H. Clay Gorton - Personal Journal, 1998

March 30, 1998 Since November last, I have been extremely busy working on the Starduster, amid other responsibilities. A couple of weeks ago, we had essentially completed the re-build, except for some of the paint trim. On Monday March 23, Glen Olsen test flew the airplane successfully. I then got in the front cockpit for a few touch and go’s, and then transferred to the rear cockpit. On Tuesday we flew it again, checking out the new (rebuilt) engine. On Wednesday we flew it to Airport 2 in West Jordan, where we are sharing a hangar with Brian O’Leary. At Airport 2 we did eight touch and go’s. After the seventh departure we lost the right exhaust stack. It was longer than the one on the left, and evidently hit a resonant frequency of vibration and broke off at the weld. Smelling exhaust fumes, we landed immediately. Glen has repaired the exhaust stack, and we’re ready to fly again, was soon as the weather permits.

As of the end of last year I gave up being the Newsletter Editor for the Salt Lake Chapter 23 of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), and along with Glen Olsen took on the responsibility of putting out the Starduster Magazine. The Stolp Starduster Corp. was purchased last year by Les Homan, and the operation was moved from Flabob Airport in Riverside, CA to Oroville, CA. The magazine has been published for twenty-eight years, but has been a rather off-hand Xeroxed copy of contributions sent in by Starduster enthusiasts, in addition to some technical articles collected from various flying magazines, and issued four times a year.

We have turned it into a formal journal of 40 pages, with eight pages in full color. The first issue was released in January of this year, and received very favorable response. We took the April issue to the printer last Friday. A page from the April issue, indicating the reaction of the readers to the new format is appended.

From Our Readers:

Just wanted to touch base with you and my good friend Glen and tell you what a fine magazine you published. What a change! It ranks right up there with Sport Aviation, Kit Planes and all the others. Keep up the good work.

Kenny Ware N311JK, Fountain Valley, CA

Please renew my subscription for 1998. I have always enjoyed the magazine, particularly the sub­ject matter, but now the vivid color of the photos is a 100% improvement. Please keep up the good job!

James Pollard, Luscombe owner, Santa Cruz, CA

WOW! What a great face-lift the “new look” Star­duster Magazine has. (Vol. 28, No. 1, ‘98) It cer­tainly is befitting the infusion of renewed energy in the Starduster Corp. A class act publication for class act airplanes.

Lee Amacker, Walla Walla, WA

Great job on the magazine. Really like the color photos, can’t wait for the next issue. Even my wife looked through the magazine before I got home from work.

Bill Gauger, Mesa, AZ

Fred R. Myers III, Conyers, GA

The 28th Vol. No. 1, Jan ‘98 issue is better even than its looks (which are considerable). Impressive contents: readable, comfortable layout, easy to physically peruse or study, excellent photographs. (I like the capital letters on each word accompany­ing the photos.) This issue is technical and human, mechanical and social; the results—it’s fun and satisfying.

Mike Guarino, Salt Lake City, UT

A.G. Coleman, Miami Springs, FL

The new magazine is outstanding, and you and Glen are to be congratulated. Apologies accepted Glen, but I know it was really Les’ fault.

See you in Oroville.

Oscar Bayer, Arroyo Grande, CA

Gary Thomas, Hurlburt Field, FL

WOW! What a magazine you produced! WON­DERFUL! The Starduster and other biplanes are fit subjects for those dazzling color photos!! Arti­cles all of intense interest and subjects, too. We always did read the magazine front to back. We have to say that the slicks and color are gorgeous additions.

Mary Jane Reed, Evansville, IN

April 27, 1998 My sealing schedule at the Bountiful Temple has been changed again. I now work every Tuesday, 7:00-9:00 PM and Wednesday 12:00 N to 4:00 PM; and every other Thursday 7:30 -9:00 PM. On Thursdays, Boyd Mortensen and I trade off doing sealings with couples from the Bountiful 31st Ward.

We have moved the Starduster to Salt Lake Municipal Airport #2, and share a hangar with Brian O’Leary, who is presently building a J3 Cub. The runway at airport 2 is wider and longer, and thus safer of all to practice take offs and landings on. I had been having trouble with my landings until it was discovered that when attempting to apply right brake my foot was impacting a fuselage structural member impeding the travel of the rudder. When that was corrected I was able to make acceptable three-point landings.

Last Saturday Glen let me solo the airplane and I had a terrible time getting it on the ground. After several attempts Glen discovered (by listening to the engine close to the runway) that I was not pulling the power all the way off. This morning we tried it again, and by properly pulling the power I was able to make acceptable landings. So now I’m qualified to the solo the airplane.

Last Thursday Don Brock and I flew the plane to Heber. It was a windy, gusty day. The landing at Heber was not all the good, but acceptable considering the weather. We flew through the Provo Canyon at 9,000 feet. (Timpanogos is 12,000 feet high.) On the way back, along the west side of Timp, my airspeed indicator measured 130 mph. The GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) receiver recorded 175 mph ground speed. An interesting trip.

Before the rebuild of the airplane the maximum speed we could achieve was 100 mph. During the rebuild we exchanged the 6-cylinder, 190 hp 0-435 engine for a 4-cylinder, 190 hp HI0-360 engine, saving 195 pounds. We also exchanged the variable pitch prop for a constant pitch prop, saving an additional 60 lbs, and by removing some unnecessary heavy starter cables and other junk, saved another 40 lbs. So the airplane is now about 200 lbs lighter than before. We also exchanged the external air scoop for an internal air scoop, improving the streamlining. Now at 2500 rpm our airspeed is 120 mph and 130 mph at 2600 rpm.

18 July, 1998 I had written a letter to David reviewing with him his position before the Lord and attempting to reassure him of the inviolate integrity of the eternal family, as well as the responsibility of each individual to be accountable for his own actions and the requirement to pay the full price for all un-repented sins. In response he sent me the following letter, with which I was very much impressed, and which I think should be preserved for posterity. Thus, it is included below:

Dear Dad,

As it turned out, I was at work today (Saturday) and read your e-mail. Things just seem to stay busy out here and no two days are alike. Here's my home e-mail address...

I have not yet received the VCR tape or magazine you sent. I did receive your very thought provoking letter and the clipping from the newspaper. As to what my future may hold, I can't say as I really don't know. I must admit that knowing, due to your efforts, sacrifices and obedience we will be together forever is a comfort to me far greater than you know. You have indeed lived an honorable life and one that I wish to have emulated. I respect you for that more than you know.

I have never doubted the truthfulness of the Gospel and to this day I know that our Heavenly Father watches over us even when we wander off the path. I also know that any success that I may have had during my life has been a direct result of His influence and my failures are a direct result of my efforts alone. Even now I am able to feel His spirit here in our home and I do believe that He watches over my family. I can remember the feeling I had when Chris was born, the first time I held him and looked into his little face, I knew that he had just come from His presence and that the Veil that separates our worlds seemed to be almost transparent. When I came home from that flight many years ago and my family was gone, it was as if my heart had been cut right out of my chest. My life was over for all practical purposes and should have ended then. In many respects it did. I do believe that I have been given another chance and have been blessed far more than I deserve.

So what am I doing about it? That's a good question, because I'm not sure. I try to live each and every day in such a manner as to make both you and my Heavenly Father proud to have me as a son. Will I ever come back to the church and be baptized again? I think so, but I don't think it will happen any time soon. I'm not sure that the church is quite ready for me yet and I'm not ready to make to make the commitment to it that would be required. Also, I would require that Roselyn be a part of that process and I don't think that she is ready or has the knowledge to proceed, but I do believe that it will come in time.

I need more than the fear that I might have to pay the price for my sins as an incentive to come back since they are my sins and they were committed with a full knowledge that there would be a price to pay. I can't imagine suffering any more than when I knew I had lost the three people who meant more to me than my life that day when Thalia, Jared and Michelle were no longer there.

I've still got a little growing up to do and need to get things sorted out and put back into perspective. I'm very happy with my life now and love my wife and son with all my heart, might, mind and soul. They are everything to me now and I'm not going to do anything that may harm that. I guess that time will tell. I just keep telling myself to move forward day by day with small steps.

I love you and Mom and hope that before this life is over we can spend some time together getting to know each other better. I've only got a couple more years left in the Marine Corps and have no idea what I'm going to do after that. My thoughts seem to drift back to finding something that would allow me to live close by so as to make my dream of knowing my father a reality.

Small steps...

Love, Dave

25 August, 1998 Tonight in the temple I was sealing temple files with three young couples. The files were of German names, and prominent among them was the name Schikelgruber. However, one couple on the sheet was very surprising. The names were Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, marriage date 29 April 1945.

6 December, 1998 It’s been a while since I’ve made an entry in the journal, so I’ll try to catch up. On September 17, we took Richard and Carol Spencer on a trip to Soda Springs, Idaho. We had a picnic at Hoooper Springs and showed them around the town. The Spencers have befriended us and we try to get together for some sort of function about once a month.

On the first of October Podge and I took advantage of a nice autumn day and drove around Mount Nebo. We had never been there before, and enjoyed the new scenery and the fall colors. We had a picnic lunch in Nephi at the end of the Nebo loop. A lovely day.

On Sunday, Oct. 4, I attended a meeting of ex mission authorities from Chile where Ray Barnes and Von Packard made a presentation on helping returned missionaries from Chile to get educations by providing funds to a bank in Santiago to act as security for loans that the ex missionaries would take out for education purposes. Ray has since contacted me to see if I would be interested in helping to run the organization that would administer the funds. Ray was a missionary with me in Argentina 1946-49. He was called as the first president of the Spanish Mission when I was mission president in Argentina; and incidentally his secretary was a sister to my secretary, Calroyn Matthews. Ray was called to preside over the MTC in Santiago, Chile two years after we were released. Von Packard was one of my missionaries in Argentina. He later served as Mission President in one of the Santiago missions.

At noon on Monday, October 5, I was invited to lunch by Larry Corbridge and John Baird, who also served in my mission. They both served as assistants to the president. The invitation was occasioned by the visit to Salt Lake of Lorin Walker, another of our missionaries. We had a good time reliving mission experiences and catching up on life since then.

Monday evening, October 5, I made a presentation before the Eastern States returned missionary group. That meeting was organized by Don Mortensen, with whom we had been associated in Ohio, and who is now an assistant to the president of the Salt Lake Temple. Don is also a co-owner of our Starduster airplane. I spoke on the Brass Plates of Laban, attempting to show that they were the original scriptures started by Moses and added to by each of the prophets down to the time of Jeremiah and Lehi.

On Thursday, October 8 we were invited to lunch with Kirt and Mary Ann Atkinson, who we know when we were mission president in Argentina. We had run into them three or four times since then. When they saw an article about me in the Salt Lake Tribune they made contact with us. They left the following week for a full time proselyting mission in Puerto Rico.

For Thanksgiving Podge and I drove to Lomita, CA to spend the week with our daughter Becky and her family. We left of Saturday, November 21, and drove all the way in one day—770 miles. It is not an easy drive, the greatest hazard is falling asleep at the wheel. But we listened to Book-of-Mormon tapes on the car cassette that kept us entertained all the way. We made the trip in 12 hours. We went to Becky’s ward to Church on Sunday, and that afternoon the bishop asked if I would present a fireside at his home for the youth. I gave the talk on alien beings. I think I scared some of the kids about to death before they caught on that I was talking about the gospel. On Monday night I was asked to conduct a funeral on Tuesday afternoon. Karren Elizabeth Church, age 47, had been invalid most of her life, and in extreme pain. She had a morphine drip inserted into a vein to help relieve the pain. She was found dead in her bed on Saturday, Nov. 21. One of her younger sisters, Kathleen Zimmer, now living in Plano, Texas had been one of our daughter Beth’s closest friends before Beth passed away. About fifteen years ago I had had performed the marriage of one of Kathleen and Karren’s sister, Darlene, and her mother, Connie, remembering the wedding ceremony and learning that I was in town, asked if I would conduct the funeral. I met with the family in the morning to make arrangements, conducted at spoke at the funeral in the afternoon and then dedicated the grave.

Thanksgiving dinner was prepared by Becky’s mother-in-law, Cathie Conley and we had a wonderful time together. We attended our old ward, Redondo Second Ward, on the following Sunday, and drove home the next day. The only problem with the trip back was that I had to drive through a migraine headache— not pleasant.

I have now run out of funds with which to fly the Starduster, and so must sell my share of the airplane. Glen Olsen also owns and share and will sell his as well. This will put a damper on my flying career, but I hope to keep flying to one degree or another one way or another. To date I have logged 410 hours, with well over 100 hours of aerobatics.

My activity at the Bountiful Temple so far this year includes live marriages of 27 couples and 11 children to their parents, and the following proxy sealings— 2538 wives to their husbands, and 1924 sons and 2054 daughters to their parents.

3 January, 1999 The closing activities of 1998—Podge and I accepted an invitation to attend the annual New Year’s Eve reunion of the ex-Argentine missionaries of the ‘30s and ‘40s at the home of Marion Vance in Mesa, AZ. We left Bountiful on Wed. Dec. 30 and traveled via Hurricane, UT, through Cold Springs, to Page, AZ. We stopped at the Cold Springs Fort to visit the site, and then on to Page, where we thought we had a motel reserved. When we arrived we learned that the motel was 30 miles away at Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado River. We found the motel and spent the night. The next morning I drove down to Lee’s Ferry and took some pictures, also some pictures of the bridge over the Colorado at Marble Canyon, all very impressive. We then drove to Mesa, AZ to a motel we had reserved. That evening Russ and Marge Madsen picked us up to go to the reunion. Russ Madson was in the Santiago, Chile Temple Presidency when we were in Santiago in 1991-92, and we became quite close friends. There were about 30 couples at the reunion. Brother Fish and Fletcher Memmot were there, who I hadn’t seen since my mission in Argentina. Also met Carl Fenn, whose son was one of our missionaries when I was mission president. We had a good time and reviewed many old memories.

The next day we started home. We knew that David Harden was in the Arizona State Penitentiary, and we tried to visit him, but we went to the Arizona State Juvenile Correction Center by mistake, so we didn’t get to see him. We spent the night in Kanab, UT, and traveled home the next day—a very relaxing and enjoyable trip, with wonderful scenery that we had never seen before.

On Tuesday, Dec. 29, I sold my share of the Starduster, 23UT, to Charles Keller for $7000.00, which was the amount of money each of the four of us had contributed for its purchase. I sold it because I had run out of funds set aside to fly. With Kelly Jarvis, I started a business to sell water purifiers, but it was not successful, so I terminated the business and sold the airplane. Hopefully, I’ll be able to realize some income from our investments and perhaps buy another Starduster. I now have just over 400 hours of logged flight time.