Sunday, July 10, 2011


My Uncle

Uncle Jim Holm, the brother of my mother Laura, was born 2 October, 1909, at Winter Quarters, Carbon County, Utah where his father worked in the coal mines.  In 1910, his parents, Thomas Wesley Holm and Jennie Mevina Nielson, moved to Spanish Fork, Utah, his fathers birthplace and where his grandparents lived.  A sister, Wanda, was born but died the same day in Spanish Fork in 1911.  In March 1916, when Jim was seven years old, his family moved to the Starrh's Ferry district west of Burley, Idaho.  Jim attended the Palisade Schools at Starrh's Ferry, probably starting in the second grade, and possibly went there until he started high school in Burley.  However, it is not known if he finish high school or how long he lived at home with his parents.  His name appears in a 1926 Burley school annual, which indicates he went at least into or through the 10th grade.  It is known that he helped his father farm at Starrh's Ferry as he was growing up. 

Jim married Thelma Margaret Andrew on 14 September, 1928, in Twin Falls, Idaho.  Thelma was born in Burley on 8 June, 1910.  Her parents were Joseph Samuel Andrew and Edna Elizabeth Durfee.  She had five sisters, Ella, Lerena, Verla, Lillian and Georgia, and a brother, Joseph Virgil, who died as an infant.  Thelma went to school in Heyburn, Idaho and graduated from Heyburn High School in 1928.  Jim and Thelma lived with Jim's parents for a short time after they got married.  Their first child, James Wilford (Billy) was born at Burley, 22 May, 1929.  On 10 November of that year, the three of them moved to Los Angeles, California, with Jim's parents, his sister, Laura, her husband, Jim Nephi Baggett, and 18 month old Jimmy R. Baggett.  While in California, Jim worked on highway crews.  Son, Billy gained a new cousin and future playmate when Keith Baggett was born in Huntington Park on 4 January, 1930.  Although it is clear from photographs that Jim's parents and Laura and her family, were back in Burley by September of 1930, Jim and Thelma may have remained in California until sometime in 1931.  I have pictures of Billy, Keith, and me together at Burley, apparently in the summer of 1931. 

It was reported in Jim's life sketch that, at sometime after they returned to Idaho, Jim and Thelma bought a ten acre farm and it was stated that Jim caught wild horses to sell and to use on his farm.  No information is available about the location of their farm or the length of their stay there.  In 1933 and/or 1934 they were living in a small house, alongside the garden, at the log house where Keith and I lived with Tom and Jennie after our mother died.  Billy, Keith and I were playmates there for one or two years.             When Jim and Thelma were living at the log, their second son, Larry, who was born 20 November, 1933, was a baby.  Billy remembers going to school to his first and second school years "out near the mountains which" at View in 1936 and 1937.  They were back in south Burley about 1941 and 1942, followed by two years on East 8th Street in North Burley, where Larry attended the Overland School, on Overland Avenue, three blocks east of their home.  The house was a log house built by Jim, and was just a basement when they first moved there.  In 1945 and 1946, they lived in south Burley until they moved into the Overland Inn, which Jim built in 1946-47.  The Overland Inn was a residence as well as a restaurant and they lived there until 1960, except for a time when they lived in a house on Albion Avenue.  In 1959-60, Jim and Thelma built the house across the street from the Overland Inn, where they lived from 1960 until they went to live in a nursing home. 

Early on, Jim was a builder, especially of log houses and potato cellars.  His building enterprises were complimented by his long time operation of trucks and used them to haul everything from logs to various crops.  Later he sold his small trucks and bought two semi's and, after the potato processing industry became established, he hauled potatoes from storage in the Burley area to the Ore-Ida processing plant at Ontario, Oregon.  He also built potato cellars at Ontario, staying there with Thelma in a trailer where she would do the cooking for the crew.  His son, Larry, who had a full time job with the Bureau of Reclamation, spent vacations helping him there and other jobs, and Larry's wife, Marjean sometimes hauled her children to visit Larry in Ontario or other sites.  All of Jim's sons, especially Bill, helped him in his building and trucking enterprises at times.  For building projects, Jim cut and peeled his own logs and hauled them out of the mountains.  Family members camped out to help with log peeling near Galena Summit, in Island Park, and south of Burley in the Bostletter area. 

Many of the logs Jim harvested were used to frame the potato cellars he built, including one he built at Gooding, Idaho, for a former Burley potato dealer named Clem Studor.  My dad and I ran across Jim, building that cellar near the railroad tracks, when we were hauling sorted potatoes to boxcars, possibly in the winter of 1945-46.  As farming expanded into the desert areas around Burley because of the development of wells and sprinkler irrigation, Jim built some very large cellars, standard width, but up to 600 feet in length. 

Jim and Thelma operated their restaurant at the Overland Inn for a number of years, and it became famous for delicious food, including steaks, shrimp, and especially fried chicken.  Thelma worked there as a cook and a waitress, or doing what ever else was needed.  In October, 1958, they hosted a lunch at the Overland Inn after the funeral of Jim's father and my grandfather, Thomas Wesley Holm. 

For many years, Thelma worked at the sugar factory and for the J.R. Simplot processing plant in Burley, and she was a supervisor at Simplot's for 16 years before she retired.  Jim and Thelma both liked to fish and bowl, and Jim enjoyed hunting.  They had a second home at Magic Reservoir where they spent a lot of time with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Thelma had many hobbies and activities, including rock collecting, making ceramics, growing roses and traveling.  She often traveled with her daughter, Janet to Europe.  After Thelma retired from the Simplot factory, Jim and Thelma spent winters in their trailer visiting Janet in California, usually staying about two months.  Jim was affected with Alzheimer's Disease in his later years, which was a great burden and sorrow for Thelma.  They lived in their house across the street from the former Overland Inn until several years before they died, when Jim, and then Thelma, went to live at Hillcrest Haven in Pocatello.  Jim died there on 5 June, 1995, and Thelma died there on 17 January, 1997.  They left 5 children, 22 grandchildren and 53 great-grandchildren.  

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