Vanita Ward


Ninety-six and loving life!!  Vanita Ward was born in Delta, Utah in her parents’ home on December 11, 1919.  Her parents were William Sanders Jenkins and Betsy Luceen Cook Jenkins.  There were 12 children in her family and she was number seven.  Her father owned a grocery business, and during the great depression because so many people were getting groceries and saying they would have to pay him later, his business didn’t last too long.  In 1930 the family moved to Springville. 

            In 1937 Vanita graduated from Springville High School.  She has always been a good communicator and team player.  She is the one who helped keep her brothers and sisters informed of what was going on as four of them lived in Utah and the others moved out of state.  She kept them together.  She also was instrumental in keeping her high school class together. 

            She enjoyed the outdoors and was with a group of young people who were hiking Mt. Timpanogos.  A young man, J. Clyde Ward, was also with the group.  They became acquainted and saw each other off and on.  On November 10, 1939 they were married.  At the time Clyde worked for Mullett Jewelers in Provo as a watchmaker.  He worked there from 1934-1956.  In 1956 he opened his own jewelry store, J. Clyde Ward Jewelry, on 700 East near B.Y.U.

            Vanita and Clyde had three sons:  Ronald, Taylorsville; Jan, Salem; Mark (was killed in 1983 in an explosion at the Ireco Chemical Company west of Utah Lake).  She has seven grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.  Clyde passed away in January 1988. 

            Vanita was a full time home maker.  When Clyde started his own business, she would help out in the store with shipping, sales, etc.  They sold the business in 1976 and retired.  Vanita liked to collect dishes and silverware, which she had the opportunity to do through their business.  They lived in Provo near their business until B.Y.U. bought their home in order to expand the University.  They bought a farm house on nine acres in the Provo River bottoms.  The home was an adobe home built in 1888.  She didn’t have availability to do laundry at the home, so she would take her laundry to a Laundromat in Provo once a week.  Clyde wasn’t much of a farmer, but was able to enjoy rural life to train hunting dogs and he enjoyed falconry.  They moved to Salem in February 1978. 

            They weren’t able to go on many vacations because of the business.  They did go to Silverton, Colorado and rode the train.  Maybe they would go overnight someplace locally and stay in their station wagon. 

            Vanita took classes in interior decorating, and some domestic practices – things to benefit her home and family.  Her husband, Clyde, took art classes from Paul Salisbury and was quite an accomplished artist.  After Clyde retired they were called to work at the Genealogy Library at BYU for one year.  She has always been an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving mainly in the Relief Society and Primary.  She enjoys yard work, small gardening, pruning trees, and growing flowers.  She stays up on current events.  She used to sew and make her own clothes.  She likes to read, and do things outside. 

            Her son, Jan, said his mother adapted to things and made it possible for other family members to have their dreams.  She was content with life as it was.  She did not have many personal pursuits or ambitions.  Her ambition or happiness was to assist someone else in their hobbies or interests.  She saw to it that they always had natural things to eat.  If she packed a school lunch for them, it was with whatever they had in the house.  She did not go out and buy a bunch of stuff.  Her demeanor is such that she enjoys whatever she does; she is a team player.  She is the thread woven through family, church and friends.  She is a very giving person in group efforts.  Her role was to support her children; make whatever they did important. 

            For being 96, she rarely takes medication, or sees a doctor.  She likes vegetables, loves ice cream and is a good cook.  She loves Salem, the special times of watching the Salem Days pageants and fireworks.  She appreciates being able to live here and those who create the flavor of what others can enjoy. 


Salem City Newsletter Senior Spotlight, May 2016, page 3

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