Martha Foulger Taggart

(Grand Teton National Park--1992)

(Mom and Uncle Howard at the family home)

Responses from an email I sent out to the family to honor the 10th anniversary of the death of my mother on May 24, 1996

Just a note to remember the passing of Martha Taggart ten years ago today.  Anniversaries really accentuate the quick passing of the decades don't they?  So today I am paying tribute to a dear wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend.  Without her I would be even more "skill-less" than I am.  Because of her we are all more interesting.  She's imbedded deeply in each of us.  If we were to all gather in a park we could list what she meant.  Indulge me for a few seconds as I pause to make a short list:  dickies, chili, home-made salves and remedies, resin grapes, duplicated styles of clothing--one pattern MULTIPLE fabrics, outstanding Christmas candy, recycled underwear fro Grandma's dresses, quilts in the living room, bread, ravioli, knitted hanger covers, meticulous cleaning, PROJECTS, 151 Canyon Road, dandelion removal in the rain, practical gifts, shots, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, visiting friends, Fascinating Womanhood, raking shag carpet.  Feel free to send me back your list.

When I think of your mom I remember the fabulous Christmas candy that we eagerly anticipated each year.  I remember when I bought my house in 1972 she came and sewed curtains for me--one set is still hanging!  She also made me about four wonderful dresses with beautiful, interesting fabric (all from the same pattern!)  But one funny memory that up until now has been a Syphers' family secret is that quite a few years ago my mom, my sister and I all had red capes.  They were so pretty that we couldn't resist all getting one, and we wore them all the time.  We, of course, paid retail.  Well, we were planning a trip to see Grandma and your family, and my mom gave us strict instructions that we were NOT to take our capes on the trip because "once Martha sees them, she will get busy sewing, and then everyone in the entire family will have one just like ours!"  I loved your mom and was in awe of all her many talents!--Janet Syphers

The first time I met your mother was at BYU when Steve's mom came down to work on her master's degree in the summer from Alaska, and I'll never forget how she made a point to let me know that the six fingers Steve had been born with were from the William's side of the family...not the Taggart's.  It made me laugh.  I loved how direct she didn't have to guess what she was thinking.  She didn't waste a minute telling Steve to stop polishing his shoes on her carpet.  She was also the only person I ever saw mix up the last bits of all the cold cereal (odds and ends of Cheerios, corn flakes, Chex cereals etc.) to avoid wasting even just a little.  Most of all...I remember thinking when I met her and Nancy in Provo for the first time that they were both so thin and so beautiful.--JaeLyn Williams

I remember that it was Grandma Taggart who cemented in my mind the correct usage of the subject and object pronouns:  "Not 'Me and my friends,' Steve, but 'My friends and I.'  She also gave me and Darrin the job of squirting gasoline on the weeds that grew up in the white rocks that lined the driveway of the house in Montpelier.  She also gave me a stack of old Peanuts comic books from the Rexall Pharmacy where she worked in Montpelier.  They were all missing their covers, so she made pink and white contact paper covers for some of them.  Very masculine, but I enjoyed the books nonetheless.  She also had this really cool drawer in her kitchen that was filled with flour.  I don't know why that struck me as something of note, but it was one of the many surprises that I looked forward to when visiting her house.--Steve Williams

When my family moved in with Grandma Taggart for a while, it was my job to mow the lawn.  I started when I was 11 years old.  This wasn't an ordinary lawn either!  It was roughly the size of a football field.  The mower was one of those push mowers that saved money because it didn't use any gas; the blade would only turn as fast as you could push the mower.  It took me about five hours to mow the entire lawn.  I think she gave me $5 a week to mow it.  This was my first real job, and I think that more than anything, it taught me how to work hard.--Taggart Giles

I remembered almost everything on Mom's list, but I had completely forgotten about raking the shag carpet, though.  I couldn't hold back the chuckle.  Truly unique.  Some other things I remember:  wiping outside the toilet after a shower as as squeegeeing the shower, washing and reusing Ziplock bags, the magnet on her fridge that said, "Never trust a thin cook," gourds, utilizing the incredible invention of a deep freeze and soups, cold rooms, partial false teeth, car donations to us.  When we were living in the married student housing at Utah State one summer, Grandma was taking care of us.  I made some taffy at some community kids activity, and I knew Grandma wouldn't let me eat it, so I threw it all away.  It was probably about a pound of taffy.  I remember her getting a kick out of Thomas getting out of the bath and how he would shake a leg to get the drips off and then stick the same leg back in the water, balancing himself to shake the other leg.  We used to listen to primary songs.  No cats!  I do remember Christmas candy from her and my pink quilt she made.--Shelly Giles Myers

I remember visiting Grandma at the same time as Taggart one year; we both had colds, and Grandma was so sick of us wiping our noses all day, she made us have a nose-blowing contest.  Even though I was very young, I recognized what she was doing and went along with it because that's what you did when Grandma told you to do something.  Hey Taggart, who won that contest anyway?  I also remember her giving me baths in her tub with three inches of water in it.  I was lucky to be the first  to use the water sometimes (when it was still warm).  I remember knowing she loved me even though she wasn't as affectionate as some.  I loved visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Montpelier.--Meredith Taggart Campbell

Thank you for the reminder of Grandma's death anniversary.  I love her very much and miss her.  I was in Paraguay when she passed and didn't get a chance to say good-bye.  I still have a hard time with that.  I remember cracked oat oatmeal for breakfast with homemade white raisins.  Her house was the only place I ever ate it, and I wanted it every morning we were there.  Grandma's house was a gathering place.  Rarely were we there just by ourselves.  It was where  we saw our cousins as well:  games of croquet on the lawn, hikes up "M" hill, bar-b-ques, and Thanksgiving dinners.--Trevor Eberhard

I am amazed at the memories you all have.  I remember standing on a table buck naked in Blackfoot, Idaho, when Grandma and Grandpa were managing a motel.  I had chickenpox, and I was being inspected.  I remember a very clean house with toys, and I wondered if my grandparents played with the bristle blocks when the grandkids weren't around.  I remember the rule that we were not to sit on the beds--that is not what they were made for.  I remember a very honest woman.--Jeff Williams

Your email about your mom was wonderful, and the responses from various grandchildren have made my last couple of days.  I am hearing of a side of your mom I never knew--I always loved your mom--I remember walking out of Grandma or Grandpa Snook's funeral with her and her giving me a hug and saying, "I've always felt good about you, Diane." That meant a lot to me, and I've always remembered it.  I hear tell I can also credit her with my name.  My mom wanted to name me Diane and Grandma Snooks kept saying that that name reminded her of a little black baby.  Grandma wanted to name me Nancy.  Anyway, your mom sent me valentines from John and Nancy--mind you, I was born January 8th--with "Diane" on the envelope, and that turned the tide.  I was named Diane.  I would add--always had time to listen to me and be interested in what I was doing, teaching me new sewing techniques, taco salad--the first I had ever heard of it--Diane Wyatt Russell

 (handwritten by my father in about 1977)

"I, Martha Foulger, daughter of Albert Burton Foulger and Rachel Elizabeth Thomas was born January 30, 1917 in Ogden, Utah.  I married John Seaman Taggart, youngest son of Charles Wallace Taggart Jr. and Margaret Isabel Montgomery, on July 27, 1942, in the Logan Temple.  Four children, Nancy, John Charles, Norma and Marilyn blessed this union.  The first three were born in Ogden, Utah,  and Marilyn was born in Nampa, Idaho, while we were living in Marsing, Idaho.

We left North Ogden in the fall of 1949 and moved to Nampa with the purpose of becoming established in dairy farming.  For four years we lived in Marsing, Idaho where we tried our hand at farming with Jack working as an instructor in the Veterans-On-the-Farm training program.  In 1955 we bought a farm in Vale, Oregon.  Our first year there proved unproductive financially requiring that we seek greener pastures.  Jack secured employment with the Soil Conservation Service of the USDA in Medford, Oregon, where we lived from February 1956 to October 1957.  After another two year attempt to make a go at farming we decided that if the children were to be given the opportunity to gain a college education, we had better forget about the farm as a source of income.  We ended up in Malad, Idaho in October 1959, employed again by the Soil Conservation Service. After two years in Malad, followed by two years in Arco, Idaho, we moved to Montpelier, Idaho--our present residence. My church activities have included three years in the Relief Society presidency of the Nyssa Oregon Stake and two years as counselor in the Montpelier 3rd Ward primary.  I am currently a counselor in the Montpelier Stake primary presidency.  My husband has served continuously in the ward or stake Sunday Schools and MIA organisations in the various wards and stake in which we have lived.  He also serve as a counselor and bishop in the Montpelier Third Ward.
Our son John and daughter Marilyn have filled missions for the church in the Central German and North Carolina missions respectively.  Nancy graduated from Weber State College in elementary education.  John has a M.S. in political science from BYU and is presently enrolled in the school of law at the University of Washington in Seattle.  Marilyn will graduate from BYU this fall.

We are the proud grandparents of five boys and four girls."

Nine Rules of Life Learned From My Mother
(from a Mother's Day talk I gave in church in 1994)
 1. Don't brag about your kids. 
2. A pot of soup on the stove cooking when people come home at night will do much to calm nerves. 3. Get all the education you can!!! 
4. Don't slump!
 5. Don't sleep in! There's work to be done!
 6. Give practical gifts! 
7. Help who and where you can.
 8. Wipe the shower down after you're finished. 
9. If one style looks good on you, make sure you have a whole closet of the same thing!  
10. Avoid Mother's Day at all costs. Overly sentimental.

 (editorial note: As I typed that last word, I overheard Mugsy at my side upchucking--he's been nibbling at grass all day. I looked around for a mother, sadly realized I was she, and now I shuffle off to do what mothers do...even when your "kid" is a dog. Happy Mother's Day to all!)

(with all the Foulger siblings--minus the youngest Uncle John who died in 1979)

(a young Martha at the Brown Derby in so. California)

(with an unidentified young man at the beach in California)

(Aunt Norma, Mom, Uncle John)

Excerpts from Zelda Evans' Tribute at Mom's Funeral
  • I remember a Martha who took her paring knife and appeared at the door of a young mother who had several small children and four bushels of peaches to can.
  • I remember a Martha who went to the house of a friend who was ill. She spent the day helping her clean and get ready for guests.
  • I remember a Martha who helped me make two quilts for my grandchildren in one week. This was the summer my husband died.
  • I remember hearing how she and Jack (as she called him) took a friend and her terminally ill husband on a trip spanning several days back to the place of their roots for a final visit.
  • I remember how she worked all one day helping this same friend get ready to move.
  • I remember temple trips with Martha.  Once we were in the waiting room, and I was talking about my son who was in graduate school.  She patted my hand and said, "It's boys like your son and my son John who are going to save the world."  (Get busy, John!)
  • I remember Martha with her sewing machine and her serger sewing for others.
  • Before the Home Health Nursing program was fully developed, I remember Martha going to the home of a bedfast lady several times a week to give her shots.  Most of us were not aware that she had this skill. (Zelda, you never asked her kids...)
  • Another friend told me that after she had a serious injury, Martha came not once, not once a week, but almost daily to see her.  Not only did she come to visit, but she brought useful ideas and helped to ease her pain and make her more comfortable. 


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