Sunday, August 3, 2014

Olive's mother Bertha

Curtis S. & Ella M. (Dockstader) Russell Family

Bertha Mae Russell

When Bertha Mae Russell was born on September 13, 1913, in Elwood, Utah, her father, Curtis, was 25 and her mother, Ella, was 18. She married Gilbert Marinus Christensen on September 20, 1929, in Idaho, Idaho. They had eight children in 19 years, the fourth was Olive.  This is a photo of her with her mother, stepfather, and siblings. Bertha is on the far top right.  Below is a photo of Bertha with her husband Gilbert Christensen.  They met at a dance where he was in the band playing a saxophone in Burley Idaho just a few miles from Rupert where they were both from. When Gilbert saw her he put down his sax in mid-song and rushed over to her to ask her to dance. They were married in the Idaho Falls Temple. They lived in a number of places including Idaho, California, Nevada and Oregon. Bertha died on July 1, 1983, in Overton, Nevada, at the age of 69, and was buried in Rupert, Idaho. 

iPhone Photo






Sunday, June 1, 2014

Roses out of Clay

"When I was a young girl living in Laie, Oahu, Hawaii my mother Olive was taking an art course at the Church College (BYU Hawaii).  They were challenged to do a clay project and my mother decided to make ceramic roses.  She sat me and my sisters beside her and showed us how to create the center of the rose and then to make the wrapping petals one at time and attach them carefully around the center.  Each petal was put on so as not to squish the shape.  Each petal getting larger and overlapping the previous one.  Through the years I have repeated this project.  I taught my own daughters this.  Later when I attended Brigham Young University in Utah I was required to take a  sculpture course myself to complete my BA degree in Visual Art and like my mother elected to create a rose.  It was a supersized version.
Today I have an art school with 400+students and for mothers day this year just a few weeks before my mothers passing my wonderful teachers at the ART house and I guided the students through this project so they could create a beautiful rose for their mothers.  The results were magnificent as the photo of just a few shows.  The mothers were thrilled. I sent a copy of this photo and a hand drawn rose in a card telling her about  her project. How it touched so many lives and would continue to do so, a legacy.  The letter arrived a day later then her passing.  Although it saddened my heart that she never got to see how her legacy lives on.  I am so grateful for the caring, sharing woman that she was to take the time to show me art projects such as this. It was her strength as a developer that made me feel capable of going to college and getting my degree in art and owning an art school. "
 -Anita Robbins

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Olive had purchased a set of World Book Encyclopedias when her children were young. With the set came a cyclo-teacher.  By inserting a clean round piece of paper in on top of the instruction sheet into the cyclo teaching it was ready. Viewing through a open slot would be the question. sliding the handle would reveal the next question and the answer to the previous question.  She would sit down with her childern and go over the questions.  One of the favorites was the flower names.  They would practice until  all the flowers memorized.

Friday, May 16, 2014


In this photo Olive was around 25 years old and was living in Mesa Arizona.  She had three children, Daniel, Deanna and Kaven and was married to Chester Cluff.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Tender and Loving Heart

Olive Walker Olive always had a very tender and loving heart.  She was known to pick up those that would be down on their luck on the side of the road holding up a sign "will work for food" and have them do some chores at her own home and feed them.  She would also give them a place to sleep. She followed the admonision of King Benjamen in the Book of Mormon another testament of Jesus Christ

Mosiah 4: 16 And also, ye yourselves will asuccor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the bbeggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
 17 Perhaps thou shalt asay: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
 18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
 19 For behold, are we not all abeggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?"  

  Many through the years have enjoyed the love and comfort of her giving heart.  She also was a great hugger who would reach out to others and pay generous compliments and lift them. What little money or things she had in her life she generously shared with others.

She spent the last weeks of her life helping her niece and nephew in need.  Then she followed that by helping her granddaughter who in turn made her last days more joyful and pleasant.

Olive exemplified faith and charity.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Nannies and HennyPenny

I've three favorite pets in my life. One was a little goat named Nanny I had as a kid. She thought she was a person. She ate everything. Nothing was safe from her appetite not even clothes on the clothesline. I had another goat as an adult also nammed Nanny. I had a chicken I called Henny Penny. She followed me everywhere in the yard and if I sat she would fly up into my lap. She would peck on the kitchen window to tell me to come out to see her. She'd lay an egg right by the door so I wouldn't miss it.
Painting by Olive Walker "Couple" 11"x14" oil

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Burying the Gravy

I cooked for over 200 people for two years at the Overton Senior Center. When I left they gave me a plaque that read "to Olive Walker, the Best Cook in the State of Nevada" a white leather purse, and a large crystal vase. I love to cook but didn't do well in the beginning.

My first cooking experiences started when I was ten years old in Napa, Idaho. The family was thrashing wheat in the field. Mother decided I would be more useful making dinner and sent me in to cook up the chickens we'd killed and plucked. I peeled the potatoes and fried the chicken up nice and golden brown. I boiled the corn on the cob and then started the gravy. I put the flour in the grease but when I poured in the milk I didn't stir fast enough. The gravy got all lumpy. I was so embarrassed of the gravy I hurried and took it outside and buried it with a shovel before any one could see it!

That same year I made a cake from the recipe off a Crisco can. I forgot to put in the Crisco. It was hard and dry but we ate it anyways.