeside and ordained him an elder in Tucson. Nina has stuck with him through thick and thin, through all his doubts about the church and has been an anchor to Ernie. Nina being the sweet girl she is doesn't hurt anyone's feelings. I can always tell when she is in trouble, in need of money or coming home. She has been a real blessing to us.
What I love about Harvey is his attitude and ability in getting along with everyone. The help he gives people, the way he praises me for giving him the opportunity to know how to work and get ahead. Darlene is a jewel among jewels and their children also. Last time we were in Page, Douglas, their youngest boy was standing on the sidewalk and as we drove away I said, "bye, bye, Doug." He said, "bye, bye, honey." That was worth the entire trip to see them.
Duane is a wonderful man. The hardest working man I have ever known. He has a personality all of his own a real deep thinker and studies all the time. He has an unusual talent and a natural gift as a piano player. He has a determination to succeed and Jeanette sticks by him all the time. They have three wonderful girls, outstanding and brilliant.
George, teacher of music, taught in Lakeside school for two years. Outstanding in his ability as music teacher. Taught in Thatcher one year, and is a teacher now in St. Johns High School. Married Marie Haynie from Pima and they have three children. Marie is one of the most industrious economical women that could possibly be. In fact, we think all of our daughter-in-laws cannot be excelled in their loyalty to their husbands and children. Sherry one of most outstanding babies and teenagers we have had. Has always been adult in her mind. She knows our wishes and desires and what we have wanted from her. She married Larrie Thomas in the Mesa Temple. DeCall, Sherry & Larrie's first born was born in February. l0 month's later twins were born to them, Darrin and Devin, both were incubator babies but well and happy now. They call them the three D's. In a little while it will be three devils. Larrie is a wonderful, ambitious man, who filled an honorable mission, loves family, works hard and has great talent in the mechanical field. Living in Las Vegas, working as an apprentice in a Machine shop.
{Sherry says she lost a page of this history, which was telling of her Dads love for Glen. He talked more about Glen than anyone because Glen and Dad worked together on the water Co. Glen taking over when Daddy was sick. Glen being the last one at home when things were a little more relaxed and Daddy was really proud of Glen.} George is the only one that finished off his college degree and he did it on his own, practically no help from us. Harvey had some college education did it on his own. Duane had some and he also did it on his own. Sherry had some college and she did it on her own also. Having eight children it's awfully hard to put them through college.
Hobbies--I love to fish. Have spent many days with Helene's' brother Glen all over the White Mountain area and have had many happy days together. I have been so busy I didn't have time to peel potatoes. I even married a fish. That day I was a sucker, Ha-Ha.
I went deep-sea fishing with Bishop Rhoton down in Old Mexico. I caught one and I hooked one but of course it got away. I also love to hunt; have shot turkey, blue grouse, deer, mountain lions and bear.
The last thing Daddy told me to write was to put him down as ONE WHO LOVES HIS FELLOWMAN.

Ralph Harvey Gardner's Patriarchal Blessing
Under the Hands of John Hatch, Patriarch
October 20, 1929

In the authority of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood and in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, beloved brother, Ralph Harvey Gardner, I place my hands upon your head to seal and to pronounce upon you a patriarchal blessing. Lift up your head and rejoice for the all watchful eye of the God of Israel has been upon you from your youth until the present time. Be humble and prayerful, beloved brother, and seek the Lord in humility everyday of your life, and as your prayers have been herd and answered in many ways, so shall it be in the future. You shall ask and you shall receive. You shall knock and it shall be opened unto you, and many things that seem to be mysteries at the present time shall be made manifest by the spirit of God. You have a twofold blessing, beloved brother. You have been born under the new and everlasting covenant which covenant entitles you to the choicest blessings and the highest favors of your Eternal Father. For those that are born in that covenant, meaning the new and everlasting covenant, the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, your lineage is also through Ephraim, and blessed are the children of Ephraim who, through faithfulness, endure to the end; for it was through his obedience that he received the grand blessing of standing at the head of the house of Israel and you being one of his seed you shall stand at the head of a numerous posterity upon the earth and there shall come unto you untold blessings, for the windows of Heaven shall be opened and blessings shall be showered upon you, more than you have room to contain, through faithfulness, and as you have been born of goodly parents, let your heart rejoice and be obedient to their commandments, and be faithful and true for the Holy Priesthood shall yet come unto you which priesthood is inseparably connected with the powers of haven, for the mysteries of heaven shall be unfolded unto those who magnify that priesthood, for they shall be inspired with the spirit of truth that guides into all truths, and as you are entitled to those favors of your Father in Heaven cultivate the precious gifts that are within you and hidden treasures of wisdom light and knowledge shall come to you. The day will soon arrive when you shall be called to make great sacrifices for you shall be called to leave father and mother, wife and children, houses and land as an ambassador of the truths of the Son of God, Your name also is recorded in the Lambs Book of Life, never to be stained with the indelible of the adversary. Now let your heart rejoice, beloved brother, and put your trust in God, for blessed and holy are they whose names are recorded in the Lambs Bok of Life, for they shall pass by angels, principalities, powers and glories into the their exaltation, and your being an Israelite indeed, there shall come to you high callings and stations in the Kingdom of God, and you eyes shall yet behold marvelous changes among the children of men, and as you go forth in the journey of this lifetime, you shall see many of the wicked and ungodly swept from this earth, for the judgments of God will destroy the wicked. But your feet shall stand in the Holy places and the spirit of prophesy and revelation shall rest upon you, and if you will forget not to importune Gd there shall be no power that shall bring you down for I seal you up against the powers of the adversary or any of his CO-laborers, and you shall come forth in the morning of the first resurrection and shall be clothed upon with immortality and Eternal Life, for you shall become mightyin words and in deeds and shall reign as a king and a priest unto the most High in the celestial kingdom of our God, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Jemes W. Lewis, Scribe.


Ralph married Helene FISH, daughter of Mahonri Lazelle FISH and Minnie Rose ADAMS, on 4 Jun 1927 in Holbrook, Navajo, Arizona. (Helene FISH was born on 19 Aug 1909 in Lakeside, Navajo, Arizona, died on 14 Feb 1990 in Lakeside, Navajo, AZ and was buried on 17 Feb 1990 in Lakeside, Navajo, AZ.)


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