Ernest Richard Galloway, My Grandpa

Ernest Richard Galloway

For help on this week’s #52Ancestors prompt, “Where There’s A Will…,” I contacted my mom, Linda Galloway Kirby. You see, when I was much too young to remember, my mom’s father (mentioned briefly in an earlier post), Ernest Richard Galloway, was hit by a car. As you will read below, it was his will and his faith that made it possible for him to not only survive that accident, but live well for years afterward. I asked my mom for the date and circumstances and she wrote the below account and sent it to me. I use it here with her permission (Evelyn was Ernest’s loving wife and my mom’s step-mother):

I am combining information from Ernest’s, Evelyn’s and two newspaper accounts. I will put quotes around words that he said and apostrophes around Evelyn’s wording about his accident on April 17, 1982 when he was 72-year-old. Parentheses are around information from newspaper articles. I will put brackets around what I add after this paragraph.
He said, “One evening in April 1982, against Evelyn’s advice, I crossed the busy Highway 89 in front of our home to get change (at a Triangle service station) so I would be able ‘early’ to buy a Sunday paper the next morning. On the way back, I stopped in the middle of the street until I thought it was clear and then proceeded the rest of the way when bang!–I got hit by a car going 55 mph….It broke 26 bones. The car hit me so hard that I was knocked out of my Hill Field safety boots, 6″ tops, leather laces fully tightened… I cannot understand how the accident broke those leather laces, break the bones in my legs, feet arms, fingers and ribs and not seriously hurt my heart, liver, lungs or brain.” Evelyn wrote, ‘He had multiple compound fractures: broken hand and wrist left, broken hip, broken pelvis both sides, broken thighs both sides, broken tibia and fibia on lower right leg with dislocated right shoulder.’
“The (northbound) driver of the [LTD] car that hit me, (Robert L. Blair, 47, of Morgan), tried to miss me by swerving to the left and hit me with his right front end. I evidently came up over the right front end and then down the right side of his car and over to the right side of the road…. Broken bones were sticking out big holes in my right leg and I bled so much I was expected to be dead upon arrival [at] (McKay Dee) for emergency treatment.) {Ernest was later praised for immediately concentrating on breathing so he could stay conscious. A lady called an ambulance. A neighbor notified Evelyn, who was held back while ambulance paramedics worked on him and waited for a helicopter to come. However the helicopter was slow and his blood pressure dropped to zero so it was decided to take him to McKay Dee after they’d sent Evelyn with her daughter Gloria, Gloria’s husband John, and her son David to that hospital. They got there about 10:30 PM, just before the ambulance.}
Ernest said, “I laid on the road thirty minutes before the ambulance arrived. Its’ rough ride to the McKay Dee Memorial Hospital resembled that of a freight wagon. Upon arriving at the hospital in Ogden, I hurt so bad that I couldn’t tolerate the slightest touching from Evelyn.”
Evelyn wrote, ‘They wouldn’t let us see him at all. They had him on a ventilator to help him breathe….He couldn’t talk with tubes in his mouth for the ventilator… He had multiple compound fractures…. and he had so much bleeding…for a while, more blood was going out than they could put in. They took a long time…. He had lots of x-rays, and we told them we wanted to administer to him before going to surgery….It was 2 AM before they could get him to surgery because they had to get his blood pressure stabilized….David and John administered to Ernest just before he went to surgery; that’s all they would let in to see him. David gave him a wonderful blessing.’
Ernest wrote, “I am grateful for the priesthood blessings I received at that time including the one from my bishop in which I was promised that I would walk again….I had a cast [up] to the [right] hip for a long time. September 7th, I came home in a wheelchair and then learned to use a walker…. As of September 30, 1982, I got a cast to the knee and it will be two more months before the doctor will take it off. I guess by then he will cut the muscle around the place where there is a bone and pull the muscle over the bone so there will be something to graft skin over. I am doing pretty good.”
Ernest also wrote,” While I was in the hospital, I received 14 blood transfusions. I was in intensive care 7 weeks and then a regular room for a few weeks before going to a nursing home for about 6 months.

1982 thora martin ellen howe vera thompson irene bendixon leah kidd orzella sinclair wth grandpa ernest galloway during recovery from accident
Ernest with some of his sisters, Thora Martin, Ellen Howe, Very Thompson, Irene Bendixon, Leah Kid, & Rorzella Sinclair durring his recovery in 1982

[He continued using a wheelchair after he was home, then a walker and eventually 2 canes to get around. There’s a picture of him with his walker next to a metal glider swing he made in 1983 for his grandkids.
There are also pictures of him using a wide-based metal cane in 1984.]
“In July 1987, we sold our East Layton home and moved to West Valley;, Utah. There we had a nice home and good garden but too many steps. So in January 1989 we sold out and moved to a home at 872 North 800 East, North Salt lake, Utah. It is a small house all on the same level with a garage and a nice backyard and garden area where we grow vegetables, grapes, fruit and nut trees.”

Grandpa lived until 16 January 1996, more than 13 years after this horrific accident. I remember his large garden in the back yard of his East Layton, Utah home and his visits to our home in which he would inspect the trees and garden in our yard. He gardened as long as his body would let him. When he got too frail to be up and about he took up loom knitting. I was fortunate to inherit his yarn stash when he passed away. Grandpa could not bear to be idle. I always admired that about him. His time recovering from his accident must have been hard on him, but he had the will and determination to get back to his active life as much as possible. I am so glad he did. He was the only grandpa I knew, and had he not survived that accident I would not have known him.

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Photo Credit: Derick Wilson
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